As the Age of Information continues to drive the world to greater heights, it is easy to forget that some of the biggest changes in the business world came about as a result of small startups that would never have been taken seriously in the business world 20 years ago. As technology continues to improve and change the way people do business, we look back at some of the key startups that have made the biggest impact on the world.
Kicking off this list with a company that has changed the way many businesses get funding to even begin, Kickstarter is a Brooklyn-based public benefit corporation whose mission to “help bring creative projects to life” has helped an entire generation of businesses achieve their goals without the need for expensive bank loans and picky investors. Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has helped fund over 450,000 projects from all walks of life including films, comics, stage shows, video games, technology, food-related projects and more.
Some of Kickstarter’s most notable projects include the Fidget Cube, an adult-centric take on the fidget spinner which raised over £4.5 million; the adult card game Exploding Kittens, a project that tapped into the growing board game marker and raised £6 million in explosive funding; and the Pebble Time, the latest iteration in the Pebble E-Paper watch series that saw backers put forth £15 million in funding.
One of the most notable mobile applications of our generation, Instagram has changed the way many people use and consume social media. While notable figures have been held responsible for the popularity of brands that they have helped market since the 1600s, social media influencer has only really been seen as a viable career option in the past 20 years, and the launch of Instagram had a lot to do with growing the sector. Seeing the growing popularity of social media, but recognising that their app needed to stand apart from the crowd in order to succeed, the creators of Instagram decided to focus solely on the impact of communication through images, which resulted in the photo and video sharing service we know today.
Catering to over 1 billion users, Instagram is now considered a vital marketing tool for small to medium businesses who are trying to expand their customer base and there are even universities that allow students to major in Instagram.
Thanks to the huge advances in technology in the past decade, employees are no longer required to share office space to function as a cohesive team. As more and more businesses embrace the idea of allowing their employees to work from home, at least part-time, the need for large offices to accommodate businesses is slowly becoming a thing of the past. That is where startup WeWork saw an opportunity in the form of shared spaces and office services that could be hired out as they are needed.
What started as a relatively small business in America, WeWork now has over 500 locations worldwide that provide flexible shared workspaces for businesses ranging from startups to enterprises. These locations offer businesses without their own physical office access to spacious, unique common areas, private phone booths, access to super-fast internet, as well as onsite staff including IT support. London alone is now home to over 50 WeWork locations, making WeWork the largest tenant in the iconic city. Other cities in the UK with a WeWork presence include Cambridge, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Manchester.
Aiding in the process of taking businesses out of the physical environment and into a virtual one, virtual collaboration tools are now almost commonplace. However, one of the first companies to truly embrace the idea of collaborative software were the developers of Slack, a business communication platform designed to make communication easier and projects easier to manage. Now servicing over 750,000 companies worldwide, Slack showed the business world the value of organisational agility in the digital age.
One of the most popular and frequently used file-sharing services in the world, Dropbox was originally conceived by a forgetful MIT student who was tired of repeatedly forgetting his USB flash drive when he went out. While looking for a solution for himself, Drew Houston realised that a lot of other people had the same issue and the solutions available at the time were often slow, resulted in lost data, or were too complicated to bother with. Fast forward to today and Dropbox now employs over 2,000 people and more than 500,000 businesses make use of the service for their everyday needs. Dropbox Business takes the services offered by the file-sharing and cloud storage company even further by offering users the ability to collaborate and share data on a secure platform.
While setting up a Dropbox Enterprise solution for a business can be done by anyone with a little bit of know-how, business owners who want individualised support should consider looking for IT support in London. When it comes to IT companies in London, Totality Services, who have been servicing small- and medium-sized businesses since 2008, are known for offering their clients based in London IT support and services that are tailored to their needs. Their specialists are trained to deliver expert and flexible end-to-end IT support so that business owners can focus on other aspects of their business. When looking for an IT support company, London business owners can rest assured that Totality Services can assist with any IT-related needs they may have.
The best thing about being born in the Age of Information is that success could be just one app away from being a reality. As creativity and a drive for innovation continue to impact the way we do business, it is thrilling to think of what the startups of the future will be best known for.