Mar 5, 2021

Five Startup Ideas #024

Medical futures, SaaS for VCs, and social curation.

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The most popular idea from last week's batch was Damir Becirovic's "Tinder for productivity." It sounds like we're all ready to bring swiping to the C-Suite. That beat out Angela Tran's "Decentralized credit scoring" product and "Delian Asparouhov's "Organ printing in space" thesis. It was great to see a new connection play out on Twitter, in response to sharing that idea.

The three startups I found most interesting this week...

A question to mull over this weekend: what is your personal moat? How can you make it stronger?

Startup ideas...

Curation social network

Who you are is about the things you know and love — you should share them

Nearly every person I know is an expert on something. My mom is the person who knows incredible Japanese recipes. My husband is the person everyone asks about cars they might buy and biographies they might read. Some people have hundreds of playlists curated for nearly every occasion. People ask me about extracurricular education for my kids at every age range and eclectic book recommendations. What someone knows and curates, speaks to who they are at a given moment.

This is the opportunity: a social network created for this kind of curational interaction. It would provide the ability to share those things with others, have those people take them and improve upon them, and build more shared knowledge.

Ann Miura-Ko, co-founding partner at Floodgate

Medical futures

Purchasing medical services for future use

If you run a company, you can predict with some amount of precision what medical services your employees will use in the future. Armed with that information, could employers pay for treatment in advance, receiving a discount?

For a medical provider, you would, in essence, be selling your future capacity at a discount but you'd lock in sales.

As a specific example, let's say Union Square Ventures knows there is an X% chance (based on societal averages) that two of our team members will need shoulder surgery in the next five years. What if we could contract with the Hospital for Special Surgery and “buy" those surgeries now? They would be delivered in the future, but we’d get a discount because we paid upfront.

There’s an opportunity for a company to facilitate this kind of behavior. I don’t think we have something like it at the moment.

Andy Weissman, USV

Shopify for medical supplies

B2B medical supplies marketplace

Medical supply wholesaling is a massive, analog business. According to some reports, it’s pegged at $243.3 billion and has been growing roughly 2% over the past five years. Despite its size, many of the ordering flows are antiquated, still conducted through pen and paper. The coronavirus has hammered home the need for better, more efficient systems.

I think there’s an opportunity for a “picks and shovels” play to help wholesalers move into the 21st century. In particular, I imagine something like a “Shopify for Medical Supplies,” giving sellers the tools they need to list inventory, accept digital payments, and manage order shipments.

Chris Zeoli, Principal at Base10

Due diligence SaaS for investors

Streamlining the review process

Often, the view of finance from the outside is one of a well-oiled machine with plentiful resources. The reality is that teams are usually small, stretched thin, and working on constrained timelines, especially in VC. Funds for bespoke research, additional support team members, and other resources are not always as bountiful as you might think.

To that end, I think there’s room for a SaaS product that manages, organizes, and provides automated recommendations for due diligence processes for private investors. That might include recommended outside research, potential experts to talk to (either in or out of network), and a nice workflow product. While you’d want it to be simple and inexpensive enough to serve smaller firms, you could easily layer in advanced features (and monetize expert access) for larger growth equity and PE firms.

Net/net: I’d love to see a product that synthesized and standardized the due diligence process and brought significant ROI to private investment professionals.

Jennifer Richards, Principal at Bonfire

Life Lobbyists

Make better decisions with expert help

The conversations individuals have, and the decisions resulting from them, affect lives every day. Whether it's at home or work, these conversations drive the emotions and opportunities in the days, weeks, months, and years that follow. So why not be better prepared for them?

I’d like to propose a solution: Life Lobbyists. Imagine a platform of research professionals that help you win arguments. Similar to how Fiverr supports the freelance marketplace community, Life Lobbyists would support the on-demand research market. Think of it as a consulting platform that prepares anyone to be ready for a conversation or, more likely, a life or work decision. The user presents an argument to the Life Lobbyist, supporting data and information, and an allotted delivery time. On the other end, a researcher picks it up. The researcher then provides a thorough, fact-driven rationale for you to deliver in your upcoming conversation.

Examples could be "I am asking for a raise" to "I want to launch a product" to "I want to convince my family to move to California" to "Should I do X?” As it evolves, you could imagine a kind of “Cameo of Life Lobbyists” emerging where researchers and litigators present the argument, conversation, or discussion for you.

Jarrod Dicker, VP at the Washington Post

Have something to say or working on something similar? Vote for your favorite idea and share thoughts by hitting the button, below.

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As always, clues are available to those that would like them. Just respond to this email.

Within minutes of sending last week's piece, I got a message. Once again, it was from the blazingly fast Sid J with the answer to the Coda. He was joined by Prasanna D, Lars R, Bobby A, Justin M, Ron F, Sukumar R, Ejay A, David P, Stew B, Yair L, Samir S, Gianpaolo E, Saumo P, Samir S, Lauren F, Neal K, Jim W, Lizzie, Gonzalo S, Krishna N, Benny R, Juanje FP, Mark F, Ricky MC, Remi C, Casey K, Bal G, Vivek J, Max R, Tom W, Shweta K, Dimitar S, Yashar N, Dan D, Siddhant G, Sharveen K, Keshav S, Bruce G, Romana B, Emily P, Gabriel A, Pranav, and Imran Y. All deciphered our cryptogram.  

The answer? Satoshi Nakamoto, mysterious creator of Bitcoin. Well played to all of you, and sending everyone the best of luck for this latest round.

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