Startup Ideas Recap of My First Million Podcast 💵 Episode #96

Here's a quick summary of the startup ideas Shaan Puri and Sam Par discussed on the July 29, 2020 episode, with time stamps and links

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9:00 New planned cities (Charter Cities, Planned Communities): New cities being developed. What are the possibilities?

  • Some people buying old ghost towns on the cheap and revitalizing it

  • Summit Series - South by Southwest type of conference: We bring together innovators from all verticals to engage in thoughtfully designed community-oriented experiences.”

  • Summit Series bought a mountain to host the program / make a community

  • New jurisdiction based on new policy or based on design

  • New Cities (Y-Combinator started this but Shaan has not heard of it since)

13:20 Revitalizing the passenger trains in the US

  • Wes Edens: Billionaire of the week. Owns the Milwaukee Hawks. Trying to do this.

  • User experience not very great right now

  • Wes Edens realized there is not a good train system in US. Also, Amtrak is profitable on certain legs but not others because they are non-profit. What if you just went after the best routes? It’s extremely profitable.

  • Started Brightline. S. Florida to Central Florida. LA to Vegas in 80 minutes.

  • Richard Branson took minority stake in Brightlite, and rebranded Virgin Trains USA

  • Shaan likes the quote from the Forbes article, “Great fortunes are generally made by solving the most obvious problems”

  • Shaan thinks there are many really big problems that are so obvious, people stopped trying to tackle them and stopped innovating. Sam agrees.

  • Richard Branson has already been doing this in the UK.

  • Sam considered doing this. There’s a route where you take an Amtrak from California to New York (5-10 days) at $200.

  • Obviously popular method of travel in Europe, but not so much in US

  • The catch is you need “$5 billion to make the track”. Combination of public and private funds. Need press so you can raise money and get access to capital.

  • In 2017, the first half of the year Virgin Trains had $10M in sales and 400,000 riders. In 2019 projecting ridership and south Florida would top 2.3M riders and revenue of $112M. There is demand here.

  • If you are popular you are better set to succeed for this because easier to raise money, get press, etc.

  • Big audacious ideas attract best money, best people, best press.

  • Sam says this is not about building a brand, or ingenuity. The real talent needed is to raise money, strategy, etc.

29:30 Flex Port (freight forwarder)

  • Order a bunch of stuff from China to USA. Flex Port help you track it, helps with customs, imports, etc.

  • Sam says the technology has been here but “they are doing it new”

31:00 SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies)

  • Blank check acquisition company

  • Got around the normal IPO procedures

  • Publicly listed. All they do is acquire companies.

  • SPAC can acquire a stake in the company, becomes public tomorrow, rename SPAC to ticker

  • SPAC took Virgin Galactic public, says Shaan

  • Bill Ackman (guy who shorted the market before COVID and earned like $2.5B) created the largest SPAC ($5B). “It’s like a unicorn mating dance”. We just look for unicorns (private company) to mate with. Ackman’s SPAC will buy portion of company and take it public.

46:23 Social media creators: What do they need? How can you make a business selling to them?

  • 50M creators across platforms like Youtube, Twitch, IG, etc.

  • It’s the fastest and largest growing small business

  • What do they need?

  • ClearBank is a bank for commerce. What about starting a “ClearBank” for creators?

  • Healthcare, insurance, etc. for creators

  • Substack is an example of giving creators a platform/product

  • Figma “helps teams create, test, and ship better designs from start to finish.”

  • Canva is another example that Sam loves. “Blatantly obvious need”

  • Shaan thinks we need a Canva for video editing for creators. Make the best video editor for Youtube creators.

52:15 Mental health and therapy apps and telemedicine

  • Daybreak Health: Anxiety for teens dealing with COVID, mental health issues, etc. $360/month. This is half of what an in-person visit would be.

  • Telemedicine solution

  • Sam says it will “obviously be successful” but not sure now successful

  • Companies are willing to pay as a benefit for meditation apps.

  • Schools are willing to pay for these apps for students—may get subsidized

  • Talk Space: Number 1 online therapy. Preparing for IPO. 5,000 therapist, 1 million users

  • Shaan likes that Daybreak Health has focused on teens

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