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Liam McLennan hackingon.net

Manage Your Bills Better

For some reason I have a strong desire to be involved in a startup. Ok, I know the reason. It’s a game, with winners, and loser. Like Monopoly, or gambling. And games are fun!

The internet is littered with my failed attempts; from intelligent email marketing for real estate agents, to a route planner that solves the travelling salesman problem. And don’t forget my twitter customer sentiment analyser. That one was surprisingly simple to build and a lot of fun, but it could not deal with sarcasm. The application processes at tweets like:

Thanks ACME for setting my face on fire

and because sarcasm pretty well defeats bayesian classification that tweet is interpreted as a positive recommendation. I digress.

I can build software but I’m missing two important pieces of the puzzle. I don’t know what to build, and I don’t know how to sell it.

What To Build?

This time around (startup idea #9274) I decided to focus on the clichéd advice to solve a problem you have.  As a small business owner and human being one of the things I dislike, and sometimes struggle with, is managing my bills. I could have bought a new car with the amount of money I have spent on overdue payment fees. To manage my cashflow I often need to delay payment until close to the due date, but that relies on me keeping track of the due dates and remembering to pay on time.

No. This aggression… will not stand.

For my own use, as an individual and as a small business, I want an application to help me keep track of my bills. Building a startup on this idea is making a bet that other people want that too.

The features that I have in mind for a first release are:

  • track bills – both recurring and one off
  • provide notification when bills are coming due

the next priority after that:

  • provide notification of time periods where large amounts are due, to help with cash flow forecasting

Some progressive organisations already offer bill delivery via email. Eventually, I would like bills to be delivered with a qr code that describes the bill. Users could then scan the code to avoid data entry. That is a win all-round because it helps the supplier to get paid on time.

How to Sell It

Still don’t know this one.

Teamwork

Paul Graham says that statistically, startups with a single founder almost always fail. My own back catalogue supports this conclusion. Therefore, I want to find a co-founder for this project. Mr Graham suggests that “finance software for individuals and business” is a cracking good market, so we are practically guaranteed to succeed.

Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 9:01 AM | Back to top

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