Disclaimer: this blogpost is focused strongly towards tech startups, but Startup Weekened welcomes all non-tech ideas, actually they are more attractive to judges and mentors.
Use resources mentioned below either to get inspired or to refine idea you are having.
Check emerging technology trends according to Gartner. Their position on the hype cycle curve can help you to understand possible future trends as well as to imagine what road ahead do you have if your idea fits into one of those trends.
Try to google for industry specific hype cycles as well, for example you can find digital marketing hype cycle.
Crowdfunding platforms give you a decent sense on what the crowd wants and is willing to pay for. Kickstarter is famous for it’s overviews and yearly summaries filled with interesting data. Besides you can browse popular projects, most funded projects etc. Take your time and click through. It’s worth it.
Seed programs are best fit for very early products. Look to others who made it and got the trust on investors.
There is a lot of seed money on the market, but Neulogy, Ceedtech and Launcher are among the most visible subjects.
- http://www.neulogy.vc/sk/investicie, Neulogy runs as well Slovakian biggest startup competition – Startup Awards
Estonia was as well a part of Soviet block after WW2. Although couple of times smaller than Slovakia it is well known for its state reforms and startup ecosystem. Look what’s cookin’ in there.
- Seedcamp is a European startup fund
- YCList is comprendious list of Y Combinator investments
- Angelist is an extensive list of startup companies world wide. It has good search filters. You can check trending companies of week and month as well.
“You get what you settle for”.
-Thelma and Louise
Do you have sneaking suspicion of a multi-million or billion idea? Then look where the biiiig money do flow in.
- Sequoia capital is well known for wide range of successful investments (look here for useful heatmap of their investments per industry)
- Another fund having excellent instincts which companies to invest in is Andreessen-Horowitz
Especially for engineering type of startups it is worth checking whether the idea is not protected with IP rights.
Search for topics which interest you, and see which companies are getting funded. If you are having idea, look for similar companies and try to understand what does and what does not work for them. Of course, don’t forget to do quick general market research on established companies in your sector (google it :)) and make sure that you know what your USP is. The best proof that you hit the right thing is that people or companies will want to pay for it. Don’t focus on I like your idea…, and such. Most of the times people liking your thing are not people paying for your thing.
Appendix – popular topics
There are popular topics which pop up at almost every Startup Weekend. These usually “solve” general issues mankind deals with, like dating apps, time management / productivity apps and wide range of community apps (food, travel, etc.). The second category of very common areas are ideas reflecting current disruptions – as car ride sharing, taxi apps, smart houses or IOT stuff these days.
Mentors and judges tend to have rough questions, because they “already saw it”. I do not advise you not to pick such topics. In the end, “everything” was already invented and there is still a lot of space to improve. But be well prepared on what you competetive advantage will be and how to enter rivalling market. This are some of the topics you will work to detail during our Startup Weekend Zilina marathon.
Get the tickets for Startup Weekend Zilina 2015 here. It’s a bargain for what you will get! 🙂 See you there.