Over the last few years a number of organizations have begun to utilize internal idea markets that allow employees to invest real or fantasy money on various ideas generated by colleagues. The idea is that the wisdom of the crowd is employed, and managers can ascertain the best ideas by virtue of the fluctuations in price of each.
Software company Rite Solutions were one of the first to employ such an idea market. Their platform was launched way back in 2005 and the ideas generated since then are said to account for around 20% of their revenue. That they have achieved this level of success in a company of just 150 employees suggests greater things could be achieved if scaled up.
IBM have attempted to do just that, with the launch of their own internal crowdfunding project back in 2012. It’s not identical to the Rite Solutions platform in that IBM instead provide a number of options that employees then back to varying degrees with some seed money given them by the company.
The Sand Hill Exchange
The idea of aggregating a variety of opinions is a central part of the wisdom of crowds ethos, and sits at the heart of everything from betting to the stock market. It’s a fundamental part of the Sand Hill offering.
If you haven’t heard of Sand Hill, they’re well worth checking out. They’re touted as the first fantasy start-up marketplace in the world. They aim to provide a trading and prediction service for start-ups from the inception to pre-IPO phase of their lifecycle.
They believe that they offer the best platform for predicting start-up success in things such as venture funding.
The process is relatively straightforward. When you sign-up to the site you’re given $10,000 in fantasy money that you can use to begin trading. The site claims to offer an exhaustive list of start-ups from around the world, and offer to list any they don’t cover if you get in touch with them.
You then begin speculating on the funding a start-up might obtain. Your bet closes when the funding round is completed.
An interesting aspect of the venture is that, as with normal investment, the site encourages virtual backers to offer support and advice to the companies they back. It provides founders with easy access to a pool of people who believe in their product or service.
It’s certainly an interesting project, and well worth checking out if you like to keep on top of the latest start-up buzz.