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).
- 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.
- 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?