Cobalt Idea Development FAQ

We answer–

your innovator questions

Search through the FAQ items below. Please contact us if you can’t find the answers you were looking for.

Cobalt - Visualize

What is Cobalt?

Cobalt is an idea development platform that helps anyone with idea for a digital or physical product develop it into a business using a step-by-step guide, called an Idea Roadmap. Complete tasks to develop your idea. Match with and hire Experts from the Expert Marketplace who can help you develop your idea. All the millions of tasks you need to do to get your idea out of your head and into the real world, organized and simplified in one portal. That’s Cobalt. One part software, one part Expert marketplace, all designed to help anyone with idea develop it into a real business.

How does Cobalt work?

Create an account. Choose an idea type. Name and describe your idea. Complete tasks on your Cobalt Idea Roadmap, which guides you step-by-step along the 4 phases of idea development: Visualize, Validate, Develop and Launch. Collaborate with and hire Experts to bring idea to life from start to launch. Cobalt uses fancy technology to match you to the Experts that want to work on your idea so finding and hiring on-demand Experts is a snap.

How much does Cobalt cost?

Cobalt starts at $9.99/month for access to the Cobalt Idea Development platform, which includes the Idea Roadmap and access to Experts. The cost of hiring an Expert is determined by the task itself and based on each Expert’s fees.

How do I sign up?

Signing up is easy. You simply create an account, provide a few details of your idea, provide payment details and that’s it. A simple, 3-step process is all it takes to get started with your idea roadmap.

How does funding work on Cobalt?

Cobalt is not a funding platform. Cobalt does not offer funding for idea development. We do not take equity any of the ideas. We are not a crowdfunding platform. We are not a Venture Fund or accelerator.

How long does it take to develop an idea on Cobalt?

With Idea Development software, you can bring your idea to life with a digital prototype in as little as 45 days.

How much should I budget for my idea?

Ideas are like fingerprints – no two are alike. The price of idea development varies depending on the complexity of the idea. Access to Cobalt’s Idea Development Software is $9.99/month and Digital Prototypes start at $1,000 USD. It’s best to plan for at least $5,500 USD.

How do I select the designers and engineers to work on my idea?

Cobalt’s software seamlessly matches you to the best Experts to work on your idea. If you don’t see an Expert that you want to hire, keep reviewing new matches. New matches happen every day as your idea is reviewed by our vetted community of Experts.

What is an Innovator?

You are! We at Cobalt call our users Innovators – so go ahead and update your resume with your fancy new title. Google will tell you an innovator is “a person who introduces new methods, ideas, or products,” and we take that definition quite literally. Now create an account so you too can be an Innovator.

How does my idea stay protected and how do I know that it won't get taken by someone?

During the idea development process, Cobalt helps protect your idea as you develop it. All work is “work-for-hire”, ensuring proof of ownership and that all IP creation belongs to you. This allows you to demonstrate provenance from the beginning-to-end of the development of your idea. By ensuring that all collaboration is work-for-hire, meaning you hire and pay Experts to deliver work that you then own, you ensure that all parts of idea development belong to you. All Experts agree to Cobalt’s privacy policy. 

All Experts agree to Cobalt’s privacy policy, which is linked here and Terms of Service, which is linked here.

The way the Cobalt system works is that when Experts sign up to work on the Cobalt platform, they agree that all work is work for hire. This is a very common type of working relationship between contractors and employers. In this case, you are the employer and you are contracting people (experts) to deliver work via Cobalt. The contractor/employer relationship is facilitated by Cobalt under the common work-for-hire construct.  Read more about work for hire here. 

Can I develop more than one idea at a time?

The short answer: No. But, eventually that will be allowed. As of right now, the platform only allows you to work on one idea at a time. We do this so you can stay focused on your roadmap and the successful development of your idea.

How does the intellectual property (IP) for ideas work?

Ideas are not patentable or protectable. As you develop an idea, you develop intellectual property that can be protected by patents. This is why it is so critical to develop all your ideas. Until you develop an idea, you do not have any protection granted by patents and IP laws. So hurry up and develop that brilliant idea!

What's in an expert report?

The Expert Report helps determine the factors that will make your idea a success. It is a detailed analysis from an expert on the validity of your Idea. This helps you understand how feasible this idea is and gives you confidence and clarity on the next steps to develop your idea. The Expert Report will help uncover potential challenges and roadblocks while also validating your idea.

What is idea development?

Idea Development is exactly what it sounds like but if you need even more clarification – It’s the process of taking an idea and turn it into a real-life thing. At Cobalt, we make developing your idea into a business as fast and easy as possible.

What if I need help?

Developing ideas is hard! And we are here to support you in the journey. We hold bi-monthly office hours to get small group help: sign up here.

What is the first step in the Idea Development Process?

The first step in the Idea Development process is visualize so we named the first of the four stages on the Idea Roadmap Visualize.

What are the phases of the idea roadmap?

There are four phases on each Idea Roadmap:

1. Visualize

2. Validate

3. Develop

4. Launch.

What are the tasks of each phase of the idea roadmap?

Each of the four phases have different tasks to accomplish as you develop your idea. Unlock more and more tasks as you develop your idea.

What happens in the visualize phase?

The visualize phase is the first of four phases within the Cobalt Idea Roadmap. It’s here that you build the foundation of your idea by using our self-guided tools to define the idea, sketch it out, disclose patents, identify the problems that your idea solves and most importantly – get an expert review and digital prototype.

What happens in the validate phase?

The validate phase is the second of four phases within the Cobalt Idea Roadmap. It’s here that you will take all of the work completed in the visualize phase and create a Cobalt validation campaign that allows you to pre-market your idea, gaining incredible and critical insights from your potential customers – better known as a focus group.

What happens in the development phase?

The development phase is the third of four phases within the Cobalt Idea Roadmap. It’s here that you will take all of the work done in the first two phases to create your physical, working prototype, website, branding and more. This phase is fairly customizable because every idea is different and requires different processes when it comes to prototyping and branding.

What happens in the launch phase?

The launch phase is the fourth and final phase within the Cobalt Idea Roadmap and is different for everyone. For some, it means launching a crowdfunding campaign, for others it means going straight to manufacturing, or looking for investors. Either way, our software and innovation Experts will help you identify what’s next and how to get it done.

Can I skip tasks or complete tasks out of order?

Yes, you can!

What kind of ideas are developed on Cobalt?

Cobalt is ideal to develop ideas into three types of products:
1. Digital Products, like apps and websites
2. Physical Products, like spice racks or toys
3. Digitally connected Physical Products, like a toy connected and controlled by an app

What if my expert report says the idea's feasibility is low?

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move forward. Specific reasoning will be provided so that you have the opportunity to iterate, refine and move forward with the best version of your idea.

Do I have to go through the visualization phase if I already have a prototype?

Yes. You must purchase a digital prototype. If you really feel that this part is not needed in moving on to more phases, you can contact us at community@cobalt.co. Exceptions can be made!

Why does Cobalt have a monthly fee?

Your Cobalt membership allows us to constantly improve the software for developing your idea, while offering office-hour help sessions, free tools and resources as well as the privacy of your idea.

Does Cobalt store my credit card information?

Cobalt uses Stripe (a third-party platform) to manage and store your personal information. Your card on file, makes in-app purchases easy.

What's the story behind the name Cobalt?

Cobalt is a transition metal. As such, when the element is paired with other elements, Cobalt acts as a catalyst and unlocks the creation of new materials. At Cobalt, we believe in order for ideas to develop they need a catalyst – and created the Cobalt platform to do exactly that.

How do I know if I have a good idea?

We believe there are no such thing as a good idea or a bad idea – ideas are neither good nor bad. They simply are and it is not until you develop them that they become great. We believe ideas are important and as ideas develop, they become more valuable. So if you think you have a good idea, develop it and show it to the world.

Can I sell my ideas on Cobalt?

No. We are not an idea marketplace where you can sell your ideas.

Does Cobalt fund the development of my idea?

No. We do not fund ideas – we are not an accelerator or investment firm.

Is Cobalt a crowdsourcing platform?

No. We are an idea development platform.

Is Cobalt open-source?

No. Your idea is yours and yours alone when being developed on the Cobalt platform. All paid assignments completed by Experts are done under NDAs and privacy policies.

What makes Cobalt different than platforms like Fiverr and Upwork?

What makes Cobalt unique is that we match you to the Experts versus aimlessly searching the thousands of un-vetted profiles of people who do work for pennies on the dollar. No offense, but sometimes – you get what you pay for.

Can I win prizes or challenges on Cobalt?

No. Cobalt is unlike other innovation platforms where it’s not gamified via challenges and contests. Cobalt is not a spec-work platform.

Will the Experts who matched with my idea have technical expertise that is specific to the idea I am developing?

They can! But we suggest you don’t make that a requirement. We have found that brilliant ideas often come from designers outside the industry you are working in. This is called breakthrough insights through adjacencies.

What happens when I cancel my account?

You will lose all work done to develop your idea.

Can I still login to my account after I cancel my membership?

Yes you can login but you can only access your profile and payment information.

What happens to all my work if I cancel my membership?

You will lose all work. You will not have access to any additional tools or resources without a membership. To resume your membership, email community@cobalt.co.

Can I edit previously finished tasks if I am no longer paying for a membership?

No. In order to complete any new tasks or edit any existing tasks, you must have a current Cobalt membership. To resume your membership, email community@cobalt.co.

Is my idea safe on Cobalt?

Ideas are not patentable or protectable. As you develop an idea, you develop intellectual property that can be protected by patents. This is why it is so critical to develop all your ideas. Until you develop an idea, you do not have any protection granted by patents and IP laws. What Cobalt does do is ensure that all Experts sign privacy policy agreements and that all provenance will show you as the founder of the idea.

What is the idea development process?

The Cobalt Idea Development Process consists of four phases; Visualize, Validate, Develop and Launch. Each phase contains tasks that you must complete to turn your idea into a successful business. Many of the tasks can be completed on your own and you can hire Experts to work on assigned tasks when you need help.

What if I don't like the work done by the Expert I hired?

At Cobalt, we pride ourselves on the quality of our Experts. They are highly vetted. If you are unhappy with work completed by an Expert and want a refund, you must provide proof of all communications that very clearly shows that the Expert didn’t meet clearly stated expectations. To submit a request for a refund, email community@cobalt.co.

It’s important to remember that creative work is inherently subjective and Cobalt reserves the right to decide whether or not a refund is fair. Before requesting a refund, we highly recommend that you constructively communicate with the Expert if you are unhappy with the work so that revisions can be made. If you can’t get to a solution, ask yourself “did the Expert do what was asked of them?” and if the answer is no, you can request a refund approval process.

How do I get a refund?

At Cobalt, we pride ourselves on the quality of our Experts. They are highly vetted. If you are unhappy with work completed by an Expert and want a refund, you must provide proof of all communications that very clearly shows that the Expert didn’t meet clearly stated expectations. To submit a request for a refund, email community@cobalt.co.

It’s important to remember that creative work is inherently subjective and Cobalt reserves the right to decide whether or not a refund is fair. Before requesting a refund, we highly recommend that you constructively communicate with the Expert that you are unhappy with the work so that revisions can be made. If you can’t get to a solution, ask yourself “”did the Expert do what was asked of them?”” and if the answer is no, you can request a refund approval process.

How long should my idea description be?

Your idea description must be less than 300 characters. You want to be able to explain your idea as clearly and concisely as possible so that Experts can best understand what you’re looking to create.

What goes into the description of my idea?

The description of your idea should be 1-2 sentences that clearly explain what your idea is and what you’re trying to create. Don’t complicate it – you want people to very clearly understand what you’re trying to develop.

If I already have a registered business for my idea, can I still develop my idea?

You’re ahead of the game – nice! Even if you have formalized your business, Cobalt can help you with everything else. Get started by visualizing your idea and then showing it to potential customers. Regardless of where you’re at in the process, Cobalt will help you every step of the way.

What if my idea doesn't have any competitors?

Keep thinking! Even if you don’t have any direct competitors, you should be thinking about what companies would offer your idea as a product or service to their existing customers.

How does Expert Matching work?

At Cobalt, we have three (3) matching mechanisms:
Expert Match: Match at the idea level where Experts indicate interest in an Idea.
Skills Match: Match at the Assignment level based on skills where Innovators see and select Experts matched for Assignments presented via skills at the assignment level
Best Fit Match: Expert Match + Skills Match

How do I pick the best Expert for me?

This is entirely up to you – make sure to connect with matches just like a dating app. Get to know the Expert, vet them and make the best decision possible for your idea. We recommend choosing the “best fit matches” as they are technically qualified and have personal interest in your idea. We’ve found that people do their best work when it’s work that matters.