Check out the innovative business ideas helping new companies stand out in their respective industries.
UnPack curates and delivers clothing appropriate for both the fashion and weather climates of your destination city. By partnering with high-quality brands, the company is able to provide a unique service with an affordable price, thus changing the way people think about packing and luggage. unPack is eliminating luggage and packing from the equation of travel.
Beta tests conducted in Q4 2015 revealed insights about the type of products and brands travelers desire most, and unPack re-launched in May 2016.
It works like a Trunk Club for travelers. The suitcase of items is delivered to your destination accommodation, and once your trip is complete you have the option to return the entire case or purchase your favorite items.
Bigger plans are in the cards for these innovative business ideas including an increased selection of clothing, faster shipping times (so you can book closer to the date of your trip), an array of partnerships with hotels, airlines, and online travel agencies and possibly, in the not too distant future, international expansion.
I Do Now I Don’t
Sadly, not all engagements turn out as expected. But what is often more saddening and shocking than receiving back the expensive ring you’d spent thousands to purchase, is the ridiculously low cost the jeweler will offer to buy the same ring back, sometimes just months, or even weeks after it was bought.
I Do Now I Don’t Founder Josh Opperman decided rather than get mad at the retailer, he would try to break even. He then developed the online marketplace for buyers and sellers of diamonds, jewelry, and watches, enabling consumers to cut out the middlemen and their markups.
“We are continuing to see growth in the secondhand and recycled jewelry marketplace, in part, because sustainability is at the forefront of people’s minds these days.” – Josh Opperman, Founder
What once began with only around 10 engagement rings has grown to thousands of pieces of jewelry, not just engagement rings, but other jewelry such as diamond necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and watches.
What makes the company unique is their vetted and trusted process. Every item that is sold comes to the company’s offices for verification. The buyer’s money is held in an escrow account while the purchased item is verified by a GIA approved gemologist. Once the item passes the authentication process, it is sent to the buyer and money is released to the seller.
There are a lot of gadgets that try to help you find things, but TrackR’s vision is to give the task of remembering where items are located to computers so that users can avoid the frustrating process of searching and keep track of all items seamlessly.
Launched out of a garage in Santa Barbara in 2009, TrackR has now shipped over 1.5 million devices and are ranked #155 on the Inc 500 for the fastest growing companies in the U.S.
Despite the challenge of not really having a market in brick and mortar retail stores, TrackR successfully overcame this hurdle by running a large crowdfunding campaign, enabling users to share the device with others to generate awareness.
Innovative business ideas will continue in July 2016 when TrackR atlas will be released, which will enable users to see where all their items are located on their home floor plan.
Felt is a comprehensive app for sending personal, thoughtful messages. The company created a way for users to hand write their own messages from their smart device using a finger or stylus as a way to send handwritten greeting cards, photo cards, simple notes, custom cards, and even gift cards.
“We want to help people be the heartfelt, thoughtful person they really are—everyone from grandma to the CEO. Being thoughtful is a universal, human need. We plan on continuing to push the envelope to bring beautiful, personalized cards to the modern world.” – Tomer Alpert, Co-founder and CEO
Within the first month of launch in May 2012, there were 10,000 downloads, and over the past three years, the company has been upgrading the app constantly. In January 2016, after a coding overhaul and significant improvements, Felt re-launched their app. In the first two-quarters of this year, there have been more downloads than in the previous three years combined, and the daily download volume, order volume, and revenue has increased 2,000 percent.
Moment, which launched in January 2014 and raised over $450,000 with its initial Kickstarter campaign, makes lenses that attach to smartphones to improve picture quality and offer a way to give different dimensions to smartphone shots. In essence, Moment lenses allow for the convenience of taking photos using your smartphone with the image quality that has only previously been achieved with a stand-alone camera.
The easy-to-use lenses can be added to many models of iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and the Nexus 5 to deliver a much clearer, sharper image than is possible using the phone’s standard camera lens.
The attachment system is extremely straightforward. The lenses attach to your smartphone using a non-permanent plate of thin metal that adheres to the back of your phone and allows you to screw on different lenses, similar to how you might with a DSLR.
There are three options to choose from, depending on your preferred style of photography and include a wide lens, tele lens, and macro lens, all offered for $100.
With more and more people taking photos solely via their phones, these innovative business ideas are like winning solutions.
Dashing Bicycles’ goal is to offer a unique bicycle retail experience that fosters and empowers women and families to feel like more a part of the mainstream bicycle and active transportation network.
Launched in October 2013, the company has grown from a pop-up concept selling fun and stylish accessories around New Orleans markets to a kiosk inside a coffee shop, to an independent storefront offering a full-service experience, and hundreds of new bicycle-related items. Since launch, Dashing Bicycles has helped over 2,000 commuters with their bicycle needs.
“It’s a way of saying to everyone that comes into the shop, that not only do I hear you, I’m doing something about it. And, because, unlike politicians, I truly have an open door into people’s everyday life experiences and that knowledge should be used to create change that improves everyone’s lives in New Orleans.” – Marin Tockman, Owner
The founder, Marin Tockman, is an active voice in the community, able to take the daily challenges and success stories of her customers and advocate for and create tangible improvements for more fair, safe, and equitable transportation and infrastructure access around New Orleans.
Michael Simpson and Dr. Ron Young co-founded Pairin in 2012 to recognize and develop the most critical skills of the successful 21st-century student and employee.
What began in 2000 as a consulting firm focused on helping employers find that “needle in a haystack” top talent soon evolved into a mission to make education more relevant for students and employers. The idea was to facilitate the development of the essential skills that young people need to succeed.
“What we call essential skills—like critical thinking and collaboration—aren’t what educators are typically prepared to teach students. But, most employers will tell you that these are the most important because they can teach many of the job-specific skills. We determined that there had to be a fundamental change in how we are educating our young people. So, our greater cause has become to develop a system that will pack that haystack full of needles.” – Michael Simpson, Pairin Co-founder
Pairin has combined the knowledge of psychologists, coaches, and educators along with advanced technology to develop an innovative cloud-based solution that assesses students’ and employees’ readiness for their next step. The software helps teachers develop and track the growth of their students and helps employers coach their in-house staff.
Businesses can also use Pairin’s process to prioritize job candidates based on their fit, as well as identify specific areas of development that can help turn existing “B” performers into “A” performers.
Many people assume they need a 2-to-4 year computer science degree to get a job in tech, but Treehouse has successfully created an online technology school that gives students the skills they need to get the job they want in tech.
Launched in 2010, Treehouse now employs 110 employees, has developed 500 courses, and nearly 600,000 students have enrolled in their basic subscription program. The company recently launched Techdegree: an intensive, 6-12 month guided learning experience designed to prepare students for entry-level developer jobs.
“According to data gathered by Code.org from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 there were over 500,000 unfilled computer science jobs across the United States. Treehouse is helping close this gap between unfilled tech jobs and qualified candidates, our mission is to help people change their lives by getting the qualifications they need to get a great job in the tech field—in Silicon Valley and beyond.” – Ryan Carson, Treehouse Co-founder and CEO
The program structure and curriculum keep students engaged, while allowing them to work at a pace that fits their learning style. The content is 100 percent original, developed by in-house expert teachers, and Treehouse’s high-quality, professional videos are filmed in their studio. Program teachers are full-time Treehouse employees who are experts in the subjects they teach.
The program is already valued by employers such as Buzzfeed, Mailchimp, and NASA, which have used Treehouse products to give their employees new tech skills.