Original ideas and coming up with them is hard. Very hard.
As we navigate Southeast Asia (and Taiwan) working with entrepreneurs in various cities in Southeast Asia, it is extremely challenging to come up with an original idea that matters and lends to your strengths and passion. Getting the formula right is tough.
As I looked at our portfolios (over 12 now going on 14 - most of which are not publicly known) and ideas from Founder Institute in the Southeast Asian region that have received early attention, funding offers and even exited via acquisitions. I noticed there are generally 3 idea types.
A team solving a very local problem or creating a movement or change of behavior within a market that is large enough to be sustainable and not to be distracted about scaling too early because of revenue pressures.
A team solving a local problem or creating a movement or change of behavior first with ambition to bring the solution to other regional countries. Most of the time it shows the ambition of the team but sometimes it is because their chosen market or markets are still too small to be sustainable.
A team solving a problem or creating a movement or change of behavior in a new and original way that position them to be global from day one. For some reason, there are limited and weak to no competitors.
From our data, companies in the 3rd category achieve customer, investor and media interests rather early on in their lifecycle. Even for myself, I am more excited if teams presented something original and unique than something that is a “clone with a spin or a twist”.
As such I am building a little research experiment to help founders work towards ideas that are original and have product hooks that engage users all in a pace and direction that suits the founder on a personal level.
I hope the outcome can help more founders move their ideas to another level (if they wish to) and also to help more aspiring founders to be slightly more prepared as they get involved with events such as Startup Weekend, Lean Startup Machines, hackathons etc.
Ping me if you are interested to discuss or join in the experiment.