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Startup Ideas Recap of My First Million Podcast 💵 Episode #96

Here's a quick summary of the startup ideas Shaan Puri and Sam Par discussed on the July 29, 2020 episode, with time stamps and links

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Wes Kimbell

Jul 30 2020

4 mins read

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9:00 New planned cities (Charter Cities, Planned Communities): New cities being developed. What are the possibilities?


  • Some people buying old ghost towns on the cheap and revitalizing it
  • Summit Series - South by Southwest type of conference: We bring together innovators from all verticals to engage in thoughtfully designed community-oriented experiences.”
  • Summit Series bought a mountain to host the program / make a community
  • New jurisdiction based on new policy or based on design
  • New Cities (Y-Combinator started this but Shaan has not heard of it since)

13:20 Revitalizing the passenger trains in the US


  • Wes Edens: Billionaire of the week. Owns the Milwaukee Hawks. Trying to do this.
  • User experience not very great right now
  • Wes Edens realized there is not a good train system in US. Also, Amtrak is profitable on certain legs but not others because they are non-profit. What if you just went after the best routes? It’s extremely profitable.
  • Started Brightline. S. Florida to Central Florida. LA to Vegas in 80 minutes.
  • Richard Branson took minority stake in Brightlite, and rebranded Virgin Trains USA
  • Shaan likes the quote from the Forbes article, “Great fortunes are generally made by solving the most obvious problems”
  • Shaan thinks there are many really big problems that are so obvious, people stopped trying to tackle them and stopped innovating. Sam agrees.
  • Richard Branson has already been doing this in the UK.
  • Sam considered doing this. There’s a route where you take an Amtrak from California to New York (5-10 days) at $200.
  • Obviously popular method of travel in Europe, but not so much in US
  • The catch is you need “$5 billion to make the track”. Combination of public and private funds. Need press so you can raise money and get access to capital.
  • In 2017, the first half of the year Virgin Trains had $10M in sales and 400,000 riders. In 2019 projecting ridership and south Florida would top 2.3M riders and revenue of $112M. There is demand here.
  • If you are popular you are better set to succeed for this because easier to raise money, get press, etc.
  • Big audacious ideas attract best money, best people, best press.
  • Sam says this is not about building a brand, or ingenuity. The real talent needed is to raise money, strategy, etc.

29:30 Flex Port (freight forwarder)


  • Order a bunch of stuff from China to USA. Flex Port help you track it, helps with customs, imports, etc.
  • Sam says the technology has been here but “they are doing it new”

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31:00 SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies)


  • Blank check acquisition company
  • Got around the normal IPO procedures
  • Publicly listed. All they do is acquire companies.
  • SPAC can acquire a stake in the company, becomes public tomorrow, rename SPAC to ticker
  • SPAC took Virgin Galactic public, says Shaan
  • Bill Ackman (guy who shorted the market before COVID and earned like $2.5B) created the largest SPAC ($5B). “It’s like a unicorn mating dance”. We just look for unicorns (private company) to mate with. Ackman’s SPAC will buy portion of company and take it public.

46:23 Social media creators: What do they need? How can you make a business selling to them?


  • 50M creators across platforms like Youtube, Twitch, IG, etc.
  • It’s the fastest and largest growing small business
  • What do they need?
  • ClearBank is a bank for commerce. What about starting a “ClearBank” for creators?
  • Healthcare, insurance, etc. for creators
  • Substack is an example of giving creators a platform/product
  • Figma “helps teams create, test, and ship better designs from start to finish.”
  • Canva is another example that Sam loves. “Blatantly obvious need”
  • Shaan thinks we need a Canva for video editing for creators. Make the best video editor for Youtube creators.

52:15 Mental health and therapy apps and telemedicine


  • Daybreak Health: Anxiety for teens dealing with COVID, mental health issues, etc. $360/month. This is half of what an in-person visit would be.
  • Telemedicine solution
  • Sam says it will “obviously be successful” but not sure now successful
  • Companies are willing to pay as a benefit for meditation apps.
  • Schools are willing to pay for these apps for students—may get subsidized
  • Talk Space: Number 1 online therapy. Preparing for IPO. 5,000 therapist, 1 million users
  • Shaan likes that Daybreak Health has focused on teens
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