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A Business Plan Tool That Helps Size Up Your Odds of Success

Based in San Francisco

6 employees
10,000 unique visitors per month

52,000 page views per month

4,000 members

15% of traffic is international

What It Is
Enloop helps startups write a bank- and investor-ready business plan and provides a financial forecast of that plan. Using an algorithm that measures user input about the business idea and its market, the web app delivers the Enloop Performance Score, an evaluative score that allows the user "to really understand whether or not it might be a good idea to move forward," says founder and CEO Cynthia McCahon.

How It Started
As the founder of a site that offered business-plan templates, McCahon encountered many business owners who had sunk their money and time into flimsy ideas with wobbly financial futures. She decided to create an algorithm and a platform that would neutralize the emotional complications that often cloud the thinking of startup hopefuls. "I thought, how can we take that emotion off the table and create a system that guides people through the decision-making process, much the same way that an underwriter would look at them or write their risk using the concepts of risk analysis?" McCahon explains.

Why It Took Off
Unlike websites that serve up static business-plan templates, Enloop's dynamic and engaging engine helps create text based on the user's input and prophesies the idea's chance for success. Enloop made a big splash at the Finovate conference this year: Page views jumped dramatically after its presentation to entrepreneurs and the press.

The Business Case
McCahon says she's committed to helping entrepreneurs navigate the tricky startup process by keeping Enloop's basic service free. Revenue will come from add-on services targeted primarily to CPAs, business consultants and service providers who want to put Enloop to work for their clients. The premium pricing option ($9.95 per month) allows users to create up to three business plans. Soon there will also be a pro pricing option ($39.95 per month) that will allow for unlimited business plans and provide more detailed financial forecasts.

What's Next
In addition to further refining of the basic system, McCahon and her team are ramping up localization efforts for international users. She was blown away by the geographic diversity of her users and says Enloop has stepped up its timeline to cater to an unexpected surge in members coming from outside the U.S.

Self-described tech geek Ericka Chickowski also writes for Consumers Digest, the Los Angeles Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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This article was originally published in the September 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Idea Oracle.

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