Stage: 1.0 (formal launch)
Number of employees: 6-15
Profitable year: 2011
Short URL: vator.co/yourversion
CEO & Founder, YourVersion
YourVersion is a real-time discovery engine that continuously discovers new and relevant web content tailored to your specific interests. You can then easily bookmark and share pages via email, Facebook, or Twitter. YourVersion also offers an optional Firefox browser toolbar and a free iPhone app. YourVersion harnesses collective intelligence using explicit and implicit attention data, so that the results grow increasingly better as more people use the system. YourVersion launched at the 2009 TechCrunch50 Conference where we won the People's Choice Award. We also won the People's Choice Awards at FailCon and the Play Berkeley Digital Media Conference.
The YourVersion team has a strong track record of success with consumer Web. YourVersion’s founder and CEO, Dan Olsen, has 18 years of high-tech experience. Mr. Olsen holds a BSEE from Northwestern, an MSIE from Virginia Tech, and an MBA from Stanford. At Intuit, he led product management for Quicken and launched an online brokerage. Mr. Olsen also led product management at Friendster. Before starting YourVersion, he consulted to many startups, including Box.net, YouSendIt, MoodLogic, Xing, and Epocrates. Mr. Olsen is a speaker at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo and Startonomics. Visit Olsen's LinkedIn profile for more info: http://www.linkedin.com/in/danolsen98.
The other YourVersion team members have experience from companies including Apple, AOL, and Intuit.
Discovery and real-time search are two nascent spaces that offer a significant market opportunity for the mainstream internet audience. YourVersion believes these two spaces are closely related and that the winning product will combine the idea of real-time focus (recency) with the idea of personalized discovery (relevancy). The winner in the real-time discovery space will be a key part of the consumer Web landscape with valuable information about consumers’ interests and which Web content they find most relevant. In the long term, as the Web evolves, the leading discovery engine will enable fundamentally new ways of connecting users with the Web content they want. For example, the YourVersion user profile could be used as an information agent to filter and prioritize any stream of information for a user.
Due to the nature of the product, YourVersion will be able to deliver highly relevant ads. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads such as Google AdSense represent a straightforward monetization alternative. The clickthrough rate for YourVersion PPC ads will be very high, since the ads are highly relevant and are tailored to exactly match the user’s interests and the topic they are browsing.
In addition to this proven form of advertising, YourVersion will have the opportunity to experiment with innovative advertising models such as sponsored results. Given how the YourVersion product revolves around a user’s interests, which are effectively keywords, a self-service keyword-based system for advertisers would be easy to offer. Due to the rich dataset YourVersion will build over time, it can offer advertisers an unprecedented level of targeting information, which could be used to improve ad performance across the Web.
Because sharing interesting content is a natural part of discovery, YourVersion has an intrinsic viral nature that will greatly benefit user growth and reduce customer acquisition costs. YourVersion’s CEO has significant experience optimizing viral growth.
Low cost structure:
YourVersion has very low costs, as it is neither bandwidth- nor storage-intensive. The company has operated very cost-effectively to date.
Our closest competitors are StumbleUpon, Digg, and Alltop, which all try to help users discover relevant content. The limited success of these competitors has provided a glimpse into the potential market opportunity. A leading product has not yet emerged to capture the full potential of the real-time discovery market.
YourVersion is better than other solutions because it:
-offers the highest degree of content personalization
-combines relevance with recency to deliver the best results
-has an innovative, easy-to-use user interface for users to browse recommended content
-provides a complete discovery solution that integrates sharing and bookmarking
-provides increasingly better results as more people use it by harnessing collective intelligence
YourVersion has been designed from the beginning to be a “long tail” product. Rather than requiring users to select their interests from a finite, pre-determined list, YourVersion users have the freedom to enter any interest they like. This fundamental design decision enables YourVersion to deliver significantly more relevant results. We also make it easier for users to consume recommended content by organizing it by content channel (News, Blogs, Twitter, Webpages, Videos, and Products). Users can easily view content by channel or by interest.
Personalized results based on recency plus relevancy
YourVersion focuses on delivering real-time results to users based on their interests. YourVersion’s algorithms take into account the recency of the content as well as its relevance. Unlike Digg and StumbleUpon, the YourVersion product does not rely on users submitting content to the system, which will result in faster growth. Unlike Alltop, YourVersion does not require human editorial effort, resulting in a more scalable approach.
Innovative, easy-to-use interface
Relevance algorithms aside, the winner in this space has to deliver a great user experience. The YourVersion team has significant product design expertise which provides a competitive advantage. YourVersion’s innovative UI makes it easy for users to scan and consume recommended content. YourVersion has run over 80 usability tests with users to ensure our UI is intuitive and easy to use.
Integrated Sharing and Bookmarking
While some sites focus only on discovery, YourVersion believes sharing and bookmarking are two closely related product benefits that need be integrated to provide a complete discovery solution. YourVersion offers the best bookmarking functionality on the Web. As users bookmark pages of interest, the bookmarks are auto-tagged and automatically organized. YourVersion also provides a streamlined way to share content in just a few clicks. Users can easily share pages via email, Facebook, or Twitter. The YourVersion browser toolbar lets users easily share or bookmark any page while they are browsing the Web.
Harnessing Collective Intelligence
As users interact with recommended content, YourVersion analyzes explicit and implicit attention data to improve the relevance of results. This information is aggregated across the entire user base, so that the results grow increasingly better as more people use the system.