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Usually, they even not sufficient to replicate TECHNOLOGICAL know-how...
And, if you read well-written patents claims, you'll realise that they tend to cover WHAT you are doing, dedicating a very little time to describe HOW ( to give wider space for future litigation opportunities, IMHO)For some reason, too many people are assuming that startup success based on some small piece of information, some patent or brilliant idea.
Second, nobody is going to approach a problem, and build a company the same way you would.
Even if it's the same industry with the same potential customers, the game plan will be different, hustle will be different, etc.
If they are investing on any of the ventures which are similar to yours, you better avoid providing them the full details of your business proposal.
Don't go too much into details because a detailed explanation is being required only if an investor wants to invest exclusively on your only venture.
-If he/she ask for it do not regret just repeat same thing in other graphical representation which only includes figures. So, you suggesting on the question: How you bringing in customers? And on "How" you doing it : You suggest to say "It's a trade secret."BTW, about know-how replicated after 1 hour worth the cost of lunch, have you heard of Patents ?
Patents usually short enough to fully read in 1 hour and have requirement that someone who reads it can 100% replicate it.
It's a definite grey area as they want to be a part of your business so they need adequate information.While in practice (proven time after time) at least 9/10 of the success depends on quality of execution.You asked for examples - virtually every successful company had precessors with similar, or sometimes even superior, ideas and technologies.Being multiple times on both sides of the table, I recommend to follow those three rules:1.) Tell truth, only TRUTH , but never ALL the truth..2.) Tell WHAT you are doing ( or going to do) , but not HOW you are going to do3.) If your business know-how can be replicated after 1h of talks, its maximum valuation is about cost of lunch in fancy restaurant...A few clarification on the rules:#1 - "vague answers" are not helpful - trust is a major asset of entrepreneur/investors relationships..
Investors don't sign NDAs nowadays, so how to make sure that when they ask for you to do the presentation, they are not testing you or collecting competitive intelligence to see how much threat you are to their portfolio companies? Added: Obviously protecting publicly visible information is pointless, but what about if investors asks for your Cost of Customer Acquisitions (CAC) and you reply with time it takes to ROI instead, or they ask which channels produce lower CAC and faster ROI or Before you get the money to implement your very innovative marketing or go to market strategy revealing what it is.