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Start-up idea: Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I have new businesses ideas all the time, but normally don’t have time to implement any of them or to find (and fund) a team to execute the idea. Today’s idea I got when my kids were playing in the playground and I was watching them. It’s one of those moments that you can’t do much else and my thoughts often go in different directions.

I look at new business plans almost every day and some are really good. But many still don’t get funded, because for example the team is not smart/eager/experienced enough, because they focus on the wrong target market, because their valuation is too high, or because of many other reasons that are not always completely objective.

Normally these teams already have a working prototype or built a working piece of software (I never look at plans that are still in the idea phase). Normally I don’t hear anything from these entrepreneurs again, but sometimes I hear from other investors that the company didn’t make it and shut down. Other teams manage to get some funding but eventually also don’t survive.

If you know that out of every 10 angel investments only 1 or 2 do really well and maybe another 1 or 2 generally just break even, it means that the vast majority of funded businesses eventually fail. If you also take into account the business that never raise any money, it probably means that 75-80% of all implemented business ideas never get off the ground.

From experience I know that most founders just abandon the idea and do something different. But that means that there is a huge amount of software, apps, websites and product designs out there that have value to other start-ups, but that nobody knows about. Many business ideas could still be successful in a different market or with a different team.

My idea would be to build an online market for virtual assets of failed companies, a Boulevard of Broken Dreams. It could be a database where companies can describe what virtual assets they have (probably source code is most interesting, but possibly also designs or even ideas that can be patented), and others can browse them and bid for these assets. I think you would be surprised how many source codes could be (partially) re-used in other start-ups. That would save new (or existing) businesses a lot of time, because they can get started with a working source code for a similar product that they are working on.

I have never seen a site or app like this (but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, just that the founders didn’t execute well enough), but it should be fairly easy to build. The potential market is huge, because most founders or investors should be happy to get at least some money back or may even be willing to be paid in shares in the new company. I certainly would use it, both to get inspired for new business ideas and to sell off virtual assets of companies that failed.

I just wanted to put this idea out there, because I don’t have the capacity to work on it and maybe it will inspire somebody to work on it.

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  1. Funny that you posted this- I’m currently working on the wireframes for an idea I LOVE but don’t think I have time to build. Wireframing it out in order to validate how good/bad AND hard it would be to get an MVP out. Actually- at some point I’ll probably run this one by you just to get your input, think it would have interesting use in China.

    Anyhow- there is for websites and something similar for apps- though your name BoBD is brilliant. I think Flippa is basically just for the code and the users, so maybe you could build something broader with IP, design etc on the table as well, but seems like the market is being served.

  2. Mack, would be good to catch up next time I’m in town and talk about your idea.

    On Twitter someone also mentioned Flippa to me, it’s not as broad as the idea I had in mind, but would be a good starting point. IMHO Flippa should among others include apps (most start-ups now seem to make apps instead of just websites) and should have a section for source codes without a website (most people don’t want to re-use an existing site).

    Inspiring website, if someone is looking for start-up ideas Flippa is a good place to get started.

  3. Thanks Christof, apptopia is also a good site, I didn’t know this one.

    Apptopia + Flippa + a site for (partial) source codes + a site for designs = my Boulevard of Broken Dreams idea 🙂

  4. Hi, another interesting usage might be to evaluate whether your idea have beed already implemented. You could browse the categories and may even check why the other idea failed or wasn’t implemented. The original creators could create a (standardized?) evaluation report regarding the failure. You could buy this report and get an additional channel for the evaluation of your idea.

  5. Hey just thought I’d weigh in. I’m a member of the team at Apptopia. While our site is built around the ability to buy and sell completed and functioning apps that are currently in either the App Store or Google play, I know that does something more similar to the source code exchange functionality that you are describing. Apptopia is much more of a bridge between developers seeking an exit strategy and publishers/investors seeking mobile opportunities. If you have any questions I’d be more than happy to help – greg [a+]