The Idea Startup: Web-based Business Planning and Integrated Financial Projections

What is the name of the site and URL?

TheIdeaStartup.com

A brief synopsis of the website / application ?

TheIdeaStartup.com is an easy-to-use, web-based platform for students and entrepreneurs to write a business plan and develop integrated financial projections.

Why did you start this company?

TheIdeaStartup.com emerged out of a class project at Northeastern University in 2006. During the course, the founders – Matt Chepeleff and Ray Di Nizo – were tasked with creating and developing a concept from ideation to complete business plan including pro-forma financial projections.

Chepeleff and Di Nizo quickly found there were very few options of tools to help someone write a business plan. Off-the-shelf software was available, but was seriously flawed: the software didn’t support team collaboration at all, was worthless in terms of developing financial models, and didn’t support the Mac OS (it was PC only)! Books were also an option, albeit a tedious, archaic one.

What seemed to be missing was a framework or process – one that supported teams and really made the process of writing a business plan easy to tackle. Enter TheIdeaStartup.com!

Who is your competition, and what do you do better?

None of our competitors offer our online, collaborative platform, but our biggest competitor is the off-line (not web-based) product Business Plan Pro. However, our platform is completely flexible, and instantly available. Software that limits your accessibility in any way is clearly a negative. So we enable you to work on your business plan on any computer – not just the one you downloaded or installed the software on to, which is the case with non-web software. And of course, with TheIdeaStartup.com, you can work on your business plan from anywhere in the world – as long as you have Internet access.

In addition, our platform works well for either an individual user or a team working together on developing a business. Collaboration is integrated in our platform, and is something that none of our competitors offer. If your business partner works in New York and you’re in graduate school in Boston, that won’t restrict you from completing your plan – while working together. With real-time updates linked throughout each section of the plan, you’ll know exactly what changes or edits your business partner is working on.

And as surprising as it is, we are less expensive than our competitors. We strongly believe our site offers a better solution to writing a business plan and is less expensive than all of the other options out there. With TheIdeaStartup.com, you can get a team of 5 members all working on the same plan for less than $50 per month, with the option to cancel at anytime! Competitors charge $100 per person, without any collaboration!

Why would a small business, entrepreneur, freelancer, etc use your product?

Many reasons… but it might be helpful to break it out into a few categories:

Students:

Students already using our product in the classroom at prestigious schools such as MIT Sloan Business School and Northeastern University find they can easily develop their plan using our team friendly approach. And that Includes building integrated financials without having to be an Excel guru! We save them a ton of time and allow them to focus on key strategies and assumptions instead of the process of building the plan.

Entrepreneurs:

Many Entrepreneurs aren’t sure how to put together a well-written business plan in order to get funding, yet having a well written, organized and comprehensible plan is key. TheIdeaStartup.com guides you through each section of the plan, from content through financials. And if you aren’t certain what you should be writing for a particular section, we will give you questions to consider along with professionally written content that will help you build your plan. The result is a well-organized and comprehensive business plan that you can feel confident in presenting to potential funding sources.

Business Plan Competitions:

With The MIT 100K Competition, the biggest and best business plan competition in the world, using our platform, , we are confident that TheIdeaStartup.com will be the best solution for your business plan competition as well. Everything is submitted and time-stamped through our platform and distributed to judges in the manner you prefer. Try us, you’ll love us!

Small Businesses:

TheIdeaStartup.com can help an already existing business grow into a more efficient and profitable business. We can help you better understand your finances, so you can see where and how you spend your money. With our easy to use financial projections, you can quickly see how various assumptions can affect your revenue and business value. And obviously, if your existing business needed to raise additional funding in order to expand, using our platform to create an effective and accurate business plan will go a long way in getting that money.

A short bio of your company .

TheIdeaStartup.com enables students and entrepreneurs to easily collaborate on the ideation and creation of a comprehensive business plan with simple-to-create, integrated financial projections. Our section-by-section, team friendly platform allows teams to communicate with each other in real-time, see each other’s live keystrokes, easily share files, and join live team-chats. And the financial planning tools facilitate proper analysis and decision making for key financial assumptions, allowing users to build multi-year pro forma projections without the inefficiencies of creating incomplete spreadsheets from scratch. These professional tools are wrapped inside real-time communication and project management tools that facilitate teamwork and progress. Our customers praise our platform for increasing productivity, sharpening focus, and intensifying their exposure to real-world business planning.

Do you offer free online or offline tools?

We offer a FREE 15-day trial, which gives you access to all our tools and information. We’re confident that once you use our platform, you’ll see what a terrific value it is in the business plan process.

Are there different pricing levels?

Yes there are:

Individual Users: $24 per month.

Team: $24 per month for the primary user and only an additional $6 per month for each additional user (so, a 5-person team is only $48 per month!).

University: $35 per student per semester.

Business Plan Competitions: Pricing is flexible based on the amount of participants.

Facebook, twitter, or ?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/theideastartup

Twitter: twitter.com/theideastartup

How do you see your company in the next 2-5 years (more products or services?)

Our plan is to offer our platform in every major business school across the country within five years. We want to dramatically improve the way business plans are written throughout the business world, and know TheIdeaStartup.com can help.

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