Category: Million Dollar Startup Game

Flixor: Stay Tuned!

I wish I could tell you all about Flixor but I’m not allowed to today.  What I can say is that Flixor is a very cool up and coming company focused on tools that have both consumer appeal but also the potential to revolutionize the advertising industry.  I recommend you go to http://www.Flixor.com, bookmark it and watch as this company moves from stealth to a very compelling young company. If you are a potential angel – reach out and I’ll forward on your contacts – you won’t be disappointed…

Andrew
Founder – Advisor Garage
http://www.AdvisorGarage.com/Community

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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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3Luxe: A $500K Virtual Investment

3Luxe.com is a product search engine with a difference…other search engines use algorithms, numbers and fractions as the cogs and wheels to regurgitate a whole string of very near misses to everyone that plugs in a search phrase. 3Luxe uses no algorithms or numbers…it more relies on the taste and interpretive skills of its founder and pooled review site results to determine the top 3 products currently available. 

Like Flash floor cleaner and hundreds of P&G commercials, draw a line down the middle of your computer screen and compare and contrast – on one side you have a big complicated machine delivering a homogenized gloop of product results to anyone that asks and on the other side of the screen, the three best products in any given category according to the 3Luxe founders.

Business Model:

  • Advertising from key manufacturers who are ultimately lucky enough to have their product/s in one of the top three results
  • Affiliate links with Amazon or Shopzilla et al when people take the next step after the search and review and treacle forward towards purchase
  • Google ads (ugh!)

Some Core Functionality/Elements:

  •  Um…Search!
  • 3 Results only of perhaps the most expensive but kick butt products you can find in any given category
  • Thumbs up or thumbs down vote for any of the items returned
  • A very cool drop down of review results from cnet and others, along with consumer reviews from other sites
  • Bookmarking
  • Send to friend
  • Comment posting for all items

Likes:
Like, Like, Like.  This site is well built, thoughtful, intuitive and not surprising the Worple Brothers have got it right…I say not surprising because Doug Worple, the CEO is another former proctoid that went on to create what looks to be a very cool creative / advertising agency called Barefoot.  Like it or not, the great advertising agencies are helping to shape the tastes and desires of us all…so is it a shock that by combining their own tastes for items with consumer reviews from multiple sites they are delivering product results that actually seem to be the best 3 luxury items.  I guess my original concern was “What makes these guys able to choose the best three items that I’m going to like?” – but in a sense, better to combine the science of review sites such as cnet with some degree of taste than relying upon the Google number crunchers. This business model opens up a number of now obvious business opportunities i.e. segmented product search engines according to demographics – so now we have the ‘A’ search engine, anyone up for creating the ‘B1′ product search engine?

Dislikes/Suggestions:

  • The home page has more of a ‘website’ than a search engine feel.  You could argue that this is so different that going for the minimalist search format is wrong – but the current look and feel of the home page is almost of a templated website.
  • Taking a note from P&G brand training – too many fonts, and no clear obvious focus for the eye causes confusion in terms of what are the priorities on the page.  We have caps competing with flowing scripts with more modern fonts, moving photos and all in all its a great concept which, from a design perspective, needs some tweaks.

My Virtual Investment:
With my virtual $1M, I would consider it a luxury if I were able to make a $500K virtual investment in 3Luxe. Good luck Guys!

http://www.3Luxe.com

Interested in other articles about Its Our Movie?

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

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Lyro Speaks Back: Update~ $350K Virtual Investment ‘Restatement’

Lief Larson here.  One of the founders of Lyro.  Thanks for taking a look.  If we lifted up the skirt on our long-term objectives, that wouldn’t be much fun now would it? )

Plaxo is already following us.  We launched web searchable digital business cards before they did.  We had the social aspects before them.  But that doesn’t matter.  We like Plaxo.  We even like Goliath LinkedIn.  Both companies are good at what they do.  We are focused on the small and independent businesses, the entrepreneurs, the consultants who wants to get more out of the web and have better visibility.  Best of all, we’re asking for nothing in return.  If we help you and you find the site useful, you might upgrade.  It’s a pretty simple value proposition.

With regards to messages, our system is primarily open.  The downside to open is that if anyone can message you freely (or you message others freely)  we’d be setting up a system for abuse.  Nobody has time for “hot webcam chicks” when you’re out trying to find new business and opportunity.

I’m glad you’d have a willingness to put a “Virtual $100k” behind us and I’m looking forward to putting that virtual check to good use!

http://lieflarson.lyro.com

++

Thanks for the update and feedback Lief!  I really do appreciate your business and it’s business model and agree with almost all your points. The low ‘virtual’ valuation was driven by nothing more than wondering where the market potential was given the two goliaths we’ve discussed.  The irony is that I’ve been working on a site for sometime that is meant to address some of the weaknesses of the ‘blanket’ or everything to everybody approach by Linked In etc.

I’d like to increase the virtual investment to $350K. After all, us little guys have got to stick together.

Good luck and let us know how you get on with your great business: Lyro

http://www.Lyro.com

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

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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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My DNA Fragrance: A Virtual Investment of $250K

And now for something completely different! Not a neat and innovative website but an actual, real product…something you can touch…well, not so much ‘touch’ as smell. My DNA fragrance is a new company which offers individualized perfume based on your own individual DNA. Each fragrance is a one of a kind product which My DNA creates after you submit a swab of your saliva. My DNA then uses a patented and revolutionary new process to create your individual fragrance which arrives in a clinically approved 4oz. aluminum bottle with a fine midst sprayer and if you want to do it properly, create your own bottle too.  As My DNA puts it, it’s not self centered, it’s self scented!

And yes, I know the swab sounds kind of a gross way of giving My DNA your DNA but you only do it once and it’s alot more pleasant than some of the alternative ways of giving up your DNA. 

Business Model:

  • A one time swab kit and lab fee: $99
  • Your own 4oz bottle for women: $89
  • Your own 4oz bottle for men: $59

Some Core Functionality:

  • One time swab process to give your DNA via a kit my DNA send then just re-order
  • Patented fragrance development

Likes:
Why smell like a guy who’s played polo all day?  Why smell like a suit designer? Wouldn’t it be better to have a fragrance that is in tune with your own smell…sort of like buying white wine to go with the fish? I’m not sure that metaphor actually works but as regular fragrances are created without ‘you’ in mind then how can they compliment your personal fragrance notes? Alright, that’s enough…my real point is this is different and believe or not, my belief is that there are enough people out there who will make a concept like this work and help create a sustainable profitable business.

Dislikes/Suggestions::

  • The website needs to be significantly improved. The design is fine but not in keeping with the potential strength of where this brand needs to position itself.  It looks like a website created by a one week contractor. This takes away from the ‘Selling a Dream’ approach and brand that will translate into real and significant revenue. And guys, please use the whole page and pretty please take off the ‘Disney’esk’ sparkles that appear when you move to a navigation button.
  • The price point is a lot less than I expected.  This is NOT a business where you gain traction through a lower price point and increase your prices later.  Increase your prices now!  Double your prices and you should see an increase in volume. 
  • In the website descriptor at the top of the browser it says ‘Discount Perfume, Discount cologne’…no, No, NO!  People don’t spend money on a unique and exclusive fragrance if they’re told it’s discount.  Make it super exclusive…better yet, get some photos at some exhibitions with celebs. Seriously – avoid discount and double your prices.
  • Allow website users to refer others to your site – you’ll be glad you did.
  • DOUBLE YOUR PRICE!
  • The only real worry I have is ‘is this real?’ Will a fragrance be unique because of my DNA or just unique because it get’s pulled out of that moments fragrance catalog – a fragrance lottery if you will.  And if it is created specifically for me and will smell better because of it. Prove it on your website or at least outline the rationale.

Additional Revenue Opportunities:

  • Consider launching personalized shower gels, soaps etc 

My Virtual Investment:
With my virtual $1M, I would bath in my very own citrus notes a virtual $250K and pass it over.

http://www.mydnafragrance.com/

Interested in other articles about My DNA?

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

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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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