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Saturday, 25 April 2009

10 random mobile startup ideas

Having strong interest in mobile, it is little wonder that I have a sudden surge of mobile startup ideas after reading Tomi Ahonen's mobile pearls volume 2 and rereading volume 1 as well.
By the way, if you are interested in turning these ideas into real companies but lack funds, why not consider start up loans?

1. Alternative payment platform for mobile applications
With the coming of in game currencies on iPhone applications, players are going to want alternate ways to get those currencies beyond paying their money for it. That is where alternate payment platforms likeOfferpay Media comes in. They offer a service for people to conduct actions (such as sign up other services) and earn currencies for their actions. I think there is an opportunity to build a similar platform for the Asian, mobile market. Think about Asian companies who want to test their mobile applications, companies who want to survey their target groups, companies who want to advertise, companies who want valuable customer leads etc. All these are potential companies who are willing to pay. Any platform that facilitates this exchange is going to have a windfall.

2. More open version of Blyk
Blyk has shown us that co-created advertisements is the right model for mobile advertising. By allowing users to tell advertisers what products, colour, model
etc they prefer, Blyk has achieved a high conversation rate for their mobile advertisements. Can we build a more open version of this co-creation advertisement platform for all mobile content, applications and services? An OpenX version of Blyk?

3. Mobile user generated content
One of the main advantage of mobile is its ability to handle micro-payment efficiently. This has turned user generated content into real businesses. Witness the success of SeeMeTV, a youtube clone on mobile but with the ability for content creators to charge. There are opportunities to create similar ventures across the rest of the user generated landscape, from comics to photos.
4. Viral marketing through alpha usersAlpha users are the people that have extraordinary social connections. If we know who these people are, why not give them better deals so that they might spread the word for your business? A startup who can figure out a way to enable this is going to change how word of mouth is done.

5. Mobile as your design tool
Mobile is available at your creative impulse. See a nice graffiti? Snap it. Like the logo on a shop front? Take a picture of it. We can build services around these creative impulses. One area is in user generated designs. Imagine a mobile threadless where tshirt design submissions are as easy as snapping images with your photo and submitting them as MMS. What's more, because it is on mobile, premium sms voting for the best design can become another viable revenue model.

6. Ebay for companies and companies in mobile advergaming
Mobile advergaming will be an explosive growth area as more companies commission mini-games or applications for the iPhone and other mobile platforms. The current marketplace for advergaming however is very inefficient. Negotiations are long and filled with all sorts of contractual discussions. Any elegant solution for developers and advertisers to find each other will surely find the market responding to it.

7. Mood music for status updating (Hat Tip to Tomi Ahonen)
Social networking may be all about status, but why is status restricted to text? Our experiences are much richer than what words can sometimes convey. Music is one powerful way to express how you feel. Why not create a mobile service that lets users 'listen' to moods of their friends through the songs they embed in their status updates? Pictures and videos are other media that this idea can apply to.

8. Shazam for images
There is very little tolerance for browsing on the mobile as both the keypad( or touch screen) and the screen are ill suited to such tasks.
Mobile search may be all about point, snap and retrieve. There are potentially dozens of opportunities for startups to provide Shazam-for-pictures in different vertical sectors. For example, a Shazam for cars will enable a user to take a picture of a car model and retrieve the lowest car prices in his surrounding neighborhood for that model. Other verticals include movies, animals, buildings, product reviews etc.

9. Image recognition applications for the blind
Related to (9) is the idea of building image recognition services for the blind. The mobile can become their eyes, helping them to identify objects and reading out their description. One niche application is in money recognition, where the mobile can assist the blind to know how much money they are holding in their hands.

 10. Make it easy to embed QR codes into videos
QR codes are url shorteners for mobile (see mobiletinyurl). Currently, they are mostly used in paper based medium like magazines and posters. As video becomes more ubiquitous as a communication medium, embedding QR codes into them is the next logical step. Making this easy for users seems like a great opportunity especially as we are seeing more QR codes in videos (See pet shop boys example).

  • Mobile Pearls II (ac-idealog.blogspot.com)

  • Mobile Pearls Vol III (ac-idealog.blogspot.com)

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