Friday, February 27, 2009

Bountystorms Helps Austin Entrepreneur Network Brainstorm on Ways to Help the Entrepreneur Community

Bountystorms is a new website
that provides a mechanism for people to brainstorm across the internet. For people with questions, it provides an instant team of creative thinkers who will provide great answers in just 24 hours. For the creative types, it's an opportunity to flex their creative muscles and earn some money for their great ideas.

How does it work? It starts when a brainstorm is created with a bounty (currently $5 to $25), which is the financial incentive for the BountyStorms community to come suggest great ideas. Brainstorming last for 12 hours, then voting on those ideas lasts for another 12.

After just 24 hours, the votes are tallied using a proprietary algorithm, and the top 3 ideas win a share of the bounty (40%, 20%, and 10% respectively). The top two Word Atoms (used in Molecular Thinking, the site's technology that makes brainstorming easy) each earn 5%. The remaining 20% is used for "get out the vote bounty": while it lasts during the voting phase, BountyStormers can earn $.25 for each brainstorm they vote on, providing they vote on at least half the ideas for the brainstorm.

After winning bounty, users can file a claim for it immediately, and payment is made within 7 days using PayPal, the sites exclusive payment partner.

I tried it out this week by posing the following question:

“The Business District has created the Austin Entrepreneur Network to provide networking and mentorship to entrepreneurs. While there are many services and supports we could offer, what would be the most valuable?”

The results came back as follows

Mastermind groups -- The best way for entrepreneur to grow is to have support of other people who are going through the same challenges or have already done it. Learning from others can skip some of the growing pains for starting a business.

Minimize Risk, Maximize Opportunities -- In the current economic climate entrepreneurs should be helped in minimizing risks and maximizing their opportunities. All service and support should focus around these two themes.

Create a Community of Entrepreneurs -- In traditional practice, entrepreneur networks provide "resources" (i.e.: model business plans, financial documents, etc.). However in this day and age those resources are readily available on the Internet. What the Internet is incapable of doing, but that a local network such as you is perfectly positioned for, is building the local community of entrepreneurs. My "idea" is that you hold weekly (or bi-weekly) events for entrepreneurs to get together, meet potential co-founders, share ideas with peers. Additionally, if you're capable of providing mentors (both successful entrepreneurs and those involved in funding startups) you can make the community events even more valuable. Good luck with your future endeavors. I'll look forward to coming to an event the next time I'm in Austin!

Templates, Coaching, Cash -- Provide templates for developing business plans, marketing plans, pro forma statements. Availability of volunteer "Board of Director" coaches (retired execs) to help them thru concept & template development. Access to a network of Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists - once minimum requirements have been met (something beyond just a good concept -- solid numbers).

Speed Networking -- like speed dating - these are mixers where entrepreneurs/business professional get together and talk but there is a 5 min. time limit to ensure maximum networking.

Best regards,
Hall T.

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