In case you have any doubts left that we’re living in the age of the entrepreneur – don’t. Webtrepreneurs, momtrepreneurs, and gutsy creative folks with ideas never heard of before are all over the place. Some make it, some fail, but the bottom line is that, in the aftermath of the recession, it looks like we’re seeing a return of the small fry. The underdog. The man with the plan. The wide-eyed, self-made dreamer, who plans to cash in on his goals. So, while the year is already well underway, there’s still plenty of time to get up-to-speed with the movers and shakers of the small business scene. Here are the 10 great startups to watch out for in 2014, in case you’re planning on following in their footsteps.
This ballsy little startup was founded in 2013 by 22 year-old Duncan Abdelnour, a University of Tampa, Florida student at the time. The company helps electronic musicians who are currently touring to fulfill their merchandising needs. They organize stores while out on the road, on tours and at festivals, take care of the acts’ online commerce needs, and also handle licensing and distribution. In 9 months, they’ve worked with some of the biggest names on the DJ scene (including Paul van Dyk and Nicky Romero) and in 2013, they made $126,000 in sales.
Ever had to go through all the ropes of arranging (and then actually following through) with a visit to the dentist? Not only do you have to put yourself through the ordeal of it, but you also need to call, hold, provide your medical history, and so on. Thanks to Weave, an automated system can take care of all that for you. The app has been piloted on dentists, because they make a lot of money and are active in a relatively lax system, but will soon expand to other medical specialties. The company’s yearly recurring revenue is $1.8 million and they charge $300 per month per location.
Josh Hix and Nick Taranto founded Plated.com in 2012 and their mission is as simple as it is difficult to pull off: helping Americans eat better. To this end, the website features seven healthy recipes each week, three of which are strictly vegetarian. You order your recipe of choice and the website delivers the ingredients, all of them portioned beforehand, plus a recipe card designed by a chef. They currently deliver to 90 per cent of the lower 48 states at their business doubles every other six weeks.
07. Revita Ink
There’s little surprise that a bunch of college students were the ones to come up with a startup idea aimed at tattoo wearers. Nolan Simons (21), David Raskin (32) and Archi Prudencio (30), from Loyola Marymount University are the team behind Revita Ink – the world’s first skin care line designed to help prevent the aging and fading of tattoos. All their products are dermatologist-approved and tested and their first year in business saw them earning $10,000.
Are you familiar with the term “the Internet of Things”? If not, you should be, because it’s going to become an increasingly prominent presence in our lives. Devices which are too small to accommodate a keyboard, like headphones, watches, and the like, need voice control – and that’s precisely what wit.ai, one of the startups to watch out for in 2014 has developed. Their voice interface API is growing at a weekly pace of 39 per cent and they already boast 3,000 developer users, among which stand Pebble and Samsung.
05. Profile Passer
In 2012, 21 year-old Samantha Weber from Grove City College launched Profile Passer, an app for recruiting athletes that helps connect high-school hopefuls with high-profile college coaches. The startup was a noted presence at Pittsburgh’s AlphaLab (the city’s top startup accelerator) and has raised more than $25,000 as of the date this article was written. Since its launch in September 2012 and up until early 2014, the app managed to amass some 600 users. It’s interesting to note that the founder’s sister is a webtrepreneur in her own right: she’s Foodspotting CEO and founder Alexa Andrzejewski.
04. Rap Genius
Tom Lehman, Mahbod Moghadam and Ilan Zechory wanted to help rap lovers who have trouble dealing with a certain lyric that gets stuck in their heads. Rap Genius, which is both an app and a website, allows fans to interact with their favorite lyrics, meaning they can edit, annotate, and read them. It’s a sort of Wikipedia of rap lyrics, say its founders. Even though the site got penalized by Google for shady SEO tactics last year, it’s still growing at a pace of 20 per cent per month and currently boasts 500,000 users and 5,000 verified artists’ accounts.
03. The Dating Ring
Here’s a dating app that promises to revolutionize this field that’s already rather competitive. You need to apply to join and, once your application has been accepted, your dating style is assessed by a real-life matchmaker. This meeting costs $25 and each subsequent date is priced at $20. Dates take place in groups, but the matchmaker arranges that you have a high likelihood of falling for one of the members in your dating group. This startup’s revenue is growing at a pace of 60 per cent each month and 70 per cent of its users end up scoring at least a second date.
In late 2011, David Aubespin, a former IBM researcher and Google engineering manager released an app which wants to help networking events more efficient and easier on everyone involved. Event planners can use it to communicate with guests, while attendees may have an easier time connecting with like-minded people there. It’s easy to connect to the app, via social media profile linking, and the geofencing system employed by Topi makes the app reliable and accurate.
Here’s an app that provides “reactive video messaging”. If you’re clueless as to what that is – no wonder. That’s why you need this list of startups to watch out for in 2014, right? To be up-to-speed on the latest and most creative business ideas this year. This company, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has a lot of potential for changing the way we communicate via video. It records your response as you watch video messages, which you can then deliver with a simple swipe. At the prestigious SXSW 2014 Startup Accelerator this app made it into the finals and it will soon become available on Apple’s App Store.
Know of any other startups to watch out for in 2014? Give us a heads-up in the comment section and, also, don’t hesitate to tell us of any creative business ideas of your own.