How to monetize the curation economy, social communities & online learning

3 startup opportunities for your next venture

👋 I’m Zoe Chew, a product builder in tech. I’ve built & launched multiple products & apps using the rapid MVP method: sneaker apppersonal FAQmeal kit appvirtual event appSaaS trackeronline food delivery +more

🎉 Storytime

Lately, I’m on a personal quest to understand the future of the Internet and how we can improve other people’s lives through product creation.

James Currier’s quote on his blog led me to think about how I want to spend my time & energy as a builder:

It’s just as hard to build a mediocre company as a transformative one. Both will take 100% of your time. So you might as well work on a bigger idea.

Therefore, I’m starting VentureScale, tech analysis to help first-time and second-time founders to identify new tech startup opportunities with revenue potential—analyzing at the intersection of Internet culture, consumer tech, and platform economy.

Part of it is helping myself to figure out the next project for my product studio. The other part is helping myself to think clearly through writing.

It also costs time to “build quickly and iterate” if it doesn’t work, so why not take the time to research deeply about a market, before committing your time to build so that less “pivot” or “back to square one” is required.

In this venture report, I break down 3 market opportunities:

  • Helping people to hang out with their peers (Future of social networks)

  • Helping others to curate (Curation economy)

  • Unbundling Zoom (EdTech)

Note: this report contains research-based tech trends, product frameworks, revenue models to help you make better decisions on building the next thing.

Trend #1: Verticalization of social networks

“Niche” social products are created to connect users with specific interests, audiences, or use cases.

For example: Reddit is a social network for online forums; TikTok is like Instagram but focusing on short-form video content; Shuffle is like TikTok but for podcasts with audio clips sharing and social interaction.

New social networking platforms will focus on community-first, invite-only, curated discovery, shared activities, and unique social experiences. Vibely enables creators/influencers to build communities with their fans and monetize their tribe.

🚀 Takeaway

Help others to hang out with their peers. 

  • (📥 Full version) See Startup Opportunity #1.

Trend #2: Curation is becoming the new business model

In the pre-Internet era, information and content were scarce. Today, people are overloaded by new information that pops up every other second on their devices. It becomes harder to choose, prioritize, and filter which content to consume

Deciding what to read, listen, watch, and learn is becoming an outsourceable task. 

People are now paying money to access good quality curation and resources from curators. For example,

Flow State charges $8/month to get access to curated Spotify playlists. TheBrowser charges $5/month to access outstanding stories from the Internet.

🚀 Takeaway

Curators are becoming the new creators. Help others to curate resources and make money.

  • (📥 Full version) See Startup Opportunity #2.

Trend #3: The future of classroom will be a totally immersive experience

COVID-19 has accelerated the mass adoption of online education and remote learning. 

Unfortunately, Zoom is not the solution for educators. Teachers are juggling too many tasks during online lecturing: taking attendance, providing 1:1 assistance when a student asks a question, presenting lessons, and switching screen share back-and-forth.

Therefore, new companies like Outschool, Top Hat, Nearpod are created to help educators who are struggling to manage online interaction, lectures, and engagement with students. More solutions are needed in this space to imitate the “real classroom” experiences.

🚀 Takeaway

Create tools to help teachers facilitate effective online teaching and enhance the learning experience of students.

  • (📥 Full version) See Startup Opportunity #3.

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Startup Opportunity #1: Find a workout buddy

A community-based workout app for finding a virtual workout buddy. Train together, stay committed, keep each other accountable and crush your fitness goals. Think GetMotivatedBuddies but for fitness.

For Who

  • People who struggle with staying consistent with their exercise habits.

  • (📥 Full version) 2 more target audience descriptions.

Problem

  • It’s easy to break an exercise habit when you are doing it alone.

  • (📥 Full version) 2 more problem definition examples.

Solution

  • Accountability partner. Able to find virtual fitness buddies, set up exercise sessions, select availability on a calendar to meet their accountability partner via 1:1 or group-based sessions.

  • Community events. Group-based workout events hosted by the users. Built-in event tool to host your own fitness events and build your fitness community.

  • (📥 Full version) 4 more solutions and feature examples in detail.

Revenue Model

  • Subscription, $14/month. Charge users to access the full features of the platform, I.e.

  • (📥 Full version) 6 features you can charge money for

  • (📥 Full version) 3 more revenue streams to add to your pricing strategy.

Venture Scale

Industries: Consumer Social, Fitness, SaaS

Business model: Subscription, Freemium

Market risk: ◼️◼️◻️◻️◻️ Lower because (1) virtual gym is becoming more familiar due to COVID and people are more likely to adopt at-home fitness

  • (📥 Full version) 2 more research evidence to prove the validity of the market

Execution risk: ◼️◼️◼️◻️◻️ Medium because it requires the (1) ability to onboard, match users, and schedule 1:1 calls, which can be done through (see below) (2) Can you execute a product to truly differentiate? Since online fitness is a large market, therefore, higher competition risks in the same category with big players. The solution can be playing in another segment. For example, instead of competing with on-demand fitness class streaming, i.e. ClassPass, FitnessOnDemand, focus on becoming a "community workout app".

  • (📥 Full version) 3 tools for initial-stage product development to gain traction

Moat: (1) Create an unfair advantage by owning the phrases “online fitness” or “fitness app”, through

  • (📥 Full version) 3 examples to own a phrase

  • (📥 Full version) 1 more way to create a business moat

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What you'll get from this single report:

  • 🔑 Breakdown of Startup Opportunity #1 (Helping others to start their own community, future of social networks)

  • 🔑 Breakdown of Startup Opportunity #2 (Make money by helping others to curate, curation economy)

  • 🔑 Breakdown of Startup Opportunity #3 (Unbundling Zoom, EdTech)

All 3 ideas combined, you will unlock:

  • 🔑 3 startup opportunities breakdown in 1 report

  • 🔑 7 target audience definitions

  • 🔑 10 problem definition examples

  • 🔑 13 solutions and feature examples in detail

  • 🔑 10 revenue streams you can create to monetize your startup ideas

  • 🔑 20 in-depth evaluations on each startup idea and how to prove market potential and create competitive advantages

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