Website predicts potential of startups

August 19, 2008 8:34:25 AM PDT
It sounds like the tool any investor would beg for - a computer program that claims to accurately predict whether a startup company is likely to succeed or fail - before it ever gets started. That's exactly what a Bay Area company is claiming to have created.

Knowing which startup could be the next Google may come in handy if you are looking for a job or looking to invest. Now, a company says they have a secret recipe to predict the future of startups, but not everyone is convinced.

It's a San Francisco startup that looks more like a college dorm room; it is the headquarters of YouNoodle and 27-year-old CEO Bob Goodson - who is an Oxford drop-out.

"It will be interesting to see, now that we have made so many predictions, at this stage - how the companies do over the next year so," said Goodson.

Goodson claims YouNoodle can predict if a startup will fail or succeed.

"By analyzing several thousand startups from what they look like at their earliest stage and then what can happen to those companies," said Goodson.

The scoring system is based on a "top-secret algorthim" - using math to calculate information on a company. Scores run on a one and one thousand point index. It sounds simple; YouNoodle analyzes a startup's team, experience and finances - then makes a powerful prediction. Goodson wants rich investors to have the score to decide if a startup is worth the money.

"These are the companies driving the U.S. economy forward and solving some of the world's most important problems. So we think that anything we can do to help drive capital to the right ones will make a huge difference," said Goodson.

"They want to look at you, look at your team and look at your company and say here's your score - just like a credit rating score," said Mike Arrington, TechCrunch.

Mike Arrington is the founder of TechCrunch; a South Bay startup that digs deep into the startup industry. Arrington fears that if the YouNoodle score becomes standard, potentially good startups may die before they ever get off the drawing board.

"Somebody may have a crazy founder on their team who dropped out of college, that hasn't done anything interesting, but this is their one moment in history to do it, and they might not YouNoodle out well. And so a team that otherwise might have done really well, might fall of the radar," said Arrington.

How accurate YouNoodle will be is still not known. It just launched its predictor test online, anyone can use it. The scores though are not public.

"If someone is looking to join a startup and is in the market to get employed by one, then this could be something to help make that decision," said Goodson.

Goodson says with investors dumping $67 billion dollars into startups last year -- a YouNoodle score may someday determine where nearly every dollar gets invested.

Since the scores aren't public - YouNoodle would not share with ABC7 News which startups might be on the verge of success. If you would like to use the predictor test click here: http://younoodle.com/


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