I gave up reading all of the responses to billionaire Mark Cuban's offer of funding for businesses with serious potential run by people willing to post the plans online but Cuban slogged through all 1,400-plus. The "vast majority" didn't qualify, he reports. Of those who read the rules and submitted requests within the parameters, Cuban gave priority to already-operating businesses on the theory "that if a business is profitable, or close to it, they are more likely to know how to use the capital to their advantage than a startup would be." (This helps get him closer to his goal of helping businesses grow and add employees but it would be good to see him either work with some pure startups or admit outright he isn't interested.) Twelve businesses got a closer look: two will get site visits and could be funded in less than two weeks from the time the original offer went live Feb. 9. Five are being evaluated and five have been weeded out after evaluation. The requests from the seven that could get money range from $20,000 to more than $100,000.
But Cuban says he won't stop there: "This process has worked well. I have to admit that there were ideas that were new to me, but posters educated me on competitors and issues for those businesses. Others weren't as interesting, but posters added more information that made the idea make more sense. I want to keep this going as long as we can. If you keep on posting, I will continue to review them. For as many as I can, where I think I can ask a question or comment that adds value, I will do so."
Oh, he's added another rule (that makes 14 for anyone keeping count): "If you contact me separately, whether via email or the contact form on the blog, your request WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. It must be posted on this blog for all to see and comment on."
By Staci D. Kramer