The service would replace the tedious paper equivalent.
Launch Pad: Abstract Tube
Invented by: Sarbojeet Jana
Cost: Monthly subscription tbd
External funding: $0
Sarbojeet Jana says few people ever read the paper abstracts stacked up in libraries. Abstract Tube, Jana's idea, would make that content more accessible by turning it into an online video database of abstracts from journals, conferences, books, movies, magazines, dissertations—you name it. Jana compares his idea to the popular video database YouTube.
“Why we are trying to distinguish this from YouTube is that … they have no specific way of knowing who the uploader is or who the actor is or where the person launches from and all those specific details; so the job of Abstract Tube is to [organize that information].”
Right now, Jana is building Abstract Tube's website and contacting universities and organizations about participating, including in Europe and Canada. Jana envisions Abstract Tube allowing users to make the videos right there on the site. While this is not a new service, Jana wants to make it cheaper. “I don't think any student would spend that $1,500 for a video,” he says. His ballpark is around $300, which he says would make the service accessible to students—who are often on a budget.
Will Abstract Tube achieve startup success?
“What strikes me as most interesting is the wealth of advisors that Sarbojeet Jana has in place. ... There was an article done about 3 years ago on the top 100 NYC successful startups and the only factor of success across all 100 was mentorship. The concept is solid and fulfills a need that the marketplace, up to now, has not provided. One thing that may cause Sarbojeet Jana issues is that he is a sole founder. Having a sole founder is one of the top reasons that startups fail. Without someone to bounce ideas off of and help debate decisions, success becomes more difficult.”
Industry Expert: Marci Maynard, strategy consultant, Sunflower Lab
“I believe that video will play a larger role vs. text in the future of understanding and teaching. I also agree that companies should spend more time understanding published scientific findings. So the juncture of video and academic research makes sense. However, I have two concerns: first, whether older researchers would actually create videos, and second, Abstract Tube's ability to create the market and establish their brand so that an acquisition would make more sense than YouTube starting their own competing product.”
Potential Investor: Ross Kayuha, CEO, Nanofiber Solutions and angel investor
Electric Eye Breaks the Mold
The boutique marketing and advertising agency focused entirely on Shopify brand growth—and with a rock-n-roll name—is flipping the traditional billing formula in its industry. Rather than charge for time, Electric Eye charges flat rates for services.
One of the founders, Chase Clymer, says that traditional hourly pricing rewards laziness.
“If you're really good at your job, why should you get paid less?” he says. “And vice versa, if you're taking a terribly long time to do the same thing, why should you get paid more?”
Founder Shawn Khemsurov, an eight-year veteran of clothing brand Homage, says that clients appreciate the flat rates because they can be budgeted for easily and avoid surprises.
In another client-centered decision, Clymer and Khemsurov say they would like for Electric Eye to remain small so that they can maintain close relationships with the clients they serve—and so that they can profit on the business they started. And the Shopify niche has been working so well for Clymer and Khemsurov, they say they may make their niche even smaller by focusing entirely on fashion and streetwear companies.