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Business Ideas #100: Startup Auditing, Lion's Mane...

Plus The Side Hustle that Made $20m

Together with

Welcome to Half Baked, the newsletter serving up business ideas more lucrative than Elon Musk’s pay package.

Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

  1. Business Idea💡: Reducing fraud in the startup space

  2. Drunk Business Idea 🍻: Getting the benefits of running…without running

  3. Just The Tip 📈: Lion’s mane is in demand

  4. The Moneyshot 🤑: The side hustle that made $20m

Psst…if you want to read any previous editions of Half Baked you can on our website.

Let’s get into it.


Auditing for Startups  

The numbers don’t lie

Available Domain: Verifiedventure.com

💡 TLDR: A platform for startups to verify their financial performance to help them secure debt or equity funding

1. Problem/Opportunity

The Problem/Opportunity: Elizabeth Holmes. Sam Bankman Fried. Adam Neumann. What do these founders have in common? It’s not that they all appeared on the cover of Forbes (even though the did…)

It’s that they all ran fundamentally fraudulent businesses. And in Silicon Valley fraud is nothing new. But an increasing number of founders are electing to lie about their performance and oftentimes investor’s due diligence doesn’t go any further than looking at a slide deck and seeing if the founder passes “the vibe check”. So let’s create a business which solves this problem.

Market Size: In the USA each year 1,000 - 1,500 startups are funded by VCs; 50,000 - 75,000 startups are funded by angels and 200,000 - 300,000 startups are funded by friends and family.

2. Solution 

The Idea: A platform for startups to verify their financial performance to help them secure debt or equity funding

How it Works:

  • Startups looking to raise money sign up to the platform and connect up their banking data, accounting data, payments data and any other platforms they may use in their business e.g. Google Analytics, Shopify, Mixpanel

  • The platform then completes an audit of the business, looking at how much revenue they’re making, web traffic, app downloads and any other key metrics

  • This all feeds through to a live dashboard which can be shared with potential investors and the startup receives a certification that their reported numbers are accurate

Go-to-market: Start by working with a single niche, like SaaS business, build out the API connections and go from there

Business Model: Charge businesses a monthly subscription service

Startup Costs: You’ll need to do a small raise here since this is a big technical challenge

3. How You’ll Get Rich 💰

Exit Strategy: You could sell this business to AngelList or another company looking to work with startups

Exit Multiple: you’d likely get valued at 5x - 7x revenue on an exit here


Less than a few days left to invest

Best Buy is the unlikely place to look for home runs: The big box retailer has a proven track record of placing bets on Technology products that dominate their market. Pay attention, because they just unveiled RYSE Smart Shades, a new smart-home product in 100+ stores with massive potential. Only a few days left to invest – learn more here.


Runner Hiring App

Do you love to run? Me neither. But unfortunately running is all the rage now, so if you want to be on trend you gotta get your running shoes on.

At least you did.

With this brand new app you can simply hire a runner to run for you. They’ll take your fitness tracker and run so you can get the gratification and social status of updating your strava without actually having to run.



Trend 📈: Lion’s Mane is in Demand

Every few months a new supplement surges in popularity. And Lion’s Mane, a type of medicinal mushroom, has emerged as the latest breakout supplement. Supplementing with lion’s mane is said to provide many health benefits, including neuroprotection, improved digestion and oxidative stress reduction. It’s no wonder this stuff is flying off the shelves.

Business Ideas

  • Lion’s Mane Gummy Brand

  • Lion's Mane Mushroom Grow Kits

  • Lion’s Mane Infused Pet Food


The Side Hustle that Made $20m

Back in the early 2010s Ryan Hoover, the Director of Product at gaming company PlayHaven, was obsessed with new products, business ideas and tools.

We feel you Ryan.

So one day in November 2013 he decided to create a simple email list sharing interesting new tools with a small group of friends and tech enthusiasts…who absolutely loved it.

This positive early feedback from his readers encouraged Ryan to turn this into a “real business”.

He recruited Nathan Baschez and they turned Ryan’s simple newsletter idea into a web-based platform for new product discovery and discussion.

And in July 2014, Product Hunt was born.

The launch was a success.

Product Hunt quickly gained traction within the tech community and spread like wildfire through word of mouth around Silicon Valley and beyond.

So much so that by November 2014 they had a term sheets from investors sitting in front of them.

They raised $6 million in Series A funding, with Andreessen-Horowitz spearheading the round.

The team kept adding features, refining the platform and with users asking their friends to check out their products launching on the site, the platform had an organic growth engine at the heart of it.

The platform continued to grow and then, in December 2016, Ryan decided to sell.

The platform was acquired by AngelList for a reported $20m and despite some stiff competition from Theres an AI for That, which we covered on a previous edition, the platform is still thriving to this day.

Not bad for a side hustle.


Newsletter Pick: Become a Media Maven

In her Become a Media Maven newsletter, Christina Nicholson breaks down what small businesses are doing to land impressive press features without spending big bucks on ads. 



Jason Cohen (who founded 2 unicorns btw) sent us in a load of ideas. Stay tuned for more of them 👀


DM us or use #halfbakedbizidea on X/Twitter to get your idea featured in our newsletter.

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