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10 Startup Ideas Funded by DreamIt Ventures

August 14, 2009 Leave a comment

DreamIt Ventures

Philadelphia-based early-stage investment outfit DreamIt Ventures is in the business of finding, funding, and accelerating great startups. DreamIt, now in its second year, sees startup founders through the summer with seed funding and advisement, allowing them to demo their wares for media and investors mid-August.

Notehall allows college students to buy and sell lecture notes and study guide materials online. According to DreamIt, Notehall is currently active and generating revenue at three universities and has more than 13,000 users and 5,500 documents for sale.
While at Dreamit, Notehall has successfully launched an automated recruiting campaign at Drexel University and is planning to rolling out its services to more institutions this fall. The team is also in the process of raising a round of funding.

OurShelf , currently in public beta, helps users to catalog, lend, and manage their belongings while searching for items they need to borrow from friends for short-term use. Users can also use the site to list their unwanted items for sale on multiple third-party auction and classifieds sites.
A personalized social shopping experience is created by laying an item graph (complete with related items and reviews) over a social graph. DreamIt describes the app as being “like Del.icio.us for physical goods.”

Parse.ly is an aggregator of web content. Still in private beta, the site claims to adapt to user preferences to “filter, prioritize, and even suggest relevant content from countless news and blog sources across the web.” DreamIt claims the app works better than Google Alerts. We weren’t able to test-drive the app ourselves, but this is a hot space with a few excellent competitors, and we eagerly await the finished (or public beta) product.

Postling is a site we reviewed a scant week ago. Founded by half of Etsy’s founding team, along with a former Etsy and Amazon.com product manager, the site aims to be ground zero for small business publishing to social media platforms.
Postling lets users publish content simultaneously to many major social platforms, including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. In addition, users can read and respond to comments left by readers. The site offers paid accounts only. Aimed squarely at enterprises only, Postling is revenue-ready.

SeatGeek, currently in private beta, aims to be the Farecast of event tickets. It’s a web app that will forecast sports and concert ticket prices so consumers know whether to buy a ticket now or wait until the price drops. For sellers, the app helps them determine the best time to sell their inventory. DreamIt tells us that SeatGeek’s crawlers have compiled millions of ticket transactions and have aggregated other factors that influence ticket prices. The patent’s pending on that money-making algorithm.
And although free accounts are available now for consumers, this fall will bring premium subscriptions for brokers and other ticket sellers.

Straight Up English is a SaaS company now in private beta and launching public in the fall. It aims to address the most persistent speech challenges for ESL learners in areas such as word stress, intonation, and pronunciation with a multi-modal approach and a focus on oral communication. DreamIt tells us that this startup will include both web and mobile apps and communities for students and teachers.

The “three screens” of this startup’s name refer to mobile, computer, and television screens. The team plans to converge and capitalize on all three with social gaming apps, the first of which is FanGamb, a fantasy sports game that tests players’ abilities as sports bettors.The app is in private alpha and will go live by the start of the NFL season. The team is due to announce the close of a six-figure seed capital raise in the near future.

The team behind Trendsta were formerly some of the minds behind myYearbook and Owned (a top-10 Facebook app). They think they know teen influencers pretty well by now and are selling brands on a marketing platform that, according to DreamIt, “puts products in the hands of the most influential teens on the web… as they create buzz about those items.” The team has so far been working with hot-name brands such as Atlantic Records, Penguin Books, Neutrogena, and Polaroid.

Jobaphiles is for employers who want to auction their part-time jobs and one-time gigs, allowing them to hire the most qualified and competitively priced applicant and saving them time and money. Also, jobseekers compete with the added knowledge of one another’s qualifications and bidding prices.

Kidzillions , now in private beta and live in the fall, is an online allowance and chore management system that helps kids learn to spend and save in our cashless society. Kids work for money to buy real stuff as parents assign chores and monitor their progress.
And that wraps up DreamIt Ventures’ graduating class of 2009. We’ll be keeping an eye on these companies, sites, and apps as they go live, secure funding, and take their next steps.

Source: DreamIt Ventures

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Consumer Startup Ideas

August 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Startup ideas

I have always believed that succeeding with a consumer application in the internet is very difficult.Even though i have explored a coupled of them I still think consumer applications takes time to get to main stream.But If the idea is mission critical and solves the pain everybody has, you are likey to make it mainstream.There are just too many consumer applications out there.Consumers have so much choice that the least frustration they go through on your application,they are bound to leave without thinking twice about it. Tim Oreilly urges Web.2.0 firms to solve real world problems He believes that the world gas been bedeviled with too many web applications that are not making impact in the world.He thinks its high time somebody concentrated on ideas that solve global problems that has the potential to impact somebody’s life positively.He says most startup ideas are concentrated on leisure and entertainment.I have my Own opinion on that.
Anyway think about these Ideas and let me know what you think:

• A Market place for Volunteers/charitable Organizations
There should a marketplace of sorts where these information can be assessed and volunteers can be matched to organizations looking for them. Moreover, volunteers should be able to share their stories, be they words, images or videos such that these stories can be told to the rest of the community. In fact, volunteers and organizations can even rate each other to create some form of reputation mechanisms.

• Social Commerce
A startup that will use TipJoy’s API to create a service for online stores to allow their customers to purchase their goods via Twitter. I will offer discounts to twitter purchasers that will agree to broadcast their purchase to followers. I will allow users the option of making that broadcast.

• “We are all stuck in jobs we hate. How do you create products that help people do what they are passionate about and enjoy a healthy financial income? Empowering people and giving them a means to an alternate lifestyle that people love?”

• search engine for (Amazon.com’s MP3 library, iTunes and AppStore and Imeem)
Sign up as an affiliate of Apple through LinkShare. Then I get access to Apple’s 6.5mm song data feed (download data feed spec doc), you have to pay an a mount to LinkShare (which gives you access to product feeds from many of their merchants). You’ll then earn a percentage of any sales that result from your iTunes or Appstore search engine.

10 Marketing 2.0 Commandments.

marketing

• By knowing the lifetime value of your users, you know exactly how much you can pay to acquire new users with an acceptable profit margin
andrewchenblog
• dig into target customer’s need for the solution, real addressable market size and segments and any existing current demand for the category
First Penny
predictablyirrational
• focus on developing marketing skills that will always remain relevant. These include things like marketing psychology, diffusion of innovation, company building, customer research methods, persuasive website architecture, actionable marketing metrics…

marketing-plan-for-web-20-startups-presentation

• Success is based on a combination of access to financing, market need, exceptional product and marketing execution, tenacity, and let’s face it – luck.
• Effective customer development… By figuring out who needs your product/service, why they need it, what constitutes a gratifying experience with the product/service and getting more of the right type of people to this gratifying experience (highlighting the right benefits and reducing barriers) social media can become a powerful driver for your business too.

Startup Business Ideas

Startup Ideas
I have been looking into ideas that can possibly be turned into a company if the market analysis are done right.These are some of the ideas I have been thinking about.

•“There are plenty of customers and business partners that are willing, and even anxious, to tell a business exactly what they need, how to improve a product, or even become involved with the design and innovation process in order to contribute their experience and requirements. It is through empowering the people and letting their contributions be heard that the great advances are made.”

• Diskaunt
Online deals and discount provider which lists all available shopping discounts. Discounts on flight, hotel, bus booking, credit card, flowers, cakes, electronics, mobiles, laptops, computers books and cloths in a geographical area of customers’ preference.

• SocialShop
Social Commerce (online shopping). It helps shoppers interact and share before making decisions to purchase. Add feature that allow shoppers to create wish list with price quotations and receive sms when the price matches their wish list and in a geographic area of choice.
• Myrr
Borrow books online and add to your profile and read for a period within a period. Pay based on number of books borrowed.
You can also think around these:

• Ideas that could become new companies
• Ideas that could become new products for existing companies (mine or someone else’s)
• Ideas that could become great new features for existing products
• Ideas that could improve existing features of existing products

TechCrunch Network Search Engine

I have been using techcrunch a lot to find out about technology news and emerging startups on the internet.Recently I stumbled upon the TechCrunch Network Search Engine .Its a great tool that has helped me tremendously.I have been looking for a site with startup directory like what techcrunch provides.All the startups featured on both TechCrunch and Crunchbase are presented in a way that makes it possible to track what they do easily. What makes it very useful fro me is that I type particular industry and it returns all the startups that are featured under it in a perfect way.Its especially useful if you are conducting research under competitive analysis.

Enterprise 2.0 Startups

Consumer applications are out there in their numbers. It takes a lot of effort for users to find them. The few once that make it to mainstream have been able to do so partly because they solve a real problem that users find useful. In the standard word-of-mouth model, you have to allow users to try the product, if users find the product useful, they evangelize it everyone they know, some of the users who are being evangelized to tries it as well. The cycle continues especially if the users keep talking about it. Some entrepreneurs believe that marketing should not be a problem if you build a remarkable product. Robert Stephens believes that “Marketing is a Tax You Pay for being Unremarkable”.
Bessemer’s Top 10 Laws for Being “SaaS-y” has a lot to say about Enterprise applications. I don’t know whether the same statement may apply to enterprise applications. In a business to business application, the message has to be made clear to the businesses the product is targeted at. Startups that depend on sales representatives should be able to work out the cost of acquiring customers effectively. Can an enterprise application depend solely on customer referrals because the product is remarkable? VC funded businesses must have very scalable customer acquisition opportunities to bring in the customers that can translate into revenues.Ben Yoskovitz has outlined lessons for founders who want to pursue enterprise software.Lessons Learned Running a SaaS Business .One of the biggest challenges with enterprise software is adoption — getting customers to actually use what you’ve sold them. A lot of companies don’t like to buy from startups who call themselves enterprise 2.0. There’s more risk involved. What happens if you go out of business,especially when a crucial part of the business process is being handled by the startup.Enterprise 2.0 Startups – Know Your Market is a good start for enterprise application development.

Startup Founders

Starting a company takes a lot of effort. It begins from who to partner with,why the decision to partner with such a person and whether the team can stick together to pull it through and make a company out of it. All the functional areas(CEO,CFO,VP Engineering,UI designer,VP Marketing and Sales) must be filled by founders who may be just two,three or four.The team must be highly motivated and a lot of positive energy to make it happen.
Seven ideas for building a Startup team talks about why you need a team in the first place. What then is the best Startup Mix to take a startup from the early stage to business that is ready to soar.

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