People in West Michigan are doing startups completely wrong. I’m sure this is relevant elsewhere, but I can only speak for the context in which I live.
The problem with the startup fad is that people like Rick Devos are throwing money at people that have only sold them on an idea and have no history of execution. I’m sure the presenters at 5x5 have a lot of interesting ideas. I’ve heard many good ideas in the past year for business that I would gladly give my money to if they existed. But they don’t, because nobody has been able to execute on the idea. What the startup culture doesn’t understand is that ideas don’t matter. Execution matters.
In his now classic post, Derek Sivers succinctly articulates that ideas are just a multiplier of execution. Or, as Steve Jobs put it, “the problem with that is that there’s just a tremendous amount of craftsmanship in between a great idea and a great product.”
If you want to fund the next great software company, then take an idea—any idea because it doesn’t really matter—and partner with someone that can execute. There are several great software companies in the area that have a history of execution. Pick one and give them enough resources to deliver.
Update: A few people have taken the previous paragraph as me saying “contract” with one of these companies. I don’t mean that at all. I literally mean partner with them. Find a company that’s interested in your idea, give them an equity stake, fund them, and help them find people that can execute in areas that they can’t.