Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Nathan Sri from Lots:op.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Opportunity has the power to enrich, enhance and change people's lives. The power of opportunity is the premise behind Lots:op – a unique online marketplace connecting people looking for life enriching experiences – from volunteer work to additional education, living overseas and competing in an endurance event – with local and global opportunity providers.
The marketplace aims to simplify and streamline the process of finding and planning life enriching opportunities by allowing everything to be done in one place.
After a person completes a profile on Lots:op, which consists of their age, location, education and opportunity interests, Lots:op uses algorithms to show them the most relevant opportunities for them.
Likewise, opportunity providers can use Lots:op to list their particular opportunity and set guidelines on who the opportunity should appeal to.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
It's currently free to join Lots:op — both for members and partners. Our focus is to build Lots:op into an incredible service first. Once the marketplace is well-established, Lots:op will implement a fee structure for opportunity providers (who we call Partners), but that fee structure will be flexible to align with their needs.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
Building the marketplace. We have just launched, so our focus in on building a community of members and partners on the site. We're using a variety of strategies to do this, but it's still early days.
We are currently focused on building a base in Australia before launching into the wider APAC region by the end of this year. We're also planning to launch in Europe, Canada and the US and already have some partners lined up in these markets.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
We think that Lots:op is unique. While other sites can connect you with job or travel opportunities, Lots:op is the only site we know of that brings all these opportunities together in one place.
We define an opportunity as anything that can enrich or enhance your life. This includes education courses, company internships, jobs, volunteer work, holidays, working or moving overseas, or competing in an endurance event — everything from volunteering at a local dog's home to completing your Phd in Prague.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
My Apple mail app. I'd lose everything without that. But a more interesting one is probably Flipboard — it allows me to follow news based on my interests rather than having to read the news that's just spat out at me by a general news feed. I find general news really sensationalist and clickbaity, and I find that boring.
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
This wasn't advice given directly to me of course, and I know it's a cliché to quote the great man, but I love this Steve Jobs quote: "We don't get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we've all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it."
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