Business 2.0 offers many entrepreneurial business ideas as part of its $50 million giveaway (via VCs). One of them:
$5M SUBSCRIPTION PCS FOR SENIORS
WHO: John Zagula, Ignition Partners, Bellevue, Wash.
WHO HE IS: As a top marketing exec for Microsoft Office from 1992 to 2000, Zagula helped it grow from a $50 million product to a $10 billion industry standard. In 2000 he joined Ignition, which manages $300 million in venture funds.
WHAT HE WANTS: PCs tailored for senior citizens, who would rent the machines on a monthly basis.
WHY IT’S SMART: By far, seniors make up the fastest-growing demographic in the United States; their numbers will swell to more than 70 million by 2030, when they’ll make up 17 percent of the population. They’re also going online in record numbers, despite the fact that many seniors find PCs too complex to use.
Zagula thinks the answer is a stripped-down PC that runs on Web-based applications, each tailored to make the most popular features — e-mail, instant messaging, photo sharing, bill paying, gift shopping, prescription ordering — as easy to use as hitting the “On” button. Leasing the machines for $30 or so per month would be attractive to seniors who are reluctant to buy. Retirement communities might lease them en masse (as part of tenants’ monthly fees), and the AARP could offer them to its members at a discounted rate. “Any easy solution will be hugely differentiated, given how much the software industry seems addicted to adding complexity,” Zagula says. “My mother-in-law is the customer. She’s a terrific person with ample discretionary income. And her need is clear: She wants a better means of gossiping with all her friends.”
WHAT HE WANTS FROM YOU: You and a team of four or five programmers need to develop a handful of Web applications with a senior-friendly format to make them irresistible. Zagula expects the initial funding to pay for limited trials.
SEND YOUR PLAN TO: firstname.lastname@example.org