It is a misconception that there are a small, finite number of good ideas to start companies. Some people are nervous to share the ideas they have, accordingly, because they think someone else will steal them. In reality, though, there are innumerable ideas that could become viable companies today.
There are a significant amount of ways to solve daily pain points and make life easier because of the nature of the world we live in. That is why you might hear "ideas are a dime a dozen." With a good, committed team, there are countless million-dollar companies that could be started.
Here are nine ideas, specifically, that you could start even from your college dorm room:
Countless college students still struggle to find study partners and people to do homework with. There are learning management systems that currently exist to help teachers communicate with students. There is not an effective way for students to work together on an individual basis, though.
Piazza has tackled this problem a bit, but it does not give students an opportunity to communicate without the teacher's eye or on a more personal level. Comprehensive study guides, exam tips from previous students and help with concepts could be a game changer for college students. It would just take a lightweight and easy-to-use system.
Over 300,000 students study abroad each year. Yet, there is no singular place for them to share their experiences, what they did, and where they went. Future abroad students would be willing to pay a hefty sum to have insight into travel and food tips. Google search is a lot less helpful than you would think at helping plan and set up trips outside of the US. This could be a huge market.
Meetup.com and different groups get together to play pickup sports. At this point in time, though, there is no app to instantaneously play pickup in public based on your location. Think about the countless people who want to play soccer or basketball at any given time but do not have anyone to play with.
Connecting and playing with others in the area would be a great leverage of the technology that exists today. It would also help keep people fit and illuminate large data around fitness and sports preferences.
4. Smart dorm room as-a-service.
Even having an Alexa or Google Home in a college dorm is considered novel. Students can impress their friends with voice-controlled music, alarms, and other functions. Students that make a large effort can deck their dorm room out even more, but most do not go through the pain. This means that there is a large opportunity to help create smart dorm rooms for individual college students. It could come in the form of a few hundred dollar package and instructions on how to set up voice-controlled lights, television, speakers and more. You could also bring on college students to do the installation. A way to do this at school could provide a large opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of college kids moving into dorms each year.
Something like this could even be sold to universities. Around the US, colleges are always looking for ways that they can differentiate themselves. Schools pour money into nice food or Tempurpedic beds for that exact reason. Some schools would spend significant money to step up their residential life with smart dorm rooms.
5. Pairing students for fitness training.
Most people are scared of college gyms. They contain some of the largest people at the school lifting heavy weights and there is a big degree of intimidation. This is especially the case for girls and relatively scrawny males. A service could function as the middleman to pair fit college students with those that want help with training (or nutrition). It is difficult because most trainers cost upwards of $50 per hour.
College kids would be willing to train someone else in the range of $15-20, though. At this point in time, it is much harder for people to adopt the right workouts and nutrition plans than it should be. Pairing students (or even working adults) with each other, if you can deal with liability issues, could help solve the problem.
6. Cheap posters and pictures aggregation.
Someone that is trying to decorate a room knows how difficult it can be to find high-quality posters. Amazon's offerings are not the best, eBay can take over a month to arrive, and other sites are difficult to navigate. There would be significant value in an aggregation website for these posters. It could help people decorate their college dorms, homes and eventually turn away from just posters and into paintings and other house decors.
I've met two people doing this in the past two months that are well on way to building a multi-million dollar business doing this.
7. Comprehensive community for navigating the college process.
There is college confidential and many blogs that exist. Yet, there is no truly effective community or source to help high schoolers and their families navigate the college process. This could include helping students find the right school based on their financial situation. It could be an aid to families to fill out the FAFSA (about 750,000 Pell-eligible students did not do so in 2014). It could include real student experiences at different schools to help differentiate the college tours or websites that look so similar. There is so much wasted time and energy put towards the college process due to lack of guidance. There is a big opportunity here.
8. Matching students with projects for local companies, at scale.
Local restaurants, startups, and other small businesses would pay good money for student help. This could be in the form of design, software engineering, marketing, sales, and so on. There are local college-based consulting/freelance groups around the country, but nothing national. A large organization that helped with project pairing and oversite could make significant money. Standard fee for doing this is around 10% of the first years salary. Think if you were doing this in your local area!
9. Teacher profile and reviews.
College students use Rate My Professor to give reviews for the teachers that they have. There are a few issues with Rate My Professor, though.
A). There are many professors that are missing from the platform.
B). Teachers do not have any option to control their profile.
C). There is little incentive for students to leave a review after taking a class.
Instead, there is an opportunity to create a platform where teachers can create a profile for themselves. This could include anything students (and even employers - like universities) would be interested in seeing. Some easy ones are the type of research they do, a bio, ways to get in touch, and other areas of interest. Then, students could leave reviews on teacher profiles in a way that could scale and work for every teacher across universities. This would dramatically help students pick classes to take, help teachers showcase themselves, and aid universities in hiring decisions based on better data of teaching quality.
Here's to building the future! Who's going to start now?