Business-Model Canvas

Start with this my friends.

Your Startup’s Timing

My co-Founder Mayer receives a fair amount of requests to consult young technology entrepreneurs in Sacramento and Silicon Valley about the direction of their respective startup endeavors. Mayer’s acumen on venture strategy is among the best I’ve seen, and I fully encourage students at Cal, Stanford, and UC Davis to reach out to him if need be. Every once in awhile I’ll tag along to one of these coffee meetings just for pure, curious inquisition; I’ve come to crave the energy these entrepreneurs bring to the table.

It has become commercialized in the startup community to say things like “Ideas don’t matter” or that “execution is everything”. But the truth is that ideas do matter, just not in the narrow sense of how startup ideas are traditionally defined. The best of these ideas are well thought out, can span years of potential shock, and carve out a formidable niche within their competitive landscape.

Though I’m not really interested in what your idea is, nor should you as an angel. Any “wantreprenuer” can come up with some idea and recite it to anyone who’ll listen. The question I always ask, especially at these meetings, is why now? Chances are that anything you try has already been done before on the internet. Antecedents existed for Youtube, Instagram, Google, and almost every other technology startup that has thrived since the dot-com bubble. However, each of these companies were valiant solely because the timing was just right.

Lets take Vine for example. The concept of digestible, looping videos is nothing new. There literally exists a graveyard of companies that vainly attempted to reach product market-fit with this idea. Vine succeeded because of its acquisition and ultimate integration by Twitter. Twitter’s robust and active user base frictionlessly adopted Vine into their tweeting habits to make way for a new form of sharable content. Youtube is another paradigm. Dozens of companies before Youtube attempted to create crowdsourced video sites and failed. However, those crowdsourced video sites were ahead of their time. Youtube got the market timing just right, and by 2005, all the puzzle pieces were in place– a new flash version, cheaper access to digital video cameras, blogs willing to embed video, copyrighted web content that easily exported to Youtube, and reliable home broadband.

Many folks ask me about Lovaash and the reason as to why now? We feel that 2013 is the right time for market penetration. The increasing ubiquity of SLR/DSLR cameras has brought a shift in how artists sell their work. Artists all across are outgrowing the gallery culture and are moving into the online space as global merchants. Lovaash artists currently span 36 countries and our marketplace will feature work that you’d never expect to find locally, at a fraction of the price, from street artists in Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, and Madrid. Only 3% of the world’s art is currently online, with even less of that in the sphere of mobile. Through other e-commerce leviathans like Fab and Amazon, we’ve learned that consumers are becoming more and more comfortable making larger purchases on tablets and phones. Lovaash will pioneer creativity onto the growing mobile frontier blazing way for a new, touching purchasing experience. What’s even more exciting is that the culture of sharing visual imagery is reaching a favorable zenith. Lovaash products are being Tumbled on Tumblr, pinned on Pinterest, virally shared on Instagram, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. Each image is accompanied with textual inspiration from its creator. Lovaash is not in the sales business, we are in the Inspire business.

Sometimes, you can do all the right things, but if it’s at the wrong time, it still won’t happen; and sometimes, you can do all the wrong things, but if it’s at the right time, it’ll somehow still serendipitously happen. So ask yourself the question– why now?

Some Statistics

Lovaash has debuted its landing page for about a solid day and half now. I wanted to share some statistics we just pulled in:

– People are spending an average of 4:35 on the alpha product

– Referral traffic from Facebook is spending a full 7:25

– Referral traffic accounted for 45.8% of all uniques

– Direct traffic was at 52.3% of all uniques

– Email was the primary referral medium. Followed then by Facebook

– Bounce rate is at 54%

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 5.47.42 PMThe bounce rate is a bit too high. We’re speculating  it’s due to mobile. Nearly a third of all incoming traffic came from a mobile device. We haven’t optimized mobile yet to fit our alpha, and I admit when I type in lovaash.com from my phone I’m completely turned off. We’re going to push mobile optimization real hard this weekend.

Lovaash co-Founder/CTO @Qhack sent an internal email out to the team today shedding light on our viral coefficient. Although we haven’t completely figured it out yet, it seems promising. We can see the chains of email’s inviting their friends, and friends of friends. Some chains run 5 links thick. I like this direction things are going in. Lovaash is all about its community inspiring one another. Its one thing for some random stranger to tell you what to like or not to like, and it’s completely another when a close friend shares an inspiration they love. We’re going to keep Lovaash available through invite-only. It’s like a grass-roots organization– it sparks with a few people who decide to audaciously believe. The power will always belong to the customers who’ve chosen Lovaash to bring into their homes.