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March 12, 2008

Are You Ready for LaunchBox Digital?

The gist is simple: LBD, as we'll nickname it, offers start up money, advisory services, and even office space for brand new companies looking for $15,000-$30,000. The cool thing about LBD is that this is much less money and a much earlier investment than most VC firms would make—so LBD can fill a major gap.
We met up with founders Julius Genachowski and Sean Greene at their new digs in downtown's hip East End.

With plenty of experience (Sean sold Away.com to Orbitz, and Julius was Chief of Biz Operations at InterActiveCorp), these guys have built an all-star advisory team with names like Ted Leonsis, Raul Fernandez, and Caroline Little from WashingtonPost.com

Only a few days left to submit proposals—by Friday, March 14—but the process is easy. Ideas can range from video or mobile apps to niche social networks, advertising platforms, or anything else you can imagine that's digital. Whether you're just out of college, or you've had an idea bottled up for years, they want you to know this is your chance!

For more info, check out their site at: www.launchboxdigital.com


Rarely does a company gain such media attention in its first 10 days of life than Kluster.

Kluster takes the trend of community contributed content (think Wikipedia) and pays users for their ideas. For example, say Nike needs to come up with a new concept for an advertising campaign. It would post the parameters on Kluster, and open up a brainstorm to the world with $50k to be divided among contributors for the best ideas.

Or, individuals can post ideas for companies. For example, Sally Smith, college student, suggests an idea for a niche social network, and as Kluster users add insights (everything is validated through a series of algorithms just as on Wikipedia) they can get financial rewards, even including equity in the companies they help.

Leading it all? 21-year-old (no misprint) Ben Kaufman, above. He's been busy recently, like as a presenter at the prestigious TED Conference.  A few months ago, he sold his last company, Mophie (a leader in Ipod accessories). Ben's used to living on the edge:  As a teenager, he convinced his mother to mortgage their house for Mophie's startup capital.

So far, we know only a few of the ways Kluster plans to make money, such as taking 15% off the top of projects from a Nike or Proctor & Gamble or equity in startups it helps develop.


We dropped by the VisualCV launch party the other night at Morrison & Foerster in Tysons, filled with supporters like Qorvis's Dave Harvey, Valhalla Partners' Gene Riechers, and MoFo's Charles Katz.  Already 150 companies are signed up and tech gurus Guy Kawasaki and Henry Blodget have created their own CVs, as has the ever-leading edge Bisnow on Business.  Investor Heidrick & Struggles just announced the platform will be used for its global professional network. Now if only VisualCV could resuscitate the economy and create lots of jobs to use their CVs for. (Well, we're hiring here at Bisnow. If you're a journalist, kindly apply!)



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