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I have 5+ years of experience working as graphic designer/web designer in the eCommerce environment and I believe I found a niche in the online gifting industry.

- I have an MVP. - I have merchants interested. - The product might qualify for a patent. It might not. - I'm trying to build a team to support and grow the business.

How should I approach this?

If the product is eligible for a patent, I couldn't afford it at the moment and my immediate friends and family investor network won't commit until I get sales. If I try to get sales I risk exposing my product before it's protected.

If the product isn't worth the patent it still needs some more development and a better game plan before it's ready for high volume public use.

Most folks that I have approached all agree the idea has merit but they're not investors and, as I mentioned previously, they are skeptical of investing until I have sales.

As for market validation, I did a test launch with a similar app 5 years ago, had two months of sales and great response but had to stop the project due to unforeseen circumstances. It also kind of felt like I was in the right space in the wrong place at the wrong time.

*Side note: My startup budget is invested in a patent pending Frisbee project that also needs an investor. I realized I could put together the MVP for this product while working on the website for the Frisbee.

Any advice would be my appreciated.