in Canada

30 Ideas that need to be Funded

Paul Graham has published Startup Ideas We?d Like to Fund at YCombinator.

  1. A cure for the disease of which the RIAA is a symptom
  2. Simplified browsing
  3. New news
  4. Outsourced IT
  5. Enterprise software 2.0
  6. More variants of CRM
  7. Something your company needs that doesn?t exist
  8. Dating
  9. Photo/video sharing services
  10. Auctions
  11. Web Office apps
  12. Fix advertising
  13. Online learning
  14. Tools for measurement
  15. Off the shelf security
  16. A form of search that depends on design
  17. New payment methods
  18. The WebOS
  19. Application and/or data hosting
  20. Shopping guides
  21. Finance software for individuals and small businesses
  22. A web-based Excel/database hybrid
  23. More open alternatives to Wikipedia
  24. A buffer against bad customer service
  25. A Craigslist competitor
  26. Better video chat
  27. Hardware/software hybrids
  28. Fixing email overload
  29. Easy site builders for specific markets
  30. Startups for startups

It?s a great list for entrepreneurs to start thinking about what to build next. The best part is that a number of folks have been building this software in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and other places in Canada. Here is my quick feedback about stuff that I can think of that fits the Canadian criteria.

5. Enterprise software 2.0 ? Jevon has been talking about this for ages.

6. More variants of CRM ? Dan McGrady is building integrate. Scott Annan and Scott Lake are building MercuryGrove. I love applications that focus on improving customer interactions, increasing the resolution of the interaction, these are products that small businesses drool over because they have an immediate impact on the bottom line.

9. Photo/video sharing services ? Terry and Jeff at ParkVu are doing some really cool things.

13. Online learning ? John and Gosia have drawn a line in the sand with LearnHub (my view of their opportunity).

19. Application and/or data hosting ? Reuven Cohen is working at building some of the tools for Enomaly. While not Canadian, I?m intrigued with 10gen, Joyent, GoGrid, EngineYard and others. I wish there were some additional strong Canadian contenders in this space.

20. Shopping guides ? Omar Ismail is leading the charge for open shopping reviews at ProductWiki. Candice Factor is working on building OurFaves inside the TorStarDigital network.

21. Finance software for individuals and small businesses ? Mike McDerment and the kick ass team at FreshBooks are taking a stab at financial management tools for small business. George Favvas is building SmartHippo to enable better mortgage and financial information for consumers.

22. A web-based Excel/database hybrid ? Avi Bryant and Andrew Catton are building a great tool, DabbleDB

Kevin Leneway, who apparently is part of my brethren in DPE at Microsoft, has started going through each idea on the list one-by-one. He has decided to address each of the 30 ideas to generate ideas for a startup. It?s a great series of posts.

Are there other Canadian companies that are solutions to one of the 30 ideas? Share them with us!

18 Comments

  1. Great post, thanks for mentioning my blog! Cool to see all the great Canadian startups working on these big problems.

  2. Great post, thanks for mentioning my blog! Cool to see all the great Canadian startups working on these big problems.

  3. 12. Fix advertising.

    I believe we’re swinging for that pitch. Ready to hit it out of the park. AdHack.com

  4. 12. Fix advertising.

    I believe we’re swinging for that pitch. Ready to hit it out of the park. AdHack.com

  5. This is a great list. Paul Graham is definitely a brilliant guy and what he’s built out of YCombinator is fantastic, but I don’t think they’re addressing the biggest problem in software development: bridging the gap between business people and technologists. It seems like Silicon Valley is being dominated by the technology side right now, resulting in a lot of great products being created but very few ones which are true businesses- ie ones which solve serious market needs and can be turned into revenue generating companies. I think it’s a tough one given the unfortunately common animosity between tech and business teams, but the key to real success (which I’m sure we all hope we’re going to see in Canada asap), is going to be from bridging that gap.

    Great software products require four inputs:

    – Marketing Vision
    – Systems Architecture
    – GUI / Design
    – Coding

    To make it a great software company it needs two more:

    – Business Management
    – Technology Management

    I’m willing to bet almost anyone who’s the best at any one of these is only the best at that one. Canada’s a nice and friendly place, maybe we can all start working on bringing the parts together better than anywhere else.

  6. This is a great list. Paul Graham is definitely a brilliant guy and what he’s built out of YCombinator is fantastic, but I don’t think they’re addressing the biggest problem in software development: bridging the gap between business people and technologists. It seems like Silicon Valley is being dominated by the technology side right now, resulting in a lot of great products being created but very few ones which are true businesses- ie ones which solve serious market needs and can be turned into revenue generating companies. I think it’s a tough one given the unfortunately common animosity between tech and business teams, but the key to real success (which I’m sure we all hope we’re going to see in Canada asap), is going to be from bridging that gap.

    Great software products require four inputs:

    – Marketing Vision
    – Systems Architecture
    – GUI / Design
    – Coding

    To make it a great software company it needs two more:

    – Business Management
    – Technology Management

    I’m willing to bet almost anyone who’s the best at any one of these is only the best at that one. Canada’s a nice and friendly place, maybe we can all start working on bringing the parts together better than anywhere else.

  7. I can’t really talk about it quite yet, but I’ve got an 20-guage iron in the fire… Look for news soon.

  8. I can’t really talk about it quite yet, but I’ve got an 20-guage iron in the fire… Look for news soon.

  9. Hey David – I saw this list recently and thought it was great, I actually sent it to all of our shareholders. It was quite affirming to see how our launching a lending and investment auction (#10) which employers could use for offering employee loans (#07) and borrowers could use for an alternative payment method for big debts(#17)could fit into their list. Cheers.
    – M

  10. Hey David – I saw this list recently and thought it was great, I actually sent it to all of our shareholders. It was quite affirming to see how our launching a lending and investment auction (#10) which employers could use for offering employee loans (#07) and borrowers could use for an alternative payment method for big debts(#17)could fit into their list. Cheers.
    – M

  11. Great list, David. Sometimes we have the tendency to forget what’s brewing in our own back yard, but there’s an impressive amount of innovation and disruption happening in Canada.

  12. Great list, David. Sometimes we have the tendency to forget what’s brewing in our own back yard, but there’s an impressive amount of innovation and disruption happening in Canada.

  13. For #29 “Easy site builders for specific markets”, our YikeSite (www.yikesite.com) is accomplishing this and we’re currently trying to make it even more market specific.

  14. For #29 “Easy site builders for specific markets”, our YikeSite (www.yikesite.com) is accomplishing this and we’re currently trying to make it even more market specific.

  15. David, it just so happens that my cofounder, James Duncan, and I totally agree with you on #19 – application hosting. And, we are currently based in Montreal.

    The alpha version of our Platform-as-a-Service, http://reasonablysmart.com/ was launched about 4 weeks ago and the response has been fantastic.

    And guess what, we are now looking for the funding required to build out, what we believe to be, a highly disruptive, valuable (to the business community) technology.

    Wish us luck!

  16. David, it just so happens that my cofounder, James Duncan, and I totally agree with you on #19 – application hosting. And, we are currently based in Montreal.

    The alpha version of our Platform-as-a-Service, http://reasonablysmart.com/ was launched about 4 weeks ago and the response has been fantastic.

    And guess what, we are now looking for the funding required to build out, what we believe to be, a highly disruptive, valuable (to the business community) technology.

    Wish us luck!

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