Archive for the ‘Startup Information’ Category

20May

Raising funding is often harder than building a product/business — and much less fun!

Okay, a few days prior to today I was reading the wonderful hacknews and came upon this article. It covers some elements and ideas that helped us find interest in bootstrapping and independent-ness at IndieStartups. I’m quoting a bit here, or if interested the article can be read at OnStartups.

1) Most folks don’t need venture funding in the early stages

2) the odds of first-time entrepreneurs actually raising VC is pretty low.

Oh, and 3) it’s one of the least fun activities an entrepreneur can take. Raising funding is often harder than building a product/business — and much less fun!

The simple answer is no, I have not changed my mind on VC. I still don’t think most early-stage entrepreneurs should go out on the venture fund-raising circuit. They should maintain the option of a modest exit. Focus on solving the customer’s problem (not the VC’s problem). My situation with HubSpot was special. I had already done the bootstrap thing (multiple times) and made money. I had above average odds of raising money for HubSpot.

So, why did I raise funding? Because, this time around I wanted to take a shot at the big leagues. Sure, any success (even a modest one) is nice. But a modest success is not going to change my life much at this point. I want to swing hard. It’s not about the money. It’s about the fun and excitement of pursuing a really big idea, working with really smart people and doing what I love. [And, of course, the money won't hurt either]

And that, my friends, is why I raised $17 million in venture funding.

Once again, full article at OnStartups.

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17May

FlingMix.com – Location based adult personals.

In a nut shell flingmix is a free location-based, adult personals site built using the google maps API.

Brain child of John Blazer and built over a 2 month period working on weekends.

Other dating sites ask you all these survey questions, trying to find a perfect match for you based on a full set of criteria. I realized there’s a market for people who just want a quick fling with a very small footprint. Usually they are seeking a discreet sexual encounter.

On FlingMix.com, a user can literally search for a user and map them by distance within only a few feet. There might be another user in the hotel room next to you and you can see them on the map. You can email them immediately. No sign up, no registration, no credit cards – just a direct email. It’s similar to craigslist’s implementation of anonymous emails. You can be sending an email to an interested user in two clicks.

I spent a few minutes messing about with the system and it is pretty solid.

The site has all the features you’d expect to find on a site like this but flingmix seems to do what most other personal listing sites do in a very elegant way + the added google maps implementation.

John managed to keep startup costs considerably down by developing the site and system himself. To date he has only spent around $50.

One of the main selling points of this site is that it is free. That said, the money has to be made somewhere. Currently the site relies on revenue from adverts as it’s only source of income. The way the email server is setup means that when people send messages to [email protected] (a unique email generated for each listing, keeping your real email address a secret) John can attach an advert to the footer of an email before it is delivered. It’s nothing amazingly new but i’m sure a lot of entrepreneurs would have missed this opportunity.

It’s a pretty sweet site and i’m sure it fills a gap in the (arguably saturated) market.

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15May

Springraise.com – The career sharing network.

Have you ever wondered what the people working around you are making but are too scared to ask? Springraise might just be for you. It’s dubbed as a “Carreer sharing network” and let’s you track your “career curve” and compare it against others in your industry with similar experience levels as you.

Springraise isn’t quite let yet (launching May 21st) but you can see a preview of the app below.


Click for larger version.

So how does it work?

1. Enter your full background and employment information (past and present)
2. View your career over time to see how you compare to others like you
3. See the careers of others like you (in one click) and compare your career to theirs
4. Perform scenarios to see your career prospects
5. Discuss with others to learn how they made their career decisions

This video should give you a bit more of an insight to the concept and idea. I’m looking forward to seeing this one in action.

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14May

Siftd.com – Digg but better?

Siftd is a digg clone that tries to solve some of the problems digg has been having of late. The concept is simple. Users submit stories to siftd, if other users like the stories they can digg them (or in this case “vote” them) up. When the story has enough “votes” it is featured on the homepage and receives more exposure. That is the concept but the computer algorithm that works out which stories deserve to be bumped up to the homepage is a lot more complex than that.

So what’s different about siftd?
The main difference with siftd is the algorithm. Currently the algorithm gives equal weight to stories in specific categories meaning it takes a story from each section and promotes it to the front page based on its popularity from the upcoming section. The algorithm also keeps too many stories from a single section from making it to the front page. In theory you should get a more diverse range of stories being promoted.

I asked Brian Rubash, one of the site owners how he came up with the idea.

We have been (and still are) long time users and fans of digg.com and have watched it’s transition from a tech news site to a more diverse site. By late last year it was increasingly evident that digg wasn’t going to return to what it used to be so we set about to create something that could provide a similar experience to the tech crowd, and other demographics, without compromising any group’s experience. We also looked at sites beyond Digg for features that impressed us, and features that made everything easier for the user. We have been called a Digg clone, but I think we really offer something more, and that really goes back to our goal of working for our users.

Siftd isn’t the first to follow digg’s voting model of making stories more popular (see mixx and reddit) but the system they have is solid. It’s going to be very interesting to see if they can get any traction at all and start stealing users away from digg but I personally think they may have shot themselves in the foot a little bit by branding themselves so similarly to digg. Usually (in my experience) to make any impact on a market that is already being dominated by some big players you need to offer something drastically new to get any attention at all.

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14May

intodit.com – Taking a shot at the social groups crown.

Intodit is a social group site offering services similar to Yahoo! Groups or Ning. Intodit let’s you create a group about (more or less) anything you like. Once your group is created you can then customize your group anyway you want and invite your friends to join.

While this might not be useful to a lot of tech-savvy people there is definitely a market for it. Everyone wants their little part of the internet and this service makes that easy. It’s also a great model for promotion with each group owner promoting their specific group and in-turn, promoting the main intodit website.

I spoke with Maurice Sikkink and found out a bit more about the service.

I have a few small communities running on very targeted niches, like home interior pictures and gardening. These sites only allow users to upload their home interior and garden pictures and create a profile. I wanted to create something that people could use to do more than only uploading pictures, so I thought people should be able to create a group for their own interest niche and fill it the blanks the way they want it.

Maurice has developed the entire site himself and to date has only spent $5 on the domain name (excluding server costs).


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