Startup Ideas Recap of My First Million Podcast 💵 Episode #97

Here's a quick summary of the startup ideas Shaan Puri and Sam Par discussed on the July 31, 2020 episode, with time stamps and links

17:10 Opportunity to modernize local news (digital newsletter format)

  • There was a revolution in journalism in the US, but in Canada it’s terrible (perhaps local US cities as well?)

  • Cleverly written summary of the local news in a subscription form

  • Andrew Wilkinson started a summary of the local news in a newsletter style just for the city of Victoria in Canada that has 200,000 residents and the newsletter has 40,000 subscribers, bigger than the local news. Only cost him a couple grand.

  • Original goal to have a summary of the news daily

  • Now they have hired journalist and a news team

  • The reason traditional news does not work is because of “legacy”. They are hard to change with the times and they have big real estate, printing press, etc. high capital costs, have to pay pensions, unionized, etc. When that is cut out you can afford to sell ads for way less and don’t need a physical news room / lower overhead.

  • Sam says local digital news is a problem people have been trying to solve since the birth of the internet

  • Tim Armstrong (executive at AOL) started Patch. $50M-$60M in revenue but not much profit

  • Kevin Ryan who started Business Insider & Double Click, started $300K into the “Denverite” similar to what Andrew did with Capital Daily but failed because he could not figure it out

  • A handful are doing hundreds in millions of revenue: business journals

  • A lot of people have failed

  • The Athletic is a successful local sports newsletter and how high their subscriber list surprised Shaan considering it’s covering local sports news.

  • The Athletic “un-bundled” the sports section from the local newspaper

  • Where does tech leverage this? Digital already took advantage of losing the printing press

  • Andrew thinks each city could make around $200K to $500K per year profit. “Not too exciting”. Andrew get’s excited about being the “flash light in the dark”. He says if you camped out at the city court and looked at the docket you would find really interesting “gray area” stuff to write about on “innocent” stuff and shine light to any injustices in these small cities or towns.

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4:30 The guys discuss ideas on how to make a lot of money in a short period of time ($3M in 3 months)

  • He thinks it’s the wrong question to ask

  • He would do the million dollar homepage

  • Shaan explains an idea: Find apps in the app store, millions of revenue, one person team. Like “celebrity voice changer” app that would make your voice sound like Donald Trump, etc. Two are free, others paid. Install ads.

  • Sam would go the “lead generation” route. They don’t sell for a lot, but can generate a lot of profit. ApartmentList.com is an example. Sam used to work for them. They used to just do lead gen. Someone like Andrew would search for apartments to rent in NYC. Andrew would find a list of apartments and would click one he was interested in and give the website his info. The website would then sell it to Zillow or whoever for a profit. Sam would do this but for some weird sector like irrigation or garage remodels. Sam is bullish on the trucking industry (jobs for trucking industry). Sell the leads to a trucking company that is hiring.

48:40 Revitalize products that failed on Product Hunt or GoFundMe, etc

  • Some of these are great products with great developers but they just don’t know how to market

  • Go through Product Hunt in the past 6 months and start approaching the developers and offer like $5,000.

  • A lot of them no longer even want to product. Could be a $5M business

  • Shaan considers which previous products on Product Hunt that might fit that bill: App called Gif (AI to make your camera video look better during conferencing)

50:50 Light and Airy: An app that makes all your photos look good with a familiar “style” to them.

  • “mommy blogger” look: Booming with mothers. Mothers are their biggest user base

  • Easy “Before and after” photos—makes for effective marketing

  • This could work for e-commerce

  • Everyone wants their storefront website to look good and their product photos to look good and consistent

  • Andrew says there is a service called Soona that does this for your photos & videos manually

  • You just need to know how to market it

54:00 Wear sensors that continuously measure blood sugar levels and gives instant feedback on your diet: Levels / Dexcom

  • Sam invested $10,000 in Levels but Andrew and Shaan don’t like them because they don’t own the hardware

  • Sam thinks Abbot Labs will buy them

  • Shaan likes this market. Not just people with diabetes should be monitoring their blood sugar levels, but also everyone else who cares about health and fitness

  • Shaan says the challenge is that the monitors are expensive and hard to get them to people who don’t need a medical prescription for them

  • Andrew thinks we are five years away from this working