If you are seeking funding for your idea, there are three major avenues you can take – two of which will require patenting your idea as a rule of thumb.
The three avenues are government, academic and private. Private is broadly based from crowdfunding to venture capital. Some ‘vc’ groups are not corporate ‘institutional’ investors like Goldman Sachs, but are like ‘loosely associated pools of money with a manager at the helm’ (that’s not an institutional-player that is regularly active, for life, in the ‘market’ – it can be a group of rich middle-class retirees).
Most academic sources of funding are geared toward ‘students’. That is to mean, people enrolled with the university. And these programs may have private ‘institutional’ partners, like a Goldman Sachs. As a rule of thumb, I ‘just’ leave these for the ‘students’. I’m one who likes to keep my life clean and neat.
There are the government entities whose ‘mandate’ is to foster business and economic activity and health. For an older ‘worker’ like myself, this is the avenue that is most ‘clean and neat’ for my case. The ‘frustration’, for what its worth, are the deadlines. If applications start in May and end in October …you have to wait seven months to know. There are other ‘frustrations’, but, I think I can trust the government the most with keeping my unpatented ideas.
If you choose crowdfunding, it is essential to patent your idea. A full patent can cost $8,000, but a provisional patent costs $125. A provisional patent is ‘like’ submitting the napkin on which your idea is written.
Another private source of funding are ‘awards’ sponsored by private companies and funds. And being private, if you win you will receive funding sooner because the contest dates are shorter than waiting on a government program, but because of their private nature patent your idea.