March 16, 2011

IdeaGrinder™ - The Startup Opportunity Analyzer



I have for some time been impressed with the absence of any generally available system for evaluating the potential success of a business.  There are people who spend a lot of time looking at lots of different businesses, and at different stages of development, from startup to mature cash cow or IPO.  But there seems to be no system, no organized, structured way of looking at a business.

To complicate this matter of developing a standard System, there are different perspectives of evaluating the potential for success of a business. The startup entrepreneur is different from the 4th generation owner, and they have different views than the early stage angel investor or the series A venture capitalist.

It seems reasonable that professional investors would have a proprietary method, but what about the rest of us?  There should be a generalized System...

In 2003, over a series of meetings with good friend Alex Wenz, I developed a simple methodology to choose the best among his surplus of ideas.  We looked at the various elements of a business that were important to him, and built a little spreadsheet in Excel, and called it the IdeaGrinder.   Recently I ported it to Google Documents (Spreadsheet) and now it is available to a wider audience, not just those who pay Microsoft for Excel.


The design criteria for the IdeaGrinder are as follows:
  1.   Intuitive
  2.   Simple, easy to use, fast, fun  
  3.   Helpful, solves a problem
  4.   Inexpensive ("Freemium" model)
  5.   Social, viral
  6.   Secret sauce
  7.   Customizable, easily, by user
  8.   Browser based, no special software required
  9.   Multi-platform (can be used now, as is, on iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac, PC)
  10.   Multi-user - can view and update among multiple users simultaneously
  11.   Crowd source - collaborative development, none of us is as smart as all of us.
Several different versions are planned:
  1. Student
  2. Startup entrepreneur
  3. Mid stage entrepreneur
  4. Exit track entrepreneur
  5. Serial entrepreneur
  6. Accelerator/Incubator
  7. Manager
  8. Employee
  9. Angel investor
  10. VC
  11. Broker
  12. Banker
Humor may be found in some of these products...  no extra cost.

To discuss opportunities to help with development and/or content, please email me.