Mayur Jobanputra

Startup Ideas

I’m always thinking about startups. On this page I have listed many of the ideas I have come up over the past 20 or so years. Most of these never become anything more than idea. Some take an initial shape (often a doc and domain), and a few even go to market or are being worked on now. 

Here is my process (post the initial idea):

  1. Do some “napkin-math” to see if the idea is worth pursuing (blog post coming soon, for now see here)
  2. Check for domain names – see if someone has thought of this
  3. Research to find out if someone else is building this already. If they are, visit their site and “glean” what they discovered and (often) what they missed (its ridiculously easy to get off track in startups)
  4. If nobody seems to be, explore the idea further to see if a community exists and if someone mentions the same problem
  5. Explore the business and startup canvases (google business model canvas)
  6. Consider the idea from a PM lens: “What could the MVP look like?”
  7. Think about partners and influencers that might participate
  8. Think about the Wizard of Oz version of the startup 
 

At this point, if I get a good feeling and think it’s worth pursuing, I start the heavy lifting like 

  • looking for potential teammates and co-founders
  • joining communities (there is a community for everything)
  • reading blogs
  • joining email newsletters
  • asking on reddit for some pointers to resources
  • listening to podcasts
  • developing a mission/vision (something new that I’m working more on)
  • and most important of all: finding and talking to customers to get a deeper sense of their interest and pain frequency

If I can stomach all of this customer and market research, and I’m still excited by the problem (I often stop being somewhere in the research), then I know I’m on to something that’s a great product/market/founder fit (google it.. its a thing).

In the past, (prior to becoming a product manager), I would have jumped headfirst into building the thing. Nowadays, I “front-run” problem discovery, customer surveys, and team building instead. 

So that’s a little about my process.. enjoy the list!

Just finished a zoom webinar with Jason Calacanis and Adeo Ressi and saw that everyone was sharing their LinkedIn URLs. The tech writer in me couldn’t resist. I just had to make a google doc and share it with everyone that attended. So I did here: https://bit.ly/3EFxRpz

I thought to myself: “Why doesn’t someone invent a virtual zoom attendee that you invite to a zoom meeting that does this automatically?”

  1. Collects everyone’s LinkedIn
  2. Sends a DM to everyone and shares a post-zoom link that everyone can visit to chat, talk, connect after

This isn’t the first time I have thought about this. Similar here.

 

The Problem: Hard to network with everyone in a Zoom meeting
Hypothesized Solution: An app that automatically collects linkedin URLs and puts everyone into a chat room

Just an idea

COVID has stopped people from gathering. In the future, people will want to watch events from the comfort of their own home. Watchers will want to feel like they are at the event. Traditionally streams are broadcast from show and event organizers. The viewer experience is highly tailored and edited.

Streamcake is a new way to broadcast your in-person event by letting selected event attendees broadcast from their mobile. Community broadcasters can stream their own version of the event to your unique Streamcake landing page.

This let’s viewers choose their own viewing experience by watching the stream that they enjoy.

Broadcasters can interact with watchers, share select insight, and give their own unique point of view of your event.

The Problem: Viewers watching live events online don't get an intimate experience of the event. Event organizers are the only broadcasters of live events and are often unable to provide this intimate experience
Hypothesized Solution: A mobile app that lets anyone (vetted by event organizers) attending in-person events, broadcast their own version of the event to the event page (hosted on Streamcake).

Just an idea

Instantly run an AMA for your live event without logging in

An online app where anyone can instantly launch an AMA for their live online conversation or stream they broadcast on Twitter, Youtube, Twitch, etc.

Register, Publish, Share

I’m listening to a conversation by @sabakarimm and @danhightowerjr right now. Most of these social apps have some kind of conversation mechanism built in – usually a chat stream or re-tweet. This is OK, but it’s not a great user experience. Why doesn’t Twitter have an AMA built in? Why don’t these broadcasters run AMA’s more? Is it a user experience problem?  Is it app overwhelm? Why don’t they have an AMA room where they share links, ideas, notes, etc?

The Problem: Streamers, broadcasters, and odcasters don't have a good way to run an AMA quickly and instantly
Hypothesized Solution: "tinyURL" for AMAs - A purpose-built AMA app where anyone can launch and manage an AMA. Simple as tinyURL, easy as Google Docs, easy as Tweeting

Actively Considering

GoodMingl is a community platform powered by AI. We aim to replace the Community Manager with an AI that handles onboarding, automated introductions, discussion finding, and generates deep user insight for community owners.

Something I applied to YCombinator with in late 2020. More info here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1bNqJ5PRY2Sg31qUic1_wM8_bUXAmGBd9LFLd-n6ba-4/edit?usp=sharing

The Problem: Communities and social apps are broken. Users join, rarely engage, and are left participating in conversations that don't matter.
Hypothesized Solution: The entire idea of social media needs a reboot. I'm starting by building a direct competitor to Slack, Discord, and FB groups. If you want more info, visit goodmingl.com.

View Project: https://daodir.co

The internet needs a list of DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) for the Web 3 natives. I would love to join one, but there doesn’t seem to be a single place I can go where I can see a list of daos. It’s an easy problem to solve, but not necessarily easy to populate.

The Problem: People can't find a list of DAOs
Hypothesized Solution: A public directory of DAOs


13/10/21

Came up with the idea of a DAO directory when thinking about where to find them.

Just an idea

Watching Justin Kan roast pitches got me thinking this is something startups/founders would LOVE to have.

Monetization: Double-sided. Founders pay a small one-time fee to upload their decks into a “pitch room”. This small fee ensures the marketplace remains clean. Investors pay a higher fee to see new decks and engage with founders.

Roadmap/Features:

  • Founders can record a short video and walk through the deck
  • Investors can follow investment categories that interest them
  • Founders can upload revisions and investors can re-watch if they want
  • Both parties can discuss and interact in private video chat rooms – both sync and async
  • Pitch designers, consultants, writers, marketers and others can join as service providers and offer their freelance skills
  • Both parties can create teams and invite them into pitch rooms
  • Investors can create investor-related notes and grade startups
  • Social media integration (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) so that founders can share startup updates by tagging their social posts with a special tag
  • Analytics so that founders know which deck slides had the most/least engagement
  • Importing (one-way only) slides by sharing the slide URL (Google, Figma, and others)
  • Automatic revision history and ability to set decks to Draft/Publish
  • Investors, with founder permission, can save their feedback videos
  • If above, PitchRoaster can publish feedback videos on the PitchRoaster website
  • Startups can create different types of review rooms – one for friends and family, one for professional investors
  • A less “controversial” domain name that startups can use if they don’t like “Pitch Roaster”. Could also register “ReviewMyPitch.com” and have the platform source code duplicated there. Fees would be higher there and the branding/style would be different.
  • Founders can “theme” their pitch rooms with their preferred style/color/graphics/font etc.

Go to market strategy:

Anyone, in theory, could review a deck. A professor, a teacher, an “adult”, writer, a Senior Professional, a junior investor, friends and so on. I would start with letting startups post their pitches for free and then let them invite anyone they want into review rooms. They can create as many rooms as they want and even allow room members to interact if they like.

Once startups are on the platform, professional investors will show up without any platform marketing efforts (startups will invite them over anyway).

The Problem: Founders/Startups don't have any insight into what investors are thinking when pitch decks are reviewed. Investors also don't have a good workflow to receive pitch decks.
Hypothesized Solution: A marketplace where founders can submit pitches, and angels can give feedback over video/audio and then founders can record video feedback and submit revisions

Just an idea

There are too many competing crypto networks, each with its own protocol and chain. This is good for innovation but bad for buyers that want to just buy NFTs. In order to buy NFTs, you need to hold tokens on each platform, and then learn how to perform transactions. This is silly. Someone should make a multi-chain platform where you can buy NFTs on ANY network.

The Problem: People can't see ALL the NFTs in crypto in one place and buy them
Hypothesized Solution: A multi-chain NFT global marketplace that takes care of cross-chain swap fees, gas, and presents buyers with a single website to view, and buy NFTs

Just an idea

A social app where founders post their “daily wins” sharing their updates which get shared socially and openly, and then VCs can “cheer on” founders with a quick tweet, or video, or audio message. Basically Twitter, but for a specific subset of users (founders and investors)

Born out of this idea: https://twitter.com/agazdecki/status/1451665267369545729

The Problem: Founders feel alone, VC's don't know where the founders are. Cheerleading is needed much.
Hypothesized Solution: A social app where founders post their "daily wins" sharing their updates which get shared socially and openly, and then VCs can "cheer on" founders with a quick tweet, or video, or audio message. Basically Twitter, but for a specific subset of users (founders and investors)

Just an idea

I need a place to store my daily todos and minor activities. Something lighter than Trello, but heavier than notepad (my current implementation). Just a place to quickly jot down what’s on my plate today, and check them off when done. I don’t need due dates, or tagging, or task assignment or sharing. Just something very small that lets me check stuff off and maybe a way to see what I didn’t get to yesterday. A mobile app would be nice. A desktop app could be cool.

The Problem: No consistent place to store the small tasks I intend to do daily
Hypothesized Solution: A web app with a simple UX where I can type in all my tasks for the day, and check them off when done

Why can’t LinkedIn just go and look at all my other social sites, write up something about me using AI and keep my profile updated at all times? Someone should build that.

The Problem: Keeping my social profile updated sucks. This is partly why Twitter works. No profile needed.
Hypothesized Solution: An AI that goes out and looks at all of my social profiles, modifies my profile description as I change, and then asks me once a month if I want to keep it updated

Originally a domain name registered without a specific idea in place. I recently thought about a potential idea that could be interested to build/launch. Based on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54_3_GMjFws, maybe this site can be an online educational game where founders drag/drop puzzle pieces around, and then submit their proposal. Each of the puzzle pieces would represent a specific step in building startups. After submission, the user would get to see how most other users voted, how they rank against experts, and then learn more about specific steps.

The Problem: First-time founders make a lot of the same mistakes over and over
Hypothesized Solution: A multi-level puzzle game where users can drag/drop puzzle pieces in the order they believe is correct, and then see their results against others and experts


18/10/21

Day zero

Just an idea

This idea is based on this: https://share.doppler.com. With doppler, you can expire shared documents after x views or x days/weeks. This is a neat idea. But what if we could sign a document with a Metamask wallet, and then also (optionally) specify the wallet addresses that are allowed to view the document? That would be a very novel way of sending documents, sharing files, sharing copywritten works and more.

The Problem: How do you send someone in the metaverse a long document without exposing your identity and yet ensuring only they can see it?
Hypothesized Solution: An online document sharing tool where the sender has to sign with their wallet, and the reciever's wallet address is required to descrypt?


18/10/21

First entry

Just an idea

Like Datamilk but for WordPress with tighter integration with 3rd party WP tools like Elementor, Divi, Gutenberg, etc.  Also, instead of modifying whole pages, letting the site owner pick/choose the data they want to modify. For example, hero headline copy, number of Elementor rows, row duplication, etc. Also smarter font resizing. Future capability to completely replace Elementor with it’s own native content AI machine that lets me build a page using just a handful of content rows. Automatic optimization of course.

The Problem: Installing content gets easier all the time in WordPress with sophisticated page editors. Optimizing for conversions is still slow and manual.
Hypothesized Solution: AI/ML that does the content creating, selecting and optimizing all on its own using data to drive decisions. Like Datamilk but for WordPress.


13/10/21

Would be nice if I could just include 1 shortcode on an empty WordPress page, and let the AI build/create based on the content I input/provide. For example, I give the AI some images and copy that I want to see on a page, and it goes and builds the page automatically and with some manual input like copy style, manual voting, etc.

Just an idea

A simple CRM that has a browser plugin so that I can tag contacts in LinkedIn.

The Problem: Tagging contacts isn't possible on LinkedIn
Hypothesized Solution: A browser plugin that lets me tag someone on LinkedIn and add to a simple CRM


07/10/21

Tagging is a start. But what about followup? Or what about when they accept my friend request? Or if they don't? You don't get their contact info until they do. What if you msg them? Are they more valuable? Can "value" of the contact be tracked without my intervention (based on # and quality of msg exchange for example)? And then when it comes to using these contacts, can I run form emails or letters? Or maybe even using something like rephrase.ai to produce full blown funnel pages?

08/10/21

Got a potentially good domain name EasyAsPieCRM.com "The CRM that takes 30 seconds to learn."

Just an idea

Behance for low-fidelity wireframes where users can comment, markup, discuss, collaborate, share, save, import/export.

The Problem: No website to share/collab on low-fidelity wireframes
Hypothesized Solution: Like Behance, but organized by category/tags and more searchable. Ability to import/export/sync with existing tools


15/09/21

I'm doing some wireframes now for a project, and was looking for wireframes that handle a specific area of my wireframe (adding filters)

Just an idea

A TG bot that collates all the pinned posts into a single document

The Problem: When you join a TG group.. its hard to see all the pinned messages and understand their context
Hypothesized Solution: Having a single web document with all pinned posts available to view in one screen would be great

Just an idea
The Problem: It's difficult to keep constant track of my stock portfolio and to setup stop loss entries
Hypothesized Solution: A mobile-first trading app that automatically sets up a stop loss entry for a pre-determined threshold

Just an idea
The Problem: Companies occassiionally need to crowdsource data collection
Hypothesized Solution: A service companies can engage that connects their request with crowds


03/02/21

Could a business exist to connect crowds with data needs?

The Problem: Aspiring PMs don't really have a good grasp of how to build a startup and don't see the inherent learnings in that process
Hypothesized Solution: A pre-recorded course that PMs can take that walks them through all the phases of startup building


02/02/21

Something like...

> Ideation - from personal experience
> Mission/Vision
> Product design
> Estimation
> Potential users and pain points
> Prioritization focused on PMF
> Building a team
> Roadmapping and tactical work
> Measuring and Iterating

02/02/21

Each of these steps are eventually in the wheelhouse of a good PM and I think 90% of aspiring PMs don't have the skills or understanding of how to do this. This could easily be a course + live 1:1 or live group consults.

Expected outcome: Aspiring PM goes through each of each of these stages, they learn PM work in real-life and then showcase that on their social/resume

The Problem: I would love to watch a video with friends and pause easily
Hypothesized Solution: An app where we can vote on a video, watch, have it pause automatically based on audio, and record the commentary


27/01/21

I just finished my first video with Teresa on Exponent and thought.. hmm.. wouldn't it be great if we watched a video together and could share/comment?

27/01/21

How to create virality: You invite friends and the only way for them to become users and launch their own popsicle is that you have to first do a video with them and then earn a certain score. The score is calculated on the number of pauses, re-starts, sounds recorded during (laugh, cry, talk, etc) etc.

27/01/21

Users that get more popsicles can invite more users to the platform. The users can also sell invites if they like and earn a cut too.

Just an idea
The Problem: There are so many brilliant founders around, but no easy place to collaborate on ideas
Hypothesized Solution: A community platform where you work on startup ideas by contributing your knowledge and market insight, and gain points that can convert into equity later - should the idea go to market


24/01/21

I have been running this ideas board for a few weeks now. It's great, but I would love to collaborate on ideas with others. Maybe have live group meetings to work on specific artifacts like a canvas or something.

Just an idea
The Problem: Mock interviews are either expensive to train (you have to signup) or are hard to schedule
Hypothesized Solution: An Uber for Mock interviews. You signup, start mocking one time for free, and then invite others on to the platform to do more mock interviews.


21/01/21

Viral component - the more people you invite, the more mocks you get to run. You can create your own private mock groups, or find public groups that you can join. The app automatically assigns mocks with people above, at and above your skill or experience level based on a shared calculation at the end of the mock. Who was more experienced? Who was less experienced?

Just an idea
The Problem: I use multiple apps and methods to publish, note, and journal
Hypothesized Solution: An app that connects to the other apps that I use like Gdocs, Notion, WordPress, knows what kind of content I'm publishing, and updates those target documents automatically. Sort of a virtual secretary. Powered by AI of course.


07/01/21

I got this idea from watching Liam Bolling talk about resumes at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1Bbl8QBd6I. He gave some good tips about what questions to ask yourself when thinking about resume bullets. I wanted to drop those notes down into a Google doc that I'm keeping (I should probably move to notion at some point I suppose).

07/01/21
Building MVP
The Problem: Makeup artists have no obvious way to build their site, get clients, and grow their business
Hypothesized Solution: A one-stop directory, agency, community, LMS, and more


20/02/15

I first registered the domain after having prior experience working with a client, Julie Brown, a makeup artist

17/08/16

I placed the project on hold due to personal circumstances

12/11/20

I restarted the project as I still didn't see any competitors entering this area of business

Just an idea
The Problem: Commenting with keyboard is slow and painful
Hypothesized Solution: A desktop utility that watches the app you use (Slack, Discord, FB, LinkedIn, etc), lets you record an audio file, transcribes and automatically posts a text reply and a link to the audio file


09/01/21

Idea inception thinking about working with Jason Calacanis at Launch as a social media manager. How would I possibly comment on all these platforms? Typing is so slow. There has to be a better way. How about a little app (windows/mac) that sees the app I use, and then posts a reply for me by transcribing my audio response. That would be amazing and a real time saver.

Just an idea
The Problem: VC's have trouble finding promising early-stage founders
Hypothesized Solution: Instead of launching a community, course, or saas event, hire a professional "founder scout" at founderscouts.com. Founder Scouts are professional founder finders that join startup communities and identify promising founding teams that don't yet have a voice.


11/01/21

Idea inception thinking about the VC and startup ecosystem. I love startups and founder. I wonder if a marketplace of this kind could exist where people are paid as a professional founder scout.

Just an idea
The Problem: Job seekers don't have good ways to track their job applications
Hypothesized Solution: A virtual assistant that tracks your application progress by email, gives you insight into what resumes work and don't work, and which versions of your resume seem to be working best


14/01/21

I'm tracking my job applications in a very primitive way right now. I'm using google docs and a folder. I name each resume with the title of the JD. If I get rejected, I note down "rejected" on the file name. It's primitive, but it works well enough. Sure would be nice if I could hire an assistant to do this.

Just an idea
The Problem: Getting someone to sign an NDA is a pain
Hypothesized Solution: Use video and AI to virtually interview someone


14/01/21

Thinking about the painful process of developing an NDA, and then sending to someone to sign it. Why can't we do this over video?

Just an idea
The Problem: I want an easy way to digitize and reference my daily journaling. I love journaling, but archiving and finding stuff is a pain.
Hypothesized Solution: Daily Wins to the rescue. Journal to your heart's content, and then send your journals in to be digitized, transcribed (cause we can do that now thanks to Amazon) and placed on the internet forever.


17/01/21

Selling pre-formatted journal blanks makes sense. For example, a box to lock/unlock your pages so that you can share privately, and an another section to enter the journal date.

17/01/21

Amazon Textract to the rescue

Just an idea
The Problem: Most landlords need credit history and proof of income to get a rental
Hypothesized Solution: A third party identity and credit management company that builds a professional "rental resume" that you can share with a potential landlord


19/01/21

An idea I thought about a few years ago when I was trying to move to another rental but the most significant barrier is lack of employment proof.

The Problem: Where are the product podcasts?
Hypothesized Solution: Just a podcast..

Just an idea
The Problem: Building custom web apps is difficult. You need a Designer and Engineer and have to invest a tonne of money to get something standing up.
Hypothesized Solution: An app that you build programmatically - an abstraction layer that sits above your application that lets codify the business logic. A custom SDK for business logic that uses AI to assist.


21/01/21

Thinking about this as watch the webflow interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkJPxDgUGMA.

Just an idea
The Problem: What if you own an electric car and are far from home or at work? And you are low on charge and there are no chargers around?
Hypothesized Solution: Enable homeowners to create a charging station lane by signing up, getting an installation, and completing their profile using an app. The home owner pays nothing for an installation (or buys it outright) and earns a residual income above their cost of electricity. Both the home owner and EC earns a cut. and the customer pays for the electricity cost.