Elevator Pitch: StreetHubs

Elevator Pitch: StreetHubs
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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 Mike Banks, founder of StreetHubs .

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

We generally don’t have our neighbours’ contact details or know their names, and it’s not cool to just ‘drop in’ anymore. We want to live on friendly streets, but strong communities rarely form organically. StreetHubs has created private social networks on every street and is inviting neighbours to join, one street at a time. We drop relevant conversation starters into each ‘Hub’ to help build vibrant, self-supporting communities.

Connected streets can make trusted recommendations, lobby councils, reduce crime, organise social activities and solve everyday problems like remembering which bins go out this week.

Society has become less friendly and more isolating as social technology turns our attention to our global networks and away from our neighbours. StreetHubs’ ultimate goal is to reinvent the way neighbours interact, changing streets for the better.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

StreetHubs is founder-financed. We’re in a fortunate position to not need external support to acquire users. Investment for us is purely about scaling rapidly.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

Internet giants (Facebook and Google) cavalier attitude to privacy has made users nervous about handing over their data. We need to build trust and authenticity to get past that hurdle.

How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?

StreetHubs is the only platform dedicated to neighbours at street/building level. There are other services that create social networks at suburb level, but have failed to create user engagement. They’re just too big to be personal or relevant.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Whatsapp – groups I’ve formed on the platform are really crucial to me, underscoring the value of communication.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid to make a change. You learn more and become more valuable if you’re willing to experience new things.

Want to see your startup featured in Elevator Pitch? Get in touch using our contact form.


  • Dear readers (who may have some business/accounting knowledge or experience),

    For most of my life, I’ve had a passion for healthy eating, and also helping others to consume nutritious foods correctly. I’ve always had an interest in starting some kind of small business in this area, even if the hours were just part time or casual.

    I just want some way to be able to share my knowledge and experience with people, and maybe earn a few bucks along the way, perhaps through homemade goods or re-sale of my favourite health products. But I didn’t really know where to start, and haven’t had the right opportunity and time to make it happen, at least so far.

    But I’ve finally decided to give it a go, by selling a few health goods on ebay. I could write free blogs and articles, while directing the readers to the goods for sale on ebay. This seems to be easier than running and maintaining a website store.

    However, there is one small problem. Being 56 years of age, I have no idea whatsoever on how to open and set up accounts such as ebay and paypal, let alone even use a computer! I also have no knowledge of tax or record keeping, or tasks even as simple as creating an invoice.

    But I still want to make this happen. After much thought, I’ve decided to pay 3 different professionals to help me: a computer technician, a money manager, and a goods manager.

    I need a computer technician to handle setting up my ebay and paypal accounts. I will also need him to add and manage ebay products from time to time, as the need arises.

    I need an ongoing money manager to handle all the in and out funds. He will use the funds to buy in wholesale products and distribute payments appropriately to all running expenses. He will also do all the sales/bills record keeping, and submit them to an accountant. This person will obviously be someone I can trust.

    Finally, I’ll need a goods manager to handle the order processing and dispatching of goods. He will also keep an eye on stock levels, and ensure that all customers are happy.

    It may be possible for someone to do two jobs, and then I’ll only need 2 people. Or better yet, I could be fortunate enough to find one person who can do it all!

    Since it is only a small operation (or call it a hobby if you like) under 75k, the ebay and paypal accounts will need to be set up in my name, since I don’t want the hassle of setting up a company. Plus, a company has a lot of hidden costs like opening fees, document submission fees, registration fees, insurances, work cover premiums, GST hassles, and a huge annual accountant fee, which all adds up into a few thousand annually ongoing, even if your income or profit is minimal. I’d rather something very simple for minimal ongoing cost and peace of mind.

    Ideally, I would prefer if my money manager were a close friend of mine, and he could manage all of the finance records in his own name with his tax accountant. I would simply get a cut of the profits (and simply report it as income on my own tax return and pay my own super), and he would handle the rest, so I don’t have to be bogged down with all the other numbers. I won’t need any binding contracts, because I’ll only be around people I can trust.

    Of course there might be other ways to do it, but I’ve firmly decided that this is the way I want to go about it. I just want to ask anyone out there, who perhaps has some business or accounting experience, if this arrangement complies with Australian business/hobby and tax laws. I don’t want to be doing anything that is against regulations. The way I see it, all tax and super is paid correctly, all income/expense records are reported correctly, we’ve all got our own ABNs, everyone is getting a cut of the profits, so everyone should be happy in my opinion! If I am missing something, please let me know! Thank you very much for your input and for taking the time to read my post.

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