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25 Startup Ideas for 2012 (judegomila.com)
208 points by judegomila on Jan 29, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 164 comments



"Build a holodeck", "Read/write cells for under $1000", "biological satellite that... deploys/builds itself", "build quantum gears"...

This seems more like 25 Startup Ideas for 2042.


I added some fun ones in there as well...though OpenPCR have made really good headway on the cheap desktop bio hardware front.


OpenPCR is totally different from "read/write cells" much less "read/write cells for under $1000". A truly useful "BioCAD" isn't an engineering problem yet: there's a very substantial amount of basic research required. Synthetic gene circuits evolve rapidly, for one: let's say you designed and "CAD-tested" your circuit, how will you keep it from mutating within a few days? Unsolved research problem.

> Build a database for biology.

Better than Entrez/NCBI? They have a ton of data. Yes, not particularly user-friendly in the way the web community might be used to, but it has all of the data and biologists know how to read it. What would you add? (Yes, there's a lot to add -- but it's not a matter of a prettier UI, and NCBI does have an API already that people find usable).

> Reading DNA in vitro

What does this mean? Sequencing DNA without extracting it from a cell? Why? Sequencing is largely a solved problem now. Costs are dropping faster than Moore's law, and there's literally a thousand vendors who will do it. Even synthesis is advancing so fast that people are beginning to talk about not doing subcloning anymore and just synthesizing the entire construct! (Note that just because we can synthesize kbp oligos now doesn't mean that they're biologically useful in much other than bacteria and yeast, though... pesky things like epigenetic modifications and nucleosomes/genomic DNA packing... among others.) Also, the extension of "writ[ing] DNA sequences into plasmids using the capacitance of the cell wall via [a] nano tube" seems a bit far from current technology.

That said, I think these are important problems and I'd love love love to see more people working on them versus more web and iphone apps! This was not the list I expected to see, which is awesome. But the biology-related ideas don't come across as being communicated with much sophistication.


Yup.

I have a feeling he just has a bunch of ideas but doesn't know how they'd actually be implemented.

Though, I am using the new IDT geneblocks. I even got a discount on an order, so now ordering 500bp double stranded fragments is actually cheaper than assembling oligos. It's nuts.


I would also love to see more startups in this area. It would be amazing to open biology to every engineer on the planet. I'm thinking of a arduino like revolution but for biology. Achieving read/write cells for under $1000 on the desktop would open up biology to an entire new set of people. I'm not a biologist, but I'm intrigued by what we can unlock in this field.

OpenPCR is a good example of frugal engineering applied to the space. I hope to see more attempts at making this hardware cheaper and accessible.

Regarding the spec on the Database. User friendliness would be a start, can you throw in what you would want to improve - I'm interested in your ideas?

The company "ion torrent" caught my eye regarding the in vitro DNA sequencing. It disrupts Halcyon Molecular and could cut the cost down even quicker.


Why are you convinced you need to open biology up to engineers? Is that currently not the case?

The fact is you really can't do much with a PCR machine. Sure, you can identify your friends boogers. But it only reduces one tiny aspect of overall cost. Add a centrifuge, a flow cytometer, a gel box, some incubators, and then maybe you have a functional 'garage' lab.

But again, you don't achieve much by having immediate in vitro sequencing. Not sure what the point is.

The real barrier then is literally funding and the capacity to do the research. And that's exactly what my startup is doing.


https://www.breakoutlabs.org/about-us.html looks like an interesting entrant into funding early stage research outside academia. Any thoughts on them?


Without revealing too much of what I am doing, this doesn't really solve any existing problems. Honestly, Intellectual Ventures is better than this in that they get straight to the point. They will just buy your IP for some ridiculous amount of money, whether it's from the university or your company.

If you ask a science researcher to be able to do the research outside of his lab, the size of your potential audience falls to fingers on one hand.

At least Bill and Melinda Gates foundation does better in pushing a goal with their own agendas. This seems like an unfocused attempt to throw money into the pit, though money always helps.

So, as a researcher, I've learned that researchers are the best ones who can dictate their own goals. That's freedom that hasn't been seen yet, and there's a very simple solution. Just execution is very difficult.


what are you working on?


> Achieving read/write cells for under $1000 on the desktop would open up biology to an entire new set of people.

Including every random nutter with a grudge against society who wnats to make their own viruses and bacteria. I do not think this is a good idea.


Are you a self-styled prognosticator? Frustrated idea guy?

User friendliness would be a start, can you throw in what you would want to improve - I'm interested in your ideas?

"lookin 4 a technical cofounder"


Re-reading your post, I just realized: did you mean "synthesizer" where you wrote "sequencer"?


> Reading DNA in vitro

I think the most promising method is DNA nanopore tech (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanopore_sequencing). It doesn't require labeling, amplification, and, I suppose, could be done in vitro. Maybe that's what the article is referring to?

I'm not 100% sure on this, but it also may be much more accurate than current methods since it doens't suffer from many of the biases present in current next-gen sequencers.

I'm working on my PhD in computational biophysics and this is truly an exciting time to be doing cutting edge bio-stuff like this. Sometimes I think people will look back on the 2010's and say this was like Silicon Valley in the 70s and 80s... the beginning of something big.


Start writing those grant proposals!


  "build a holodeck"
This is what I'll be applying to YC with this time around. Actually most of the technology to create a prototype holodeck already exists. Between kinect, VR galsses, and cheap hi-def cameras it can all be done in a rudamentary way that can be improved on as the underlying technologies improve.


Check out: http://www.virtusphere.com/

"We see the VirtuSphere as version 1 of the Holodeck and the ultimate portal to the matrix."


I was thinking the same thing!!! But the list is Great! (save the this one...okay maybe a couple are 2014)


Some other big problems:

    Prisons
    Retirement for not-so-rich people
    Government procurement
    Shipping (in developing countries)
    Customs (in developing countries)
    Utilities prices in Northern countries
    Digital democracy (removing corporate influence on elections)


There is a solution for retirement for not-so-rich people, it's called tax free, mandatory, funded, and benefactor owned superannuation. It forces everyone to contribute to their own retirement. It stops companies or governments from dipping into the "pot". It's tax free and so allows proper growth not only for the funds in question, but also allows for growth in the economy. Obviously there are some corner cases but these can be accounted for fairly easily. In short it is good for just about everybody.

The more countries that adopt this the better.


The downside in Australia is that the great majority of less-financially-oriented people put their money into 'super schemes' which are designed to swindle you and on average give you a worse return for your money than just leaving it in a bank (without even accounting for the excessive fees and charges).


True, most managed funds are a rip off. I remember many eons ago in my first job out of school, I worked at a factory. The company selected super fund sent some peons out to brief us about our fund, but we just shredded them by asking common sense questions. The peons were obviously PR people who had no idea about investment and were hoping that some four colour glossies would keep us happy.


We have that here for a long time now and my idea of this is basically a Ponzi scheme. When you start having old people live longer, retire earlier and not enough young people to support the system, it all collapses. Our own system is already in really bad shape and the government had to increase the minimum age at which you can retire in order to adjust things.


How is superannuation (I'm assuming you mean the Australian version) a Ponzi scheme? People have to put their own money into Super plus employers make a mandatory contribution. Super is different to retirement benefits (which are tax payer funded) and really the only thing saving the system from collapse.


Regarding prisons: "In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education."

Source: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/01/30/120...


There's actually a lot of "AirBnB for Activities." Our company used to be Skyara (http://www.skyara.com). We ended up pivoting to RAVN (http://ravn.com), which is more of a "Amazon for Activities," per se. I think we were definitely one of the first ones to try to enter the "AirBnB for Activities" space but had a very hard time.

While in theory it sounds like a great concept, the key to realize is that no "AirBnB for Activites" can ever be an "AirBnB for Activities." What I mean by that is: the part of the "AirBnB for X" business model that makes it work is the part where you have a very low marginal cost to renting out an existing resource that, presumably, is getting very low utilization. I.e. a car sitting in a garage, an empty couch. The marginal cost of renting those out... is basically zero. However, with Activities, the resource at play is actually time! A person needs to take two hours out of their day to offer a walking tour, cooking class, etc.

Arguably, time is the most scarce resource we have. People value their time highly, which means the marginal cost (in this case the opportunity cost) of them offering an activity is very high. Add to that the fact that individuals do not benefit from any sort of economy of scale, and that most likely means that they cannot compete with businesses on price (which is arguably where AirBnB is winning in its biggest market, NYC).

So of course, I'm not saying an "AirBnB for Activities" is not possible, but some fundamental problems make it significantly more difficult than one might initially expect. Personally I think Vayable is doing a great job, but time will tell...

Oh also, AirBnB took something that already was happening (sublets on Craigslist) and just rebranded/made it better. Not much "Activities" activity going on on Craigslist. It's mostly for services, like painting, plumbing, car mechanics, etc. So you sometimes question if the demand actually even exists?

Anyway, I could write a loooong post-mortem on Skyara but you get my point.


Besides you guys, who else is doing something like this?


Someone already posted some below: http://hackerne.ws/item?id=3524864


Thanks.

How are these sites overcoming the chicken and egg issue of attracting interesting activities from locals? Gathering enough visitors to the site to make transactions meaningful?


From building a marketplace at Ridejoy (YCS11), I can tell you that this early market building is very unique to each team/product/market and also one of the most valuable "secret sauces" for the company. Anyone who really knows probably won't tell you, and most people who might write a response are mostly guessing. At least that's what I think.


These marketplaces share a lot of core business similarities to that of the daily deal market as early as four year ago, no? At scale (depending upon which niche you choose for your site) will require money in to make "money out". No one in this thread seems to be highlighting this with the exception of those sites listed, little VC dollars have been invested thus far.

It's a serious question and one that's not secret sauce, I'd argue. The execution of your business and that of any sticky viral hooks you can build in will leave you at the winner's circle years from now.





Some guys sell it as a product http://labs.agriya.com/burrow


Often the path to a discovery is not direct. Facebook stumbled upon social search several years after putting up college yearbook profiles online first...

So I like 7, building a database of biology but to tackle that head on would be impractical (financially). That is the end goal that we have at my startup, but we are starting out by helping labs manage their reagent and chemical inventories first. Sounds mundane but the eventual goal is to get to a crowd-sourced global database for biology. Remains to be seen how it pans out.

My point is that such lists of top X ideas can be useful but often the biggest challenge is plotting the trajectory. And often the path is not a straight line.


We're working on idea 7 as well, but a completely different angle compared to your company, check out http://www.sbgenomics.com -- instead of all of bio, we start with genomics, and also emphasize computation. Sounds like we're compatible pieces of the puzzle!


I just signed up for an invite, along with an extra message! I want to learn more about this.

Also, I've been meaning to contact those guys at Quartzy too. Can I also get in on the strategic partnering?


Cool! I can be reached at jayant /at/ quartzy.com


Am I the only one who has realized, that all you startup people are scared of science? Are the ideas on the list really that hard to fund?

We have some very real problems in this world, but all you seem to care are iPhone/Android apps and stupid websites (copied from one another I guess).


Yes, these "science" ideas (actually, traditional engineering) really are that hard to fund.

One thing software people always forget is how expensive it is to perform R&D on real, physical things. Software is practically free to produce in comparison - your big campus of 1000 engineers, with free lunch and masseuses, is practically free in comparison to say, the cost of developing a new drug, or introducing a revolutionary new jet engine.

I don't think it's necessarily true that VCs only care about iPhone/Android apps, but they honestly cannot afford to invest in "real" engineering. The risks are just as great, and the stakes are far, far higher, beyond the deep pockets of many angels and VCs.


I don't think you're the only one that's realizing this. I'm seeing more and more posts where people complain that startups aren't solving "real" problems.

Perhaps investors look at FB, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, and think that these 4 statistical anomalies are examples to follow, and thus fund companies with similar ideas?

On the other hand, I have a hard time believing that the "real problems" aren't being addressed by anyone.


>> Build the database of biology

We are running a biological data warehouse, with a clean API in 4 languages. The problem is that the source data are incredibly messy and you have a lot of "blank" values. People then do not know if data are missing or if there really are no data to begin with. Who does the curation?


Is that because you have lots of variation over different values? I've tried using websites like Bionumbers, but can't tell if it's curated or not, and is basically now useless. How is yours different?


Ours is not curated either (our sources should be). We take data from the likes of Flybase, Ensembl, UniProt, BioGRID and really anything you want and make a more coherent picture using various graphs and widgets.


Who is 'we'? (I'm curious!)


http://intermine.org

Running as FlyMine, metabolicMine, RatMine, YeastMine, TargetMine etc.


Good brain dump.

This though: Bitcoin - "Let the IRS/FEDs be involved and stick to the law." You need to file under Things that will never happen. The U.S. will not permit a rogue currency.


Who is to say they will have a choice?

I am not being cute here, but the power of any government is their monopoly on violence. That assumes, however, that the government knows whom they are up against.

What if the next generation cryptocurrency was truly anonymous? Then you wouldn't be able to stop it, even if you wanted to.


perhaps. I enjoy watching the evolution of bitcoin. But I don't see the U.S. gov playing along.


While they probably won't support a rogue currency, they may or may not support a rouge one.


cute...fixed it. What we really need is a spell checker that knows what I mean.


I can sell you one for 50 sticks of eye-liner.


The disruption to the currency risk also applies to china, india, russia etc. By having information control upfront this could actually be a smart way for the US to dominate global currency.


Forget the US, focus on the rest of the world.


The biggest problem is this:

We spend our lives accumulating valuable knowledge and relationships. Then we allow our elders to just die and let that knowledge and their relationships die with them. Why are youngsters forced into teaching jobs, when they have no life experience to novate to kids?

Find a mechanism for achieving a solid transfer of knowledge from the elderly to the young (the caveat being the young need to be taught to reason for themselves and filter out the less useful bits)

For the record: sending kids to school does not equal them being educated or learned.


Great point.

Though you may have not thought of something: wisdom (which is what you seem to be referring to) works something like this:

wisdom = knowledge(experience(actions(decisions * time) * time) * time) * time //why do I always end up writing lisp?

We spend our whole lives developing our wisdom, but we also spend our whole lives learning how to acquire it, and how to understand it.

How do we transfer something that strictly depends on time and discipline (when time is undefined for all, and discipline is lacking)?


Is not some of the best learning those things we don't appreciate at first but then we encounter an example and that pearl of wisdom someone imparted on us years ago flashes up and all in the world makes sense? :)

I love the lisp... can I post it on twitter? What's your twitter handle?


Thank you for the nice comment.

I do not use twitter, but you can feel free to tweet it. Just send the profits of the tweet to the FSF. =)


It's, er, interesting to see Wonga listed as something to emulate. The only context I've heard of them in before is people wishing fiery death upon them for exploiting the desperate.


That and articles about investors piling ever more money in because it's a cash machine.

BTW - people are working on this in the US, though it moves more slowly due to state by state regulations

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/19/former-google-cio-raises-73...


I'm not a fan of the model either. But someone will do it. Looks like Douglas Merrill is already on it with $73m in funding.


2. Gamify learning core subjects: specially maths and physics to start. 3. Allow the community to make lessons and have voting systems for quality.

As someone who is itching to start an e-learning startup, what would be some ways to implement this?

For the user-created lessons, maybe have an IDE-like enviroment with a domain-specific "programming language" that enables non-coders to easily create educational modules and upload them. Think SCUMM but for the e-learning domain.

Thoughts, anyone?


I think this hasn't been done well because it is more difficult than creating something like wikipedia. One of the reasons wpedia works is because you can enforce a non-redundancy policy. There can only be one article on any one topic. In education, however, there are many ways to teach any one concept. So you have to allow people to create different lessons on the same topic, but also create a simple pathway through all these lessons. Khan academy has been successful in this for math, but I think a good part of that is because there is one person clearly running the show, an intensely productive man who spits out several videos a day, for years. Crowdsourcing that work is an interesting challenge.

As a teacher, I'd love to see this done well. But it seems most people who go into these ventures either don't get education, or don't get technology. It seems there is a pretty small group of people in the world who really get both fields. It's also hard to put together a team of people who get both. And finally, the profit motive kills a lot of education endeavors. Education is fundamentally a human right, and profit motives tend to exaggerate the achievement gap. There is plenty of room for new thinking in this area.


As someone who's done a lot of work in e-learning, the biggest problem is making something for subjects that anyone would bother using. It's a lot of energy to go learn physics so who wants to try it in some half-finished, inconsistent, unverified e-course. Programming is easy to teach because it's all conceptual, and the concepts are clearly defined and structured. So you could maybe teach linguistics in this way, but not something like Spanish. Or if you tried to have a collaborative Spanish curriculum it would be a huge effort to collate everything into a logical progression ("they don't know that grammar rule/word yet") so you might as well pay someone to write a consistent one from scratch. Same for physics/math/any open-ended science or humanities class.

Your second big problem is getting anyone to actually contribute a lesson plan in a way that is consistent with the format you're trying to structure things. People aren't going to make one from scratch for you, for free. So you either pay people or accept all manner of half-baked, duplicate lesson plans.


Khan Academy is doing a lot of this. They actually work with schools, too.


Wonga for USA: a lot ( and there are v many clones ) of these lending companies are already US companies.

They have presences in USA, but have exploded in the UK because the Usury laws are less restrictive.

http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-are-payday-loa... And that evenings Channel 4 news piece where the industry spokesman talks about it.


I don't get why Wonga specifically is so respected among VCs. Isn't there tons of these kind of companies around? It's the old good business model of usury.

In Finland we have tens of companies offering short term cash loans based on text messages. I know few of these guys. If well-executed, these companies are money making machines, but they have very little of moat. You can enter this industry easily, if you have enough cash for initial advertising.


I was going to write a serious response to this post, then I looked up Wonga realized how poorly thought out and absurd this list was. In fact, we have several of these loan companies that are publicly traded here in the US. Here are their symbols:

CSH EZPW FCFS AEA DLLR WRLD


Bankruptcy in the US is easier too, so there is probably less demand for stupid loans.


> 15. Airbnb for Activities

See http://www.gidsy.com





What sucks is that I completely built #1 on his list, tested it, but was afraid to launch due to the combination of PATRIOT changes to the BSA and FinCEN regs.

Long story short: I don't want to start a startup that sends me to jail or regulatory hell if it becomes successful.

If anyone wants to buy coinpur.se, let me know. :)


Launch it. Worst case scenario is that you become second place in modern warfare 3 global rankings.


More like worst case is you become the second level in modern warfare 4.


Ha, isnt coinpurse a slang term for a scrotum?


You already realized why reading DNA in virto [sic] immediately is kind of pointless, because you still can't immediately make it.

Current DNA logic gates can already do sequence recognition as sensors in vivo but also provide flexible signals.

Also, there are already standardized part registries out there, like BioBricks.

And lastly, a YC for biotech wouldn't work because of the time frame, but even more so because of regulations. Anyone can build a device or drug, but it's all proof of concept until you put it in a lab or clinical study.

Oops, also that there are a bunch of academic bioCAD programs. Tinkercell is one that does extensive simulations.

Boom. Roasted.


Reading DNA without taking it out of a cell sounds like such an awesome idea. All you need is bunch of proteins to do that. All those proteins are just DNA sequences. possibly even Biobricks. So all that translates to "Just introduce a plasmid into a cell and the necessary woodoo happens inside the cell... which sets off some kind of cascade which can be read out by say a CCD or voltage detector." So the startup is all about just designing DNA sequences for protein. And these days even novices have begun to design proteins. This is just brilliant!!! Instead of 1000$ per genome how about 99 cents?? Of course I have no clue how long it should take to reach there beyond extrapolating on a log graph...

Someone here stated the moore's law for sequencing. Which while true needs disruptive startups for each transition. Fortunately or unfortunately these startups dont work like an intel doing similar drudgery year after year to continue doubling... each major leap happens by a radical switch of strategy. As he states the case of Ion Torrent, each step centers around an awesome breaktrhough. But it also raises the question... Will the cost of computation become a bottleneck for a 99 cent genome. Sequencing and synthesis are a lot more useful than just medical diagnosis. Let us not undermine the value of a 99 cent genome or a 1 cent genome sequencing/synthesis capability.


Are these really ideas for typical startups. The high tech ideas aren't very well suited for startups. More for Universities and big corporation's side projects.


God forbid a technology startup actually have to develop new technology. No, I'm sure another CRUD/mobile app that hooks a bunch of buzzwords up to Facebook and Twitter with metaphorical bungie cords is a much better idea.


Well, at least you would get a shit-ton of VC attention and funding.

Some of us are out here developing physical things and process technology and nobody wants to give us a second look. Putting things in boxes isn't sexy enough, unless you're Apple.


Startup don't have to be about new technology, the have to be about new business concept.

NASA is no startup!


A market for IP isn't terrible. But there, volume isn't high enough and transaction costs (ip lawyers in a room talking, are too high) The rest I'm not so sure about.

A few are a ways out and even then are hard sells (even w/ holodecks, how would you sell them? Home, arcades? Who's the market and how much money do they have? Hardly a slam dunk) I'm thinking the 3do times 100 for holodeck development/productization.

Yardsale isn't bad, but Craigslist is pretty close as is (my gf goes crazy when she sees yard sale signs (instant, location based discovery) but she checks craigslist too.

A bunch--I'm not sure what they mean. Even the education one is much harder than it might seem, at least as a business. Im really rooting for codecademy and the like, but they've got a tough road as its hard to get most people interested in educating themselves, and even moreso to get them to pay.

How about starting with a market with money and a problem and working backwards?


I think it's a good list of ideas which sadly will not appeal to most entrepreneurs. You may disagree, but I personally think that founders tend to run away from scientific research and for good reasons. It's very hard to find funding if the service you want to provide doesn't revolve around the generic list of facebook/twitter mashups, mobile apps and SAAS services which solve nonexistent problems. Think about it, you can spend 2 months building a typical CRUD app, make money the first week and keep your investors happy. Or spend years looking for the bright minds who share the same enthusiasm and belief in your scientific research and them (maybe) find enough money to build the final product. This is probably the reason why these things are worked out in university labs, not startup incubators.


I don't know why, but I tried opening this site in 3 different mobile browsers and couldn't get it to scroll.


I got a message about blogger not working on mobile (wtf) and giving me an option that worked. People are really doing stupid stuff with mobile now.


Man, if anything this article proved to me that I should always be absolutely terrified of pressure testing half-baked ideas on HN. And if I have the balls to do so, at least make sure my blog works.


I've seen this layout on a few sites linked from HN lately, and it only loads about 50% of the time. The other 50% I just get a blank page. Awful.


Isn't 2 pretty much Khan Academy ?

There are several Health focused YC-clones: Rockhealth, Healthbox, Blueprint, etc.

Also it's not clear what "Etsy for IP" means, there are already stock photo libraries, sites for selling code snippets, sites for selling brandnames, etc. Is there a particular type of IP you're thinking about?


I'm thinking more interactive than Khan Academy.

Health focused YC clones are out there, there are no bio tech focused ones though.

On the Etsy for IP. I never felt much of a community with stock photo websites. I suppose this site would pull together all forms of IP under the platform.

In general, I think in the startup space, even subtle variation on the idea and positioning (given great execution) can lead to a winning startup.


Have you tried the Khan Academy exercises (with hints, etc.) ?


Interesting list with some good ideas. At the moment, I have time and talents but (surprisingly) no interesting ideas to work on. I was really hoping to see something on there involving machine learning or NLP. Anybody have any needs or ideas in that realm?


Go through this collection of finished ideas: http://www.ideaoverload.com/Find-ideas/#Finished


These are really good..and thought provoking

A couple of mine are:

- Repurpose the top floors of parking garages to incorporate green space in urban centers

- Black Hole Taxi: Marketplace for on demand user video (eg - I pay you a fee to walk around the grand canyon)

- Open spaces that are free co-working CS learning centers for middle and high schoolers (I'm working on one in Los Angeles)

- Mixergy for the rest of business (eg. the BUSINESS of yoga, the BUSINESS of real estate brokerage, the BUSINESS of photography) not just how to do 5 new poses, hold a better open house, craft a better photo


How about reddit for businesses, so the subreddits are business categories ("gyms, restaurants, florists") trading tips and meeting each other.


"This satellite would self deploy/build itself at least partially to reduce weight..."

...I'm pretty sure you're not going to save much mass by soaking in a year of sunlight...


I'm not sure that "lean start-up" and "self-replicating, consuming machines" go well together. I mean, the competition has had a 3.9 billion year[1] head-start. Considering the number of algorithmic mistakes[2] made specifically involving consume + replicate features of products purchased from the current leader in the industry, I'd prefer to see that done on a slower timeline. Perhaps some careful decades of engineering are called for. Same goes for "making and inserting DNA sequences at your desk for under $1,000."

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/05/20/us-asteroids-idUST... [2] for example: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=10...


You would need to take on some mass from space. The satellite would have a post launch snack.


If that's the plan, I don't think you've reduced complexity by plotting a zero-gravity rendezvous with a cheeseburger


You could fire it at some of the older satellites?


Feed on existing space junk and simultaneously solve another issue


Zero-gravity, self-assembling, space-debris-katamari-satellite, then? I've got this.


One I'm looking at - Google Analytics for print/billboard ads.

Adwords/Analytics is great, because you can see exactly how much money you're spending, and exactly how many sales/conversions/downloads you're getting for that money.

In the print world, this becomes much harder to measure. I'm looking at easy ways to make that happen


Are you looking for a solution or looking to work on it as a start-up idea? I am interested in this domain and have few ideas.


Would love to group chat about this in detail. I'm toying with this niche as well.


It will be interesting to see how you track that.


The IFILB Project. I fell in the lifeboat Project staring Captain Francesco Schettino. Prison dating network.


18. A BankSimple for the payroll industry

I've thought about this one myself. Seems like an industry ripe for disruption too: with complex, expensive systems from a monopoly player (ADP). Can anyone offer some insight as to why we haven't seen startups in this space?


Because few entrepreneurs or VCs are interested in reading the Internal Revenue Code.


"Wonga for USA"

googles Wonga

"Welcome to Wonga. We can deposit up to £400 in your bank account by 20:39 today. Representative APR 4214%."

Cost of implementing this idea: your soul, your self-respect. Even if you pour all of the proceeds into "build a holodeck".


I'm surprised someone hasn't built an ad supported Imgur clone yet, kind of like a you-tube for images. They could determine context by tracking the websites giving referrals, parsing comment content, scanning and analyzing the images.


Build a holodeck.

Yeah. Okay.


I'm actually kinda hoping this one doesn't happen. Well, sort of. If we actually had a holodeck, wouldn't that mean the end of all progress for humanity? I mean, who would ever want to leave the damn thing?


They said the same thing about the TV


And I guess they were, to a disturbing degree, right?


"This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful." - Edward R. Murrow

http://www.rtnda.org/pages/media_items/edward-r.-murrow-spee...

The same could really be said about all of technology.


And many who escaped TV have been scooped up by the net.


Good point. I knew a guy once who all but flunked out of college because of an IRC addiction. He'd spend all his time in the lab, IRC'ing and not much more. Weird.


> the end of all progress for humanity

No.


I think it has hampered the progress of at least a portion of humanity. You could argue that time wasters will always find an alternative, but TV and MMORPGS have addictive qualities and have left people wondering where lost months/years have gone.


The real tragedy is that MMORPGs are better than real life for many people.

Personally, I try to view my life as an RPG. Ie levelling up, acquiring awesome loot, raiding with my loyal guild mates, etc. Fun life analogy.


As someone in the gamification space (ugh, I hate that word) I always wanted to make some sort of dashboard/hud that could represent your life in RPG style stats. There are multiples companies that have attempted this for various niches (fitness, diet, checkins) but only a few for life in general. (Besides those twitter-like sites where you just sort of post that you did something.)

Perhaps it could work like D&D except the Dungeon Masters are more like life coaches. They create the quests (goals) and decide how much experience each is worth. The toughest part is that you can't really compare the players against each other since in life you really don't all have equal opportunities like you do at the start of a video game. But, people are really motivated by competition so maybe there's a way to make it work.


hrm.. interesting.. nothing in there in music, games and online video.. i personally think that there will be alotta innovation in these fields because of copyright issues.


25. Uber for food

We're working on that right now at munchery.com


There's also HouseBites in the UK.


Also Deliverance.


Is their slogan "Squeal if you'd like a porkchop"?


That is brilliant. Love it!



"1. Build a bitcoin bank the works"

https://www.strongcoin.com


"No really, this time for sure!"


11. Build an Etsy for Intellectual property

Sounds really intriguing. What would it look like?


Anyone know what a "google voice" for credit cards is meant to mean?


A proxy card that is actually backed by various real credit cards. Automatically switching your balance across the optimum set of deals? This is kind of like what Simple.com do, except with credit.


That sounds pretty much like what most mobile wallet look like they're going to offer, and I can't really imagine how it would work (or what the real advantage would be) for non-mobile ones - such as the hassle of deciding in advance which card you're using for which transaction.

BTW, from what I've read of Bank Simple, this isn't what their model is. From their FAQ - "Can I use Simple with my current bank? No. Through your relationship with Simple, your money is held in an FDIC-insured account at one of our bank partners."


Yes! Several of these ideas I do hope the start-up community can grab a hold of and make into successful businesses. Like Elon Musk, I hope to eventually change the world, and several of these ideas will do just that. That's for compiling them.


Why is Stripe for ACH payments necessary? Why isn't that Stripe?


As far as I know Stripe does not do ACH? We've actually been looking all over the place for an ACH processor with an API (aka a Stripe for ACH) and have had absolutely no luck. And the one company we found, for some reason, wouldn't take us on as a client (I guess we're considered high-risk). Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree with the need for an "Stripe for ACH". If you actually know of one please let me know.


Steven – are you posting debit or credit txns? If crediting, would PayPal mass payments work for you?


Crediting. As far as I know PayPal Mass Payments requires the recipient to have a PayPal account (in fact, we do use Mass Payments for customers who choose to be paid by PayPal). Crediting via ACH, on the other hand, merely requires routing and bank account numbers - which is something everyone has! The whole point, which neither PayPal nor Dwolla solve, is to use the existing financial network, not create a new means of money exchange.


I'm interested in chatting in more detail with you about this. Would you drop me an email if you would like to discuss further? My contact details are in my profile.


Dwolla? It kind of is already.


How can ultrasonic transducers be used to make a holodeck?


Trying to work in the second idea at classfrog.com


I would pay for #16 right now.


Maybe add "do blog page a that don't break on phones", hint, removing JS or CSS tricks should be enough.


26. Get a cookie and do science to it.


NOTE: the following is a joke. or is it. Read to the end and decide for yourself.

As a VC, I would never fund any of these. How about these twenty-five ideas for starters.

1. Combine local and real-time. (Google isn't)

2. Combine the cloud with viral marketing (Amazon isn't)

3. Disrupt green with crowd-sourcing. (Power companies aren't).

4. Curate blogging (the "blogosphere" is so wide it becomes meaningless. Get the stratosphere of the blogosphere).

5. post-pc disruption. (Fingerpaint for iPhone - 1 guy, VC-ready company. needed a mac to develop. give an Indian with no mac, no pc, nothing BUT an iPhone enough tools to disrupt post-pc)

6. scale photos. Flickr doesn't.

7. the Google of Facebook. (G+ is the Facebook of Google. Where's the Google of facebook?)

8. empower html5. (Where's the Adobe of HTML 5?)

9. the skype of documents. (Google Docs isn't it)

10. the apple of automobiles. ("iPod integration"? Give me a 'brake').

11. bring the cloud to ultramobiles. ("ultrabooks" are a joke, and the cloud is too big. Find a way to make ultrabooks/macbook airs the macs of iOS)

12. the reddit of shopping. (eBay is not it).

13. disrupt ad platforms, virally. People are sick of signing in and getting information collected (Google starting to suck)

14. one word: Firefox. (Firefox isn't it).

15. one word: Office. (Office isn't it).

16. one word: ultramobile. (MacBook isn't).

17. one word: ultralite mobile. (iOS isn't it)

18. one word: TechCrunch (TechCrunch isn't it)

19. one word: Banking (Banking isn't it)

20. one word: Trending (Analytics isn't it)

21. one word: Microblogging (Twitter isn't it)

22. one word: Dating (plenty-of-fish isn't)

23. one word: Family disruption, aka Whores. (craigslist isn't)

24. one word: disrupt paradigms. (YC isn't).

25. one word: cloud. (the cloud isn't.)

what is this, some kind of a joke? Can you even tell anymore. Disrupt this.


The biology/synthetic biology part of his post are most interesting. While some of them are more 2022 - 2032 type items and some of them don't really make sense their cadence is that anyone sleeping on biotech is going to miss everything. The current stage is something like just pre altair, waiting for the Apple II equivalent. The future of biology is, how do you engineer devices with a mind of their own? Add ambiguity to terms like genetic programming, synthetic intelligence, artificial immune system, antivirus.

Thanks to the increasing powers of computers and developments in machine learning, a bunch of things which will change society in unimaginable ways will come from biotech. Aspects including principled drug design and anti-disease techniques that will make modern medicine look shamanistic, ethics of performance and intelligence boosting therapies, blurring the line between adoption and parenthood - what does it mean to be a parent if you have tampered with the genetic expression of your child so much that they share little genetic similarity to you? Increasing ability to interface with machines. People are gonna be doing it, will you need to evolve your morals or get left behind? How do you stop people from settling at local optimums, mass producing the same sets of traits and ceasing in exploring the genetic space?

Bans and censure - some will say some things shouldnt be touched but if there's any lesson that can be gotten from fantasy novels its that having a category of black magic just gives more power to the less principled. More polarization between the haves and have nots. Security - how to defend against synthetic plagues. Technology moves on inexorably. Our ability to handle the dangers of the coming age will decide our fate. Moral dilemmas like if we show ourselves incapable of surviving, is it ok to engineer compassion, long term thinking and rationality at the expense of the ability and freedom of will to choose such?


I did get a good idea from this list, from #13 "disrupt ad platforms, virally". Have a facebook app or something where users list their favorite brands/products/etc. Then go to the companies and say "I have 13,000 uses that really like your brand, Nike - give me a coupon to give to them". Not everyone will jump, but some brands will try it out. That will get more users and users putting more brands on their list to get more freebies. Then sell all the brand data to advertisers. Everybody is happy.


Neither this one nor the OP do fix what Defren to be the single big problem every one will have in a few years : the planned war between China and USA...I was not believing it before but last week a little 10 tee years old Chinese girl told me about it, and now I'm scared. Where are those technical barrie lifting revolutions in these lists? Where is the next Babel? Internet, wikipedia had much higher goal than these things. (written on phone)


The Adobe of HTML5 is... Adobe: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/


Joke or not, there's always interesting ideas. I'd say 22 is well served by OKCupid combining PoF with actual usability, 23 apparently by any number of services I've never used and that Android is having a crack at 11 and 17.

And I suspect I'm not the only one who's concept notes folder includes outlines for 4 and 12.


I find your list much more inspiring than the OP.


> 19. one word: Banking (Banking isn't it)

Some of the others might be jokes or further fetched, but this is obviously not, and you'd be silly not to see that this is going to happen soon.


#10 is tesla


[deleted]


you should start a snarky blog called startuprunoff.com where you simultaneously create a buzzmachine that can raise money for any company and kill the same exact buzz before it even launches.


(the parent replied to my now-deleted grandparent). you are right, comment deleted. this is a gold mine. I shouldn't kill the buzz. may I email you for the create-buzz-but-not-kill-it-off concept by going ridiculous only serious. just drop me an obfuscated email if interested. the snarkmachine can be a complete secret, like producing a statistically significant result by running 400 experiments and publishing just the one that shows a strong effect - and is "significant" at the 1% confidence level :)


actually if you catch this in time and are able to drop me a line, will you delete your comment with the suggestion, and I will delete any comments (except the original 25 suggestions) including this one. you can reach me for 24 hours at 6V1ImNQ5g9ui@meltmail.com

I love your idea and I think we can make it work in this climate.


Wow, your so disillusioned (funny it isnt) ;-)


No mention of artificial intelligence.

Build an objection detection system for all 100,000 objects a human can recognize.

Build a photo-realistic face generator.

Build a chatbot than can pass the turing test.


Please don't build a self-building satellite! The thing will expand until it hides the sun from us!

There are already plenty of biology databases, it's just that people don't know yet what to make out of that data.

Build an Etsy for Intellectual property

They stole my idea! I think it's good time to build that


Biological this, biological that.

How about ideas for those of us who aren't scientists?




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