I read through pretty much all of the posts so far because I wanted to make sure that I wasn`t repeating anything. You`ve gotten very good advice so far.
Here are a few thoughts to add to the mix:
You might be looking for angel capital rather than VC capital to keep you floating for the time being. As has been mentioned VCs are going to want to see real evidence of market demand. Sales. Y`know how it is - when you don`t NEED the money that`s when they`re willing to provide it. Angel capital will be in smaller amounts but it still can be incredibly helpful and angels are more willing to take a chance on an unproven idea (at least unproven with regard to market demand and sales).
Okay on to market research. In the "marketing" forum there was a thread about marketing research that I replied to last night. I don`t want to repeat myself here - so just go to:
http://www.startupnation.com/pages/community/forum_posts.asp ?TID=4321&PN=1&TPN=2 to learn about a helpful tool for online market research that does a great job and is super inexpensive to implement.
Okay - now regarding the challenge of driving people to actually DO an online study. You said in one of these posts that you`ve been able to get articles in professional trade pubs - how about getting an article published about the problem your product serves and then refer those people to your market research questionnaire?
The good thing about this is that not only do you get responses to your questionnaire but you`ll also start to build marketing "buzz" for your product when it is released and as you capture contact info you`ll create a list of people who may be positively pre-disposed to buying your product because they`ve identified themselves as the people who indeed have that challenge - whatever it is - that you`re software app solves.
Hope this is helpful and an idea that you`re able to use.
All the best,
Denise Michaels, Author, "Testosterone-Free Marketing"
PS: Does the thought of marketing drive you to chocolate? I`m looking for a very special woman who loves her business but hates selling and marketing. Tell me about your business and your challenges and I`ll tell you how I can help you have more fun, feel more confident and make a lot more money. All my marketing mentoring clients get results. Visit me at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com