As an entrepreneur I'm always interested to keep an eye on new start-ups. You never know what will be the next Facebook or Airbnb! There's a lot even the most seasoned business people can learn from up and coming companies, particularly when it comes to creative thinking and taking chances.
With 6 of the top 10 startups coming from the U.S1 - it's also pretty exciting to try and predict which will become a unicorn - a start-up valued at over $1 billion.
Here are a few of the start-ups I've got my eye on at the moment.
Patreon has been up and running for just three years and has attracted over $17 million from investors. It's a simple idea, offering photographers, musicians, and authors a platform to set up a page for their work and build up a fanbase. Fans can then make donations to their favorite artists, effectively becoming patrons. It's become particularly popular with YouTube stars and is a great example of finding new ways to tap into not one but two trends - crowdfunding and YouTubing.
Ever wondered how much people in the same job as you get paid elsewhere? Comparably can help you find out. Founded by tech entrepreneur Jason Nazar, it's a rival to Glassdoor and even aims to take on LinkedIn one day. As well as salary details it also gathers data on company benefits and people's experiences with their employers.
As someone who spent a year subscribed to a magazine I never read and has been known to pay hundreds of dollars for my annual gym visit, the idea behind Truebill - a company which aims to help people manage their online subscriptions - really caught my imagination. Founder Yahya Mokhtarzada was inspired when he found he'd accidentally subscribed to Gogo for a year - at a not insignificant cost. Truebill works by linking with people's bank accounts to identify subscriptions they don't want and helping cancel them. It attracted funding from Facebook executive David Marcus and now has over 12,000 users. Not bad.
San Francisco start-up Recharge is giving people a unique opportunity to break up their day with a nap, by partnering with hotels to rent out rooms by the hour or even minute. You can book in seconds via an app and check-out whenever you want. And it's not just naps on offer; people are using the spaces for post-run showers or just to take a break if they have a hectic day. It may seem a bit of an out-there idea but I can see this really catching on.
The food delivery space is pretty crowded thanks to the likes of GrubHub, Seamless and Munchery. But delivery-only restaurant Maple is making its own mark. The premise is a simple one - meals created by top chefs are cooked in central kitchens and then delivered straight to customers' doors. Currently it's only available in New York but a few of my friends can't wait for it to expand so they can impress their guests at the next dinner party they throw. It's great to see a new company launching a high-end product and taking its time to get its offering just right.
Everyone loves an underdog and ClassPass is a great example of a company that completely changed its fortunes by altering its business model.
Originally an app-based gym membership platform it started offering a one-month pass that let people try 10 classes from 10 different studios as a last ditch effort to bring in customers - and the rest is history.
Today, the Google Ventures-backed upstart employs 300 people and connects customers with exercise classes at some 3,000 boutique gyms and participating studios in 30-plus cities across the U.S, Canada, Europe and Australia. Pretty impressive.
1 Startup Ranking, http://www.startupranking.com/top [accessed 09/21/16]
The companies I mention or link to in this post are just examples that I thought you'd find useful - I don't endorse them or their services. I have no affiliation with them and make no representation about their services.