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Ideas For Your Next Tech Startup 184

prostoalex writes "Business 2.0 magazine enumerates tech ideas that venture capitalists are currently interested in, listing the amounts they have ready to invest." From the article:"A column that appeared on Business2.com the next day described the company Armstrong envisioned and his wish list of criteria. Those who thought they had the right stuff could send Armstrong a business plan. A few weeks later, Armstrong had a new gripe: He'd received more than 20 solid plans and couldn't decide which of three finalists he wanted to fund -- not just for $1 million, but for as much as $5 million. He has since winnowed the list down to two. That got us thinking. Why not ask dozens of VCs a tantalizing (but often unasked) question: What types of ideas would you fund tomorrow if the right pitch landed on your doorstep? After a few weeks of trolling Sand Hill Road and beyond, we got 11 leading venture firms to spill their most promising business ideas -- and to pony up $50 million in funding to the entrepreneurs who can pull them off. "
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Ideas For Your Next Tech Startup

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Or I should say the Midnight Ass Spelunker. YOu wake up in the middle of the night and strapped to your backside is an automated assfucker. You have to put in your credit card information to get it to stop.
  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:18AM (#13413492)
    I'm thinking mp3 player + SMS + ringtones + java

    wait, it needs something...


    Alright, I got it, an mp3 player that doubles as a text messaging device. Instead of beeps, it plays ringtones you pick from your mp3 player. Java makes cool games possible. XML makes it seem cool to those who don't realize it just means humans can read the tags I will hide with DRM thus playacting the RIAA thinking people can't pirate ringtones.

    I think I'm on to something...
    • Re:Hmm (Score:3, Informative)

      by B3ryllium ( 571199 )
      Three words:

      Mitac Mio A701.

      I want one. :)

      It also does GPS. :)
    • I'm thinking mp3 player + SMS + ringtones + java

      wait, it needs something...


      I believe what you are asking for was covered under "convergence".
  • How ironic. (Score:3, Funny)

    by priestx ( 822223 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:18AM (#13413494) Homepage
    The last time we were talking about Tech Startups, people were complaining about Google picking up all the most potential ones. Then what do I see when I post? A Google ad. Of course there was a Google ad the last time we talked about this... but still..
    • Forget about what investment opportunities interest "everyone else." Consider, just for a moment, coming up with something innovative. The tech market isn't stagnant at the moment, its just refining prior accomplishments rather than forging ahead. Why not stir up the sauce?
  • by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:19AM (#13413495) Journal
    These guys need a place to put their money, and avoid paying taxes on it "while it's doing some work," again.

    "One more bubble, and we retire with half-a-billion."

    Tiresome. The ideas are as fruitless as before - many more of us will go broke working 75 hour weeks, while big investors walk off with a tax break, if not the rewards for effort.

    • by fireman sam ( 662213 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:29AM (#13413531) Homepage Journal
      "many more of us will go broke working 75 hour weeks, while big investors walk off with a tax break, if not the rewards for effort."

      It is not the effort, it is the risk that is rewarded. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

      By working your 75 hours per week you are secure that you will receive a set amount of money. You have a low risk. VCs give their money to startups in the hope of receiving a high return, they have a high risk.

      If you want to take chances, there are investment houses that will take you money, pool it with others and then act on your behalf to invest your money based on the amount of risk you are prepared to take.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        If you want to take chances, there are investment houses that will take you money, pool it with others and then act on your behalf to invest your money based on the amount of risk you are prepared to take.

        I run one of those investment houses. The annual prospectuses have just been mailed out, so I'm afraid there aren't any left at this time. However, if you send a money order or cashier's check and a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address listed below, you can get your money working in the high-ri
      • by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:54AM (#13413621) Homepage Journal
        Exactly. I worked for a dotcom. I suspect the investors lost a substantial part of their investment. On the other hand, I got a good salary and free snacks. Sure, I'd have much rather we succeeded, but all I lost was hours worked and potential stock options.
      • by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:13AM (#13413662)
        Low risk. Right. Perhaps you're looking at different startups than I am but standard employees often work those 75 hours a week for:

        - generally rock bottom salary.
        - the chance that even that will disappear on a moment's notice.
        - perhaps some stock options that are unlikely to ever be worth more than the bits they're taking up in some HR database
        - the possibility of having that startup's failure emblazened upon your resume for the rest of your days [more important for execs, but still]

        And that ignores all of the social risks taken by spending that much time at your job and not with your mate/kids/friends.

        Not to say that investors aren't risking a bit, but to steal a tidbit of wisdom from the poker world, "100 chips is a lot more valuable to a man with 100 chips than a man with a thousand."
      • Risk my ass! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The venture capitalists will never ever face a poor day in their lives. These folks will never have to worry about their mortgages no matter how badly the market falls.

        The people taking risks are your overworked IT employees. Look at your boss the wrong way and you are out on the street. Have you business get bought out and while the owners are flying their golden parachutes, you are wondering where your next paycheck will come from.

        People don't become wealthy by taking risks. They become wealthy by fig

      • by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:17AM (#13413808) Homepage Journal
        If you want to take chances, there are investment houses that will take you money, pool it with others and then act on your behalf to invest your money based on the amount of risk you are prepared to take.

        Yes, they're called casinos.

      • Ever get ripped-off with "underwater" options? You know... The 10,000 you were "gifted" with at signing? Pay up the taxes!

        It's a pyramid scheme, like Employee Stock Purchase - which floats up the volume of trades for your company, using you as the captive audience!

        "I'm afraid you can't change your ESPP options until the next enrollment period, after the second quarter..."

    • These investors aren't going to walk away with a tax break and rewards.

      I took a look at these ideas, and I classify them into one of several groups.

      (Class) Convergence in a diverse market.
      (Why it won't work) Convergence will happen, based upon unifying forces within the technology. The problem here, though, is that those unifying forces will come from ISO efforts of the current sales leaders. In other words, there is no room for a new startup taking the lead.

      Now, you can *take part* in unifying things, by
  • by Associate ( 317603 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:24AM (#13413511) Homepage
    to sit around playing video games and looking at pr0n all day. Maybe if I open source it somehow.
  • by MrPerfekt ( 414248 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:24AM (#13413512) Homepage Journal
    We want our cell phones to do everything and we want to market PCs and content to everybody on the planet. I think that's a decent summary of all the "ideas" there.

    Is it just me or did everything sound incredibly boring?
    • Everything was boring except for the home patient monitoring system. As the VC says, interfacing the monitoring system to the hospital will be the difficult part because not only do the systems not exist, but neither does the network infrastructure.

      Most of the systems at hospitals are closed off. That is, an ECG or pulse oximeter may only be sending data directly to a monitoring station or hub where nurses are stationed 24/7, so it's a very small internal system.

      1) Use the current monitoring systems a
      • Hospitals (Score:3, Insightful)

        You'll play hell getting hospitals to adopt this. Imagine going to the Director and telling him:

        "We want to help your patients save money, by letting them buy less of your services."

        Sure, some hospitals are having a capacity problem, but it's way better to be overbooked than over-capacitied. This is especially bad when you consider the incredible fixed costs they have (think malpractice insurance for 75-150 doctors and a trauma center.)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly right. Most of the ventures mentioned here are based on fairly broad and unoriginal ideas which have already been oft discussed on sites like slashdot.

      The venture firms seem to be playing it pretty safe with their selection of ideas. They all seem to be relatively low risk (given the requirements for funding these guys list), low capital investment (all $10 million or less which is checkfeed to these guys), and high return (come on, $500 million return on an initial $10 million investment).
    • by nicklott ( 533496 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @03:00AM (#13413932)
      Venture Capitalists are people with money but no ideas. If they had money AND ideas they'd be doing it themselves.

      Asking VCs the specifics of what they want to invest in is pointless; they don't know. What they do (or should) know is a good idea when they see it.

      • It's a mistake to think of a successful company being the product of (1) a concept and (2) some capital. There really are three parts: the idea, the capital, and the execution. The execution is probably the most important factor on whether a company will succeed or fail. Eric Sink wrote it best (most provocatively?) when he claimed that ideas are worthless [ericsink.com] in an essay last year.

        Look at Joel Spolsky (Joel on Software): he makes a bug tracker. Not a very novel idea. But he does it well, so his company is
    • Want to move from one device to another and continue the activity? You'll want to have the application in Java, with support for application-level failover. The main router needs to either support connection failover or Mobile IP at the connection level, not the machine level.

      You then code the application such that, when you want to switch, it dumps a checkpoint of its current state and the new device pulls that in to continue where the old one left off. You then make sure the router redirects the virtual e

  • WHAT HE WANTS: A startup that can create a suite of open-source applications for maintenance and upkeep of a company's IT backbone. It would give away the programs to corporate clients but charge for service and upkeep at a substantial discount off current rates.

    I have a bridge for sale...

    With the growing complexity and diversity of the internet and the communities that use it, how they interact, and nature of companies that provide the service, I sure am glad I never specialized in one particular field

  • by scruff323 ( 840369 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:27AM (#13413522)
    I got an idea that is sure to be a hit.

    A news web site, but not just any news site. One that has a witty address and is directed towards technology. It will be a kind of news for nerds, you know... stuff that matters. It is sure to be a hit!
  • Yoda says (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:30AM (#13413533) Homepage Journal
    ... begin, the next dotcom bubble has.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:58AM (#13413633)
      Say that, Yoda did not. Respect verb tense, Yoda does. Return to school, you should.
    • Size of investment matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my checkbook, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the GPL, and a powerful ally it is. Stallman creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Generous beings are we, not this crude proprietary code. You must feel the GPL around you; here, between you, me, the processor, the hard drive, everywhere, yes. Even between the user and the venture capitalist.
  • Weak! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:30AM (#13413536) Homepage
    I dunno. Not impressed. Maybe the banking stuff is OK but the "home monitoring" idea is complete BS. This guy is asking for a remote vital sign monitoring machine - which really ought to be easy to do - and would end up being pretty worthless.

    Disclaimer - I'm a physician. I can't really see a use for being able to know what a patient's vital signs are for someone "needing" to be in the hospital. In fact, according to recent insurance guidelines, if all you're doing is checking vital signs, you will not get paid for said hospitalization. Reminds me of a recent slashdot article about some bizzarre japanese medico-toilet which analyzed your various outputs and told your doctor about it.

    I sure don't want to here about that.

    Administering meds? IVs? Enemas? Who you gonna call?

    • Re:Weak! (Score:4, Funny)

      by shawnmchorse ( 442605 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:40AM (#13413572) Homepage
      Administering meds? IVs? Enemas? Who you gonna call?

      Crapbusters? *ducks and runs*
    • Re:Weak! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 )
      Reminds me of a recent slashdot article about some bizzarre japanese medico-toilet which analyzed your various outputs and told your doctor about it.

      I find canaries cheaper
    • Re:Weak! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:26AM (#13413830) Homepage Journal
      Yep, this is an old idea with a modern twist. Sort of, "I've fallen and I can't log on!"
    • I think the guy was referring to home hospice care. The patient doesn't really need a hospital, they need a loving environment in which to die, and the home is often the best place.
    • .
      The banking idea was one of the stupidest ones there - and you need to have the right experience to know why.

      Do you have ANY IDEA how hard it is to convince big banks to trust (aka risk) their data/business with YOUR software? Not only that, but big banks have huge internal development groups and user groups which are direly threatened by any such proposal, which means immediately you have some hugely powerful enemies. And then finally there is the massive question of "ok, if our data is in your systems,
    • A few years back, I was involved with a great idea: Monitoring diabetes patients. The idea was to have patients use their monitors, the same one you can find at your local W@l*M@rt, on a regular basis, then occasionally hook their monitors up to their computers (or another specialized device with a modem interface) so that their data can be uploaded. Their doctors will view their patient's data via their secure session on the Internet. By the time that my involvement ended, there was support for many diabe
  • In Soviet Russia... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ktakki ( 64573 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:38AM (#13413562) Homepage Journal
    ...Sand Hill Road trolls you!

    Seriously, though...

    This isn't a new idea. Twenty years ago, I was trying to raise funds to build a recording studio. A friend of mine, studying for his MBA at Harvard brought me a spiral-bound book that listed VC firms categorized by the fields that they were interested in (e.g., biotech, software, hardware, defense, etc.). All of them were way out of my league, but it made for interesting reading, in a "follow the money" sense.

    Ten years after that, when I was involved in a dot.com startup, we ended up pitching to some of the VC firms listed in that spiral-bound book (on Wall Street, not Sand Hill Road).

    From what I've gathered from the experiences of friends involved with vulture captial funding, it's a last resort, the only option if angel funding, friends and family, and lines of credit don't pan out.

  • A rather plain old boring techie consultant that I want to become in five years. I need that much time to save the money I need to start my practice and get the networking contacts I need to fish for business.

    Yup. Plain. Simple. Boring. Nothing to see here, move along. :P
  • I think that while many of those business cases have a good idea, the real question is how to best sell your idea. After all the greatest idea in the world will get laughed at when if comes from a guy that looks like Urkel... So what did those 10 buisness cases have that made them great? How were they presented? I bet those cases aren't any better than a million others that failed just because they were not presented adequately.

  • First we get a story about Graying Mainframe maintainers, now a Venture Capital story?

    What's next, Slashdot announcing a VA Linux IPO?
  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @12:58AM (#13413631) Homepage Journal
    None of those ideas come to anything.

    The real moneymakers come out of nowhere. If it sounds like something you've heard of, but with maybe a tiny twist...look elsewhere.

    The really amusing thing is that the biggest success in recent times, Google, was simply "we want to do search engines just like everyone else. But we'll do it better".

    What makes real money isn't a hot new idea. It's doing something well. Quality. If I were a VC, that's what I'd be looking for. Competence and pragmatism.
    • Indeed.

      "The real moneymakers come out of nowhere. If it sounds like something you've heard of, but with maybe a tiny twist...look elsewhere."

      But if we look at the entire software industry, things tend to build on existing things, with little twists or quirks added in an attempt to get ahead of the competition. The whole "we stand on the shoulders of giants" mess. The iPod is an excellent example. There are other portable music players out there, many which came before the iPod, but Apple added a few twists,
    • Re:Prediction (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I agree with your statement that doing something well is the best way to make real money.

      I have had grandiose ideas to build the next "killer app" for 25 years. I have over-engineered all sorts of wacky ideas that never turned into much. I wanted the 200% growth rate per month or whatever took Gates and Ellison to the top.

      Then I struck onto the formula that pays me a couple hundred thousand a year, is helping to fund well-paid jobs for people I have hired, and is growing at a 30% per year rate. Not r

    • If by "doing something well" you mean "marketing" then I think you're on to something.

      The world is littered with the rotting corpses of great technology that got outmarketed by weaker products that had a clever spin on them.

      If I wanted to market something solely to engineers - yes, quality would be the key. But engineers make for a miniscule market.

      If I wanted to make *real* money - Microsoft-level money - I would not worry about quality except at the most basic level.

      Google is, in my opinion, a fluke. I ca
  • why not use a SecurdID Tag/Code with your cell phone and get Kerberos version installed on the cell phones. this way it wouldnt be 100% fraudproof(but then again is anything in life guaranteed?).

    It mentioned SecureID but i wonder if they have heard of Kerberos [navy.mil] We have this at work.. you type in your username and password. after the password you use a 4-digit pin number, which gives you a 6 digit key(sometimes referred to as a ticket) to type in at the prompt. If you are really serious about security
  • Starting a Company (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:13AM (#13413663)
    For competitive reasons, I don't want to post this with my real name, but this is a real post from a real guy in the SlashDot community. I've been here for a while (id in the 4x,xxx range).

    Anyways, I started a company by raising US $500,000 through friends and family. I used to be the CTO of an Internet company and decided to start my own company on the Internet but in a different field. I am a techie and an entrepreneur and definitely a geek. Let's put it this way, even today, I write the majority of the software (though I have other developers too).

    The best advice I can give is to watch your cash flow. I was personally horrified by the stories of $200,000 per month burn rates. I actually had a lot of personal wealth (from my last venture) but still ran out of my basement until I needed more space. The US $500,000 lasted us for 2.5 years (not 2.5 months like some companies) after which we raised another $250,000. But we actually had a viable business already with the $500,000 spend. We raised another $250 K to speed up the marketing that we had already proven to know that if we spent X we would get X times 2 back in less than a year. This was based on hard numbers.

    Anyways, I only gave away about 25% of the company to do it, and the company is probably worth about $20 million today and our earnings are growing faster each month.

    We are in the very competitive website builder arena but are one of the top sites in the field. Our focus has been on ease of use first and then secondly on feature set.

    Anyways, I'm mentioning this because I wanted to give those of you who want to start a business hope.

    The absolute worst thing you can do is get into the high-tech business without a model for making money. Pure research or cool ideas are fun but don't bring home the bacon. Remember your market is business people so focus your business plan on how the tech brings in profit. Now how cool the tech is and hence there ought to be profit.

    Good luck.
    • Hmm...I can't tell if you're Larry Page or Sergey Brin and rounding WAY down, of if you're Paul Graham and rounding your /. id way down (bugbear = 448,726). My bet is Paul Graham...you gave yourself away by putting 8 parenthesis in one post.
    • Good notes, thank you!

      I must say though, how can you be horrified by a $200,000 / month burn rate without qualifying it by how many employees, type of buisness etc?

      I ask because I know of a startup with a burn rate well over that. However they have 34 employees (the salaries alone can equal that) and they produce custom hardware so it costs them ~$150,000 just to tape-out 1 chip and put together a few prototypes.

      A $200k burn rate is huge if you are 5 people writing software but not so much for a
      • I think his point was along the lines of "there are very few startups that should have 34 employees before they're pulling in any revenue."

        A hardware startup may justify that kind of upfront effort, but I would think most software startups can get a couple versions of their product out in the field before needing to grow to 30+ employees.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "The best advice I can give is to watch your cash flow. I was personally horrified by the stories of $200,000 per month burn rates. I actually had a lot of personal wealth (from my last venture) but still ran out of my basement until I needed more space."

      The word is spelled "mom's".

  • by kromozone ( 817261 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:20AM (#13413682)
    I have personally overseen the patenting of at least 75% of these ideas. Considering that's just within my own firm, and without a reviews of the prior art, any firms attempting to implement these concepts will probably be faced with serious legal obstacles.
    • .
      A patent doesn't prevent anyone from implementing ideas, it just means they have to license it from you.

      Your customers/etc would be fucking idiots to use their own patents to crush the develompent of the field that you've got rights to.

      Or do you think you'll magically find one company that can do things right and make the field as big as it possibly can be? That's totally impossible, unless you let a few different implementers fight it out, no one will capture the right mix of features/usability/etc/etc t
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:26AM (#13413698) Journal
    I always thought it was up to a smart innovator to pitch an idea to the investor. It would just seem to me thse investors are just beggining to be scammed. I mean anyone can say,"Give me the $3 million dollars, I can do what you are asking for."

  • Er, could anybuddy spare a few coins for Open Source Artificial Intelligence [sourceforge.net]?

    You don't even need to fund an unknown AI startup. Just hire some hotshot programmers and Steal.This.Idea [scn.org]!

    It's all described in the scientific literature of the Association for Computing Machinery [acm.org] (ACM).
    Be the first on your block to launch the Hard Takeoff [sl4.org] of a Technological Singularity [caltech.edu].
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @01:44AM (#13413739) Homepage Journal
    If there's more of a supply of bizplans than money to fund them, that means there's too much equity to go around. There's then really no excuse for VC not to be investing their money anymore - $TRILLIONS of it is just sitting there, rotting. The only reason they've got is that they still haven't learned how to tell Internet shit from shine-ola. In other words, still not enough brains to go around on the funder side of the table.
    • All this money sitting around with nothing to do says to me that the present distribution of wealth is not doing the economy much good.
      • No no - the tax cuts have saved the economy! We can't have the money in the hands of the poor and middle class, they'd only spend it. The rich are the natural keepers of the money, because their plush banks are more comfortable resting places for the money, after its exhausting work during the 1990s. When it's recuperated enough, they'll let the lower classes play with it again.
    • The only reason they've got is that they still haven't learned how to tell Internet shit from shine-ola. In other words, still not enough brains to go around on the funder side of the table.

      So... if the VCs have trillions of dollars, why in the name of Pete would you beat yourself up trying to come up with "the idea" that will grudgingly seperate them from a paltry few million? Go to where the money is! Put together a consulting firm that specializes in helping VCs get a better return on their investme

      • That's basically good advice. Always go where the money is, and figure out how to give the moneyholder what they want. Asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton said "because that's where the money is" (he actually didn't say that [banking.com]).

        But, having made some money (especially in 2000 and 2001) doing tech analysis for VCs, that's not nearly as good a return on my time invested as selling them equity on a company I start. That tech analysis you're talking about nets maybe 1-3% of a deal, if it goes through; maybe 1
  • Cell Phone Auth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ki85squared ( 778761 )
    $5M Mobile ID for Credit Card Purchases
    WHAT HE WANTS: Fraudproof credit card authorization via cell phones and PDAs.

    Google could make a cool five million from this since they already use similar technology now when signing up for a Gmail account. (more info on their account creation page [google.com])
  • Really dry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by heroine ( 1220 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:18AM (#13413812) Homepage
    These proposals sound really dry. It feels like while the rest of the world moved on to robots, spaceflight, and defense, Silicon Valley is still in these really tiny internet experiments from the 90's. Not only are the monetary amounts miniscule, the proposals seem to condense into more networking, more ecommerce, and more tiny parts of something that hang off of something big in Taiwan.

    Indian startups normally get $50 million but they seem to be doing more ambitious projects.

  • Think about it (Score:4, Informative)

    by slickwillie ( 34689 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:25AM (#13413829)
    Do you really think these guys would give their really choice ideas for free?
    • Re:Think about it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rossifer ( 581396 )
      Do you really think these guys would give their really choice ideas for free?

      Yes. Everyone has a few great ideas floating around, but very few have what it takes to convert a good idea into a viable enterprise. Being able to lead people, make a plan, ignore the plan, and ultimately being willing to do what it takes to make a success of a good idea are a vanishingly rare set of skills.

      The ideas themselves are a dime a dozen.

  • finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by duplo ( 253071 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @02:28AM (#13413833)
    We have solved step3) ???
  • The cost of these projection TVs and plasma displays are a joke.
  • It seems to me that they are really millionaire entrepeneurs looking for business proposals for THEIR idea.
  • by Error27 ( 100234 ) <error27@gmai l . c om> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:16AM (#13414246) Homepage Journal
    Lots of people have ideas. Imagine you're a VC and someone proposes an idea and you think it's pretty good. Obviously the first thing you are going to do is see who else is doing similar stuff to gauge the competition.

    If it really is a good idea then there are always going to be a couple other startups doing exactly the same thing. So now the question is should you fund the first guy or not. Or maybe you should fund the competition?

    What really counts is the team. Do they have what it takes to make the idea into a product and beat the competition? A great team can take any idea and adapt it into a profitable company.

  • Critique (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pfafrich ( 647460 ) <rich@DALIsingsurf.org minus painter> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:44AM (#13414306) Homepage
    Oh dear, oh dear, if this is the best VC's can come up with, I pitty America. Most of these ideas will fail for the simple reason that they can't start small and build from there.
    • Mobile ID for Credit Card Purchases. Only workable if it can gain sizable market share, if it gains 5% share its useless. Not suitable for a startup could work for the big players with the resources and contacts to make a global standard.
    • Back Office Bank Syndicate. So your really expecting all the banks to throw away all their code. Persuade banks to turn over their proprietary code to a team of software buffs who will repackage and debug the apps and then sell them as a subscription service to participating members. Is this guy serious?
    • The Ultimate Online Upsell. $5 Million for Software to handle user recomendations to basically do what Amazon does with market cap of $x billion! I guess some companies would by this, but only if it fits with the existing software they have got. I suspect this stuff is already in the included in most packages in the field. Patents anyone?
    • Subscription PC's for Seniors. Could work I know my Mum would just want a PC which works and does the basic stuff. Does not need VC funding as your local PC shop could offer such a service.
    • AN EVEN SMARTER SMARTPHONE. a software platform for cell phones that allows consumers to make purchases or open doors by waving their phones in front of tiny infrared or RFID readers. Security nightmare, steal the phone make the purchace. Breaks fundamental properties of security. Another idea which only works with golbal standards.
    • OPEN-SOURCE IT CENTER. A startup that can create a suite of open-source applications for maintenance and upkeep of a company's IT backbone. It would give away the programs to corporate clients but charge for service and upkeep at a substantial discount off current rates. Redhat? I can see a market for this sort of thing.
    • SOCIAL NETWORKS MEET THE TOWN CRIER. There are a thousand and one site already doing this.
    • CUSTOMER SERVICE OVER IP. Security, basically sending your personel details.
    • Board Now

    The Open Source IT centre did seem useful

    • The Open Source IT centre did seem useful...

      Myself and about 230 of my closest friends and developers used to work there. It was called "Linuxcare [archive.org]", maybe you've heard of it. You might recall we were called "The 1-800 Number for Linux", and we were.. not only for users, but for hundreds of big players in the market (IBM, HP, Intel, SGI, 3Com, etc.). We had quite a nice portfolio of custom applications for these companies, as well as supporting most of the Linux distributions and applications that were a

    • Reading the ideas and the brief synopsis about them, I find myself in agreement with you. That list was very, very boring.
  • VC's don't come up with ideas, but rather decide to invest upon your ideas or not.

    Which explains why I and some others here are not impressed with the ideas list.

    Apparently the search for a "what do you want to invest in" response lead to some VC's realizing the opportunity to mention themselves.

    Simple logic:

    I'm a VC and I have this idea.... Hmmm, why don't I just invest in myself and hire those who can impliment my ideas???


  • Reading through these "great ideas", I'm reminded why true innovation usually comes from the little guy who later approaches VC, not the other way around. Senior citizens need PCs to rent monthly, folks! And the world needs another recommendation engine. [yahoo.com]

    When people are quoting "Vignette" as one of their success stories, I have to chortle. [yahoo.com] What a piece of crap that software is, and clearly the market agrees.

    I can't wait for the day when the patent system switches to "first to file" and we're practic

  • is to give students in MBA school an assignment to work on prior to graduation. Their grade would be based on how well their business plan is written.
  • how about a domain name registrar that takes all profits and sends them to charities like UNICEF and the EFF, instead of funding superbowl advertisements?

    http://paycan.net/ [paycan.net]

    You have to pay someone for your domain name registration. It might as well be someone who donates all proceeds instead of superbowl ads sporting big-breasted women appearing before a mock congress.

    For now I'm all by myself, and just a reseller, but the goal is to have a board, complete transparency, and full ICANN accreditation. I'm work
  • My wife and I have a business plan for two public service web portals (yeah, with advertisements...): a knowledge intensive recipe/health site (which we already have an early beta for, but I leave out our URL to avoid slashdoting :-)) and a public bulletin board searched by zip code/location.

    I subscribe to Business 2.0 (usually has interesting material). I was dissapointed to see our idea in slightly different form in the article - now I will have 10,000 competitors. I did grab a great domain name (http://o [ourevents.us]
  • With ideas as stupid as their's, I wonder how these venture capitalists ever got rich in the first place?
  • 1. Totally secure cellphone cc transactions. Requires the phone companies to play a willing part in this, and prone to phishing attacks. Debit cards already have a PIN.

    2. Good luck convincing a bank to just hand over control of their systems to you, a fly by night "entrepeneurial" firm with less than ten employees. Then there's the banking regulations that can quickly destroy a bank should they be in non-compliance.

    3. I could probably put together a group of people to engineer this, and even find an "etailo

  • For people that respond to spam, come-ons from VCs and investors.
  • AS400 ... hackers despise it. [1]

    After reading this about VC`s fishing for talent to build their ideas. I couldn`t put the thought out of my mind that `these guys are doomed`. Someone may bite at the money. Would you?

    I don't see any interesting problems. Just lots of little nasty ones.

    Thoughtful listening:
    One of the biggest shifts I`ve seen this year is audio. Audio scales. [2] It brings the ideas forward with more immediacy than the written word. I don`t have to be at the conference to hear these speakers

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard