This is Printerinks list of the top 3 greatest small start ups. Each have brought something new to the table and contributed greatly to the digital era.
What’s it all about: Developed by two young web entrepreneurs, Evan Spiegal and Bobby Murphy when they were both students at Stanford University, Snapchat has revolutionised the way we message and send photos. Snapchat is a photo messaging application whereby users can take and send photos and videos as well as add text and designs/drawings. Senders can determine how long their messages are viewed (the current range is 1 to 10 seconds) at which point thereafter the messages will self-destruct and be removed from Snapchats servers and the device they were sent to In 2014 users were sending approximately 700 million photos and videos each day, and garnering 500 million views each day. Snapchat has had a meteoric rise in popularity, especially among the prized under-25 demographic.
Buzz words: Photos and videos are called “snaps.”
Key start-up stats: Lightspeed Venture Partners were brought in to a seed round of investment, securing $485,000. In a Series B and C round of financing, $110 million of financing was raised.
Bumps in the road: There has been a lot of worry and speculation that Snapchat is used mainly to send inappropriate messages and texts and also that the texts do not really disappear forever, as was implied. The company is also currently being sued by Reggie Brown who claims that he should own a third of the company because he started and worked on Snapchat with Spiegel and Murphy.
Potential to take over the world: In 2013, Snapchat launched Snapkidz for the under 13 market. Recently Snapchat has been expanding and exploring complementary products to the original app.
What can we learn from it: Don’t always sell to the highest bidder (especially if they are a competitor). Recently there have been rumours that Spiegel turned down an offer of $3 billion to sell Snapchat to Facebook. Snapchats founders have already become rich, and they seem to not only be interested solely in making billions but working on cutting edge apps that people really want.
Be wise about securing funding and investment against equity, by slowly building up investment while the company was getting bigger and the app more popular, Spiegel and Murphy were able to retain a 50% shareholding in the company which allows them to make key decisions about where it is going (like turning down the offer from Facebook).
Use the momentum of a successful project to launch a complementary product to your future users (Snapkidz).
What’s it all about: This San Francisco based start-up was founded by Kanishk Parashar. Coin is a connected device that can hold and behave like your existing wallet full of credit cards (and debit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards). The aim of coin is to simplify life, and enable you to store and protect all of your data on one device. Each Coin lasts for 2 years with the existing battery and users are notified when it is time to replace the device. Reportedly it is shock and water-resistant and will not demagnetize if left near other cards or magnets. Coin is mainly targeting the American market for the moment (the device does not yet support chip and pin) and the prototype has yet to be launched although pre-orders are available via the website.
Buzz words: A Coin is the device that holds the card information.
Key start-up stats: Coin has raised $50,000 in crowdfunding so far and is now accepting pre- orders to begin production. According to the website, the pre-order system allows the company to use the revenue made to deliver the best possible product.
Bumps in the road: Some tech-savvy critics are saying that with mobile payments quickly moving past credit cards this could make Coin redundant quicker than it will be used widely.
Potential to take over the world: The idea is great, never having to worry about losing or forgetting a card, or forgetting to pay your tab (the device apparently has a built in reminder system to prevent this).
What can we learn from it:
If you have a great idea for a start-up don’t rely only on big name investment, be creative with raising money like using crowd-funding and a pre-order system
Use your previous experience, Coin CEO Parashar previously worked at Ebay, Paypal, Yahoo and Oracle.
Manufacture locally, Coin will be manufactured in California, which follows the rising trend for technology products to keep their supply chain in the United States.
What’s it all about: Tinder was launched in October 2012 by Whitney Wolfe, Sean Rad, Justin Mateen, Jonathan Badeen and Christopher Gulczynski. Tinder has revolutionised dating by creating an app which connects users via GPS within a one mile radius to other users that match set criteria. Your profile is created via Facebook, using first name, age and chosen photos. Potential matches are then sent through and you can either swipe right to ‘like’ them or ‘left’ and they disappear from your Tinder. If the person you’ve liked, swipes right to your profile in return, this is considered a match and it links you together to message. Tinder boasts 50 marriages so far.
Buzz words: #YOSO (you only swipe once), once you’ve swiped left the potential match is gone from your tinder permanently.
Key start-up stats: Unlike other internet start-up companies the developers were already working for, and funded by Hatch Labs, an incubator based out of InterActiveCorp and Extreme Labs. Tinder would easily classify as a meteoric start- up success if for the fact it’s not actually a start-up, it will never have to round up investment or announce a billion dollar acquisition, as it is already owned by a large corporation.
Bumps in the road: Whitney Wolfe, a co-founder who was ousted, is currently suing Tinder for sexual harassment, naming Rad and chief marketing officer Justin Mateen in her lawsuit. There was also some security issues over the GPS data allowing users to be found within 100 feet of their location, the problem has now been resolved.
Potential to take over the world: Tinder is now expanding the original app, to make it easier for matches to communicate more regularly with ‘Moments’, which allows users to share photos with all their matches in one message. Recently Tinder has teamed up with The Mindy Project to explore how Tinder can work for advertising celebrities and their projects.
What can we learn from it:
Don’t be afraid to leave a project, even if you have spent a lot of time on it, if you have a better idea. Cardify the original project that Rad and Mateen were working on was ready to be launched when they decided to focus all of their energy on the creation of Tinder, which turned out to be a monumental success, arguably more than Cardify ever could have been.
Keep evolving, even though it was originally piloted on college campuses targeting 18-24 year olds, today it is the fastest growing dating app in the world and has users of all ages.