I have identified these problems that I fervently wish someone would solve (I’m currently working on another idea so will not have enough time).
1. Dieting app, especially related to eating disorders.
Currently behavioral tech (as I’ve written in my previous post) and specifically digital therapeutics is gaining traction.
There is Joyable (social anxiety) and telemedicine apps for depression, anxiety: Talkspace, Ginger.io,7 Cupps etc. There are also apps for milder mental health concerns such as stress management or “life coaching”: Genie, Happy. And there are apps for meditation: Headspace, Stop Breathe & Think, Simple Habit.
Problem: However, there are no effective apps that tackle dieting or eating disorders specifically. Currently, dieting apps are outdated and non user-friendly – you need to manually input the food you eat (takes a load of time), estimate your portion (hard to do), and remember to do this every day for everything you eat (people forget). There is also a lack of accountability on the users part, so it’s easy to lose momentum, and not keep up with it.
Current apps include: My Diet Coach, Myfitnesspal,
So here’s my idea:
An app similar to the ones above but for dieting.
It links to a therapist/dietician/fitness guru (depending on whether you have an eating disorder or you just want to lose weight) and this can be a pay-per-session program. This will ensure that a professional person holds the user accountable, which helps with building new habits.
The app should use image recognition so the user can take a picture of the food, and the algorithm can guess (to a certain accuracy) what food you are eating, suggesting an option, “Are you eating a hamburger right now?” You can then select Yes or No, or input your own item, then, input your portion. The app can also tell you the number of calories the item has.
It can also use the geolocation identifier in your phone to send you a notification if it notices you’re in a restaurant or café. A notification would pop up and ask, “Are you eating here? What are you eating?” And it will remind you to document your meal. (Or a smarter algorithm could directly pull up the menu of the restaurant and let you choose from there, but that’s for later releases).
Why this app is necessary:
The US Weight Loss market is worth $66 Billion. Why is no one monetizing on this? And just part of that – Medical weight loss programs, constitute $7.6 B.
Even Myfitnesspal, which isn’t even that user-focused (still relies on manual input), was sold to Under Armor for $475 M. There is definitely money to be made off of this -someone just needs to jump in and solve the problem.
Problems with the app:
Image recognition is hard. If anyone of you have watched Silicon Valley’s episode on Jian Yang’s Hotdog (Seefood) app, you’ll see how hard it is to accumulate and generate a database of photos from all kinds of foods from different angles and lighting. It’s difficult, but if it could be done, that would be really useful.
But apparently this technology actually exists?
2. Subleasing, especially for Students, Interns, Transitioning between jobs
Problem: Airbnb solves the problem of renting a place for a shorter duration. For three months and longer, it is more difficult to find a place for those times, it can be way more expensive as well.
I can’t find the exact number, but I know that a bunch of people come to the Bay Area to intern over the summer (I’m one of them).
Currently, many still post on Facebook pages and groups, but this is highly inefficient and rely on users sorting through pages of irrelevant posts, and message request when people often don’t see the request or don’t get back to you even when the offer is taken unavailable already. Since Facebook is also not a product catered specifically for rent and sublease, there is also no specific feature built in to filter your preferences: Duration of stay, number of bedrooms, whether you’re looking for a roommate, city, radius to a certain location, furnished or not, price etc.
There’s Craigstlist too, but Craigslist is known for its poor design and non user-friendliness. People on Craigslist also turn out to be scams more likely than other platforms.
There’s also Apartmentlist, which is great, but it generally offers minimum one year subleases and are done officially through the leasing companies (which makes it more expensive). Many rooms are also unfurnished, which is inconvenient for people only wishing to live short-term.
Solution: There should be an easier way for people to post their listings and photos and an easier way for people looking for places to browse through and find a place immediately. Basically Facebook subleasing but more efficient and with filters.
(Now that I think of it, if Facebook could just take on this idea and do it instead of a startup, maybe that’d be even easier?)
3. Wework but more like a café and for anyone to go to any time, not just people working on a startup idea.
Problem: I love Wework (even though I’ve never been in one), but I love their idea. However, because I’m not working on a startup idea, I have no reason to really step in one and rent a desk, or an office.
I love working in cafes (as many people do) but a lot of times, they just don’t have enough space, or are more catered towards serving people food and drinks rather than allowing people to have a space to work.
If there was a place that served as a balance between two, that would be perfect.
Solution: A café/workspace that when you walk in, you pay by buying a drink/food or by the hour ($3/hour), that is completely clean and quiet with some background music and café vibes. A lot of cafes also tend to be loud because half the customers come here to socialize or work on group things, and half come here to work individually. At this place, there could be a separation between the two, and two different rooms/vibes.
Notes: This is honestly a super random idea. I don’t even know if the market exists for this or if it’s just a problem only I ran into. But I’d love to start a cafe/co-working space regardless!
Thanks, and let me know if you are going to start working on these ideas!