What – Agora is an online site for discussions about issues in real time. Main UI will show “debate topics” selected using user’s location, profession, and preferences. Any topic starting posts require: “initiator” (image, link, keyword references to set topic), minimum word-count text, and at least two “evidences” (image, link, keyword references). Responses only require text, but allow all. User profiles are sparse and private.
Why – We often see socially motivated posts across news sites and on social networks, showing the need for a dedicated site for these conversations among citizens. We foresee Agora expanding the existing news media within 3 years. Agora will host solution-oriented discussions to help improve lives.
Competition – Agora’s UI will be visibly different from forums. Medium is a similarly open platform for public to speak, but it doesn’t encourage P2P conversations. Quora’s Q&A format is sufficiently dissimilar.
Business Model – Premium posters can pay to advertise themselves in an isolated section. If needed, sufficient local distributions of same premium thread can be created for ease of providing individual attention. As it currently stands, we will only allow news media (in all forms), government bodies, and socio-politically registered organizations to advertise on Agora.
Challenges – Agora only has one founder. I agree that start-ups grow too fast for one person to manage. I am not currently looking for a co-founder. If I am to be funded, I will pay ramen salary and offer considerable equity to a determined and ambitious programmer to come on board for at least three months. Our goal would be to launch the product and secure funding for next phase before this funding runs out.
Domain expertise of founder – Finishing PhD in Electrical Engineering from UCR. I have medium proficiency in programming, but I am a resourceful learner. I am also an active debater online, with posts on many sites.