Brooklyn-based entrepreneur, Mason Levey, has never had much of an affinity for punctuation and grammar, a shortcoming that has held him back in his academic and professional life.
With a shoestring budget and a desire to help others conquer those pesky semicolons and punctuation marks, Levey created a service called Comma. The startup, launching today, is the product of $12.99 in capital investment — the cost of a domain name purchased on GoDaddy.
Levey, the company’s only full-time employee, contracted a team of 50 virtual editors who are on standby to fix minor errors in all your personal correspondence, including emails, tweets, and blog posts.
How does it work? Just send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your content will be polished and returned to you. For subscribers, it costs $59 per month for 30 edits, or you select a pay-as-you-go model. One edit will set you back $2-$5, depending on the length of the content.
“In today’s digital and social-media world, text-based content is king. People in the younger generations, such as myself, need to be able to write perfectly,” Levey told me, when asked about the need for the service.
The idea has merit, although Levey faces strong competition from established services like Grammarly, Odesk, and Elance. The four-hour typical turnaround time may also be a stumbling block to the site’s success, given that it claims to specialize in short form, fast-paced social media content, like Tweets.
More interesting is that entrepreneurs like Mason Levey are starting companies for less than the cost of a movie ticket. Anyone can bring an idea to fruition without the support of the full army of usual suspects: angel investors, advisors, engineers, and cofounders. We can try and fail, and try again — without losing funds or reputation in the process.
Levey said he later used a suite of tools that negated the need for an engineering and sales team: SquareSpace to build and design the site, Paypal to accept payments and subscriptions, Work Market to post and pay for editing tasks, and Desk.com to manage customer requests.
Comma brings bootstrapping to new heights and is an inspiring lesson for all you non-technical entrepreneurs.