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It’s easy to say “I could have done that” when you see the success of an app like Instagram or Twitter. But most of us don’t act on our “ingenious” business ideas simply because it’s freaking hard.
New York City-based Elevatr is hoping to make the process of turning an idea into an actual business a bit easier with its free iPhone app. It guides you through the process of building on your ideas, forcing you to think about things like the market, product, and business model.
While Elevatr initially positioned its app as something akin to a business brainstorming helper, it stumbled into a potentially lucrative business model of its own: Connecting you with people who can design your business’s website, app, and strategy. Think of it as a self-help consultancy firm. The company takes a commission from service providers it connects you with, but you don’t pay any fees to Elevatr directly.
“The push back we got originally was that we would be getting ‘Joe Schmoe’ ideas, but as it turns out it’s real entrepreneurs using Elevatr to launch their ideas,” Elevatr founder and chief executive David Spiro said in an interview with VentureBeat. He attributes the company’s success so far — which includes more than 80,000 users and 120,000 ideas — to a combination of the methods its used to reach users as well as a general wave of entrepreneurship that’s pushing people to act on their ideas.
Spiro and cofounder Adam Carver, who New Yorkers know as one of the directors of NY Tech Day, tell me that they’re not pushing users to develop “crap” ideas. They’ve advised some users, many of whom have tens of thousands of dollars at the ready, not to pursue developers and designers until they get their business ideas fully baked.
“We’re trying to position Elevatr as the company that can help you hit that next benchmark, regardless of the stage you’re at,” Spiro said.
So far, the bootstrapped company has seen five products launch with the help of its app. One teacher is using it to teach entrepreneurship to university students, and the company expects to see more creative uses down the line. Elevatr has also attracted a decent number of international users, who make up around half of its base.
“We’re decoupling and eliminating the moral hazard of being the service provider ourselves by trying to steer entrepreneurs to other paths,” Carver told me. “Our interest is to help people.”