These 14 Startup Ideas Made The Cut For WashU Olin’s BIG IdeaBounce $50K Top Prize

Team Name:  Keye

University: University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School

BIG IndeaBounce 2023 finalist

Concept: Keye is the “ClassPass” of digital services, allowing users on-demand access to expensive subscriptions like digital news sites and streaming apps with a single subscription.

Challenge: Today, most high-quality services on the internet are moving behind paywalls, creating an information divide for those who are able to pay for good content, and those who are stuck creating free trial accounts or losing track of their many shared subscriptions. At the same time, digital consumer services, whether sites like the New York Times, streaming companies such as Hulu, or helpful tools like Grammarly, are struggling to acquire new users at a reasonable cost. In particular, about 95% of users of freemium apps never end up converting to becoming paid subscribers.

Solution: Keye acts as a marketplace to reduce friction between premium services and users who are hesitant to try them due to cost or discoverability issues. First, Keye fractionalizes subscriptions by allowing users to pay a fraction of the price of a monthly subscription to read a single article or use a service for a day. Second, Keye makes access seamless by automating sign-up, login and payment via our browser extension. In this way, we help users pay the fair value for how much they actually use the service, lowering the barrier to entry to trying it. At the same time, we help companies broaden their user acquisition funnel by connecting with users who would normally be scared away by high recurring costs.

The Market: We have identified a $17.4Bn Total Addressable Market for this opportunity, consisting of sub-optimal subscription spending among 130 million students and working professionals in the US. As we initially target students and young working professionals, we’ve identified an initial target market of $2.7Bn with 9% penetration based on surveys we have conducted.

Competition: Keye competes primarily with two categories of services: 1) Vertical-specific solutions: for example, there are services which sell bundles of online news access or streaming service providers, such as Fubo 2) Subscription management or password-sharing apps Keye differentiates from both of these by offering a legitimate business model in partnership with service companies, but also one that cuts across all types of subscription services to act as a horizontal solution.

Value Creation: Our plan is to build our business model around maintaining a 30% margin between buyers and sellers on our marketplace. By charging users a $9/month fee, we can offer about 10-15 service access to each user per month, while paying the services about $6 per user per month. We already have about 40 partnerships with services such as Crunchbase, Masterclass, Babbel and Grammarly in which we have established these economics. In the mid- to long run, we plan to layer on additional revenues such as by charging smaller services fees for listing on our site, and using user data to sell targeted advertising.

The Team: Paolo Fornasini: Co-Founder. Full-time dual degree MBA/MA at Wharton/UPenn. Class of 2023. Wash U/Olin class of 2015! Rohan Parikh: Co-Founder. Full-time dual degree MBA/MA at Wharton/UPenn. Class of 2023.

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