Just because you’re an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that you have to invent the proverbial wheel. In fact, one of the defining traits of an entrepreneur is the ability to take an idea and make it better. And, what better place to get inspired then by companies that have been founded by our fellow entrepreneurs?
As someone who has been influenced, or at least intrigued, by innovative companies over the years, I’ve come up with 10 companies that are revolutionizing entrepreneurship that haven’t reinvented the wheel but revolutionizing the same business model, just making it better.
1. Tesla Motors
Tesla has been around since 2003 and has gained a lot of attention over the last decade. And, it’s earned every bit of the buzz surrounding it. For starters, Tesla actually created and manufactured an electric car that people are willing to purchase. Secondly, Tesla is able to sell it’s product directly to customers, as opposed to going through the hassle of a dealership. Entrepreneurs can either create a eco-friendly product that people want or they can’t use the direct-to-consumer approach.
2. Modernizing Medicine
Developed by serial entrepreneur Daniel Cane and Dr. Michael Sherling, Modernizing Medicine is attempting to replace the standard electronic medical records (EMR) system with a cloud-based system that thinks more like a physician. With Modernizing Medicine, health care professionals have easy access to patient’s notes, billing information and treatment outcomes for millions of other patients. With the Affordable Healthcare Act in effect, the health care industry will require more innovative companies like this.
Prior to the funding of HireArt in 2011, employers had a difficult time in assessing an applicant’s skills. Meanwhile, employees were applying for jobs that they may not have been qualified for. HireArt fixes this problem by getting to know an applicant before they complete an application. The process goes like this: an applicant submits their virtual resume to HireArt and HireArt vets the applicant. If they believe the applicant is qualified, they can then apply for the job. It’s kinda like a direct referral service.
This referral idea could be used for any industry to match the right people together whether a plumber and customer; student and professor; or even an entrepreneur and an investor.
In the past, investing in clean energy projects was left to government subsidies or corporate investments. That all changed when South Carolina-based Palmetto offered the same opportunity to the average person. Since 2009, Palmetto has allowed anyone interested in investing in solar energy the chance to through crowdfunding. This approach gives entrepreneurs in the clean energy industry to obtain funding via a nontraditional method.
You’ve probably heard of the app-driven car service Uber. It’s only been making waves since launching in 2010. Today, Uber can be found in over 200 cities and is a major threat for industries like taxi services. While the connecting rider and driver feature is revolutionary on its own, what really makes Uber interesting is the rating system. In a time where word-of-mouth recommendations are so important for marketers Uber’s instant rating system could change how review systems are implemented from now on.
Based out of New York City, LightSail aims to improve the literacy of K-12 students. This is accomplished by having students read ebooks through an app. That doesn’t sound revolutionary at first, but what make LightSail unique is that it quizzes readers as they read and also provides questions to help improve a student’s weakness. Teachers then have the ability to look over reports that highlight their student’s strengths and weaknesses, which they can share with colleagues and parents.
Giving students the chance to improve areas like comprehension is awesome enough, but giving educators personalized real-time data could improve curriculum and how teachers actually teach in the classroom.
Kenguru, which is Hungarian for ‘kangaroo’, relocated to the U.S. after the company couldn’t secure founding in it’s native Hungary is expected to go into production within the next year or so. This tiny electric car is designed for wheelchair users. It gets roughly 60 miles on an eight-hour charge and drivers can simply roll into the driver area, which contains no seats. It may go only 25 miles per hour, it still gives disabled people the independence to go shopping, visit friends or get to work. With advancements in technology, there may come a time when most people with a disability can travel on their own.
Airbnb has had enormous growth since it’s founding in 2008. And, it isn’t that difficult to figure out why. It’s revolutionizing the largest industry in the world; travel. While Airbnb may be hurting midscale hotels, it’s giving travelers the choice between an overpriced hotel or an affordable room/house. And, entrepreneurs could eventually become a part of this travel revolution as well. For example, how would airlines react if someone came up with a fast, safe and enjoyable way to travel that was far cheaper than a plane ticket?
9. Vivint Sky
Home automation has usually been associated by heavyweights like Google GOOGL +0.76%, Apple AAPL +0.87% or Xfinity, but Utah based Vivint Sky is looking to shake things up. While Vivint Sky can be used as a remote to turn on lights or the lock the front door, it’s ability to learn habits is amazing. For example, if you enjoy staying under the covers at night, the system will keep the house cool enough to do. If you leave the house everyday at 7:30 a.m., the system will automatically lock the door if you forgot to. With the internet of things growing in popularity, there will be a chance for more entrepreneurs to tap into and perfect the industry to make life easier.
If you have a food allergy, wouldn’t it be awesome to have a device that informed if you the food you were about to consume had ingredients that you were allergic too? That may sound far-fetched, but that device is already here. TelSpec is a laser-driven, handheld spectrometer that analyzes food in the grocery store aisle, restaurant plate or in your fridge for anything ranging from chemicals, gluten, dyes, allergens, neurotoxins, moulds and bacteria. This could be a potential lifesaver for anyone with severe food allergies. And, this opens the possibility for someone else to develop more effective methods or preventing allergic reactions or even food poisoning.
I’m a tech, social media and environmental addict. I’ve also written for many major publishers such as National Geographic, Technorati and The Huffington Post. I have also worked with a variety of different startups around the globe as well as larger advertising agencies in the United States and the UK. I currently live in San Francisco where I attend as many tech and business conferences as possible to gain more knowledge and transfer my knowledge to other people. If you ever want to find me in my free time look for the nearest disc golf course or dog park where I frequently take my dog, Zeus.