I Like the Idea, But…

“However, to succeed in our current media environment, a startup has to have more than just a clever idea.”

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As the class explores the idea of entrepreneurial media, we’ve been tasked with looking at work done by people in our shoes and read a little about startups created by fellow college students. Indeed, Inc. ran an article that highlighted the eight finalists in a startup competition among students, and strictly in terms of ideas, all of which sound intriguing and full of potential. However, to succeed in our current media environment, a startup has to have more than just a clever idea. This thought encouraged me to take a closer look at these finalists and examine how realistic it is to see their startups do well in the future.

In terms of ideas I’m skeptical of seeing pan out, while I think Ravle’s concept would be more logistically feasible than other ideas on the list, I’m not sure if it has a big enough market to be successful. In addition, I think the people whom Ravle is targeting are already doing extensive research on their own, making Ravle run the risk of becoming just another tool instead of something revolutionary. Similarly, some of the renderings behind Geopipe look impressive, and it would appear the startup would have a wider audience than Ravle (reaching out to video game developers, real estate planners, architects, etc.). However, I’m not sure if Geopipe is able to distinguish itself enough from other existing rendering technology out there. Once again, these startups may have good ideas behind them, but in a competitive entrepreneurial environment, a good idea on its own is seldom enough.

On a more positive note, one of the finalists that I think has the most potential is a software curriculum called Codemoji. As the title suggests, the purpose of this software is to teach kids programming basics with emojis as opposed to cold, hard HTML jargon. While the idea might not sound as innovative and bold as others on the list, information technology and computer engineering are currently some of the fastest-growing job markets, so the software could serve as a gateway for many kids to discover these job fields. Moreover, selling the software to classrooms gives Codemoji a broad market to sell to, leaving me feeling optimistic about its future. As for another startup I see doing well, though I remain somewhat concerned about the feasibility of this product/app’s production, further reflection has won me over with regards to Sweetbud. The product/app would solve the problem of eating healthier by creating the illusion of sugar in one’s coffee (by means of small electro current shocks), and appealing to coffee drinkers gives Sweetbud a sizable market for sale. Granted, when dealing with something meant for human consumption, it’ll have to undergo numerous hurdles to be certified for consumption. However, if it receives the proper approval, I see a bright, or dare I say sweet, future for Sweetbud.

Nonetheless, my thoughts don’t ensure that the following startups will succeed or fail. After all, these are simply the reflections of someone trying to follow in their footsteps. In reality, all eight ideas carry plenty of potential to grow into something big. Regardless of how successful these startups will become, however, I can’t help but admire the creativity and ambition of the entrepreneurs behind the ideas, and will hope to channel the spirit of their work as I continue through this class.

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