Abhilekh Verma

A MBA Marketing Professional with expertise in Market Research and Blogging.

Billingme – Invoicing & Payment For Creatives With Multiple Clients & Projects

bilingmeEd: Point product that addresses a very targeted market.

While the pitch is a little light on detail the website is pretty clear, Billingme provides project invoicing for service providers with multiple clients providing both the invoice with customer self service portal and the ability to pay the invoice on the same page.

 

Good discrete idea, differentiated from the Freshbooks/MYOBs of the world by the simple focus on invoicing, payment and multiple projects.

Startup Name

BillingMe

What problem are you solving?No more multiple logins and accounts with freshbooks, et al.
What is your solution?Provides invoicing services for folks with multiple identities. Uses Paypal, Authorize.net, Stripe and integrates with Slack.
Target Marketmarketers, hackers, startups, makers, entrepreneurs
How will you make money?Subscriptions/Advertisement
Tell us about the market & founders, why is this a great opportunity?Serial entrepreneurs who needed the product.
Founders NamesGeorge Kepnick
Websitehttps://billingme.com/
What type of funding has the company received?Bootstrap
Twitter Handle@billing_me

ButtonFrog – This Model Is Going To Kill Small Graphics & Print Businesses

Ed: These guys are persistent, they have pitched me a few times now, I don’t believe this niche market is the sort of business a professional investor should invest in but I think its a great example of someone taking a crappy process and just making it so much better than the existing methods. 

Buttonfrog is an example of a common trend we see that will kill small service providers in the old world.

Take a fiddly, shitty slow process (think ordering swag, merchandise, business cards, printing, company Tshirts, graphic design) use software/app to automate it and make it so easy, beautiful and low cost that using the old method just fills you with horror.

Once the software is built and the product creation and delivery process is ironed out, it really becomes a matter of who can fund marketing and convert visitors the best.

Certainly these guys have carved out a very small niche and they know how to hustle so they have a shot.

Startup Name

Button Frog

What problem are you solving?Custom buttons might be a niche market, but that doesn’t mean ordering them shouldn’t be incredibly easy. Existing vendors for custom buttons have a manual proofing process that requires lengthy email exchanges to finalize an order. We let you order online in minutes with a free online proof that’s manually prepared by our team.
What is your solution?We simplified the ordering experience and backed it with a free online proofing process that’s performed by real humans. When a customer submits an order we review it, make any necessary or requested adjustments and provide a free online proof for our customers to review. Customers can request changes to their proof online and we’ll make them for free until you’re happy.
Target MarketStartups, artists, bands and small businesses.
How will you make money?Selling custom buttons to the millions of artists and small businesses in the United States and worldwide.
Tell us about the market & founders, why is this a great opportunity?Anthony Thomas previously founded Sticker Mule in 2015. Buttons are a bit more niche than stickers, but customers for this product still want a simple solution for ordering them online.
Founders NamesAnthony Thomas
Websitehttps://www.buttonfrog.com/
What type of funding has the company received?Bootstrap
Twitter Handle@button_frog

CleanSMS – SMS Spam Filtering App for Android

Ed: Hard to know if SMS spam is a real problem as yet but you have to think it will be in the future. It’s not as easy to harvest mobile numbers as it is email addresses.

Not convinced it’s a pressing problem now (I only get few SMS and only from companies I know) but it could be a problem in the future.

Startup NameClean SMS
What problem are you solving?SMS Spam (Banks, operators etc)
What is your solution?Clean Text is a beautifully designed, automatic SMS spam filtering app for Android.
Target MarketAnyone that has an Android.
How will you make money?Subscriptions/Advertisement.
Founders NamesHenry
WebsiteCleanSMS
What type of funding has the company received?Bootstrap

Boomeringo

Startup Name *

Boomeringo

What problem are you solving? 1 in 5 Australians live from pay cheque to pay cheque. 1 in 7 Australians live in poverty. They make just enough money to pay for that week or fortnight and start over. They wait anxiously till they get their next pay cheque so they can afford to pay for those essentials such as rent, mortgage and even on things like food and medicine.

Every year we pay millions of dollars in bank fees in the form of late fees and overdraft fees that we can easily avoid.

What is your solution? An easy to use smartphone app and a web app that helps users mitigate all those money blunders.

Boomeringo helps people who are struggling with their finances, especially those who live from pay cheque to pay cheque, help save more money. They can easily see where their hard-earned money is going and see where they can save and cut back on their expenses.

The way Boomeringo works is by connecting to your bank, credit card or loan account. It then securely pulls your transactions, automatically classifying them into different categories (gas, rent, Internet, school fees….etc) as well as merchants (Coles, Aldi, Harvey Norman, McDonalds, Starbucks…etc) so on and so forth.

Boomeringo also reminds you of any upcoming bill payments, so you can avoid paying those nasty late fees and overdraft fees. You can create a budget for just about any category. You can set a limit and as you get close to overspending Boomeringo will alert you via an email, SMS or a push notification.

Why is this a great opportunity? Although FinTech is a relatively crowded market in Australia, and although there’s an array of different budgeting tools available, Boomeringo addresses a very unique industry need. It not only helps users easily keep track of their income and expenses, but also actively finds ways to save money based on users’ lifestyle.
Target Market Income earners who live from one pay cheque to the next. 1 in 5 Australians belong to this category.

Boomeringo also targets Asia-Pacific region. With a potential reach of 500 million Internet savvy, online banking users who live from pay cheque to pay cheque.

How will you make money? 1) Because Boomeringo algorithms can assimilate what a user spends on certain categories, such as mobile phone bill, we can easily suggest a money saving deal. For instance, if you are spending $99 on your mobile phone bill, we can easily suggest a cheaper option. i.e. $69 with the same data amount. Once you switch to the new provider, we receive a commission fee from the new provider.

2) Subscription model – Currently Boomeringo is a free product, with premium options coming in the near future.

Founders Names Shammika Munugoda
Website https://www.boomeringo.com
What type of funding has the company received Bootstrapped/self funded

 

Canary – App Design & Mockup Service

Ed: If you aren’t in the business of making wireframes or app Mockups it can take a lot of time and effort to get a mockup right (or if you don’t have design or coding skills not get it right at all).

For a fixed and pretty reasonable fee Canary will build you a wireframe or App mockup.

This is continuing a pleasing trend we are seeing from Service Providers that are “Productising” their services so that they are easy to order and deliver a known result with a set process.

These guys probably have some low-cost labour to do all the grunt work but their team takes the brief and then delegates the build to the low-cost team.

The costs are very reasonable, I think it would be hard to do this yourself at that price and you would struggle to find a better service provider via Freelance.com that can give you a known service.

Certainly I will be considering it for my next App project.

Startup Name

Canary

What problem are you solving?Even with the tools available, entrepreneurs are still developing apps when a mockup or prototype would suffice. Our mockups and prototypes let entrepreneurs pitch for capital and get early feedback before they invest their time and money.
What is your solution?Canary helps entrepreneurs move their ideas closer to reality by putting beautiful mockups, prototypes and wireframes within their reach.
Target MarketWe make beautiful app mockups, interactive prototypes and wireframes.
How will you make money?Fee for Service
Tell us about the market & founders, why is this a great opportunity?Chris – Chris comes from the world of product development, new business and marketing. He is all about products that add real value. A self-confessed wine and cheese lover, Chris says, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”Alex – Former CTO for a mobile payments startup, Alex brings his hardcore software engineering and product management skills to the table, with a side of intuition and imagination.
Founders NamesChris Gardner, Alex
Websiteusecanary.com
What type of funding has the company received?Bootstrap
Twitter Handle@Canary_Team

Zen Store Locator – Easy Multi Store Locator Web App

ED: This is a cheap easy solution for customers with more than one store that need to put a maps enabled store locator on their website.

You could never build this yourself with a contractor or in house staff as cheap as their subscription pricing. (in fact it would cost you more than a years subscription fees just to brief the project manager).

Its a bit of a no brainer decision if you have to put more than one store location on your website.

Hopefully once they have a few thousand customers they can work out something else to sell them.

Startup Name *

Zen Store Locator

What problem are you solving? Making store locators look sexy again.
What is your solution? Completely redesigned store locator for modern browsers so the user doesn’t feel like it’s a chore using one.
Why is this a great opportunity? Because we’re reviving a super old industry.
Target Market Any business with physical locations – coffee shops, boutique stores, retail stores.
How will you make money? Bootstrapping right now, but signing and onboarding customers already, so looks like there’s lots of demand for modern SaaS!
Founders Names Ivan Akimov
Website https://zenstorelocator.com/
What type of funding has the company received Bootstrapped/self funded

 

@OzForex, Australia’s biggest Tech IPO for 2013 – text book example of finding & solving a big problem

Matthew- Gilmore-Founder OZforex - Credit Linkedin.com

Matthew- Gilmore-Founder OZforex – Credit Linkedin.com

Late last week OzForex raised $439.4 million by the issue of 12 million new shares and the sale and transfer of 207.7 million existing shares. The float was heavily subscribed by institutional investors.

OzForex is an online foreign exchange and global payments provider and a strategic investment of Macquarie BankAccel Partners and the Carlyle Group. OzForex is part of the OzForex Group which also includes UKForexCanadianForex, NZForex, USForex, ClearFX and Transfers.

Interestingly OzForex was started by Matthew Gilmour  ‘‘as an experiment’’ after accepting a redundancy package in 1998 while working as the head of foreign exchange at Bankers Trust 

As with most great entrepreneurs, he found a really good problem and then found a way to solve it. The problem was that in the 90s if you were a large corporate you had a dealing room and account manager to take your Forex orders.

If you were a small to medium company (which can still be pretty big in turnover) you had to stand in line at a bank and wait for someone to fill out a Telegraphic Transfer and take whatever rubbish rate they gave you on the day. So every importer and exporter in the country had this problem. 

Matt worked out that if he could give an internet dealing platform to small to medium business he could make the margin on the transaction instead of the bank and solve a major pain point for the customer.

In my opinion finding a good meaty problem is the biggest challenge of launching your own startup, as I often rant too many startups are solving non problems. Find a critical burning problem and solve it. As Bill Bartee @wbartee from Blackbird Ventures and Southern Cross Venture Partners says, you want a find a problem that is like somewhat like Appendicitis, if the customer doesn’t solve it, its going to get really bad really quickly.

OzForex held off on raising venture money for a long time. In fact, only just last year it raised $70 million in equity funding from The Carlyle Group and Accel Partners (an investor in PandoDaily), which can count this as another win following eBay’s $800 million acquisition of Braintree, another of its portfolio companies, last month. The Macquarie Group was another major investor in OzForex.

OzForex is Australia’s third-biggest IPO in three years, and the largest tech IPO in the same period,according to Bloomberg. For the year ended March 31, it posted net earnings of US$16.2 million and net operating income of $49.3 million. For the fiscal year of 2013, it made $8.6 billion worth of transactions, projecting a net profit of $17.6 million dollar for the year through March 2014.

The day’s trading puts the company’s market cap somewhere in the region of $600 million. Founder Matthew Gilmour will pocket about $60 million from the sale, as will early investor Gary Lord.

OzForex

OzForex (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The successful outing is expected to stoke confidence among Australian companies eyeing up an IPO. It may not fix the country’s venture capital woes, but it’ll at least give the country’s nascent startup community another success story to point to and with the announcement of Freelancer.com pending float makes the year look a bit more promising and will keep the advisory firms in Zenga and Ferrari’s for another year. Interestingly the Advisers to the IPO picked up about $10m in fees. Nice work. 

For the last financial year, OzForex posted a net profit of $13.1 million.

The company’s prospectus forecast a stronger year in financial 2014, with profits expected to rise to $18.6 million, excluding costs of listing.

Thought it might be useful for other startups to outline the company’s history

Company history:

1998 – Launch of ozforex.com.au as foreign exchange information site in SydneyAustralia by Matthew Gilmour.

2000 – ABN status active, ABN 65 092 375 703

2001 – Launch of online dealing facility

2003 – NZForex and Tranzfers.com launch

2003 – Australian Financial Services Licence, AFSL, issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, license no. 226484 

2005 – Former Bankers Trust Managing Director and Head of Asian Foreign Exchange Gary Lord joins the OzForex Group as Managing Director.

2005 – OzForex expands its operations into the UK and launches UKForex.co.uk with offices in London.

2005 – Global 24-hour trading platform launches, annual turn-over exceeds US$1 billion

2007 – Macquarie purchases 51% of OzForex, new CEO Neil Helm joins from Macquarie

2007 – CanadianForex launches in Toronto, Canada.

2008 – Member of Financial Ombudsman Service, member no. 11340

2008 – International Money Transfers, a service from Macquarie and OzForex, launches

2008 – Turnover exceeds US$4 billion

2009 – ING Direct uses OzForex platform to offer international money transfer[disambiguation needed] service to customers 

2010 – ClearFX.com launch 

2010 – The group receives minority growth investment from Accel Partners and The Carlyle Group. Representatives from both Accel Partners and Carlyle serve on the OzForex Board of Directors. The company’s founders and Macquarie Private Wealth, which is part of Macquarie Group, are together retaining significant ownership of OzForex, Neil Helm continues as CEO.

The company’s client base includes small and medium-sized businesses that import and export goods, as well as migrants transferring financial assets, expatriates repatriating funds, and individuals investing overseas.

The OzForex website provides real-time exchange rates for dozens of currencies, as well as historical charts and strategies to manage exchange rate exposure.

 

 

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@Kickstarter now launching in Australia and New Zealand

Kickstarter now in Australian and New Zealand

Kickstarter now in Australian and New Zealand – Credit Kickstarter.com/australia

Kickstarter.com is now accepting projects in Australia and New Zealand http://www.kickstarter.com/australia .

People can start building their projects from 14th October with the official launch on 13th November.

Arguably Kickstarter.com is the company that has helped launch more new hardware and creative arts businesses than any company in the history and in my opinion it is mandatory for testing new business concepts and products, it is one of the cheapest and most effective forms of testing your product and getting your first customers, especially for hardware products.

Just as with every other project on Kickstarter, backers can pledge to support Australia and New Zealand-based projects from all around the world.

Australian projects will be listed in Australian dollars (AUD), and New Zealand-based projects will be listed in New Zealand dollars (NZD). If you are pledging from outside Australia or New Zealand, you will see the approximate conversion to US dollars before you complete your pledge.

The mechanics of Kickstarter (all-or-nothing funding, rewards, etc.) are identical for all projects. When pledging, however, backers of Australia- and New Zealand-based projects will enter their payment information directly on Kickstarter rather than through Amazon Payments. All pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor.

For Australia-based projects:

  • Pledges less than $10 AUD are charged 5% + $0.05 AUD
  • Pledges of $10 AUD or greater are charged 3% + $0.20 AUD

  For New Zealand-based projects: 

  • Pledges less than $10 NZD are charged 5% + $0.05 NZD
  • Pledges of $10 NZD or greater are charged 3% + $0.20 NZD

If a project is not successfully funded, there are no fees.

You can sign up to launch events in Melbourne on October 27thBrisbane on October 28thSydney on October 31 and November 1; and Auckland on November 5.