Ideas for Software Startups

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Photo owned by Andre Charland (cc)

There are a few models which we consider. Your goals also matter – it might be just your personal hobby, or the start of a large enterprise.

  • Open-source/free software. It is not likely that you will make a fortune from clicks, and it also takes time to acquire users that will be willing to pay for proffesional support. Go ahead with this model, if your project is exciting enough to attract more developers, and if you are genuinely interested in contributing to the community
  • Commercial specialized software. If you know your target group and their needs, you may be able to .
  • Community-based portals/services. A great idea may attract a sufficient amount of users. Possiblity to earn money (e.g., Bukisa, myLot, eHow, and much more), excellent free services (Google), community sharing (Flickr, Sribd, diggid, etc.), networking (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter) are examples that motivated crowds.

What are the killer, or at least potentiially useful applications, that have a chance of flying?

Highly specialized small software for an affordable price. Are you preparing for a private plane pilot exam? Maybe you can offer a navigation system for sailing boats in your area including high quality maps, camping places, and sights on the shore? Start a small project, aim your audience, and, without large investments, exept your time, you can start selling. If it does not work out, you do not lose much, and you can still keep the website for show-off purposes.

Commercial applications, that you would find useful at your own work. Do you miss something that would be handy, but just is not there? Then develop your own.

Continuation of your master’s thesis project. Did you come up with a great idea, and have loads of code that asks to be reused? Many universities even offer incubators for such software startups. You can expect coaching and even own office space for the first year.

Integration of interent services. Users are overwhelmed with options to choose from. What they want now is easy access to everything in one place. Google is already doing that, but there is space for your project, too. A few examples include:

  1. Managing your images, located in different websites. One portal to access everything, including multiple flickr and picassa accounts, as well as public facebook albums, with options to manage albums, and create slideshows.
  2. New approach to dating, with on-line and off-line activities, soul-mating possibilities, advanced matching, and a trick that would attract educated, creative people.
  3. Educational content and educational games, preparation for exams – either for one discipline, or integration of learning material for everything in one place.
  4. On-line wii-like sports, just without wii, possibly with community that encourages healty lifestyle and weight loss.
  5. Aggregation and integration of various personal on-line content, accounts and profiles.
  6. Career management – e.g., one-click submission of profiles to various recruitment companies.
  7. Mobile applications for travelers with a trick to overcome roaming issues (e.g., one-click pre-loading of content; sms-based communication (esp. free input); facilities for location of hot-spots, or even cheap internet-oriented roaming services). The applications would include community, meetups of members, offers for sights and services.

Easy to learn and use software for kids and the elderly, possibly including remote control (for parents) is still in need. Versions for basically anything can also be developed in simplified, colourful, or plain versions. The same holds for mobile applications – go light and simple.

Please feel free to offer more ideas in the comments.

156505716_02b9ac6ac2.jpgPhoto owned by Andre Charland (cc)

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