December 12th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
Greetings readers, and welcome to a new monthly blog series where I will discuss all things ‘startup’ – from venture capital resources to analyses of innovative companies that I think are truly disrupting their industries, or creating entirely new ones.
I wanted to start by introducing two companies that I recently discovered, both of which leverage technology to simplify consumers’ lives and literally “put the internet to work for you”: ShopSavvy and ifttt.
ShopSavvy, a free smartphone application introduced in September 2008 by Dallas-based idea factory Big in Japan, allows users to do comparative shopping on the go. The application, which is available on Android, Windows Mobile and Apple’s iOS systems, uses smartphones’ cameras, the internet, and geolocation services to identify products and inform shoppers where they can find those products online or locally. The app can read traditional barcodes as well as QR codes, and has a slew of features that allow users to add photos and prices, post reviews, share products via various channels, stream deals aggregated from the web and other ShopSavvy users, and check the availability of products at local retailers.
After using the application for a few weeks, I have been amazed by its potential to change the way consumers shop and its broader impact on B2C product-centric business models. Especially during such times of economic uncertainty, consumers are increasingly arming themselves with information to make smarter purchasing decisions, and ShopSavvy provides a clearly defined benefit in the form of immediate savings. For merchants, however, the application is more of a direct affront to profit margins, as they must become more aware of and responsive to competitors’ pricing schemes – a challenge that is especially daunting to smaller, less flexible retailers who cannot purchase on the scale of larger, big-box competitors. Continue Reading»
October 26th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
Leonardo DiCaprio at Mobli's office (Image via Mashable)
A hallmark of American culture has been the extent to which we have been able to squeeze every dollar of celebrity out of our star athletes, musicians and entertainers. From the eponymous Air Jordans to Joe Namath’s 1974 advertisement for hosiery and Britney Spears’ perfume, merchandise and endorsements have been a great way for stars to supplement their (and their agents’) incomes, and expand their marketing reach.
A more interesting phenomenon as of late has been the foray of celebrities into the world of Venture Capital. Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher are some of the biggest names to handover cash to promising startups, but other notable stars such as MC Hammer and even tween heartthrob Justin Bieber are reported to be scratching their entrepreneurial itch by way of VC investments. Can you imagine the Silicon Valley headlines? “It’s not a bubble, it’s Bieber Fever!”
Are Kutcher and DiCaprio really as adept at identifying emerging technologies and talented entrepreneurs as the veterans at Kleiner Perkins and Andreesson Horowitz? I doubt they can model cash flows or advise on go-to-market strategies as well as the true VC players can, but apparently the Ven”star” Capitalists are doing fairly well for themselves. Kutcher, through his investment partnership called A Grade, was an early investor in such hot startups as Foursquare, Path and Flipboard, and was even part of a group that bought Skype in 2009 before selling it to Microsoft in April for more than three times the purchase amount. Yesterday, social video and photo platform Mobli announced that Leonardo DiCaprio was one of a handful of investors that had participated in its latest round of funding – a $4 million seed round – and in April, MC Hammer announced he was joining as an investor/mentor in a tech incubator in Silicon Valley called NewMe. Continue Reading»
August 5th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
From two political parties working together in Washington to the unusual split of Kraft into two companies, there was a lot to keep up with this week. Rather than weighing in on the negativity around the political debate, we chose to focus our attention on all the positive things going on in the world of startups. Here are some of the most interesting things we came across this week:
•Want to support businesses started by entrepreneurs 30 years old and younger? Nonprofit Our Time aggregates daily deals from businesses started by young entrepreneurs.
•A survey of 550 startup staffers completed by the folks at BestVendor revealed Google’s dominance in the realm of web and business tools used by startups (see who else makes popular tools here: http://motv.st/oMMi8Z)
•How do you tell your boss that you are leaving to join a startup company? Quora members weigh in here.
•It seems that everyone within ten feet of a word processor has a few words of wisdom for entrepreneurs and startup companies, but we think that Paul Graham’s essays are easily some of the most informative, relevant, and enlightening.
August 1st, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
by Sabrina Hu, MBA Candidate, 2011, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
Last summer I found myself in need of summer plans as I had dismissed numerous internship opportunities as being boring and too comfortable.
As I was catching up with a good friend from college who also lives in the DC area, I found myself very intrigued by the progress he had made on his start up idea. He had first presented me with this idea three years ago so it was really great to see the idea evolve. Not only had he won a category in the Williams James business case competition, but he had also been meeting with all the right people seeking advice on how to proceed. It seemed like things were moving forward and on the right track. The next phase for the business was taking the step to bring the idea to life either through partnerships or investors. Having just completed my first year of business school, I pitched the idea of working with my friend as his summer intern to help him continue his momentum and for me to test out my newly learned skills.