The seed funding round for FinderBase was finally launched yesterday. Most of my active readers have received the investor letter. If you haven’t but would like to see it, just contact me directly.
So it all comes down to this.
Due to the tight schedule of this project, the funding round will be closed already next Monday at 4 pm Finnish time. This weekend is the Midsummer so I bet people have better things to worry about than our investment round.
At this point we have about 20,000 € worth of commitments to invest so we’re at least 80,000 € short to make this happen. It all comes down to the last day of my project on Monday. However, if we do get investments during the weekend, I’m happy to report the updated status here.
Happy Midsummer everyone!
Have fun and do things you like most.
Today is my last day before I once again go to the military. This time it’s for the whole week and it’s done under enemy surveillance, so we’ll try to keep all transmitting devices turned off.
This blog is still meant to be updated.
There will be some interesting stuff posted here while I’m away. And hopefully stuff, that is refreshingly different from my usual entries. When I come back on Saturday, there’s only 10 days left on the project. At least for myself it will be most interesting to follow how the seed funding round proceeds and I hope we can share some of that progress already this week. Let us know if you want to join the seed funding mailing list.
So next week I’m planning to have fun and avoid getting killed.
I recommend you all do the same.
The summer has arrived and for the first time it feels that this project is actually going to end one day. A lot has happened and a lot keeps happening all the time but unfortunately sometimes behind closed curtains.
Here are some current milestones:
- I just hit the 100 found items mark today on FinderBase. This raises a question on what to do with a basket full of lost&found stuff? What would be the best way to recycle the stuff to reasonable use? NetCycler, Huuto.net, Kierrätyskeskus, charity?
- FinderBase just hit the 1,000 found items mark! We could soon be one of the biggest lost and found offices in Finland.
- Last week we got 3000 hits on one lost item alone.
- It’s safe to say about 100,000 Finns have seen our brand in the media one way or another.
Now that we’ve been in business for a month we can already say something about the business we’re in. Some observations:
- We’re in societal business. We don’t expect anyone to actually pay us for anything and believe that will pay us in the end.
- We’re in trust-building business. Our success is decided on whether people trust us or not.
- We’re in value-creation business. Putting even a worthless object on our website raises it value, as weird as it sounds.
It’s a funny business. And I love it.
Now that we’ve taken things a few steps further, it’s time for a status update.
We have founded a company, so now all we need is its valuation.
FinderBase Corporation is a public limited company with 8,000,000 shares. I’m the majority shareholder with 5,500,000 shares. I’ve spent 55,000 € of my own savings to buy these shares so my project is on the negative side with the same amount (plus some peanuts to go with it).
My challenge was to make my personal ownership worth $1,000,000. This adds up to $1,073,000 as the investment must be also covered. This means that I’ve successfully completed my project if we issue a credible number of shares to an external investor at a price of $0.20/share or 0.15 €/share.
It remains to be seen whether that is the correct price per share in our company.
It is amazing how pieces start to fit into the puzzle when you’re determined to achieve a goal.
The technical team has been working like crazy for the last few days. We can now publicly announce that the alpha version of our service will be opened on Monday, April 19th. 42 people have already registered to the Alpha testing mailing list.
Next week I will have three whole days on a military refresher course and will spend two more days traveling there and back. This is a perfect opportunity for my team to show that I’m not a critical resource in this project. However, I won’t allow any breaks in this blog, so you can still expect a post per day. I will either preset something in advance or settle for a few surprise entries.
Obviously we still haven’t made any money with this project but there is a glimpse of light in the end of the tunnel. Our service will be free, but we’ve successfully tested and integrated an SMS payment gateway for the future needs.
I started today with an excellent discussion with one of the top names in Finnish entrepreneurial scene. I presented our prototype service and the business model in detail and I think he was at least convinced that we’re on the right track. His final message was quite promising:
Just make it happen.
And we will. One thing that we will not do is the Aalto ES boot camp that I mentioned earlier. Our team was rejected and the two people who I interviewed about it even had pretty good grounds for rejecting us. However, I know at least three the 14 projects that were accepted so I was planning to pay homage to their great ideas by joining the kick-off session tomorrow. See you there guys!
And by the way, the Alpha testing mailing list is still open for anyone interested in being among the first to see what our team has achieved.
Our project experienced its biggest misfortune to this date today. Our business plan failed to make the top 10 with in Venture Cup. Feel free to check out the finalists, there is definitely some great stuff in there!
It is noteworthy that there is only one web service that made the finals. It is extremely difficult to determine the value of a web service. It all comes down to the actual users that the service gets. In favor of this finalist called AudioDraft, it must be said that their service is targeted for experts. That makes it perhaps a bit easier to put a price tag on their product.
Where do we go from here?
Now that we no longer need to concentrate on the Venture Cup we can focus our time and energy in developing our idea further. We have a proof of concept and now we need to take the steps to make it publicly available for a group of testers.
I want to personally invite everyone interested in helping to fill out this form to join an alpha tester mailing list.
What else is going on?
We’re getting closer to actually founding a company that will start making great things. We’re starting discussions with TEKES to show how our solution could help the Finnish economy.
We’re also eagerly going to the Aalto ES Boot Camp. This is a great opportunity for any entrepreneurial team to fast-track their ideas into a successful business.
So far this project has been an outstanding success
Four weeks ago I had no idea how much we could achieve in less than a month. What I do know is that we will do something big. Here’s a small overview of the current status:
- Apart from myself, six fantastic and talented people have expressed their dedication for my project. A few more were hired.
- Four multi-million-turnover companies were interviewed and all of them found our solution interesting. One of them even considered it worth paying for. All of them share the pain in the way things are currently handled.
- 100 people were interviewed for a market study and 74 of them say they would pay for our service if it sincerely tried to help them. If it actually succeeded in helping them the figure was 95.
- The global annual market size is estimated to be around 200–300 M€.
- Three “big shots” in the field of web 2.0 and social media have agreed to give us an audience.
And we quote Jesus on our business plan. Can it really get better than this?
Things move forward at an amazing pace. Me and my team have decided to launch a pioneering social media service in the next few months.
At this point I can safely say that we will have a technical dream team to make miracles. This is what we have now:
- Server/hardware wizard
- Back-end guru
- Web usability specialist
- Two graphical designers
- and a hairy, tech-savvy North American beaver with an iPhone
I will dedicate my next week to finding the best people to fill in the gaps. A couple of web developers with an eye for social media will be hired.
I’ve been saving today’s post to send a status update to all of you following my project.
As I mentioned before I was pitching an idea at the Aalto ES today. It went about as good as I expected and definitely better than the rehearsal speech on Monday.
The judges apparently liked my pitch and my idea came third out of eight. That was probably the best possible place to be at, since I got concrete help on where the drawbacks of my idea are. I will have plenty of time later to tell you more about the idea and how I’m going to make it happen.
In the pitching competition the first place was awarded to a great social media experiment called Promises where you can make a promise that your friends can see so that you have the social pressure of keeping it. I love the idea. Get the site running guys and I can come and promise to do the million before thirty.
The second place went to an idea of starting a Colombian coffee franchise in Finland. All they need is two million to start with but really I hope they pull it through.
So what now?
Now I will discuss with the Tuli people on Monday how they see how they see the market potential in what I’m doing. After that we’ll just start doing it together with the team I will be building in the next few days. It was great to see so many people who had good ideas and wanted to help me in any way they can. Thank you all, I really appreciate your expertise and love to see your ideas developed further.
What comes to this project financially, obviously so far it is on the negative side. After registering a couple of domain names, I’m now at -$21.90.