Four hundred top entrepreneurs and investors have used this week’s Founders Forum to conceive and launch three new businesses in just a few hours. The entrepreneurs — including the founders of YouTube, SkyScanner, Wikipedia and Deepmind — collaborated with investors from Index, Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins and more to create a photo app, a peer-to-peer storage business and a personal-finance app on Thursday afternoon. And all three businesses have already launched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, with founding teams in place.
The businesses were created in a “reverse pitch” process at the Founders Forum event, where guests included the Duke of York, government ministers, and WIRED story subjects such as Badoo’s Andrey Andreev, Raspberry Pi’s Eben Upton, King’s Riccardo Zacconi and Baroness Martha Lane Fox. Teams of delegates brainstormed to create businesses and then “sold” their ideas to three groups of entrepreneurs who have committed three months to building the businesses.
A team from Entrepreneurs First asked the conference to pitch a peer-to-peer business; founders from TechStars invited ideas for a mobile-first marketplace; and entrepreneurs from the New Entrepreneurs Foundation wanted to build a business that tackled consumer debt. Once the teams had chosen their preferred ideas from those pitched, they worked on making short promotional videos and launched their first fundraising campaigns on Indiegogo.
The three chosen businesses were:
A free, text-based service to help manage money and personal spending — your avatar personal financial advisor. Dear Penny encourages you to develop good spending habits, suggests simple and bespoke ways that can keep you within budget and even teach you a thing or two about how to best invest your hard-earned money.
An unlimited photo app with sprinkles on the top — the first app that helps you capture unlimited moments, without a worry that you will run out of space or not be able to find that perfect memory in a hurry. IceCream will automatically categorise your images with machine vision intelligence, allowing you to search for sunsets, people or animals, and by accessing your smartphone calendar you can search for birthday photos automatically.
The Airbnb for storage: an online community marketplace for unused space that allows people to make money from spare space in their homes. End users simply input the amount of stuff they want to store and Nearbox will find you the closest, cheapest and most convenient location based on your needs.
Founders Forum said it launched the project as part of its mission “to bring together the world’s best, brightest and most dynamic digital entrepreneurs to engage in open debate, brainstorming, discussion and problem solving”.
The Founders Forum event, in its ninth year, took place on Thursday at the Grove Hotel in Watford, Hertfordshire. Speakers in the off-the-record event included Google’s Eric Schmidt and Andreessen Horowitz’s Ben Horowitz. This year for the first time it was accompanied by Founders Forum Health Tech 2014, a separate health event on Friday.
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