Mobile Insight

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Solving a Problem

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Solving an existing problem and particularly one that has plagued you personally can be the genesis of a new innovation.  For the lucky few it can lead to a successful product and ultimately even a thriving business. Legend has it that Scott Cook founded Intuit to solve a personal pain-point: hassle of bill paying and managing personal finances

One night he and his wife, Signe, were sitting at their kitchen table in San Francisco paying their bills. It occurred to Scott that there must be a better way to manage their household finances and automate the hassle of bill paying. Inspired to start his own software company, he went to Stanford University to place an advertisement for a programmer. When he got to the campus, he stopped a passing student, Tom Proulx, for help in locating a bulletin board. Proulx, it turned out, had done some programming and agreed to write a simple check-balancing program for Cook. In his dorm room he created the first Quicken program, which he and Scott used to launch Intuit.

Which brings us to BrightScope, a San Diego based startup that wants to bring some much needed innovation to how millions of Americans manage their 401(k)s. GigaOm interviews the founders of this company. Kudos to them for attempting to tackle a space that most have ignored. Very interesting and creative example of harnessing freely available government data to provide a valuable new service. They have a nice hook to describe their business: MorningStar of 401(k) plans.  They claim to be already cash-flow positive. In the interview they share some great nuggets of info about the process they went through to get to where they are today. And of course, last but not least, they a nice “founding moment” story. It is also quite interesting to find out how they de-stress.

 

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Written by Varma Chanderraju

October 27, 2010 at 9:37 am

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