The good people over at CIO have put together an absolutely wonderful guide for web entrepreneurs! (I highly recommend a subscription…or at least a bookmark…it makes sense out of the utterly baffling. I love it.)
“The genesis for this is are the economic times we’re in,” Guy Kawasaki said. “The old days of starting a company by going to investors and giving a PowerPoint presentation — and then getting $2 million — are over.”
Here are nine companies that have developed nifty Web 2.0 sites (with only a little cash up front).
Where they’re based: Tampa Bay, Florida
What they do: Allow users to make online forms with no HTML experience. They can create forms that help people register for a website, workshop or mailing list. As people respond and fill out the forms, users can measure their responses by running reports and viewing charts.
Quote from co-founder Kevin Hale: “We don’t just strive to collect information, but analyze it as well. [With no coding experience necessary], it’s for secretaries who want to avoid the IT department.”
Where they got funding: Hale says they were initially funded by Y Combinator (a venture capital firm that gives small funding rounds, usually of $20,000 or less, to companies in their infancy).
Business Model: Free for individuals; charge fees for groups and businesses.
Where they’re based: Palo Alto, CA
What they do: A Web-based portal that allows you to access your computers or network devices from anywhere, without the cumbersome process of setting up remote desktop capabilities.
Quote from founder, Ryo Koyama: “Our view is that everyone knows how to use a Web browser. So there is no reason all your data shouldn’t be accessible from the Web. Setting up a remote desktop tends to be a more complicated thing.”
Where they got funding: According Koyama, they launched the product with their own resources before receiving funding.
Business Model: Licensing to networking technology companies.
Where They’re Based: Bay Area
What they do: Dropbox allows you to synch and share your files online. One of the upsides to the service is that any change or update you make to a file, it is updated across all your devices that access it. It also has good version control, allowing you to “undelete” files.
Quote from founder Drew Houston: (Referencing Dropbox’s sophisticated version control): “It’s almost like a time machine that works across all platforms.”
Where they got funding: $15,000 from Y Combinator. They later received funding from Sequoia Capital.
Business model: 2 GB free to users; they charge for additional storage.
Where They’re Based: San Francisco
What they do: Pronounced “discuss,” Disqus allows users to track the comment threads they participate in, on websites across the Web, all in one central area.
Quote from cofounder Jason Yan: “With Disqus, immediately, I see all the comments I’ve left across websites and I can see when other people replied to [my comment] without having to check out each individual website all the time.”
Where they got funding: $15,000 from Y Combinator.
Business model : Get money from publishers/media companies looking to use the service for their entire sites.
Where they’re based: Bay Area
What they do: MightyQuiz is a user generated trivia game. People can share knowledge with others and have them answer trivia questions in response.
Quote from COO Kelly Bennett: “Our motto is everyone is a trivia junkie for topics they love.”
Where they got funding: Initially $10,000 from Y Combinator.
Business Model: Unclear based on their presentation, but given its social nature most likely ad-based.
Where they’re based: San Francisco and New Delhi
What they do: Enable you to easily share PowerPoint presentations online.
Quote from cofounder Rashmi Sinha: “How many times have you received
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files that clogged up your inbox? We created a social space to share them instead.”
How they got funding: According to Sinha, they got modest investments up front. The later received money from angel investors like Mark Cuban and venture capital from Venrock.
Business model: Their site allows people to take out ads.
Where they’re based: Bay Area
What they do: The service allows users to publish blog posts by simply typing them in to their favorite e-mail service, such as Gmail. It also takes links that were pasted into the email and makes them come alive in the blog post (as an example, a video link posted into an email would appear in its full video form in the blog post).
Quote from cofounder Garry Tan: We can take a link that is worthless [and make it] more intelligent. The user doesn’t need to know how to embed code.”
Where they got funding: $15,000 from Y Combinator
Business Model: Free for individuals. Premium subscription model in the works.
Where they’re based: Seattle area
What they do: They measure how much time users spend on the Web, on either a website or application. While it sounds a bit Big Brother like, it’s really for users to determine how productive they’re being on a daily basis (how much time did you spend in email yesterday?). It does offer organizations a management view to see organizational behavior, but individual users’ identities are protected.
Quote from cofounder Tony Wright: “It’s not a micro-manager tool. We offer a categorized view of how you [and your organization] is spending time. That allows you to be more efficient.”
Where they got funding: Wright didn’t specify amount, but it was from Y Combinator, so likely under $20,000.
Business model: Free for individuals; fee-based for organizations.
9. Poll Everywhere
Where they’re based: Chicago and Boston
What they do: They make presentations interactive by allowing users sitting in an audience to text questions to the speaker and see them populate on a webpage.
Quote from co-founder Jeff Vyduna: “Our goal is to make presentations a two-way medium.”
Where they got funding: $20,000 from Y Combinator.
Business Model: Free for up to 30 people, but priced per month as a service after that based on audience size.