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 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.
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