We have developed a software product (application platform) on which we have built five solutions for a particular vertical, in partnership with a paying customer. The intention is to deploy these into the cloud as SaaS applications with our platform underneath. Eventually, we will be moving into other verticals but have chosen to start with one in which all customers are "me too" - they have the same processes, same organisational structure, same drivers and challenges, etc. I have recently started reaching out to potential customers in this industry (we have worked within this industry in a consulting practice for many years and therefore have a lot of contacts) and the feedback has been very positive to the point that a number of these customers have indicated they would like to buy, and are at various stages of the buying cycle. This is an enterprise product where one solution runs around $10-20K per year (most of these customers want multiple solutions), so we are not talking a $19.95/month online application. In order for us to support new customers, we are going to need to be able to focus on this company full time, as opposed to the bootstrapping, off the side of our desk model we have been working under so far. In speaking with various investors, the feedback has been that we should get as much traction as possible before looking for a seed round. How much traction is enough? With two paying customers in three-year contracts, and a full working solution, positive competitive research and positioning, good response from a handful of customers, what more should we be gathering in terms of evidence before we look for funding? We may run out of options soon if these next two customers sign up.
If you can skip investors and run with your customers money - do this until you're ready for big round. What is good traction...? It depends on how you sell it to investors, how you pitch them, actually. It's not about real traction on this stage in 99% of the cases. But... if you really want to understand what the best traction is, I think it's all about retention and customer happiness. If you have very less amount of money, or companies can't leave without your software and are going to use it daily, switch from other e t. c., so this is the best traction measurements. You can grow money and # of customers, but if they really use your product and like it - the best traction you can have. If you want understand your best traction before the launch, so initiate pre-orders with great discount. How much traction you have is not so important as how fast and how good it is.