Writing by Peter Hilton

2023 startup ideas for business software

Another year, more free ideas for the world of work from the Twitter archive 2023-12-19 #startups

Shridhar Gupta

  1. 2014 ideas
  2. 2015-2017 ideas
  3. 2018 app ideas
  4. 2018 development ideas
  5. 2018-2019 ideas
  6. 2020 ideas
  7. 2021 ideas
  8. 2022 ideas
  9. 2023 ideas (business) ←
  10. 2023 ideas (lifestyle)

Startup ideas have no intrinsic business value, but we can still enjoy them. And from a product management perspective, they offer a regular reminder to separate the solution idea from the problem it solves.


Online meetings sometimes make it hard to tell why someone doesn’t talk. Develop online video meeting software that shows a social awkwardness meter, measured by facial recognition with AI interpretation.

Meet Me Halfway

Calendar software hardly discriminates at all, and a fierce secretary doesn’t come cheap. Provide enterprise calendar software that encodes company-specific meeting invitation etiquette:


Certain designs for text-based user interfaces prioritise an aesthetic over supporting variable amounts of text that you can actually read. For example, Mural and Miro punish you for using more text than in their designers’ mock-ups, by reducing it to tiny sizes. Instead, solve this with a product that uses #AI to keep the stickies tidy without making the text illegibly small.

Told You So

Effective group chat makes people lazy about repeating questions. Combat this with a passive-aggressive AI bot that intercepts unnecessary direct messages with something like:

Peter answered this question on Slack yesterday. Are you sure you want to send this message?

Might Delete Later

Scheduling a message for first thing Monday morning helps you pretend to start work early, but sometimes you want to ask a question on Sunday without anyone seeing it on Monday. Build a team messaging app that as well as supporting scheduled messages, also allows you to set a response deadline for each message, to automatically delete questions when they will no longer matter.

Collaboration off the Shelf

Some business software products’ value propositions depend on collaboration features that became standard in the last ten years, wrapped in industry-specific marketing, compared to legacy single-user desktop software. Compete by starting a consultancy that optimises business operations by introducing Trello to people who’ve never heard of it, and who have:

  1. bureaucratic project/ops management using overcomplicated tools (Excel, Word, Jira), or
  2. messy chaotic project/ops using only simplistic tools (telephone, email, sticky notes).


Some conversations require probing questions that we take too long to think of, leaving discussions and interviews too shallow. Help interviewers ask good follow-up questions, to get better answers, e.g. with an AI interview assistant that suggests follow-up questions in real time during an interview.

Computer Says No

Solve the problem of not knowing in advance which potentially respectable companies give bad (customer) service. For example, run a service like Glassdoor but for insider reports on the severity of companies’ software and data privacy failures. Share how this affects customers whenever the primary product or service fails, such as when buying airline tickets.

640 Characters (enough for anyone)

Solve the problem of people sending you longer messages than you have time to read, or just too many messages. For example, add throttling/backpressure to chat/email clients to restrict what (specific) people can send you.

Leading Questions

Some times you get too few messages, when you want responses to a question. Introduce multiple choice questions (polls) to group chat, so you can send messages that get faster responses, without having to make do with emoji reactions.

For more occasional start-up ideas, follow @PeterHilton on X.

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