Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Intel, Uber…each is different in the products/services they offer, their ethos, profitability, market capitalization, so on and so forth. However, there are two common denominators between all of them - they are all tech-based companies that were, at one time, startups.
While not necessarily a new business model, startups were originally viewed as risky instruments to invest in. That perception changed during the 1980s when companies such as Apple and Microsoft became publicly traded entities. In fact, during Apple’s 1980 debut on NASDAQ, it became more valuable than automaker Ford and instantaneously “created” 300 millionaires. When Microsoft joined the fray six years later, its IPO not only produced 13,000 millionaires, the event propelled co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen into the rare club of world’s richest person.
With promises of wealth and influence, the tech startups of today enjoy an unprecedented amount of funding and support. Though still laden with risk and uncertainty, investors have also come to view them as innovators if not industry leaders. One such is Lyft, the peer-to-peer ride-sharing initiative most famous for its furry pink mustache emblem. Established by Logan Green and John Zimmer in 2012, the San Francisco-based firm links passengers and drivers through an easy-to-use app. Instead of a payment, however, the program asks passengers for “donations” to the driver, an interesting proposition that saves riders an average of 30% in fare.
One other recent startup from the Bay Area is Boxbee, a self-storage and moving company, but with a twist. Also launched in 2012, Boxbee’s so-called “Urban Storage Valet” actually brings your storage unit to you instead. Once the customer signs up for the service, a set of durable, water-resistant boxes will arrive at a location of their choice. Then, you simply pack away the items you want to store and call Boxbee for pick-up when finished. Storage fee starts at $7.50 per month, in addition to the ease of managing your belongings online, in real-time.
Want to see how other startups are quietly altering the way we do business? Continue reading here to find out more on these and other innovative firms.