Startups Changing Their Field for the Better
By Drew Hendricks
Until the past decade or so, large corporations dominated most industries. Change was gradual and consumer opinions were rarely considered. However, the internet has completely upended traditional ways of doing business. Instead of one company’s CEO and board of directors deciding what direction an industry will go next, now a group of startups in each industry are making bold, innovative improvements that push corporations to make their own changes to remain competitive.
The list of startups making these big moves is endless, but in each industry there are standouts. Here are seven startups that are making a big difference in their respective industries.
The healthy-eating movement has created a demand for businesses that take consumer health seriously. FreshDirect meets that demand and more, delivering farm-fresh food to a customer’s front door. Since launching in 2002, the company has grown substantially but FreshDirect now faces fierce competition from corporate giants Google and Amazon. Grocery delivery is estimated to be a nearly $11 billion business, with growth predicted at 9.6 percent annually.
The global gaming market is expected to reach $99.6 billion this year, making it a popular target for startup founders. CastAR combines gaming with augmented reality (AR), bringing elements from the game into the gamer’s environment, along with a social element that lets gamers play with friends and strangers. The product, which launches in 2017, is already generating significant buzz in the gaming world.
Subscription services are more popular than ever as consumers enjoy the convenience and businesses realize the benefits of recurring revenue. TokerPack pairs the monthly box concept with smokers’ love for tobacco. Each month, subscribers receive a box packed with rolling papers and other accessories related to tobacco use, all packaged in a plain box for privacy. Customers can also opt to purchase a one-time box to try the service out before signing up as a subscriber.
As the winner of the 2016 QVC Beauty Quest Award, TreStiQue stands out from a crowd of beauty-based subscription services. The company focuses on convenience, providing two-in-one beauty products that have caps that keep them from leaking. Applicators are built into each stick, making it easy to take each item on the road with you.
Pronounced “unicorn,” Unikrn capitalizes on the growing popularity of esports, which allows consumers to bet on video game matches. Betting for money isn’t legal in the U.S., but Unikrn issues virtual tokens to players to keep things fun. Last year, Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban invested $7 million after learning about the startup through an interview on CNBC.
Fitness trackers are all the rage, but consumers haven’t yet found a way to track the amount of calories and fat they’re ingesting. LEVL brings that technology one step closer, measuring the acetone in a person’s breath to determine the body’s state of fat burning. The device’s app then uses the information to offer guidance on more effective fat burning.
Soundtrack Your Brand
Background music is an important part of operating a customer-facing local business, whether you’re a retail shop or a medical practice. Many businesses currently rely on satellite-based services that deliver commercial-free music for a monthly fee. Soundtrack Your Brand provides the perfect music for your business type based on data gathered from 100 million Spotify users. You can even set up different types of music to play in various areas of your building or office suite.
These startups are an example of the impact innovation can have on an industry. With so many creative entrepreneurs coming up with new products and services that meet consumer demand, large corporations realize they must remain competitive, as well. The public, as a result, benefits from great new products and services almost as soon as they identify a demand.