Startups, Investors, and Networks Dance Closer

The StartUp Health incubator has launched the StartUp Health Network, a vertical ecosystem directory service. Read more about it in TechCrunch.

The network looks like a home grown effort.  I’ll share a few insights here.  What do you think?

  • It’s a nice step in the startup ecosystem world as entrepreneurs, startups, investors, and service providers dance around one another to find the right fit for deals and partnerships.  But innovation has been excruciatingly slow over the past 15 years with limited service innovation.  It reminds me of  a galaxy rotating billions of years (that’s real years as opposed to Internet years) with only rare and random star collisions.
  • I’ve long been a champion of the transparency and social good of free information.  The first generation was wikis, then directories, and now networks.  Nice move, StartUpHealth.  But it’s more than helping others.  It’s strategic. If you own the info, you own the market.  It’s also a valuable marketing tool for lead generation, SEO, and partnerships.  Gust has done a nice job using part of this approach.
  • At their core such networks are a basic directory app with a social coating.  There is a low barrier to entry.  AngelList led the way with a Web 2.0 product. They solidified their leadership with their API.  Where are the branded and white-labelled platforms?
  • Market segmentation has been slow, confined primarily to investors and natural geography. StartUp Health points to the potential for integrated startup services, including investing and networks.  There are opportunities, assuming adequate business models, by location, industry, funding level, and technology sector, as well as at large events, associations, and corporations.
  • Where will this innovation come from? The primary source right now are ventures riding the crowdfunding wave.  But do be cautious amid the explosion of crowdfunding activity and interest this year.  Contrary to the US Congress’s best intentions, that wave will crash hard due to the SEC’s delay and concerns and the universal need for due diligence and disclosure.

 

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