I asked AI to design a profitable business idea. Could it build the next Uber?

Entrepreneurs are leaning on AI generators to give them their next great business idea. Are they any good? I decided to find out.

Our experts

We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality.
Written and reviewed by:
Helena Young
Direct to your inbox
Startups.co.uk Email Newsletter viewed on a phone

Sign up to the Startups Weekly Newsletter

Stay informed on the top business stories with Startups.co.uk’s weekly email newsletter


Everybody wants to launch the next Uber. So how do you come up with an innovative, unique, and viable business idea? It’s a question that plagues every entrepreneur. And now, thanks to the advent of AI software, robots might spell the answer. Literally.

In the past 18 months, an abundance of free and low-cost AI tools have cropped up. Each could be used to help aspiring business owners dodge the brainstorming sessions to come up with a killer startup idea — and even an automated business name — in no time at all.

But is that really true? Scepticism is healthy in the fast-growing field of AI. If you’re going to base your business plan on a computer’s suggestion, it had better be good.

I decided to test out the top generative AI platforms on the market — as well as a promising newcomer — to see if their ideas would fly or flop. As I discovered, robots love sustainability. But they might need educating on what copyright infringement looks like..


Business idea: “GreenGleam Home Cleaning is an eco-friendly home cleaning service that uses non-toxic, sustainable products to clean residential spaces.” 

Imacge credit: chatgpt.com/

I was initially wowed by ChatGPT, the generative AI platform owned by OpenAI. Within 20 seconds I had a fully-formed 2,000 word outline explaining why cleaning businesses are profitable, how it could be scaled, as well as a step-by-step breakdown of launch.

Helpfully, ChatGPT even provided a breakdown of how my initial budget of £500 could be best splurged on supplies and marketing materials (although with just £100 to spend on transportation, my hypothetical clients had better live on my street).

Turns out GreenGleam is already an eco-friendly cleaning firm based near Sacramento, California that uses some suspiciously similar website copy to ChatGPT. Coincidence? Perhaps. But more likely an unfortunate consequence of the platform’s web scraping tools.

Still, a bit of ready-made competitor analysis is no bad thing. As a completely free idea that took under half a minute to generate, ChatGPT has provided a well-reasoned, solid business idea that I could take and rework myself.


Business idea: “Micropitch offers bite-sized, online business consulting focused on helping small businesses and solopreneurs with specific marketing or social media challenges.” 

Image credit: gemini.google.com/

Google Gemini has been touted as one of the market’s most advanced AI tools. Its paid-for tier is even called Gemini Advanced to make clear just how clever and up to the minute it is.

I stuck with the free version, however, because entrepreneurs are unlikely to want to fork over £20 per month before their venture is even off the ground.

Like ChatGPT, Gemini summarised why the idea was low effort, but still scalable, and also gave me some smart, if generic, business tips to follow (who knew that a consultancy company should “deliver excellent consultations”?)

Gemini also picked up on the pain points that my limited budget presented. It advised on how I could utilise free video conferencing software to keep costs down.

And the best part? Micropitch does not already exist! Which means Gemini did surpass ChatGPT in inventing an original business name in this very unofficial experiment.


Business idea: “GreenLife Essentials sells reusable items (such as bamboo toothbrushes, cloth bags, or organic skincare products) online or at local markets.”

Image source: copilot.microsoft.com/

Humans might be worried that robots will take over the world. I found they’re more likely to want to save it. Continuing the green trend, Microsoft CoPilot immediately drew me a long list of ideas that began with its creme-de-la-creme of an eco-friendly online marketplace.

I was hoping for expert tips on what this might look like (chiefly, how my thin £500 budget could stretch to building a multi-product website). However, the pitch was light on details. When I asked it to clarify my cash forecast, CoPilot couldn’t give me any figures.

Some of CoPilot’s advice was also confusing. It told me I could keep my startup costs low by “sourcing from ethical suppliers”. But research has found that sustainable products are, on average, 75-85% more expensive than conventional items.

There were some positives. Both of CoPilot’s products (bamboo toothbrushes and cloth bags) align with modern shopping trends. I think it could work as a low-cost dropshipping model, but I’m not as convinced as I was by the detailed responses of Gemini and ChatGPT.

As well, two, sustainable brands called Greenlife Essentials already exist and both sell products using Instagram. My brainstorming sessions with CoPilot could soon land me in hot water with Intellectual Property (IP) lawyers.


Business idea: “a smart plant care product that includes sensors to monitor the moisture levels, light exposure, and temperature around the plant.”

Stratup.ai business idea generator

Image credit: stratup.ai/en/generate-ideas

Stepping away from conversational AI tools, we come to Stratup.ai, a specialist business idea generator. It suggested a smart plant care app to alert owners that their cactus needs watering, presumably to undo the damage we’ve done to the planet’s flora (we get it, bots).

There are some useful features with Stratup that help it stand out from the titans of Big Tech AI. For example, it asked me to input the specific industry I wanted to work in, and tagged each answer with areas I might need to read more about, such as Internet of Things (IoT).

These tags left me with more questions than answers however; questions I would have been able to put to a conversational platform like ChatGPT. Stratup provided three helpful follow-up questions, but there’s a lot less room here for me to interrogate its suggestions.

I was also overwhelmed by the instruction to build a tech-enabled, revolutionary plant monitor from selecting the ‘Consumer Good’ category. Given I stated my budget was £500, the idea is out of whack with my wallet (and my tech skills, but let’s not go there).

Perhaps recognising the minefield that is name copyright, Stratup.ai also steered clear of christening its smart plant idea. But with a title like Stratup, perhaps that’s for the best.

AI business idea generators: what are the risks?

Would I recommend using an AI generator to design a business idea? 100%. Blank canvases can be daunting. Using an AI to come up with some early suggestions sets the wheels in motion and provides a helpful brainstorming partner for solo entrepreneurs.

I was particularly impressed with the market leaders, ChatGPT and Gemini. Both presented niche, trendy ideas I’d be happy to pitch to an investor. But there were definitely gaps to fill in. By no means should AI-generated business ideas be seen as the finished product.

It’s easy for Big Tech to follow the famous Zuckerberg mantra: “move fast and break things”. Startups need to exercise greater caution. For AI, that means avoiding trademark disputes.

Trademarks are a legally-recognised piece of intellectual property, ranging from names, logos, and slogans, to even marketing strategies (known as trade secrets).

Given that AI tools ‘scrape’ the internet for suggestions, unwitting entrepreneurs who copy its suggestions at face value could be accused of trademark dilution, resulting in legal action.

Entrepreneurs should conduct a thorough trademark search before progressing with any idea, but especially one built by robots. You may even wish to consult with a legal expert to review any AI-generated names and assess the legal risks associated with them.

Even the big guys get trademarks wrong. Find out about the biggest copyright infringement scandals that have occurred in business.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

Leave a comment

Leave a reply

We value your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. Please review our commenting policy.

Back to Top