Startups VCs are dying to invest in

VCs have a big problem. Many entrepreneurs just don’t want to solve big problems anymore. After hearing the fifth socially-responsible-Twitter-client-running-on-fuel-cell-powered-unlocked-iPhones pitch this week, it’s understandable how VCs want to take August off. So, in the interest of helping everyone, I’m going to share the high-level areas for a couple of the types of startups that VCs are dying to invest in. If enough credible entrepreneurs are interested, we could probably set up a C Prize (as opposed to merely an X Prize).

Weather management

  • Elevator pitch: What weather do you want today?
  • How: Different ways to go about this one. You could create weather on a macro or micro scale. Or you could grab weather from one location, package it up and move it to a different location at reasonable cost. For example, ship rain from Boston to the Middle East. Ship sun from wherever to Boston.
  • Business model: You have options here depending on how you solve the problem. Enabling equipment works, provided you slap on a hefty maintenance and operations contract and get your customers to fund the capex. Alternatively, you can go for a straight marketplace or exchange. If you want to have fun, don’t automate it. Instead, hire young up-and-comers from the commodities exchanges. They make for great footage.
  • Why: Because you don’t just want to be rich. You also want to be the One Who Saved Earth.
  • Who will back you: This one is custom-tuned for getting backed by a Boston or New York VC, especially after the never-ending rain this summer. However, if you have a credible plan, you can expect crazy bidding up of terms from Scandinavia and the Middle East.

Productivity enhancement

  • Elevator pitch: Do you want to be super-human?
  • How: Different ways to go about this one also. You could eliminate the need for sleep. If you can’t find any other way to do it, go for genetic engineering but read this first. Alternatively, you could find a way to pack way more than 24 hours in a day. (Caveat: it’s been tried several times before and everyone has gotten stuck on the cost analysis of the fast-moving spaceship.) Last but not least, if you are based in Massachusetts and, therefore, part of the best robotics community on Earth, you can go the cybor path but watch the aesthetics–they matter a lot in social media world.
  • Business model: This one is custom-made for a subscription business on a per-life basis. Perhaps as a percentage of lifetime earnings?
  • Why: Because you want to be the first to take advantage of the invention but don’t have the money to do it on your own.
  • Who will back you: A Chinese VC with shady government ties will back you while the US VCs are tied up in congressional hearings.

With ideas of this caliber there is always a risk of being kidnapped and turned into a research slave for a powerful government’s dark agencies. That may, of course, be prevented through some startup innovation. Topic for another post.

Update: (thanks to FN’s comment) Bill Gates has already taken the lead in the weather management startup space. Hmm, I wonder you’ll back him?

About Simeon Simeonov

I'm an entrepreneur, hacker, angel investor and reformed VC. I am currently Founder & CTO of Swoop, a search advertising platform. Through FastIgnite I invest in and work with a few great startups to get more done with less. Learn more, follow @simeons on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn.
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10 Responses to Startups VCs are dying to invest in

  1. “Who will back you: A Chinese VC with shady government ties will back you while the US VCs are tied up in congressional hearings.”

    ROTFLMAO!

    Funny stuff, dude.

  2. I don’t know; the first idea sounds like it needs customers prepared to buy a public good – think that might be a critical flaw in the business plan 😉

    The 2nd idea sold me though 🙂

  3. FN says:

    You joke, but Bill Gates et al just filed a patent on changing the weather.

  4. Changing the weather already happens; China fired a bunch of rockets to get clear skies during the olympics.

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/cloud-seeding.htm

  5. Chris, when I was growing up in Bulgaria, some cities/villages routinely fired rockets to protect valuable crops.

  6. FN, I hadn’t seen that before but I’m glad Bill Gates agrees with me. 😉

  7. Mike Alfred says:

    Don’t VCs bring it upon themselves by continuing to invest in the 17th social network for dog owners and the 29th video sharing site? Entrepreneurs are just giving the VCs what they’ve proven they want — the same old crap. If VCs want to see bigger and better ideas, they actually need to have the guts to fund them when they do show up. VCs should take August off so they can start thinking about how they can actually create value by investing in truly new ideas. Otherwise we’ll just continue to see the same old lemming like behavior.

  8. Sam S says:

    How many times has it been said: Its not the idea that matters its who is in charge. Facebook was not the first social network nor was Google the first search engine

    Business is an art not a science. This is l like trying to pre-define the next No. 1 song. The problem is that too many VC’s are lousy A&R men who want to find the next Facebook instead of the next Mark Zuckerburg or Bill Gates.

  9. Pingback: Investors want startups that solve problems | TechSentry

  10. Things weren’t always like this – there were times when VCs invested in ‘transformational’ innovations. Alas,not any more. Once upon a time JP Morgan invested in Edison’s light bulb – now nobody wants to fund my darkness bulb (it emits darkness when switched on, imagine the many uses!) – because it doesn’t feel and sound like Twitter 😦

    No, I have to focus on my revolutionary idea for a 70-character micro-blogging platform (codenamed Spitter) – and they will come, like flies drawn to honey.

    August off is a good idea. Me too. I’ll join a couple of VCs for some blue marlin fishing in Hawaii. Fun, a few coctails in the company of exotic models.. and I think I’llg get the next round covered.

    See you in September!

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