Category: community

Tumpang: One to Watch!

As never before the ability of online networks has the potential to shape the world.  Tumpang is preparing to take advantage of this dynamic by offering people who come together online the ability to put their joint purchasing power to work. 

The Tumpang model is interesting.  Manufacturers are asked to discount their products if Tumpang can guarantee a group purchase of a certain quantity of items.  Then, within their site, they offer the items for sale at the discounted price providing enough people agree to purchase the item at the discounted rate.  As individuals the customers may not be able to get these ‘bulk’ discount prices – as an online mini-purchasing group, they suddenly have more power.

Tumpang is currently focused on the Chinese market…but are making moves to go international.  There are two obvious challenges at this point:

Products are often country specific so although they have international plans, this may not translate well for the mini-groups.  Will a German purchaser be interested in a kettle for the Malaysian market? See my point?

Most of the products on the site at this point seem relatively low quality i.e. Tumpang does not seem to be striking deals with Apple, Panasonic etc but rather more unknown brands. However, as their purchasing power and traction increases this should give them more negotiation strength with the bigger, more popular manufacturers.

So, Tumpang is one to watch.  This crowd purchasing approach could create another shift in online purchasing.

Andrew
Founder -Advisor Garage
http://www.AdvisorGarage.com/community

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It’s Our Movie: A $500K Virtual Investment

Itsourmovie.com 

I can’t tell you how much I love this business concept!  I’m not 110% convinced about the capability to make significant amounts of investor revenues but frankly…that’s just not the point of this neat new business.  So, let me tell you about “It’s Your Movie”.  The basic idea is for the online community to fund, audition and vote for characters in a movie called “The Flirting Club”.  It’s a complete mashup of a number of popular ideas…think “The Producers meets American Idol” and you are some of the way there!

Business Model:

  • Members of the public can buy a ’stake’ in the movie of $10, $100, $100.  What’s not clear on the site is what stakeholders get for their stake although the site does say the higher the stake the more ’say’ in the movie.
  • Advertising is another revenue stream for “Its Our Movie” although as the site currently has a 4,000,000 Alexa ranking the revenue is likely to minimal at this point.
  • Movie Rights and Sale:  I could find no reference to movie rights or sale as it relates to stakeholders but it is a new business so that may appear in their FAQs.

Some Core Functionality/Elements:

  • Auditioning:  To audition for a part, members download the script, choose a character and video themselves. After uploading the Audition to http://www.youtube.com / http://www.metacafe.com / http://www.dailymotion.com the code is then re-pasted within the “Its Our Movie” Website so the community can review and vote on the auditions
  • Characters: A summary of each character is included in the site and video auditions can be added against each character
  • Voting: Members can vote on a 1-10 scale for each audition.  They will also be adding the ability for people to vote via text message/SMS
  • Photos/Videos: Photos and videos of each person auditioning
  • Member blogs
  • Member forums (Is this a Drupal site with a skin? Hummm)

Likes:
Sometimes new business are not about money…OK, rarely new businesses are not about money because money is oxygen for startups but in this case, its about the excitement of being involved in creating a movie. Doesn’t EVERYONE want to be involved in creating a movie? Even if it’s a bad movie for goodness sake.  Now here’s a little prediction, as momentum grows for this new site then it won’t be long before Simon Cowell and the rest get wind of it.  Before you can say “Teletubbies” I’m guessing that this process may move from the web to other mediums.  When that happens then this could become a significant opportunity for the founders.  If I was a stakeholder, I’d be looking for some reassurances that I’m buying a tiny piece of that potential success. 

Dislikes/Suggestions:

  • Be explicit about what stakeholders are getting!  It’s great that you’ve raised $100K but if you want to hit the $1M target then I would outline what those folks were getting…really clearly! 
  • My understanding is that the Director is Alex Jovy. Is it THE Alex Jovy that received an Oscar-nomination for his film Holiday Romance who also went on to produce and direct the thriller Sorted starring Matthew Rhys and Jason Donovan? If so, let us know people! At the moment it looks like some obscure guys idea that is absolutely exciting but we need to know it’s legitimate and this isn’t paying for someone’s extended vacation in the South of Spain.

Additional Opportunities:

  • Plug this into the TV machine and turn it into a show.

My Virtual Investment:
With my virtual $1M, I would personally stake a virtual $500K providing someone gave me virtual percentages of the revenue.

http://www.itsourmovie.com/

Interested in other articles about Its Our Movie?

Andrew – Founder
http://www.AdvisorGarage.com/community

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Add Facebook, Twitter or Top Blogs from TechCrunch and Much More to ***Your My AdvisorGarage***

New Free Service Just Launched!  Your MyAdvisor Garage gives you the ability to create your own personalized summary of the Advisor Garage site, other sites via RSS feeds and add ‘droplets’ such as Top Tech Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and much more. The new MyAdvisor Garage service duplicates the functionality of tools like MyYahoo! and Google’s personalized homepage.  So you can select the blogs, content, feeds and additional services that interests you and create your own tools and content within your MyAdvisor Garage page within Advisor Garage.
Give it a whirl, its on the left side of your page.  Let us know what you think and if there’s any way we can make it more valuable for you.
See an example: http://www.advisorgarage.com/community/mysite/andrew

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TableXChange: A $250K Virtual Investment

TableXChange is exactly what the name implies – a website that helps people secure hard to get reservations at some of the most exclusive restaurants.  Want to impress by taking a date to Il Mulino’s to sample the divine Italian food of Chefs Fernando and Gino Masci but didn’t think to book ahead?  If you’re lucky then you can buy someone’s existing reservation – the price for a secured reservation for two this Friday at 8pm is $35 bucks.  Not too outrageous when you consider that’s the cost of three jars of Pomodoro Pasta Sauce through Il Mulino’s website.

Business Model:
Sellers can list as many reservations as they wish on TableXChange.  There is a $40 cap on the amount that they can charge reservation ‘buyers’.  How does TableXChange make money? Simple, for every reservation ’sold’ TableXChange makes 12% of the agreed price.  If the reservation does not sell, no harm no foul, it was free to list and the failed ’seller’ does not owe TableXChange any cash at all. So, sell a reservation for $30, then TableXChange takes a $3.60 cut.  You get $26.40 – not bad since you didn’t actually pay anything for the reservation – just five minutes on the telephone. Even at AT&T rates – that’s still a pretty good deal! -)

Some Core Functionality:

  • Free to list and free to search by restaurant, date, time, neighborhood and price
  • Free to cancel the sale at any time as long as it’s not sold. 
  • No personal information is shared between parties – accept probably the name of the reservation i.e. Table for 2 for Smith but this only occurs when the reservation is sold
  • Only three (3) reservations max at the same restaurant per night allowed
  • Payment within 48 hours of reservation sale
  • Pay and receive payment via Paypal. Easy!

Likes:
A neat idea!  Could do favors to buyers, sellers and restaurants especially if restaurants fill more tables if reservation makers sell their reservations rather than being ‘no shows’.  As a busy married guy the ability to get reservations at the last minute at great restaurants could really help…especially for this special days when I know I should have booked 45 days beforehand, but let’s face it, who really thinks that far ahead?  

Dislikes:
Just a few questions/concerns:

  • As there is a $40 cap on the reservation price and a maximum of three reservations per restaurant per night, the very ’special’ restaurant, in high demand will not be at the real market rate and should be snapped up quickly. This means that the really great restaurants that should ‘drive’ the adoption of this site may not actually be on the site for too long.  If they are not there, why should I go?
  • At some point these guys should try to integrate into a larger site that offers users the ability to see if there are reservations available without needing to buy it through the system.  It would be plain annoying if I find I could have just called and booked direct for free.
  • One obvious one is that TableXChange is just New York City and the Hamptons at this time. More place please.

Suggestions:

  • Lost revenue opportunity:  Members need paypal, they refer people to paypal but don’t use a paypal referral number. Odd!  They could be making additional revenue from paypal for referals. This doesn’t cost members anything but is a ‘thank you’ from paypal.
  • The restaurant listings do not include restaurant website links, descriptions or reviews.  I know I should know every restaurant on the site by reputation but the reality is, I don’t! If I’m going to pay someone $30 for a reservation, I’d first like to check out the restaurant, the Zagat rating (here’s another potential revenue stream for TableXChange) and customer reviews.

My Virtual Investment:
With my virtual $1M, I would virtually invest $250K! Today New York and the Hamptons, Tomorrow the United States, and Friday the World! There are some obvious spinoff opportunities but I’ll leave that for dessert!

http://www.tablexchange.com

Andrew – Founder
http://www.AdvisorGarage.com/community

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Drupal Camp LA – A Free Event to learn about a rapid web site development f

Need a web site for your startup? Do you develop web sites for others? “Drupal” is a robust, mature web site development framework with a global development community. (The Advisor Garage Community is a Drupal site.) The Los Angeles Drupal Users Group is hosting a free Drupal Camp for developers as well as interested non-technical entrepreneurs and

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Interview: Some good advice – Andrew from Advisor Garage

Advisor Garage and the Advisor Garage Community is an online service for entrepreneurs to connect with Advisors, Angels, Venture Capitalists and other entrepreneurs. It was established by three people – the founder (Andrew Makunas) and two really fantastic tech guys. Another interesting interview from Loscreador. Let’s find out more…

The idea for Advisor Garage came to Andrew Makunas at Harvard Business School. He was guided by various advisors there who helped him realize his ideas and start his various businesses. Advisor Garage hopes to achieve that same goal, but for entrepreneurs all across the world.

Advisor Garage is still in the initial stage, but promises to be a huge success with the every increasing number of talented entrepreneurs and always helpful guides who want to help. Andrew has taken these both and created a wonderful combination.

In this insightful talk with Los Creador, Andrew tells us what he wants Advisor Garage to achieve and the journey that still has a long way to go.

Los Creador: How did you get the idea for AdvisorGarage?
Andrew Makunas: As an entrepreneur, I realized that one of the most challenging and time consuming tasks for entrepreneurs is the ability to connect with great advisors, investors and new team members. In my case, it took months to get everything lined up to get my businesses really thriving. Advisor Garage was created to make that process much easier and faster. Speed is critical when starting businesses because every day without revenue is a day closer to failure. If AdvisorGarage can help connect the dots for an entrepreneur then they are much more likely to realize their startup dreams and objectives.

LC: What’s Advisor Garage all about?
Andrew: Advisor Garage and the Advisor Garage Community is an online service for entrepreneurs to connect with Advisors, Angels, Venture Capitalists and other entrepreneurs. The core site allows entrepreneurs and advisors to search according to their interests and needs so they can reach out to people that can help them move their businesses forward. The newly launched Advisor Garage Community site gives members the opportunity to connect right now with other Entrepreneurs, Angels and Venture Capitalists members through the free blogs, forums and networking groups. They can build up their personal entrepreneurial network through a ‘linking’ system with private messaging.

LC: Skilled and experienced advisors would be the bedrock of AG. What is your plan to attract such people to your site? What do you offer them?
Andrew: There are multiple ways that Advisors find out about AdvisorGarage. Perhaps the most important is member referral or recommendations. AdvisorGarage has grown to include hundreds of advisors through word of mouth. In addition, the management team reaches out to their own personal network and alumni of their own business schools and encourages them to join. But the real ‘hook’ for advisors is to discover fresh new entrepreneurial talent and great new businesses. Advisors and investors love the idea of discovering new innovative people and businesses and Advisor Garage and the Advisor Garage Community are good channels to do this.

LC: How many people are involved with AdvisorGarage? Tell us a little more about them?
Andrew: Advisor Garage was established by three people – the founder (me) and two really fantastic tech guys. The interesting thing about the team is that none of us work full time on Advisor Garage – we frankly cannot afford to as we do not charge for the service and will not do so until much later. What we would ideally like to do is to take any revenues we make, when we make it and channel is straight back into product development. We have already mapped out where Advisor Garage is going and the services we would like to provide for our members. We would like to pass every dime the site (eventually) earns into improving the services and offerings for the members rather than paying expensive salaries. For those reasons, we build and manage Advisor Garage during our long nights and too short weekends. Part of the entrepreneurial journey I guess!

LC: What are your plans for the future of the site?
Andrew: Ah ha! If only I was allowed to tell you! What I can say is that now that we have the basic Community site live (http://www.AdvisorGarage.com) we would like to refine and improve it and from there we have another two or three key services that revolve around helping entrepreneurs with their key challenges at various stages of development.

LC: How did you begin your business networking?
Andrew: I don’t think I ‘business network’, I think I generally enjoy spending time with people and both new and old contacts. Its not a conscious effort, meeting and working with people is something I just plain enjoy.

LC: Which site do you visit everyday other than your own?
Andrew: Techcrunch.com

LC: Who are your idols in the IT space? What is it about them that you think is really great?
Andrew: There are too many people – if pushed it’s probably Guy Kawasaki. What’s great about Guy? He tries to give back to the broader entrepreneurial community and the upside of that is it also builds his personal equity and brand.

LC: What is the greatest challenge to your success? How did you or plan to overcome it?
Andrew: The greatest challenge to our success (and still is) is building a comprehensive member focused site that delivers the range of services that can really help them and their businesses without cash. Could we go out and get cash from angels or VCs? Probably, but we want to focus the business on our members rather than on the bottom line so we struggle every day to manage and improve the site from our own personal savings.

LC: What was the one main reason for starting something on your own?
Andrew: I can’t help it. I’m an entrepreneur! I basically come up with new business and product ideas on a daily basis. The shower is usually where it all happens! Some ideas ‘stick’ others disappear when the next idea comes along. I’m compelled to pursue the ones which stick. Advisor Garage was one of those.

LC: What is the one accomplishment till date you’re most proud of?
Andrew: Aside from the personal stuff, probably designing and launching the world’s smallest, safest fire escape ladder which is now a permanent exhibition in New York’s MOMA and being sold in multiple accounts. It feels good to have brought a product to market which saves lives.

LC: What’s that one big dream or accomplishment you are working towards?
Andrew: The next iterations of Advisor Garage and related services will be the next set of accomplishments. In terms of dream – to help a significant number of entrepreneurs build great and successful businesses world wide.

LC: Time to play soothsayer. What according to you is the next big thing?
Andrew: I’m not sure there is truly a next big thing – I thing all next big things come back to the consumers. If they don’t then they are destined to be the next big ‘has been’.

LC: Any advice for other web entrepreneurs out there?
Andrew: Whatever you want to try, give it a shot. Don’t worry too much about Business Plans, its better to get it out there and modify and build as you get customer feedback. Pick the right team members from day 1. Get some good advisors and leverage them until they squeal!

LC: How early in life did your relationship with computers/internet start? Tell us about your first few interactions with technology.
Andrew: This will show my age but my first ever computer was when I was about eight or nine. It was called a Sinclair ZX81 and that was closely followed by the Sinclair Spectrum, the Commadore 64, and the Apple LC…after that I’m afraid I sold out to Windows machines and so after that point the computers stopped being memorable.

LC: Which was the first company you worked with? What did you do there?
Andrew: The first company I worked for was Procter & Gamble. I was a brand manager for Cover Girl cosmetics – a bit weird for a guy but it taught me some good lessons on marketing and delivering great products to consumers.

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LC: Can you elaborate on your hobbies and what you enjoy doing to pass your time?
Andrew: Spending time with my family and martial arts – a combination of JKD, Muy Thai and mixed martial arts. It’s a great way to get your mind to switch to something aside from entrepreneurialism.

LC: Where are you based now? Any plans for the immediate future.
Andrew: I’m in New Jersey right now. Immediate plans for now are email this to Los Creador and go get some lunch.
BTW, please check out our new Community site . A shameless plug but as we have a zero dollars marketing budget I won’t apologize too much ;-)

Thanks for the interview…

Andrew

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