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Roundtable Recap: May 20 – Validation, Validation, Validation

Posted on Thursday, May 20th 2010

This morning the roundtable ran very smoothly.  The five entrepreneurs who presented are all in various stages of validating who their best customers are.  The best conversations during these roundtables usually stem from the businesses that have already been validated to some degree, simply because I am often not the target customer for a product. All entrepreneurs need to speak directly to their real customers, the people who are willing to pay money for their product or service, in order find out if they are solving a real problem. It is your potential customers who will give you the most valuable feedback and these conversations should happen very early on, preferably before you have spent precious time and money building a product or service.

Ellen Badinelli started off by introducing her business, ScanAvert.  This is a mobile dietary application that scans products’ barcodes and alerts the consumer to dietary incompatibility based on their user created profile.  For example, if you are following a gluten-free diet or avoiding certain ingredients that may cause a bad reaction to a drug you take, you can scan the bar code and quickly find out if the ingredients you are avoiding are in a given product.  There have been 5,000 users so far, giving Ellen a good idea of who the best demographic is for this product right now.  She is looking to get financing to beef up PR efforts as recommended by some angel investors.  Unlike advertising, you don’t get more PR by spending more money.  I recommend she does some more guerilla PR herself.  Using the demographic information learned from the 5,000 customers who have already downloaded the app. She should target the top bloggers and media for each of the largest segments.  I would like to see Ellen ramp up a bit more and get more conversions. As long as she can continue to bootstrap, she will improve the valuation.

Next Bradley Owen presented TxtJet, which delivers email on cell phones for free, as text messages.  He plans to use an advertising revenue model which will begin in six months or so to run a short ad tied to key words in the message.  The ads are based on key word density and the geography of the user. I have my doubts on how well this will monetize because it would be tricky to target the ads based on the wording of email messages.  I suggested that building an ad server to do this might be a more interesting product although Google is already working on similar efforts.  We discussed using SEO optimization around the key words “free mobile email.” I suggested he may also want to explore doing a deal with the carriers by offering a product to help transition text messaging customers into email customers.  This, of course, would depend on how strong Bradley’s intellectual property is.  They won’t be interested in something they can easily create for themselves. He’s launching this product tomorrow, so he’ll soon be able to see exactly where his customer base is coming from.  Good luck!

Kendra McKeever was up next to present Sock Monkeys Clothing, which offers clothing appropriate for infants with eczema (3 months to 1 year old sizes).  Apparently 20% of babies have eczema in the U.S,. including her daughter, and she is targeting the parents and grandparents.  She says there are a handful of competitors, but all are located in Europe, making the products expensive.  She has all great endorsements from parents and pediatric dermatologists, but this has not converted into sales.  We discussed the importance of focusing on SEO marketing; she needs to be on the top of the page for those searching for infant eczema. I suggest she does a laser focused outreach to bloggers, especially mommy bloggers, who are already discussing this topic to see if they are willing to write about her product rather than going after the larger iVillage-type bloggers right now.  Also, trying to get into publications read by pediatric dermatologists is worth exploring.  Although doctors don’t sell clothing, this could also help get the word of mouth going.

Then we had Dhaval Sharma who has been working on a backend solution to make pooling (as in carpooling) easier to organize.  Dhaval spoke about all he has been doing and his ideas, but he has yet to speak to his potential customers to see if they are willing to pay for this. I’m not yet convinced by his value proposition because I think there are free solutions already available. Dhaval needs to focus on one segment, mass pooling is too large.  Once he has found his strongest segment to zero in on, he needs to stay with that one line of thought and go out and validate that there are people willing to pay for his solution. Don’t spray and pray! You should always try to validate your idea first, build your product later.

Up last was David Braxton presenting for HighPerformanceU, which will offer an audio program that shares a business coaching methodology he has helped to develop through his 1-on-1 coaching experience.  They would like to eventually offer this as a reasonably priced, customized solution for a company’s sales force for example.  A professor he has been working with has been able to sell a very similar program to two companies so far, which is a good data point for David.  But he really needs to validate his assumptions with his potential customers.  I recommend he speak to 100 sales managers to ask them for feedback, and maybe offer the service for free at first and develop some success metrics.  If they like the product, he’ll have his first customers.  This can be done by phone or through connections on LinkedIn, doesn’t need to be done with in-person meetings.  More validation needed.

I started doing my free Online Strategy Roundtables for entrepreneurs in the fall of 2008. Based on this work, I’ve been able to draw a few conclusions.

First, a good percentage of entrepreneurs don’t bother validating their ideas. Another percentage is immediately interested in raising money. Raising money without validating the business is pretty much impossible. If we can address some of these patterns we have a chance at significantly reducing infant entrepreneur mortality.

These roundtables are the cornerstone programming of a global initiative that I have started called One Million by One Million (1M/1M). Its mission is to help a million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond, build $1 trillion in sustainable global GDP, and create 10 million jobs.

In 1M/1M, I teach the EJ Methodology which is based on my Entrepreneur Journeys research, and emphasize bootstrapping, idea validation, and crisp positioning as some of the core principles of building strong fundamentals in early stage ventures.

You can find the recording of this roundtable session here. Recordings of previous roundtables are all available here. You can register for the next roundtable here.

This segment is a part in the series : Roundtable Recap


. June 13 - Spotlight on The Philippines
. May 23 - Spotlight on Sports Tech
. May 16 - Spotlight on Mexico
. May 9 - Spotlight on African Startups and Venture Capital
. May 2 - India Has Come A Long Way
. April 23 - Do Not Spend Big Money on Free B-to-C Customer Acquisition
. April 17 - A Discussion on Concept-stage Financing
. April 11 - Technologist Entrepreneurs Need To Learn Business
. April 4 - Two Indian Startups with Excellent Execution
. March 28 - Large, Open Opportunities for Indian Entrepreneurs
. March 20 - How Large Companies Address Existential Threats
. March 14 - Do NOT Write Software Without a Business Model Hypothesis
. March 7 - Fascinating Ventures with Good Early Traction
. February 28 - Pay Attention to Physical Experiences, Not Just Digital
. February 20 - Think Through Your Working Capital Needs
. February 14 - A Discussion on the Indian B-to-B SaaS Opportunity with Yash Hemeraj of Arka Labs
. January 31 - Perspective From Mumbai Angels Network
. January 24 - The Changing Dynamics of Seed Investing
. January 16 - Spotlight on Entrepreneurship in Central Europe
. January 10 - Spotlight on Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital in Vienna
. January 3 - Excellent Global Entrepreneur Pitches To Kick Off The New Year
. December 18 - Tough Love Leads to Rapid Progress
. November 20 - Spotlight on Digital Health Startups
. November 14 - From Texas to Sierra Leone via Colombia
. November 8 - What is a Full Stack Founding Team?
. November 1 - Deep Dive into Artificial Intelligence Investing
. October 25 - Europe and Africa Rising
. October 17 - Cool Companies, Exciting Opportunities
. October 11 - Global Startup Acceleration Networks are Growing
. October 4 - Diversity in Focus
. September 27 - Fall 2018 Oracle-1Mby1M Intrapreneurship Challenge Launches
. September 19 - Startup Opportunities in Blockchain
. September 13 - Three Cool Startups
. September 6 - Bootstrapping Using Services Works Great for Many
. August 30 - Positioning is the Key to Accelerating your Venture
. August 24 - Do One Thing Well and Monetize Rapidly
. August 7 - Trends in Crowdfunding
. August 2 - Conversation with a Successful Woman Venture Capitalist
. July 26 - Wonderful Social Impact Projects
. July 19 - Try to Find a Blueprint to Build Your Startup
. July 12 - Laser Sharp Competitive Positioning is Compulsory in Crowded Markets
. July 5 - Scaling Tech Companies From Europe
. June 28 - Fat Startups vs. Lean Startups
. June 21 - Validate and Get to Paying Customers ASAP
. June 14 - Spotlight on A Venture Firm that Specifically Supports War Veterans
. June 7 - Investor in Three SaaS Unicorns
. May 16 - 400th Roundtable Full of Wisdom from Successful Entrepreneurs
. May 10 - Not All Micro-VCs Are Chasing Unicorns
. May 3 - Spotlight on EdTech
. April 26 - How to Partner with the Incubator-In-A-Box
. April 18 - Do NOT Spend All Your Savings on a Startup Venture
. April 12 - Please Do NOT Develop Products Without Customer Input
. April 5 - Please Do NOT Go Into Ultra-crowded Market Segments
. March 29 - Hairy Issues for Women in Technology
. March 22 - Indian Startup Eco-system Needs Exits
. March 14 - Learn to Bootstrap Effectively to Navigate Early Chicken and Egg Stage
. March 8 - Perspectives from Investors in Under-Served Geographies
. March 1 - One Size Does Not Fit All
. February 22 - Understanding a Trust-Driven Investment Thesis
. February 14 - GMV and Revenue Need Clear Distinction in Marketplaces
. February 8 - Niche is Beautiful Says Veteran Seed Investor Nitin Rai
. February 1 - A View into Pre-Seed Funding with Gaurav Jain of Afore Capital
. January 25 - The Series A Gap is Widening
. January 18 - The Traction Gap Framework with Bruce Cleveland
. January 11 - Going Broad Usually Isn’t a Great Startup Strategy
. January 4 - What Pre-Seed Investors are Looking for with Laurel Touby, Supernode Ventures
. December 21, 2017 - What do Seed Investors Want with John Frankel, ff Ventures
. December 14 - Please Do NOT Assume Concepts Can Be Funded
. December 7 - Several Validated Businesses
. November 16 - Market Size Matters
. November 9 - What Seed Investors Look for with Vinny Lingham, Newtown Partners
. November 2 - People or Market
. October 26 - From FinTech to SportsTech
. October 19 - What Investors are Looking for with Mark Achler, MATH Ventures
. October 12 - Post-Seed vs. Pre-Series A Financing
. October 5 - Padmaja Ruparel on Indian Funding Eco-system and Trends
. September 28 - AI Startup CEO Jana Eggers Says There IS Bias Against Women Entrepreneurs
. September 21 - Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures on Multi-phase Seed Funding
. September 14 - Bootstrapping to $80 Million with Rob Purdy, Founder of Power2Motivate
. September 7 - Multiple Seed Rounds May Be Needed to Mitigate the Series A Gap
. August 31 - What Seed Investors Are Looking For with Venk Shukla of Monta Vista Capital and TiE Angels
. August 24 - How A Serial Entrepreneur cum Angel Investor Thinks About Startups
. August 10 - What Angels Are Looking For At Propel(x)
. August 3 - Economic Development
. July 27 - Slow Beginning, Steady Growth
. July 6 - Wisdom on Building a Mid-Market Facing Cyber Security Business
. June 29 - Crisp Positioning is a Requirement for Business Acceleration
. June 22 - Meet A Successful Female Entrepreneur in Hardcore Tech
. June 15 - How to Seed a Two-Sided Niche Marketplace
. June 8 - Prove ROI as Early as Possible
. June 1 - Good Ideas From Around the World
. May 25 - Seeding Two-Sided Marketplaces
. May 18 - Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship
. May 11 - Startups in the Rocky Mountain Corridor
. May 4 - New Podcast Channel for Entrepreneurs
. April 27 - Preserve Your Equity
. April 20 - Innovative Cashflow Management to Successful Bootstrapping
. April 13 - Venture Scale Growth Without Venture Capital
. April 6 - Navigating Multiple Pivots to Achieve High Velocity Product-Market Fit
. March 30 - VCs LOVE To Come To The Rescue Of Victory
. March 23 - From YCombinator to $75 Million+ in Funding
. March 16 - Indian SMEs Remain Hard to Penetrate
. March 9 - Building a Niche Online - Offline Brand
. March 2 - Slow Growth Businesses Are NOT Fundable
. February 23 - Spotlight on Brazil
. February 16 - Freemium, Free-Trial, Conversion Rates and More
. February 9 - Understand Your Unit Economics
. February 2 - Why Would You Turn Down a $100M Acquisition Offer?
. January 26 - How To Get Into TechStars
. January 19 - Nuances of Scaling a Traffic Arbitrage Business
. January 12 - Raising Money From 80 Investors
. January 5 - How Do You Win Against Heavily Funded Competitors?
. December 22 - Spotlight on Virtual Teams
. December 15 - Sharing Economy Trend Continues to Inspire Startups
. December 8 - Good Bootstrapping From India
. November 17 - Spotlight on Latin America
. November 10 - Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship with Janet Kosloff
. November 3 - A Successful Woman Tech Entrepreneur from St. Louis says There is No Bias
. October 27 - Spotlight On Israel
. October 20 - Positioning Needs To Be Thought Through
. October 6 - Three Continents, Three Marketplaces
. September 29 - Funding Fat Startups with Asheem Chandna, General Partner at Greylock
. September 22 - Opportunities in VC-Style Startups with David Blumberg, Managing Partner, Blumberg Capital
. September 15 - Raising Equity from Customers
. September 8 - A Window Into Greece
. September 1 - Rehan Yar Khan on Indian Consumer Market Opportunities
. August 25 - Virtual Companies Are Scaling Nicely
. August 18 - Kean Graham Wants to Travel
. August 4 - Alternatives to Traditional Venture Capital with Bryce Roberts, Indie VC
. July 28 - Meet Serial Bootstrapper Jason Cohen
. July 21 - AdTech Discussion with Arjun Dev Arora, Founder, ReTargeter
. July 14 - Inspiration for First-time Entrepreneurs
. July 7 - Indian Entrepreneurs Must Pay Attention to Open Source Opportunities
. June 30 - You Don’t Need To Move To Silicon Valley To Scale
. June 23 - The 3-month Acceleration Model for Startups is Bogus
. June 16 - Bootstrapping Using Services to $100M
. June 9 - Focus on Sustainable Unit Economics
. May 19 - Tackling Medical Education Effectively
. May 12 - Bootstrapping With A Paycheck Works!
. May 5 - You Cannot Outsource Selling Early On
. April 28 - Great To See Student Entrepreneurs
. April 21 - Choose Your Philosophy of Company Building
. April 14 - You CAN Compete With Heavily Funded Competitors
. April 7 - Focus on Paying Customers, Not Free Users
. March 24 - How to Build a Unicorn From Scratch – and Walk Away with Nothing
. March 17 - Top Tech Trends Driving Startups and Venture Capital
. March 10 - Starting In Europe, Scaling In America
. March 3 - How To Scale A Company With Minimum Dilution
. February 25 - Indian Venture Capital Industry – Where Do Things Stand?
. February 18 - Spotlight on Analytics
. February 11 - Plug Your Knowledge Gaps In Methodology ASAP
. February 4 - Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later with Raj De Datta, CEO of BloomReach
. January 28 - Security Sector Spotlight
. January 21 - Navigating Through Massive Challenges
. January 14 - Interesting Discussions On Travel Related Concepts
. January 7 - Dynamic Beginning To 2016
. December 17 - Focus on Proteins and Whole Wheat Bread, Skip Candies
. December 10 - Bootstrapping To $20M With Freemium Conversions
. November 19 - A Story of Resilience
. November 12 - Great Discussions and Q&A
. November 5 - Conflict Is Good For Growth
. October 29 - Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship with Susan Mason, General Partner, Aligned Ventures
. October 22 - Spotlight On Europe
. October 8 - Greg Gianforte On Entrepreneurship, Economic Development And Politics
. October 1 - Equity Crowdfunding From Customers
. September 24 - Five Promising Entrepreneurs
. September 17 - From A Small Town In The Foothills Of The Himalayas
. September 10 - Achieve Product-Market Fit Before Fund Raising
. September 3 - Down To Earth Execution
. August 27 - Showcase of Women Entrepreneurs
. August 20 - Future Of Journalism
. August 6 - Impacting a Rural Eco-system
. July 30 - Is Entrepreneurship Only About The Exit?
. July 23 - Future of K-12 Education
. July 16 - We Can't Help Everyone
. July 9 - The Future of Higher Education with Anant Agarwal
. July 2 - Capital Efficient Entrepreneurship
. June 25 - From E-Commerce to Web 3.0 with Alexander Zache, CEO of Auctionata
. June 18 - DIY, DIFM, DIWM Trends For SMB Solutions
. June 11 - Selling SaaS To Indian SMBs
. June 4 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Druva Founder Jaspreet Singh
. May 28 - Shifting Mental Models
. May 21 - Venture Capital In India With Ashish Gupta, Helion Venture Partners
. May 14 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with InMobi Co-Founder Amit Gupta
. May 7 - Billion Dollar Unicorns With Clarabridge CEO Sid Banerjee
. April 30 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Therese Tucker, CEO of BlackLine
. April 23 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Roman Stanek, Founder of GoodData
. April 16 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Fred Luddy, Founder of ServiceNow
. April 9 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Gaurav Dhillon, Founder of Informatica and SnapLogic
. April 2 - Spanning The Globe
. March 12 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Rob Hull, Founder of Adaptive Insights
. March 5 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Ratmir Timashev, CEO of Veeam
. February 26 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Scott Sandell, NEA
. February 19 - Bootstrapping A Billion Dollar Unicorn With A Paycheck
. February 12 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Ross Mason, Founder of Mulesoft
. February 5 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Chris Gladwin, Founder of Cleversafe
. January 29 - Billion Dollar Unicorns With Vineet Jain, CEO of Egnyte
. January 22 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Warren Weiss, Foundation Capital
. January 15 - Billion Dollar Unicorns with Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight
. January 8 - Kicking Off 2015 With Great Energy
. December 18 - Carnival In The Cloud With David Hornik, August Capital
. December 11 - Carnival In The Cloud With Ann Winblad, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
. December 4 - Bootstrapping With A Paycheck With Shomit Ghose, Onset Ventures
. November 20 - Interesting Trends
. November 13 - Bootstrapping With A Paycheck with J.T. O’Donnell, Careerealism Media & CareerHMO
. November 6 - Carnival In The Cloud with Eric Benhamou, Benhamou Global Ventures
. October 30 - Three Revenue Generating Companies
. October 23 - Carnival In The Cloud with Jason Lemkin, Storm Ventures
. October 16 - Carnival In The Cloud in India with Sharad Sharma and Ravi Gururaj
. October 9 - Carnival in the Cloud with Naren Gupta, Nexus Venture Partners
. October 2 - Carnival In The Cloud with Brian Jacobs, Emergence Capital
. September 25 - From E-Commerce to Web 3.0 with Tod Francis, Shasta Ventures
. September 18 - From eCommerce to Web 3.0 with Jason Stoffer, Partner, Maveron
. September 11 - Lots Of Uncut Diamonds
. September 4 - From eCommerce To Web 3.0 With Gus Tai, Trinity Ventures
. August 28 - Interesting Businesses Amidst End Of Summer Blues
. August 14 - Be Careful About Funding Assumptions
. August 7 - You Can’t Have The Cake And Eat It Too
. July 31 - Does Your Idea Scale?
. July 17 - Avoid Pipe Dreams, Look for Pragmatic Solutions
. July 10 - Beware of Free Loaders!
. June 26 - USA Qualifies in 2014 World Cup Soccer
. June 19 - Please Articulate Your Investment Thesis
. June 12 - Celebrating Freshdesk’s $31M Series D Funding
. May 29 - Get A Diagnostic On Fundability
. May 22 - Homework Is Key
. May 8 - Discussion On UltraLight Startups
. May 1 - Women, Children and Entrepreneurship
. April 10 - Chisel Your Raw Ideas To Find a Viable Positioning
. April 24 - Series A Pitch Needs Clarity On Hard Numbers
. March 27 - Bootstrapping Using a Paycheck Trend
. March 20 - Spotlight on Penn Students
. March 6 - You’re Never Too Old To Startup
. February 27 - Confidentiality is Overrated
. February 20 - In The Wake of WhatsApp
. February 6 - First Time, From Barbados
. January 30 - Value Proposition Needs To Be Laser Sharp
. January 23 - All Emerging Market Ventures
. January 16 - Investors Fund Businesses, Not Concepts
. January 9 - Startup Mentoring Takes Patience
. December 19 - Final One For 2013
. December 12 - Spotlight on Kae Capital, India
. December 5 - Seed India Book Launch
. November 14 - Do Your Competitive Analysis
. October 31 - Book Launch – Feminine Feminism
. October 24 - Bootstrapping Strategies
. October 10 - Try To Minimize Capital Risk
. October 3 - Devil Lies In The Details
. September 26 - Launch Of A New Book
. September 19 - SMB Focused Offerings
. September 12 - Peer Validation Is Irrelevant
. September 5 - Mentoring Networks Do Not Work
. August 29 - Window Into Pakistan
. August 22 - All Indian Affair
. July 25 - Equity Financing From Customers
. July 18 - Awake in Australia
. July 11 - A Romp Through Some Global Entrepreneurship Hubs
. June 20 - Three Indians
. June 6 - Fashion Apps
. May 30 - Rackspace Cloud - 1M/1M Startup Challenge Finals
. May 23 - Turning Dreams Into Cash
. May 16 - Calculate Your TAM Accurately
. May 9 - Promising Portfolio From India
. May 2 - Tech Recruitment in Bulgaria; Custom Fashion in India; Incubator-in-a-Box
. April 25 - IT For Cleantech IN, Cleantech OUT
. April 18 - From Singapore To Israel
. April 11 - India’s Startup Industry Has A Major Gap – Product Marketing
. April 4 - Don’t Waste Your Time
. March 28 - Positioning And Focus Create Fast Sales Cycles
. January 17 - Winners Of The Second New Year Challenge 2013 Final
. November 15 - Democratization Of Startup Financing
. November 8 - Never Too Old To Startup
. Kolkata MUST Clinch This Time
. October 26 - Emerging Kerala
. October 18 - Carbon Trading In Bulgaria
. October 11 - Don’t Wait For Someone To Fund Your Alpha
. October 4 - Kolkata 1M/1M Pitch-Fest
. September 13 - Five 1M/1M Ambassadors Win Scholarships
. September 6 - OrangeScape Launches KiSSFLOW
. August 30 - Hybrid Business Models
. August 23 - Attention, FinTech Entrepreneurs!
. August 2 - The Free Rider Problem
. July 26 - Date First, Don’t Rush Into A Marriage
. July 19 - Winners Of A&N Media-Elance Contest With Kings College, London
. July 12 - Spotlight On Western Massachusetts
. July 5 - The Challenge Of Navigating Long Sales Cycles
. June 21 - Spotlight On Colorado
. June 19 - Winners Of The A&N Media-Elance Contest With London School Of Economics SU Entrepreneurs & European Student Startups
. June 14 - Winners Of The A&N Media-Elance Contest With Imperial College, London
. June 7 - Winners Of Second BlueSnap-Elance Finals
. June 4 - Winners Of First BlueSnap-Elance Finals
. May 31 - Go, Kolkata!
. May 22 - Winners Of TechHub-A&N Media Battle Of The Startups Contest In London Win 1M/1M Scholarships
. May 10 - BlueSnap-Elance Contest Applications Deadline This Weekend
. May 3 - Some Wonderful Opportunities With Corporate Partners
. April 26 - A Rare Women-Only Session
. April 19 - Tyranny Of The TAM
. April 12 - More From Indian Entrepreneurs
. April 3 - Rendezvous In Bangalore
. March 15 - Spotlight On 3 Day Startup Tel-Aviv
. March 12 - Winners Of Microsoft Israel Scholarships
. March 1 - Strategy Gaps Need To Be Plugged
. February 23 - Microsoft Israel To Offer 1M/1M Scholarships
. February 16 - What’s Happening In Turkey?
. February 9 - Are You Fundable?
. February 2 - YCombinator vs. 1M/1M
. January 26th - Spotlight On Jacksonville, Florida
. January 19 - Are Media Sites Fundable?
. January 12-13 - Spotlight On IIT Kharagpur, India
. October 13 - FREE Is Not A Business Model
. September 29 - From Poland To Argentina
. September 22 - How Do You Catalyze A Region’s Entrepreneurship?
. September 15 - Do Your Homework First
. September 8 - A View Into Israeli Start-ups
. September 1 - Fall Call To Action
. August 25 - How To Use Twitter For Lead Generation
. August 11 - Menlo Park And The Silicon Valley Renaissance
. August 4 - How Do You Bootstrap Freemium Ventures?
. July 28 - Investors And Incubators Need To Look At Pre-Incubation
. July 21 - Crowd Sourced Funding Exchanges - An Emerging Trend
. June 30 - Continued International Participation
. June 23 - New Assessment Tool For Entrepreneurs
. June 16 - Exciting Companies Lined Up For Microsoft Startup Grant Finals
. June 9 - Silicon Valley
. June 2 - 1M/1M And Incubators - What We Have Learned
. May 26 - Twitter, LinkedIn - Why Not Affiliates?
. May 19, Making Money From Blogs
. May 12 - Two Really Cool Companies
. May 5 - Ownership Matters
. April 28 - Guerrilla P.R. & SEO Most Profitable Customer Acquisition Strategies
. April 21- Incubators Are Reaching Out To 1M/1M
. April 17 - High-Octane Energy In Pune
. April 16 - 1M/1M Partners With Indian Angel Network Incubator
. April 9 - 1M/1M Announces Partnership With TiE Chennai
. April 6 - 1M/1M Announces Important Partnership With MAD Incubator, Malaysia
. March 31 - Microsoft’s $100,000 India Startup Challenge Grant
. March 24 - 75th Session Spotlights The Midwest
. March 17 - Spotlight On Latin And Central America
. March 10 - Spotlight On India
. March 3 - Spotlight On The Northwest
. February 24 - VCs, Angels, Incubators, Accelerators – What Are You Doing With Your Rejects?
. February 17 - Indian Company Plugs Gap In Google’s Enterprise Solution
. February 10 - When Keywords Are Competitive
. February 3 - Indian Entrepreneurs Are Maturing
. January 27 - Non-Dilutive Financing Through Revenue Sharing
. January 20 - Personalization Remains An Open Problem
. January 13 - Top 10 Online Advertising Trends For The Decade
. January 6 - Top 10 Vertical and Social Web Trends For The Decade
. December 16 - Top 10 Tech Trends To Watch
. December 9 - Where Should You Raise Money?
. December 2 - Niche Marketplace Businesses Can Be Interesting
. November 18 - Not Coming To The Rescue Of Victory
. November 11 - African Tech Entrepreneurs Emerging
. November 4 - Premium Lounge Sneak Preview
. October 28 – Convert Potential Competitors To Partners
. October 21 - Bootstrapping Comes In Many Flavors
. October 14 - Professional Investors Do Not Invest In $20 Million Markets
. October 7 - Try To Get At Least $2M Pre-Money In Seed Round Valuation
. September 30 - Investors Don't Fund Broad Ideas
. September 23 - Do Not Spray And Pray
. September 16 – 5 Cloud Computing Opportunities for Entrepreneurs
. September 9 - Open Opportunities In Cloud Computing And Rural BPO
. September 2 - Find High Velocity Channels
. August 26 - 85%-90% Of Search Traffic Comes From Organic Search
. August 19 - Niche E-Commerce Is Great For Bootstrapping
. August 5 - Paying Customers =>Validation =>Valuation
. July 29 - Startups In Malaysia
. July 22 - Bootstrap Using Services
. July 15 - A Market Of Late Adopters
. July 8 - The EJ Methodology
. July 1 - Get Your Pricing Model Validated
. June 24 – Three Startups That Can Hit One Million Dollars
. June 17 – Online Education Startups
. June 10 – Efficient Targeting
. June 3 – Defining Market Segments
. May 27 – Is The Venture Worth Your Time?
. May 20 – Validation, Validation, Validation
. May 6 – Defining Value Proposition
. April 29 – Finding The Right Direction
. April 22 – The Original Runners
. April 15 – Small Is OK; The Goal Is Profitability
. April 8 – A Focus On E-Commerce
. April 1 – Bootstrapping Tips
. March 25 – A Mixed Bag Of Advice

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TxtJet would have to bear SMS transmission cost for each text message they send. Unlike email this is not free. And it is not cheap in the US. I was suprised that this never came in the discussion. He is assuming 1c per each ad in the message, and that assumes no transmission cost. Something is not adding up.

Dasher Friday, May 21, 2010 at 9:18 AM PT

Yes, we discussed that txt message is a product from the carriers and email is another product. What TxtJet is proposing is in the middle. As long as the message volume is relatively small, the text message product of the carriers would cover its costs. If it is too big, then additional charges would kick in.

But if you listen to the entrepreneur, I think he is proposing a very select set of messages, nothing mass that way the current email products handle things …

Your point is absolutely correct.

Sramana mitra Friday, May 21, 2010 at 10:03 AM PT

I did listen to the roundtable discussion.

His current product is not aimed at carriers, but direct to consumers. So he has to bear the costs (few cents a message).

It is not clear how he ensures that it will be used only for select messages. He can’t assume that users will use it that way.

Also for users in US that do not have unlimited texting plan, the incoming messages are not free. That counts them out for this service.

I still don’t see how the economics can work as a direct to consumer service.

If he has a value prop for carriers then that may be the way to go. But then selling to carriers has its own challenges.

Dasher Friday, May 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM PT

No B to C application for the mobile space goes to market directly. They have to go to market through someone, mostly carriers. Or iPhone apps or something similar.
In this case, I advised him to go to market through carriers. A few discussions with carriers would make it very clear whether the economics work or not. That’s what we advise people to do in 1M/1M – talk to those that can directly validate the business.

Yes, selling to carriers have their own challenges, and especially, the question of defensibility is key. Carriers can take the idea and copy.

Sramana Mitra Friday, May 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM PT

Great to hear some feedback and glad to see that you are interested.

@Dasher – TxtJet does not incur any costs when sending a txt message to its users. The only cost that is incurred, is on the user end, i.e. – “Standard txt messaging rates apply”

As Sramana mentioned, our product works as a middle ground between those without email, and those that spend $15-30 a month (data plan). While users will have to pay for txt messages received, this option will be much cheaper than than the alternative. On top of which, more than 80% of mobile users worldwide already send and receive txt messages, allowing TxtJet to piggy back on these pre-existing messaging plans.

We hope that users utilize our email filtering system to control and maintain the amount of txt’s received.

Thanks so much for the comments!

Bradley Owen Friday, May 21, 2010 at 12:45 PM PT

Bradley,

How do you send out the text messages. Don’t you need to pay the SMS aggregators?

Dasher Friday, May 21, 2010 at 5:36 PM PT

Unfortunately I cannot share this bit of info! – However, please know that our methods are entirely legal and within the carriers TOS.

Bradley Owen Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 1:32 PM PT