Ideas and Validation March 23, 2020

Unsolved - A Stack Overflow for Entrepreneurs

Ishwar Sundararaman @ishwars

Hey guys. I have been working on Unsolved.xyz. The idea was to help idea stage entrepreneurs make progress by using a game like mechanism

  1. Automated To-Dos that help them make progress from one level to the next
  2. As you progress you get access to a network of high reputation founders
  3. You gain reputation by helping other founders solve challenges and getting unstuck

It looks a little like a mashup between product hunt, stack overflow and startup school.

We are still early and best accessed from a mobile browser. If any of you would consider giving me some feedback, suggestions or just thoughts. I would be grateful

  1. 3

    I like the idea. What would be cool if it is freemium for people at the stages of coming up with an idea, and paid once people are getting revenue and their problem is how to increase it. That way it's a no-brainer to pay for it once I am making money anyway.

    1. 1

      Hey thanks, We intend to charge $10 a month or $50 a year. We think paying that fee will lend some element of seriousness to the entire exercise.

      It's like taking a startup course or program

      In return you can test unlimited ideas in parallel, Get To-Dos, attend online events and founder meetups, find collaborators

      Would that work?

      I feel that the value is higher for the idea stage entrepreneur, vs the person who has customers and revenue.

      Once you have customers you should probably listen closely to your customer :)

      1. 1

        There is one other thought we are toying with here.

        We use the $10 a month to create an investment pool that can be channeled back into the most promising startups emerging from the platform, and distribute the gains back to everyone who contributed.

        But it feels super complex from a regulatory angle. We are trying to study Blockchain based utility or security tokens, but not an expert at that

  2. 1

    Sounds cool. Do give it a try.

  3. 1

    Hey Ishwar I really love this idea. Are you using Data, A.I., ML, etc... to help make decisions? I think you could benefit from Network Effects. The more users = better outcomes = more value for users. This might be of help https://youtu.be/aoeal3ljnqw

    1. 1

      Hey Simon

      That's encouraging. Yes we do plan to use AI to make the platform more relavant as once the number of startup ideas cross a certain number, it's tough to keep things relevant.

      I also understand that the only really moat in the long term is the founders network that eventually gets created

      We are live, we are early and best accessed on a mobile browser. Do drop in on Unsolved.xyz and share what you think we should do. Thanks a ton for dropping by

  4. 1

    Have you checked out Makerlog? They do something very similar.

    1. 1

      I think the difference is you log your to dos in maker log.

      While on Unsolved we give idea stage founders to-dos. Like a mentor bot of sorts.

  5. 1

    Your linkedin profile link
    eg: https://linkedin.com/in/ishwars
    *field cannot be empty
    P.S - LinkedIn has stopped sharing this, hence we have to ask.

    I'm probably the exception here but what if you don't have a LinkedIn?

    1. 1

      You can leave it blank :) The profile also allows you to share profile of github, behance or a blog as a substitute. You can complete the profile after you complete initial login process

  6. 1

    Overall, I like the idea. What is the incentive for the 'high reputation founders'? Is it that they get the satisfaction of helping early-stage founders (This is why many of them do it). Or, they themselves get some level of points?

    1. 1
      1. The main incentive is you get reputation points, which can be displayed socially
      2. You get publicly endorsed as a startup advisor
      3. You might get inbound request to be an advisor of a startup for equity or cash
      4. 30 min paid calls by startups seeking more info (something like clarity.fm)

      We haven't built these out yet

      Any suggestions you have on incentives?

  7. 1

    I like the idea. Happy to give feedback.

    1. 1

      Thanks @girishw. Can I invite you to play with www.unsolved.xyz from a mobile browser.

      We are live, so trying should be easy.

      I welcome thoughts, feedback and suggestions

      1. 2

        -The website copy does not bring out what is unique about Unsolved. It is not clear from the copy how it is different from communities like IH. I would stress some of the points you made in this post.

        • I found the site a bit hard to use on a mobile device since there is a lot of information making it hard to read. Also, text entry is much more cumbersome on mobile.
        • I would use the empty screens to prompt the user to add a startup or join a network.
        • The feed tab was not working.
        • Suggestion: One issue I have with many communities is that the way content is organized, it takes a lot of effort to connect with the content/people of interest. One value prop would be to provide better organization of content. From that aspect, I found the networks tab interesting. You could also organize in othey ways:
        • For example by stage of startup journey (Eg. research, bootstrap, pre- launch, launch, PM fit, etc.
          • Or organizing by specific topic (granular) area. Eg, tech stacks, organic acquisition, paid acquisition, design, legal, etc.
        • Suggestion: Having a section for benchmarks/metrics, etc. would also be useful
        1. 1

          Hey @girishw. I have been reqorking and rethinking what we are building. I have developed a new landing page. Keen to hear what you think

          https://skull-mint-1585134525.versoly.com/

          1. 1

            Wow, that is a huge improvement. I like it.

            • If you could communicate the value/quality of content in the site, it would be powerful. Maybe show the sections/organization of content or samples.
            • I am confused by the " "Prize"ing section.
            • Are you planning on adding a free trial or some way from the user to try the product before paying?
              1. 1

                Looks good. A couple of comments :

                • The pool actually could be a strong selling point. Maybe move it up higher?
                • However, taking a 2% stake in a company could be a problem. There a likely several legal hurdles in issuing someone equity. Further, I'm not sure many founders would be willing to do that. I would consider adjusting the model without equity. Just my opnion.
                1. 1

                  Thanks Girish. Agree on the complexity. And I thought equity free may attract more startups.

                  Have a revised landing page, that is significantly changed.

                  If you can take a look again, I would really appreciate it.

                  https://skull-mint-1585134525.versoly.com/

                  1. 1

                    Responding to your newest post.

                    The messaging seems to be coming together; it looks like you are converging to something like a "virtual incubator" positioning.

                    • If that is the product you are building, I would suggest looking at other incubators and seeing how they pitch themselves
                    • I would add some company names (rather than people) as social proof. Founders should be happy with the free promotion.

                    I would also test this with a lot of other people, because it is a novel idea. The timing might be good because of the current COVID crisis.

                    1. 2

                      We decided to go with online startup accelerator, as we found the better self started startups where rejecting the incubator positioning.

                      but the incubator stage startups were ok with an "Accelerate your startup" positioning.

                      We felt we need the better startups so other startups can learn from them

                    2. 1

                      That makes sense 👌

                  2. 1
                    • I like the value prop a lot with the pool for equity free $10K. I think that is a strong hook and I would play it up even more.
                    • Instead of equity, what if winners have a requirement to contribute certain things to the community? Like write a couple of articles, answer an AMA, etc. This would create a virtuous cycle of contributing best practices to the community.

                    A couple of points on the landing page:

                    • I would work on the hero section a bit. I repeats the content that is there in the next section.
                    • The headline "How to start a startup" does not tell me what you do.
                    • I find the positioning a bit confusing. What are you? A community, an incubator or an accelerator?
                      Each of those has a lot of pre-determined associaated with it, so choose carefully.

                    Hope that helps!

                    1. 1

                      I have updated with the suggestions you shared and some feedback from others as well.

                      https://skull-mint-1585134525.versoly.com/

                      Thanks again for engaging this much. I can't believe it

                    2. 1

                      It really does thanks

            1. 1

              Yes thinking of a 7 days free trial.

              Will rework "Prize"ing

              But the concept is the $10 you pay goes into a prize pool.

              (Like a tournament in poker)

              Every month a few startups that have made the most progress, get to pitch for the pool.

              (Think final table in poker)

              Winners are picked by a combined vote of seasoned investors and the community.

              Winners exchange 2% equity to the platform, for the prize pool

        2. 1

          This is great feedback.

          My to-dos

          1. I will revisit the landing page and share a revised one soon. We didn't have these features well thought out earlier. We realised we need them after we had the first few users

          2. Making content relevant, by stage or networks that you are interested in

          3. Will check on the feed tab from multiple devices. It works for me right now

          4. We do have a metric called Success score for startups coming up in the next version, a score populated by To-Dos completed and community validation etc

  8. 1

    I like it! Customizing and curating that user journey will really set you apart from the "free for all" entrepreneur / maker communities.

    1. 1

      Thanks, we have been wondering what our reason to exist was. And we thought there were enough Idea Stage founders with no idea what to do next.

      So we broadly split the stages into

      Research - Market, Customer, Competitors
      Define - Landing page, one liner
      Test - Test launch
      Build MVP - Easy No Code or Low Code, DIY Tools

  9. 3

    This comment was deleted 6 months ago.

    1. 1

      We were also trying to create a daily online meetup using airmeet.com or crowdcast.io where we have one idea being pitched and discussed every day.

      And we just promote that as a property.

      " Let's discuss One New Idea at 9pm"

    2. 1

      Thanks help always required. We are planning on creating content that helps decode how repeat founders research startup ideas, why they pursue the ones they do. So it helps first timers learn how to think.

      We will also be linking to content across the web, to help people complete to-dos

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 6 months ago.

        1. 1

          Thanks I will definitely reach out. Are there any suggestions you have on what we could do to drive growth or virality

          1. 1

            This comment was deleted 6 months ago.

            1. 2

              Got that. Thanks makes a ton of sense

Recommended Posts