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Posts Tagged ‘internet entrepreneur’

Getting An Idea Off the Ground

August 13, 2008 2 comments

I had two meetings yesterday both with two very interesting, intelligent and entrepreneurial guys.  The first meeting was with an individual who runs a search fund and is pursuing a leveraged buyout of an “offline” company with approximately $5 million in revenues.  Additionally he helps “brick and mortar” companies get off the ground.  Other than he works offline and I online we have very similar job functions in that we both nurture early stage startups.

The second meeting was with an individual who is a fountain of ideas for improving our web experiences as they relate to online content.  Even though both meetings were separate they actually could have fit together very nicely.  In the first meeting we discussed the need for a firm like TOKiBiz who can do a lot of the grunt work for venture capital and investment firms – that is weed through a lot of great local talent and ideas.  

To explain further, I meet with a steady flow of entrepreneurs who have energetic and creative ideas for making the web a better (and more profitable) place.  My role with these entrepreneurs is to help them get their idea off the ground and onto the web. Most of the work I do is before the seed financing stage of a business – that is we craft the business for them to present to investors.  

In some cases the amount of financing needed to launch an application is very low so we’re easily able to finance, develop and launch a successful application on our own. With others this is definitely not the case and sizable funding is needed to execute the idea – sizable for us.  This is unfortunate since many of these ideas are brilliant.  All of them are from individuals with considerable work experience but this is their first venture into entrepreneurship – which often means they lack the financial connections an established entrepreneur has.    

In the case of the second meeting yesterday the amount of funding needed is more than any of us can gather on our own.  This is unfortunate because his idea is exceptional and could change the way we monetize content, but there is a synapse between the idea and those who can finance that idea.  The gap occurs in not knowing which investor or corporation would jump on this idea once they discover its existence.  It’s this divide that TOKiBiz is looking to bridge by connecting the best ideas with the best resource to fund the application.  This pre-development stage is normally to early for VCs, angels don’t have the resources (time) to weed through the ideas, attend the meetings, develop the business model and brainstorm the possibilities, and corporations never thought to look at the problem from this perspective.  We do! 

What I do with TOKiBiz is meet with as many entrepreneurs as possible and help guide their idea into a business.  We have the technical and business contacts (and experience) to assist on this front but we desire the investment and/or corporate contact(s) for whom we can present the best of the best to.  For example, we have a retail application that most retailers would drool over if they only knew it existed.  With TOKiBiz they have the opportunity to get in at a fraction of the cost that they would incur if built on their own.   

Like a VC firm I weed through a lot of ideas and proposals that come to me – many don’t get past the email stage.  If the idea intrigues me enough then I’ll schedule a face to face meeting to learn more.  Generally these first meetings are meant to get a better understanding of what the entrepreneur is trying to create – most of it entails listening and asking questions.  From here I usually take the time to let the idea soak in to see if it sticks.  If yes then we generally meet again to brainstorm and start thinking about execution.  It is the process up to this stage where we at TOKiBiz can provide the most benefit to VCs, angels and corporations looking to capture the next great thinker, idea and application.  The beauty of this stage is the capital needed is less for a larger percentage of ownership.  In most cases we can build the application much more efficiently than a corporation would do if built internally.  Own a fraction of more for a fraction of the cost. 

I use to think that at some point ideas would eventually run dry.  Now I know this is definitely not the case for there are millions of ways to make our lives better.  Ways that we never thought of before and ways that couldn’t exist without the idea launched previous to ours.  For ideas keep building on the ideas of those who came before us.

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Types of Internet Startups & Websites

The current breakdown of the types of internet startups listed on Bizak.com.

Types of Internet Startups & Websites

Internet Ideas

June 12, 2008 1 comment

Everyone has an idea but how we execute that idea is often more valuable than the idea itself. Many ideas are not unique. The uniqueness comes about in the individual’s perception (and execution) of that idea. Facebook was not a unique idea, however it was executed at a perfect time and at a perfect place. In Facebook’s case simple was better. The web has given simple ideas a platform where they can shine.  Experience definitely helps, however a unique solution to a common problem become great ideas.

How Much?

June 1, 2008 1 comment

Choosing a revenue model for an online business is a very difficult task. Advertising or subscription based? If subscription then how much? Not an easy question and possible one that should be placed in the hands of the buyer. As Radiohead displayed last fall you can still be profitable selling music even when the buyer decides on price. For some a Radiohead “CD” might be worth $20 or $30 dollars but for non-fans the value might only be $2. In today’s digital download era the cost of selling one copy is the same as selling one hundred copies. So when the cost to sell another copy is zero wouldn’t it be better to sell it at any price rather than not selling it at all?

Radiohead brought up a very interesting business concept in determining the value of a product. The cost of a product is not the same for everyone since not everyone values the product the same. Their choose your own price experiment brings up a very interesting revenue model for internet startups. Why not let your visitors choose the price of your service? Since it costs virtually nothing to add another subscriber to your website wouldn’t it be better to get $4 out of him rather than nothing at all? $4 might be less than expected but at least you have a new customer, four dollars and the potential to sell him additional services in the future. If you lost him to price then you’re out $4, a new customer and the potential for future income from him.

It’s this up-selling that Radiohead was betting on in terms of concert tickets and t-shirt sales. Internet entrepreneurs should be thinking of up-selling in terms of consulting services and new web applications. Since musicians can’t physically play more than 365 gigs a year the choose your own price model could become far more lucrative for the internet where the ability to scale is endless.

Video Post – Features & Benefits of Bizak

Many thanks go out to Nwokedi Idika for his terrific video post highlighting many of the features and benefits of Bizak.  Nwokedi is the founder of eSposure.com, a place where you can upload your video demonstrations, products and services.

Visit eSposure at:  http://esposure.com

Nwokedi’s Bizak Video

Working in Groups with Wiggio

May 16, 2008 1 comment

One benefit of Bizak is that I get introduced to a ton of great internet applications. Wiggio, founded by a Cornell University senior, is an online platform enabling students (and others) to work in groups. These groups allow registered users to keep a common calendar with the ability to receive updates via text messages. With Wiggio you can also poll groups and most impressively send mass text messages to all of your group members.

Wiggio is heavily focused on academic collaborations and is a perfect fit for clubs, organizations, frats and dormmates.

Visit Wiggio at: http://www.wiggio.com

Wiggio is one example of some of the great web applications coming out of today’s college campuses. We at Bizak understand that many of these student entrepreneurs are short on funds and because of that we have a special program for college students.

Additional information about Bizak’s college promotion can be found at: http://www.bizak.com/student_entrepreneurs

Comparative Analysis on Bizak.com

After many long months Bizak is almost ready to launch. We just finished our comparative analysis page (click image below for screen shot) and we will be opening up our tools for startups shortly. After a few weeks of data aggregation we’ll be opening up the site to investors and professionals.

Questions? Please feel free to contact me.
Link? www.Bizak.com
Spread the word!