Want to Join My Fantasy VC League?

Well, now that my fantasy football season is over (I had the best record in the league, again, and choked in the playoffs, again), it’s time to move on. In light of all the VC conversations we’ve been having lately, I’m going to play fantasy VC, based on the start-ups mentioned by Mike Arrington in this post. Everyone is welcome to join my league.

Here we go.


“Anytime you feel the need to track finances with your friends, think of BillMonk.”

I go to lunch with the same group of guys several times a week. One guy is a vegetarian, so his food is always cheaper. When we just split the bill equally the rest of us call it the vegetarian subsidy. He hates it; we love it. But I don’t see a business plan based on tracking who owes who for lunch, or even who owes their half of the rent.

First of all, someone has to enter the data for the website to track it. Second, most of this stuff could be done with a spreadsheet, without the need to put it on the web. Most importantly, I don’t see how doing this stuff on the web, even with cell phones, is going to make my life easier.

Outlook: neat idea, but I don’t see a business here.

Would I Pay for It: no chance.

411 Metro

Truth is, 411 should be free. So, we changed it. By simply including short, relevant ad messages from local businesses, we deliver the best possible directory service experience for you, the consumer, and the businesses you’re calling.

My wife must believe 411 is free. Otherwise why would she call it so much. 411 Metro, which says it is ad supported, has a toll free number. The FAQ says they charge the business we call a fee. Well, OK, but does that mean businesses have to sign up (i.e., agree to pay the charge) in order for us to find their number via this service? A quick read of the website doesn’t provide an answer for this.

I see two possible problems. First, my cell provider doesn’t charge extra for 411 calls and if this service takes off (and businesses are willing to be charged for connections), what prevents the cell phone companies from doing the same thing? Second, to the extent I was required to listen to an add when I called to get a number, it would be a deal stopper.

Outlook: interesting concept, but I don’t see much of a barrier to entry for better positioned competition.

Would I Pay for It: not likely.


Standpoint is a social encyclopedia of belief. It’s a place where you can share your perspective and learn about the perspectives of other people. It’s a tool for organizing the web by opinion.

This looks to me like a super-charged, improved version of the internet message board. Someone posts an opinion and others are encouraged to chime in. As we have talked about, I think message boards are still relevant, and this looks like a good Web 2.0 angle on modernizing the message board concept.

I can tell the developers from vast experience that policing the users, weeding out the disrupters and ensuring that everyone feels welcome will be a significant challenge. If that happens, I could see myself using this site some.

Outlook: I like the idea a lot. But online ad revenue as the only revenue source is a tough sell.

Would I Pay for It: unlikely.


No information available from the website, so I’ll rely on Mike’s description:

It is an ecommerce service that can deliver purchased goods within two hours of placing the order. The magic? They combing local retail shops with the apparent over-capacity in the local courier market. Couriers pick items up at retail shops and deliver them immediately.

Very similar things have been tried before (remember Kozmo?). Yes, a lot of people have items shipped overnight or 2-day by Amazon and other retailers, but many people (including me) pay yearly for Amaazon Prime which makes 2-day shipping free. Amazon Prime was a stroke of brilliance by Amazon. If Amazon discontinues Amazon Prime, I might use a service like LiketyShip once in a while. But it assumes that what I want is available in my town for the same price I can get it online, and that’s not always the case.

Outlook: new implementation of an old idea.

Would I Pay for It: maybe once in a while, if the delivery add on is reasonable.


Share your favorite places with your friends or the world right from your mobile phone.

They are only collecting emails for an upcoming beta, so there’s not much I can tell from the website. Here’s Mike’s description:

The company promises to allow people to send tips on real world stuff in via a text message on a cell phone. Type in the title, address and comments, send it to Flagr and broadcast it to your friends or everyone.

Maybe, but what’s better about this than an email or text message? There may be more to this that meets the eye, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Outlook: too early to tell.

Would I Pay for It: no, unless there’s much more than meets the eye.


PlaceSite introduces a new way of using wireless networks — to create digital community services by, for and about people who are together in the same physical place.

OK, now we have something that grabs me. This sounds like a modern, anywhere version of the old Area Code restaurant I went to a few times in Florida back in college. Each table had a unique “area code” displayed on a big sign above the table. So you could ring up the table of girls across the room and chat them up.

This seems like an online, text messaging, chat room version of that. I’m far too old to be interested in this, but I can imagine a huge market for this sort of thing.

Outlook: very good.

Would I Pay for It: no, but if I were a 20-something I would certainly frequent places that had this service running.


Box.net is your personal online space (or box) where you can store your documents, photos, music files, video clips, and more!

Box.Net is a player in the fast moving online storage game. For $2.99 a month you get 1GB of online storage. Mark Cuban is funding this venture, so you can be assured there’s a good business model in place.

I have not yet concluded that I need any online storage, but if I did, I would certainly consider Box.Net.

Outlook: competitive space, but they may be far enough down the road to be a long-term player.

Would I Pay for It: not yet.


Wondering what your friends are up to this weekend? Wanna get some co-workers together for a happy hour? Trying to find tonight’s hot spot?

They are only collecting emails for an upcoming beta, so there’s not much I can tell from the website. Here’s Mike’s description:

Skobee [is] focused on event planning (as opposed to an evite which looks at organizing people once the event specifics have been finalized). One thing I really like about Skobee is that users just email back
d forth, cc’ing a unique skobee email address. Based on the live demo the service seems to be quite good at turning natural language into structured text.

I get Evites all the time for stuff, and I think it’s a good service, because it lets you see who’s coming and it makes it easy to RSVP one way or the other and to change your response if something changes. I know Skobee is focused on creating the specifics as opposed to sending invitations, but sometimes doing something on a computer is more cumbersome than just picking on the phone. I can see some people using this, but I can’t see it taking the party planning world by storm.

Outlook: too early to tell, but I’m not blown away by the concept.

Would I Pay for It: no chance.


Neurosky has developed a non-invasive neural sensor and signal processing technology that converts brainwaves and eye movements into useful electronic signals to communicate with a wide range of electronic devices, consoles, and computers.

This sounds too Jurassic Park for me to understand, much less comment on, but if it works, it could be very big. I’m naturally skeptical, so I am a little…skeptical.

Outlook: interesting.

Would I Pay for It: I don’t know.

Anybody else want to join my Fantasy VC League?