Startups · Ideation

Are there tool to evaluate start-up ideas?

Richard Pridham Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs

July 4th, 2015

Has anyone used or know of a tool or spreadsheet that can help evaluate and rank business ideas? Let's say you have 10 ideas and are not sure which one is the best. You would rank each one based on a series of weighted criteria. For example: market size/opportunity, competitor strength, level of differentiation, time to market, cost to build, monetization model, etc... The result would help the entrepreneur decide which one to go with.

Of course I can build this myself but why reinvent the wheel if such a tool exists.

Thanks!

Ralf-Rainer von Albedyhll

July 4th, 2015

We have developed a system called CanInvest which does exactly what you are describing. In this case the objective was to reshape the startup funding process and to bring it into the 21st. Century. I attended lots of pitching events and noted that typically there were no immediate results which - as an entrepreneur I found frustrating. My reasoning was that IF investors had all pertinent information available to them including due diligence - they should be in a position to evaluate an opportunity on the spot and get off the pot, so to speak.

Using the system the investor would score each opportunity based on the criteria you describe such as team etc. in order to see immediately how every opportunity stacked. If this is something you want to check out you can contact me at ralfmrATme.com.

Bharathi Masilamani Software Development Manager at Amazon

July 4th, 2015

LeanCanvas should be a good tool to get off the ground. I have used it and it works great. The tool is no magic or a silver bullet to solve all issues, but at least gives a template to focus and follow through ideas in each area of importance in a startup.

I have heard that this canvas largely applies only to tech startup - i have used this in my tech startup and has helped me...but no datapoints on other verticals. 

YMMV..

Thomas Loarie "Bringing Entrepreneurs and Technology to Life" CEO and Chairman, Mentoring and Coaching of C-Level Executives

July 4th, 2015

Rayner's "Innovator's Manifesto" is a good place to start.

Tomas Fecko CTO at Mongoo and Librade

July 8th, 2015

I'm not sure if it's exactly what you need, but have a look at lean launch lab:

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

July 4th, 2015

A few months ago I had exactly the same problem - to evaluate and compare 10 startup ideas - so I built a lean-canvas-like page for it, and it worked great:

http://miranor.com/canvas/

Unlike canonical canvas, it allows you to see both short-term and long-term potential.
It may not provide mathematical evaluation (yet), but such evaluation would probably be largely arbitrary anyway - startup potential is still not exact science. But at least in my case it helped me filter out "bad" ideas with low potential, and of the few that survive, picking one isn't difficult - just go with the one you like to implement most.

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

July 5th, 2015

Every time I've seen someone do this, they simply weight and scale things to the outcome that they want. Not saying it's a bad exercise, but if you're at the stage of evaluating 10 different ideas, then you probably don't understand enough about any of them to accurately score anything. In this case, I think the exercise is much more valuable than the outcome.

What might make it more valuable is to incorporate external perspective. Allow 10 people to spend 30-60 minutes scoring a half-dozen attributes (and commenting as appropriate) for your 10 projects and my guess is you'll learn a ton. 

Scott McGregor Advisor, co-founder, consultant and part time executive to Tech Start-ups. Based in Silicon Valley.

July 4th, 2015

You might check with Founder Institute (FI.co) which has founders in its program generate and compare 3 ideas and select one to pursue for the remainder of the program. Most startup ideas are bad. Inevitably they have at least one of these problems: 1) they are so innovative that there is little evidence that that there will be a large enough market for your product or that you will get sufficient share in it. Or there are so many competitors with similar products it is not clear how you will steal enough share. Only by buying an existing successful business can you avoid one of these uncertainties. Ultimately, entrepreneurs need to remain committed to making their business survive long enough to thrive. Most will pivot ideas several times so the goodness of the ideas is often less important than how much your goals inspire you to persist. This is why most investors pay more attention to the team and their histories than to ideas and possible futures. Scott McGregor, Scott@soundfit.me, (408) 505-4123 Sent from my iPhone

Mikhail Gorelkin

July 4th, 2015

There is a new trend now: if you develop a successful business X, someone could design a X + Artificial Intelligence and take your market away with a more effective solution. Examples: fully automated trading, personalized e-commerce based on recommenders (Amazon, Netflix), etc.
http://www.shivonzilis.com/machineintelligence

Ondrej ?urják

July 5th, 2015

I would think about it differently. I usually sell my ideas or concepts to companies, so I do not developing it. But normally I evaluate ideas based on their potentials for already existing companies. And then I choose those ideas which can be best implemented and can offers most benefit for companies. This approach can be also applied when you want to evaluate ideas. Idea which can offer best value for already existing companies should be also most valuable if you decide to develop it on your own. 

Ondrej

Nathan Beckord

July 5th, 2015

We have a lightweight tool within Foundersuite.com called "Idea Validation" that is good as a first pass at getting feedback on and ranking new ideas. Check it out (it's free).