Hottest USA Startups – 2015
fm Linked In 12/15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Although entrepreneurs dedicate countless hours and plenty of money in an effort to develop the next Facebook or Uber, few actually see their startup take off. Then there are those startups that simply take the world by storm. With plenty of startups expected to launch in 2016, I’ve taken my pick of that small number poised to end up in the latter category. Here are 5 digital startups that are set to make serious waves in 2016.
YikYap. Say what you will, but people thrive on gossip,especially when it’s completely anonymous. Launched by Furman University students, Tyler Droll & Brooks Buffington,YikYak functions like a local bulletin board and allows users to connect and share information with anyone in a 10 mile radius. Posts are limited to 200 characters and it allows users to respond to each other. Within 3 months of its launch,YikYak boasted 100,000 users, primarily tech-savvy HS & college students – who use the app for everything from complaining about people, things, & places, to sharing the latest interesting rumor making the rounds. Currently, more than 15,000 messages are posted each day. As of 12/14,YikYak had raised $73.5M. This is despite the negative press it has received by individuals who believe it encourages online bullying.
CyberDust. In today’s world, anything is subject to being hacked. Just ask Sony’s executives and the numerous stars that have had their private pictures broadcasted all over the internet. Founded by Ryan Ozonian, Cyber Dust is designed to help you keep your messages safe & private. It allows users to send self-destructing photos & texts. Much like Snapchat, your message disappears. However, when using Cyber Dust your message is gone without a trace in 24 seconds, cannot be restored by the receiver or sender, and prevents both from embedding the message onto a hard drive. No trace of your message is left anywhere and your name is never attached to anything. It is backed by Mark Cuban, Shark Tank.
Slack. Designed as an easy to use communication app for the workplace, Slack is considered one of the fastest growing enterprise apps ever. Created by Stewart Butterfield, Eric Costello, Cal Henderson, & Serguei Mourachov, Slack allows individuals within a business to use a group chat room, share files, & send private messages. In addition, it integrates automated messages, allows users to search through past conversations by topic or keyword, & significantly cuts down on excessive email. Although it was launched in mid-2013, it didn’t pick up steam until mid-2014 and it got even bigger in 2015. As of December, there were more than 250,000 active daily users. Slack has received $180M. It was recently valued at an astounding $1.12 billion.
InstaCart is one of those – ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ apps. It was created to make the dreaded task of shopping for groceries much easier. You simply order your groceries online or via the app on your phone. In less than an hour, they will arrive right at your door from Whole Foods, Safeway or Costco. Currently, Instacart is only available in large cities in the USA including Atlanta, Chicago & NYC. Founders Apoorva Mehta, Max Mullen & Brandon Leonardo are definitely looking to expand its locations as well as into categories other than groceries in 2016. As of late December, Instacart had received more than $154.8M. In addition, they recently closed a $210M investment deal that is said to increase the value of the company into the $2 billion range.
Jet. Touted as the eCommerce website that is set to be “an Amazon killer”, Jet is the brainchild of Marc Lore, the former CEO of Quidsi (website behind Diapers.com). Although Jet has not launched yet and very little information is being released about it, it is highly anticipated, primarily because it promises to “undercut Amazon & other competitors on pricing by dynamically pricing products based on how close they are to the buyer”. While an exact launch date has not been announced, it will definitely be sooner rather than later. Jet has received more than $80M funding. It’s worth noting that Jet launched a promotion in November 2014. Referred to as Jet Insiders, it offers thousands of shares of stocks to individuals who refer plenty of friends to the service. Classic growth hacking right there! The top referrer receives 100,000 shares of stocks, while the following 10 top referrers receive 10,000 shares of stocks. Additionally, anyone who signs up pre-launch will receive a 6 month membership for free. Does Jet plan to make huge waves in 2016? It certainly appears that way.
Conclusion. Only time will tell what startups will take the world by storm in 2016. However, the 5 discussed above are almost certain to do so.
Comment: Do you know any Hot Startup that you’d like to recommend?