As another decade starts, more and more innovative startups are beginning to emerge. Many of these influential startups have had a great impact and inspired many entrepreneurs. They had not only changed the way we live but also made a huge footprint in the global business ecosystem.
For a business to become successful it consists of many factors. Moreover, many of these successful startups all have a few things in common. Apart from the fact that they are insanely passionate about their ideas, and customers. They are actually helping society solve real-world problems. By having a customer-centric approach as core business value, it allows startups to really understand the needs within society.
Here are a few companies that we felt had shaped our modern lives and influenced our culture.
A group of friends who were struggling to pay rent had a startup idea. They initially rented out their apartment floors with three mattresses and free breakfast. Hence, the name Air Bed and Breakfast.
In merely three years this startup had quickly attracted numerous investors and earned their trusts among many travellers, and eventually became an influential $31 billion company.
Airbnb is a platform that helps connect people that wants to rent out their properties and people looking for cheap accommodations.
Besides the cheap accommodation cost which attracted many to use Airbnb, many travellers are looking to experience being a local in the areas in which they are staying. Authentic travel experience has been the norm for the 21st century. By staying with a local host at your accommodation, you are able to access travels tips and secrets that only the locals would know. As a result, Airbnb helps and encourage tourists in supporting the local small businesses.
Airbnb users tend to spend 2 times more than a typical tourist. It has helped shape the sharing economy. This has created many jobs for people with properties, which allowed them to earn more money to live without acquiring debts.
In addition to these financial advantages, Airbnb had also empowered many hosts to develop invaluable entrepreneurial, marketing and customer service skills.
Initially, with only a few features on their app, Instagram instantaneously became the top photography app in just a week. In merely two months time, Instagram rapidly grew to 1 million users. Two years after launching their business in 2012, Facebook foresaw the potential of Instagram and bought it for $1 billion US dollars.
Instagram is a social media platform built around sharing photos and videos. It is very popular among young people.
In today's oversaturated digital world, social media tries to make the most out of increasingly shortening attention spans. A recent study had found that the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds. Humans are visual creatures, and to capture Instagram users' attention, images are usually one of the best tools to get the job done.
Instagram is one of the most popular social networking applications in the world. It is currently ranked 3rd in popularity; just behind YouTube and Facebook. With a bit over a billion active users, Instagram has no sign of slowing down. Hence, visual marketing has been taking off, especially in influencer marketing.
Instagram is currently being recognised as a vital social media channel for influencer marketing. Furthermore, to help these influencers, new features are constantly rolling out such as IGTV and shoppable Instagram functionalities.
Chinese Tech Startup Xiaomi is currently ranked as one of the top smartphone company in the world. Initially, Xiaomi had funded itself by selling assorted low-margin high-quality products from scooters, chargers, to even towels. While the majority of its profits came from its online service business. It is the 4th company that has self-developed mobile hardware and firmware after Samsung, Apple, and Huawei.
Even though Xiaomi produces and sells many items that are not electronic related. It is still considered an electronics company.
Xiaomi's simple strategy of selling high-quality gadgets at a much lower price is affecting the business model of some big-name tech companies. The aesthetic design and speed of Xiaomi's smartphones were reported to match with iPhone and Samsung smartphones. Moreover, these smartphones only retail for half the price of iPhone and Samsung smartphones.
When you need inspirations for design, decorations, and recipe ideas, Pinterest is your friend for trend hunting. Initially having only mums as early adopters, it grew from 3000 users to 25 million. Pinterest is now currently valued at $12.7 billion US dollars.
There are a few reasons why Pinterest is so popular. Pinterest is solely image-based which makes it quite unique, attractive and interesting. Whereas, other social media platforms are mainly content-based. Furthermore, unlike most social media that requires others to like/subscribe/connect/ or follow you to be able to develop a huge fan base. On Pinterest, users are free to browse and save all images and Pinterest boards from other users.
Thus, Pinterest has been deemed to be a very powerful tool to help businesses drive traffics, marketing, and even boost sales.
Launched in 2013, Slack has almost reached every modern office as a ubiquitous communication tool. Slack is currently being used by 65% of the Fortune 100 companies as well as having a valuation of more than $7 billion US dollars.
Slack is a collaboration tool that is used to replace communicating in old ways such as email. It is aimed to achieve the same results as you do with face-to-face communication.
Slack's freemium strategy which only allows free searchable 10,000 messages prevent workers from disconnecting from their offices. In another word, if you do not follow slack all the time, you will not be able to keep up with the conversations. As a result, it forces you to check slack 24/7 due to pressure and social isolation.
Snapchat is a mobile application that allows you to send messages, photos, and videos that will disappear in a set timeframe. With the continuous shortening of human attention span, at 2011 this simple concept blossomed in the perfect time.
Other social media platforms have somewhat mimicked Snapchat features. With the success of Snapchat's story feature, nearly every social media platform have now included them. Users are able to upload videos and photos of interesting things they have done throughout the day on their Snapchat stories in a narrative manner. Funny Snapchat filters have also attracted many users.
In merely 9 years, Snapchat has gained 210 million active daily users, where it is currently valued at $23 Billion dollars.
Stripe is a payment system company that focuses on building tools for developers and startups.
Even though Stripe and Paypal are very similar, what sets them apart is that Paypal heavily focused on consumer companies.
Stripe's aim is to provide easy tools for software engineers to write and connect their website to a payment processor. Stripe has some of the big-name clients such as Uber, Amazon, Xero, Spotify and more. With its current valuation of $35 US billion dollars.
WeWork is an American commercial real estate company that rents out stylish-designed shared office space to other companies. Ranging from businesses in need of a part-time desk to a multi-year lease for big companies such as IBM, Facebook, Airbnb and Amazon. The company started out with only two locations in 2010 has more than 178 locations globally. The real estate company is currently estimated to be worth $10 billion.
Besides providing many leisure activities in the common areas, WeWork also organises many social events to create opportunities for its' members to meet and network.
By providing all the fun entertainment activities, its' members also get access to many inside discount deals; ranging from gym memberships, health insurances, to printing services.
But that's not all, the main attraction is that WeWork space takes care of everything for you. They provide a fully furnished modern office, conference rooms and a stocked kitchen.
It is can be seen as a starting ground for small businesses to grow.
At Fonseka Innovations; our tech startup, we embrace the customer-centric approach as our core business. We are helping our clients solve real-world problems because we truly care. With our personal touch and honesty, we can help you manage risks and help you deliver world-class software. We offer a wide range of services from developing websites and applications to consulting and advising businesses. Get in touch with us to bring your ideas to life.