Community Helps Dot.Com Entrepreneurs
EquityEngine.com a Web-based resource
By Jim Bray
If youve think
youve invented a better mousetrap, but havent the slightest
idea how to get the world beating a path to your door, theres an
online community designed to help you make your dreams come to pass.
Its called Equityengine.com,
a virtual cauldron started by a couple of entrepreneurs with
the vision of combining ideas and expertise into an online country kitchen
that can cook up a whole range of new cyber companies.
Designed to be kind
of an online cooperative and corporate incubator at the same time, equityengine.coms
members log on to exchange ideas, sweat, and/or expertise. So if you need
marketing know-how, legal advice, seed money, or whatever, to get your
mousetrap company onto the Net, you can pick the collected brains
of the Equityengine community to find the help you need.
Its more than
that, too. Equityengine.com is also meant to be a way in which traditional
businesses can make the move to the Internet world, bringing their expertise
at whatever they may do to startup dot.coms.
The service isnt
free, of course but, as its name suggests, the dreamer on a shoestring
budget doesnt have to hire a whole bunch of people to get
the company up and running. Instead, members of the equityengine community
get sweat equity in your company, and everyone works together to make
it see the light of day.
There are three types
of Equityengine programs: Visionary, Resource, and Investor.
The Visionary is for
the aforementioned mousetrap mentor whos starting from
scratch and needs a couple of legs up just about everywhere. This could
be someone whos completely new to business, but whose idea is just
too good to let fall by the wayside.
submit a 250 word description of their idea to equityengine.com, where
its pored over by their members. If they give it their blessing,
equityengine.coms Business Development staff gets it
ready to go into the incubator. They then contact interested parties and
Resource members who have the appropriate skills and give
them a chance to accept assignments and become shareholders
in the startup.
For having the idea,
the virtual dreamer gets a ten per cent stake in the virtual venture.
This may not sound like a lot, but if the visionary does more, more shares
can be assigned. This means, for example, that if the idea person
also knows accounting, marketing, or whatever, thats worth a bigger
slice of the corporate pie.
Those who have skills,
but no ideas (ouch, that may not be fair!) marketers, accountants,
et al can register as Resources and offer their services
in return for shares.
Or, if you have a
fund of money burning a hole in your pocket and youd like to put
it online, you can provide cash in return for shares.
and mortar companies can also use equityengine.com to make the transition
into cyberspace. These businesses can submit ideas of their own, or they
can become resource partners using their staffs smarts in exchange
for equity in the dot.com startup. They can also invest in the startups
in return for shares.
has room for existing online companies that need an extra push toward
profitability. This class of entrepreneur keeps the lions share
of the shares, giving up only enough equity to make it worthwhile for
Equityengines members to get involved.
Everything is coordinated
and managed via equityengine.coms online workspace. Members log
on to the web site to judge ideas, get assignments, communicate, or exchange
files. Equityengine.coms staff monitors the new companys progress,
does project management, member support, system administration, and even
some corporate marketing.
The end result is
supposed to be a fully operational e-business, complete with a business
plan, market research data, a functioning web site and a management team
thats ready, willing, and able to ensure that path gets beaten to
your online door.
The nice thing about
doing all this via an online community is that is gives you access to
brainpower from all over the world, as well as ensuring that your new
business has instant global reach.
has offices in San Jose, California, and Toronto, Ontario, and the companys
goal is to have 50,000 members on board by years end. Thats
a lot of potential partners for your fledgling dot.com.
Maybe there really
is strength in numbers.
Jim Bray's technology columns are distributed by the TechnoFILE and Mochila Syndicates. Copyright Jim Bray.