Using a little-known tech supplier can produce big benefits, but it requires doing your homework.
1. What is your source of operating capital, and how long can you operate at current revenue levels?
[ Get sage advice on IT careers and management from Bob Lewis in InfoWorld's Advice Line blog and newsletter. | Get expert advice about planning and implementing your BYOD strategy with InfoWorld's 29-page "Mobile and BYOD Deep Dive" PDF special report. ]
2. Who are your advisers?
3. Do you have a product in production?
4. Who are your key employees, and how will you retain them?
5. What aspect of your product cannot easily be reproduced by competitors?
6. What percentage of your users are paying customers?
7. What is your product road map, and how often has it changed?
8. How much are you spending on security and compliance?
9. How many recurring contracts do you have (versus month-to-month subscriptions)?
10. What is your exit strategy?
For much more on this topic, see " The Risks and Rewards of Using Startups."
Read more about innovation in CIO's Innovation Drilldown.