I’ve read quite a few unfortunate stories of founders that have spent their hard earned money trying to tackle a “big problem” with a “huge market” but finding little traction. I was one of these unlucky folks, trying to tackle one such opportunity. Thank goodness I woke up and quit before I went broke.
There are some problems that just cannot be solved by startups even though the company that solves it stands to reap huge rewards. A key signature of such a problem is the need to work with huge incumbent partners. I’m no fan of Apple but Apple is a textbook case where they tackle problems that stymie a lot of startups but they succeed because of their clout. Take music downloads. iTunes wasn’t the first but unlike Apple, the early startups were just unable to get the record companies to buy into their solution and hence companies like mp3.com floundered.
Yesterday, Apple launched ApplePay. Whoop de doo. NFC has been around for ages…. BUT Apple managed to get the majority of the payment stakeholders on board – something no-one not Google, AT&T, Verizon were able to do with their initiatives.
My point is not to glorify Apple, but to warn you that sometimes, some problems just cannot be addressed by a startup – unless of course you already have the necessary contacts and clout in the field – and even then it would be tough.