In an interesting alliance, Nokia, the government of Finland and Red Herring have come together (it’s gotta be the herring) to offer a competition to who can put together the most compelling mobile Web business plan. This is excellent timing in my opinion (read this story at GigaOm if you don’t believe me), as the only space on a par with the excitement of Internet video is mobile technology and mobile lifestyle (with the combination of the two being at the peak of JT’s fictitious hot-meter).
The Web-2-Mobile Business Plan Competition is open to any “qualified” entrepreneur, which is an interesting choice of words – who exactly is an unqualified entrepreneur anyway? It’s probably just to deter people like that crazy Omarosa woman from the Apprentice.
The nitty gritty is as follows…
- December 10th: applications due
- January 2nd: finalists announced
- January 27th: winners selected
- Signing Up
- Prize/What you can win
- Profile in Red Herring magazine
- Invitation to Nokia labs to develop the application(s)
- 1 year’s supply of smoked herring (prize not guaranteed)
I hope this event encourages some of those who might be too timid to go down the scary VC route of funding a company to try something new. I believe there is a ton of opportunity to innovate in the mobile lifestyle space. Some ideas I’d love to see launch in the next few months/years:
- Mobile travel lookups and booking: I don’t need all the features of Travelocity on the road, but I’d love the ability to quickly lookup and book some simple itineraries (think: “find me the next trip on United from LAX to SFO). Throw in location-based services for hotel bookings and there’s a nice winner here (the incentive? how about the 12 million Windows mobile phones that are likely shipping in 2006? nice market).
- Mobile bus/public transit routing: While I am building my own simple interface to the Bay Area’s 511 trip planner, making a full-fledged mobile Web/SMS mechanism for finding routes is a nice idea. Not exactly sure what the business model is here, but I’m sure some clever team can figure it out.
- Massively Multiplayer Mobile Gaming: Is that a term? I should probably just google it and not be so lazy (google results: the term is barely in use). I kill a lot of time with solitaire, nethack, and sudoku. If there was some simple multiplayer game I could jump in and out of for 10-30 minutes at a time, I’d sign up.
Ok, that made my brain tired. Time to watch Heroes and get all happy.