There are lots of companies out there that people are willing to label up-and-coming simply based on an appearance at Launch Fest. While some are undoubtedly buzzworthy others seem to rely on the prejudices of individual bloggers and tech industry journalists. Taking a look at what companies have accomplished, rather than their potential is very much the key to progressing beyond the original angel investor to acquire better amounts of venture capital. This is why we have listed these eight innovative companies to watch in 2015.
Founded in 2007, TechCrunch reports that Wealthfront recently surpassed the $2 billion mark in terms of assets managed. Most of the company’s 22,000 clients are in their 20s and 30s who tend to put their faith in algorithms rather than the traditional wealth management advisor, and have no love for banks given the way they have historically treated anyone who is not a millionaire – this includes recently graduated students. Yes, there are hard feelings, but Wealthfront has grown significantly in just one year and this is why it’s among the top innovative companies this year.
Founded in 2009 this Mountain View video conferencing company aims to make their cloud-based services the benchmark for modern video meetings. Enabling people to video conference from anywhere, this company has been making news as Derek Jeter’s new partner in The Player’s Tribune, with its introduction of a meeting app for Apple Watch and, according to Benzinga, being a sponsor of CIOsynergy Chicago. Bluejeans’ well-padded war chest is facing competition from other well-financed competitors, but Bluejeans is already well established among video conferencing big names. For more information, visit Bluejeans network, one of the top innovative companies this year.
Founded in 2009, this company is famously known — thanks to VentureBeat — as the startup that didn’t need funding, but instead raised $40 million without giving up any equity or its founders principles. Imgur offers free image hosting and has a lively and active user base dedicated to commenting, voting, and sharing images. Features include a popular meme generator, albums, and private accounts. So far the only big change is that network will run fewer ads and develop relevant native advertising. There is talk of hiring a star roster of developers as the company enters its new phase.
8tracks And Blurb
These startups are looking to shake up the publishing and music streaming services. While current are great for consumers, they are not so great. Eight tracks is less hindered by music licensing cost but instead relies upon users to build awesome playlist. The company recently added recommendation features to help and is very attractive the younger demographic. Blurb is looking to give authors more control and more profits without running into the vanity press.
Another member of the class of 2009, San Francisco-based Mixpanel is an analytics platform for mobile and web. Billing itself as “the most advanced analytics platform ever” Mixpanel seeks to help its customers understand the details of their users’ behavior and learn how to fine-tune their marketing message. It’s most recent round raised 65 million in new funding which is evidence something big is about to happen and thus placing it on the list of the most innovative companies this year.
A new-new company, Zenefits was founded in 2013 to help companies manage all human resources functions through one cloud-based application. Connecting payroll, insurance, coordinating time off and other HR functions, TechCrunch reports that Zenefits benefits recently got into a scrap with payroll biggie ADP, who appear to have belatedly realized that Zenefits is in fact their competition. The recent $500 million funding round seems to have jolted ADP out of its 800 pound gorilla complacency.
2009 was a very good year. Nutanix offers enterprise storage infrastructure services that are completely plug-and-play and work together like one gigantic disk drive. Investors can’t give these guys enough money. Current valuation is $2 billion and they have raised $241 million in the last two rounds of funding. There is even a rumor that an IPO is in the pipeline. Definitely reason for Nutanix to be on this list of innovative companies.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
While it’s easy for buzz to form around any company with the new idea or exciting variation on an old one, it’s best to look at results. Anyone remembering – or old enough to remember – the .com bubble of the late 90s can point to hundreds of crash and burns as object lessons in how not to invest. Let’s look at some cautionary tales.
• Fashion retail site Boo.com launched in 1999 and burned $135 million of venture capital in just 18 months, declaring bankruptcy in 2000.
• In 1999 a company called Excite had a chance to buy Google, but passed because the million dollar asking price was seen as being too high. A lower offer of $750,000 was also thought to be excessive.
While it is possible to have a great idea, great ideas follow through, restraint, and competency in order to transition from being ideas into being big business. Not every great idea is going to take off, so instead of looking at ideas, look instead at track records and accomplishments to see what has been done with those ideas and how a company is following through. Innovative companies usually find a way to work around the reasons why a great idea didn’t work the first time around.
Innovative Companies In 2015