Category Archives: steve spalding

My Reactions for Startup Reactor

Steve Spalding from How To Split An Atom and History of Blogging has kicked off an interesting concept called the Startup Reactor. It focuses on very early companies (typically pre-launch), shares their story and kicks off a conversation about their businesses. It’s an easy way to dive into some new ideas and a valuable resource for entrepreneurs who join the conversation. Steve asked if I would provide some thoughts on Startup Reactor’s first batch of elevator pitches and he published my thoughts via the following guest post:

First, I want to thank Steve for inviting me to guest post for the Startup Reactor. I think the Reactor is an interesting concept with value for participating entrepreneurs and those that jump into Reactor conversations. The current conversation is a review of five elevator pitches, from Transpondr, LogoBids, Publicitr, Siphs and Zambino. I should note that I was already aware of Siphs. I felt like I knew of LogoBids (or was it one of the other logo sites?). I have no prior exposure to Transpondr, Publicitr or Zambino.

The 7 Ms

I typically apply Dan’s 7Ms to evaluating venture opportunities: Market, Management, Magic, Model, Money, Momentum & Match. That’s a subject for a whole post series later this year, and too in-depth for this exercise. Therefore, I’ll assume comparable management skills across these opportunities (the #1 factor for funding) and focus on Magic (the idea), Market (size/competition for opportunity) and Model (distribution/revenue). There’s not a lot to go on with elevator pitches, but my thoughts/questions are as follows:


Transpondr: Magic feels too simple. I think that’s probably because you are focused on a specific problem (counting) without highlighting the broader strategic opportunity. Therefore, the market also seems small. The reference to hosting offers a hint of potential, but you need to share more than a hint — don’t make investors “do the math”, do it for them.

The revenue model sounds like freemium (good), but I have no idea how the world will find about you. Most viral businesses don’t go viral by accident, entrepreneurs specifically build in ways that use of the product automatically drives distribution of the product.

Biggest Question: How big is this problem/market?


LogoBids: I like the general Magic — crowdsourcing is an interesting theme across a number of verticals. The attraction of crowdsourcing also means you have or will have tons of competitors. There are graphics design and logo-specific entrants, as well as broader crowdsourcing like Kluster which have logos as a subset. Therefore, I’d ask about overall Market potential, assuming you’ll have to slice it up with 5+ other players.

The barriers to entry are low, unless you can reach scale fast enough to get eBay-like network effects: size makes LogoBay the default marketplace for logos. Revenue model is pretty straightforward (similar to other marketplaces), but like Transpondr the service isn’t inherently viral — so what is your plan to get the word out?

Biggest question: Why you win versus the mass of competitors now/later?


Publicitr: Magic wasn’t clear. Elevator pitch needs refinement with less buzzwords and maybe a specific example. I think the idea of analytics on a piece of content (versus site analytics) is interesting as content gets more portable/syndicated/bookmarked/digg’d, but I can’t tell if that is your secret sauce — or is it some special distribution engine.

Market potential is high, generally speaking — small business continues to look for ways to engage online customers. The model really isn’t clear either. Is this a news submission site with revenue per submission, an email distribution service with revenue per email, or revenue for some broad PR goals?

Biggest question: What problem do you solve and how, specifically?


Siphs: I like the overarching premise: email is more comfortable for the masses than whizbang RSS stuff. However, I was left a little short on Magic. I think chicklet businesses/services can be sold small, but I have a hard time seeing the big Market (from a dollars standpoint). I’d try to understand how the button can result in a more substantial business, possibly involving ongoing email newsletters (DISCLOSURE: I’m an investor in RSS-to-email provider Zookoda) or some unique news/social property based upon what articles are being shared.

I’m assuming a freemium revenue model, but again you’ll need to offer more substantial services before people pull out their credit card. This business is inherently viral, so I like the distribution model.

Biggest question: What specific problem are you trying to solve for bloggers? I’m not convinced that an share/email-this button is sufficient enough.


Zambino: I like the Magic here: in-video marketing offers unique ROI potential. My investment in IZEA comes from a strong belief that advertising and content will grow more and more intertwined as the world moves to on-demand content consumption (e.g. skipping commercials and/or ignoring display ads). This also suggests a very large market and company potential, if done right. Revver is a close comparable and their difficulties of late are a bit of a puzzle to me.

I would ask, “why will Zambino succeed given some other video marketing stumbles?” This leads directly to your Model. How will you, the publishers and advertisers get ROI that keeps everyone happy? It sounds like you’re already dodging the hosting expense of a Revver model by leveraging YouTube. Like Siphs, the distribution model here (good vids = more publishers/advertisers) is inherently viral.

Biggest question: Do you have the cred or the early unique publisher relationships to get content early? Just as good content can drive viral goodwill, bad content can drive viral bad will.

Now Back To You

So, there you go. As I mentioned above, the entrepreneur plays a huge role in getting funded. A great idea still needs a passionate, visionary founder to sell it to employees, partners, investors and customers. Assuming that exists for all of these, what do you think? Did I miss something or prompt any questions?

History of Blogging

The human atom splitter, Steve Spalding, invited me to participate in his latest social media experiment: Given the various ideas we’ve kicked around in the past, I wasn’t sure how serious he was. Low and behold, he took action and has pulled together a diverse network of quality bloggers with common threads of technology and entrepreneurship. If you like what you read here, you should check them out and/or subscribe — and if you haven’t subscribed to FVB yet, what’s the holdup?

HoB member blogs include:

How To Split An Atom

Author: Steve Spalding

How To Split An Atom is a weblog that explores the intersections of Social Media, Marketing and Culture all taken from the slant of the so called New Web.

On it we look at the entrepreneurs, memes, and other odds and ends that make up the digital economy.

[Subscribe via RSS]

The Geekette Speaketh

Author: Charo Nuguid

Hello! I’m the Head Geekette. At least, that’s how I’m known in cyberspace.

[Subscribe via RSS]

Broadcasting Brain

Author: Mark Dykeman

Exploring and broadcasting from the sweet spots at the intersections of:

* communication and perception
* popular culture, social media, and commerce
* creativity and content creation

Our brains are powerful assets as we broadcast our thoughts, opinions, ideas, and feelings into the blogosphere and across the Web.

[Subscribe via RSS]

Sellsius Real Estate Blog

Author: Joseph Ferrara

Sellsius covers all aspects of real estate, with a focus on marketing and new technology. The goal is to inform in an entertaining way. There are tips, new trends, consumer news and a heavy dose of humor. You may see something unusual from time to time because we like to color outside the lines.

[Subscribe via RSS]

Florida Venture Blog

Author: Dan Rua

A running perspective on Florida’s growing tech and venture community, with an occasional detour to the Southeast/national scene, venture capital FAQs and maybe a gadget or two….

[Subscribe via RSS]

Instigator Blog

Author: Benjamin Yoskovitz

Blogging provides me a way of expressing my thoughts on startups, entrepreneurship and business, as well as diving into social media, blogging and online communities. It’s a great way to build relationships and maintain contact with friends and colleagues all over the world.

I’m located in Montreal, Quebec Canada.

[Subscribe via RSS]

Thinking Serious

Author: Elmer Thomas

This blog provides programming, design, business and productivity content for tech entrepreneurs living in a 2.0 world.

[Subscribe via RSS]

history of blogging
popup close button
Advertisment ad adsense adlogger