The path to startup success can be a bit rocky. Below are some valuable lessons that we can take away from 10 startups who’ve taken the world by storm.
Finding a cab doesn’t have to rank among the crappiest things you have to deal with in life – something Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were fed up with. They believed that find a ride didn’t have to be such a cumbersome experience. So, they offered a reliable ride-hailing and ride-sharing service anyone can use wherever they are and whenever they want.
The stigma associated with renting out your place to a complete stranger in exchange for a few bucks was not lost on designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. However, they saw an opportunity when attending a conference and found all the hotels fully booked. What to do? They rented out their living room of course and offered breakfast to their guests (two guys and a girl), charging them $80 each. The rest is history.
Reggie Brown, the brain behind the idea, wished in spring of 2011 that the photos he had sent to a girl ‘would disappear’. Co-founder and current CEO Evan Spiegel thought it was a ‘million dollar idea’ and went on to develop this multimedia messaging app that allows users to post picture messages or ‘snaps’ that will immediately disappear after being viewed.
Jack Ma built this wholesale online marketplace into an e-commerce giant worth more than Facebook, eBay and Amazon combined? Three factors: timing; persistence; and learning from – but never copying – competitors.
This business-related social network was launched more than a decade and a half ago in the heyday of services like Friendster and MySpace. Its founders designed it specifically for anyone interested in professional development or looking for a new way of doing business. Today, it is living proof of the adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Many people call it luck when this photo sharing app became the new Kodak. But it wasn’t luck that drove the sale, for roughly $1 billion in a combination of cash and stock, two years after its inception. Co-founder Kevin Systrom said that they just offered a simple solution to a real problem. Make pictures and images aesthetically pleasing, upload them easily, and share personal content on multiple social media platforms.
CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann believed that a persons collection was a mirror into their inner self. This led to the birth of this tech startup, described as an interactive pin-board. It skyrocketed to startup success.
“No ads! No games! No gimmicks!” This company was born out of Jan Koum and Brian Acton’s frustration over too many advertisements from Yahoo. “Dealing with ads is depressing”, said Acton. So, they applied their no-nonsense style to create an instant messaging platform that ‘cuts to the chase’ and offers a gimmick–less, reliable, friction-free user experience.
That one single “Eureka” moment is the precedent on any successful startup. This is evident when its main founders developed the concept that would offer a better SMS-based communications platform without racking up hundreds of dollars in SMS charges.
Like many other aspiring entrepreneurs and startup founders, Mark Zuckerberg dreamed of making it big. Being co-founder and CEO of one the most influential social networks, you really have to listen to him when he says that it isn’t about building a company just because you have an idea or capacity to do it. “The best companies that get built are things that are trying to drive some kind of social change, even if it’s just local in one place.”
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