128th 1M/1M Roundtable For Entrepreneurs: Winners Of First BlueSnap-Elance Finals
During today’s roundtable, we had the first of two finals for the BlueSnap-Elance contest that has been running for the past month or so. Winners will be receiving 1M/1M scholarships for one year.
First, Swarna Ellison from New Jersey pitched TravelGenie, a deal site for business travelers looking to find both local concierge services and deals on shows, events, merchandise, etc. We advised Swarna to review Rearden Commerce and Concur in detail to see what they are doing for business travelers, and design her offerings as complements, not as competitors.
Then Bala Deshpande from Ann Arbor, Michigan, pitched SimaFore, which focuses on analytics for SMEs. On the one hand, Bala wants to build a training and certification and placement solution for analytics professionals. On the other hand, he wants to build analytics apps for SMEs. These are two entirely different businesses, and Bala needs to pick one or the other. If he decides to pick the app business, then it is important that he identifies a specific area of analytics apps to focus on. The current business plan severely lacks focus.
Next Erika Brodnock from London pitched Karisma Kidz, a virtual world for children to learn emotional intelligence skills through gaming principles. Karisma’s positioning and concepts are clear. She lacks a technical / product expert who knows how to build a virtual world product.
Then, Ken Snyder, also from London, pitched LifeGadget, a personal analytics data solution that proposes to aggregate health and wellness data from a variety of apps on smart phones for personal trainers to help their clients. Several question marks remain: Would other apps allow him to access their data? Who pays, the personal trainer or the consumer?
Then, Marcos Menendez from Miami, Florida, pitched Momares, an SMS marketing platform that he is currently selling to small and medium advertising agencies. Marcos has both invalidated and validated certain segments and presented a clear strategy of where he wants to go from here.
Rashmi Kumari from Durgapur, India, pitched EASYGO, a video-game based learning concept for training IIT applicants for test preparation in physics, math, chemistry, etc. The concept is far too nebulous at this point and needs significant refining.
Garth Catterall-Heart from McMinnville, Oregon pitched SpiritWorks Software, a suite of 12 software products ranging from rental property management to expense tracking. All the judges advised Garth to focus on the rental property management business and build that as his primary business. Currently, the business lacks focus.
Last up, Chen Osipov from Israel pitched SEO Genie, an automated SEO tool. Chen has about 1000 free users and 200 paying subscribers. The audience and judges had question marks around the technical viability of such a product.
And the winners of today’s contest are: TravelGenie, SimaFore, Karisma Kidz, Momares, LifeGadget, and SpiritWorks. Congratulations, winners!
You can listen to the recording of today’s roundtable here.
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020.
From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.