“What if they steal my idea?”

Working at OK!Thess, Thessaloniki’s leading (and only, to be frank) accelerator is fun. Three times a year we accept a new cohort, that is a new batch of teams ready to follow for the next three months our acceleration program. Each cohort consists of approx. 10 teams, of which most of the founding members are fairly new to entrepreneurship, while many of them have not worked before at a corporate job (students) but have this life-saving curiosity about what is happening out there and how they can be a part of it.

Of course, in order to be accepted in a cohort you have to give out the info that we ask for so the OK!Thess people can understand what it is that you’re building. And it is not uncommon to hear the following question about how safe is an idea is once the team shares it.

“What if they steal my idea?”

Well first of all, who’s they and second….

 

And that’s the good scenario

We get asked that a lot. At some occasions we were asked to sign NDAs. Couldn’t that be a solution to our problem and offer security to those accepted in our cohorts?

Well, sure, but there are some issues. First of all, it is not only us. We have to know and ask questions about your idea and some info about your business model and competition (which, trust me the vast majority of applications oozes with the inexperience on finding these stuff out, which is totally ok)

I’ve just googled and found half a dozen competitors

But let’s say that we (the OK!Thess people) have gone past that and sign those damn NDAs. You’re gonna have to pitch your idea to your whole cohort, to a panel of judges, to your potential future partners, users, investors, and a handful of unrelated people. Are they going to sign NDAs as well?

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The thing is, that since Thessaloniki is a promising but really young ecosystem, it’s not uncommon to hear the “What if they steal my idea” line.

So…

… if your only moat is that nobody has thought of building what you build yet then do you really have any advantage at all?

So the answer is simple (per the words of the coaches of OK!Thess). Go home, work on it and come back when you are not afraid to share your idea to a room full of people.

Also, read this one.