In today’s tough economic climate, it is more difficult than ever to accomplish the always-challenging job of founding a business. So if entrepreneurs want to give themselves a chance at success, they have to find innovative and creative ways to stand out from the crowd. Here are 10 start-ups that have done just that, and are sure to be turning heads in 2012.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by having to wait for deliveries that will arrive “between 8am and 4pm,” you’ll no doubt be happy to hear about this exciting new start up. Founder Tom Allason, who is also responsible for eCourier.co.uk, has found a viable way to out-compete large national delivery services by offering regional same day delivery. They guarantee delivery within 90 minutes of purchase, or anytime afterward within a convenient hour-long window; and they just may revolutionize the delivery industry.
Founded by Chris Prescott and Daniel Noz late last year, and already distinguished as the winner of the Amazon Global Startup Challenge, Fantasy Shopper has a very bright future. It is like fantasy football for fashionistas: participants shop and design outfits online from real UK retailers’ catalogues using virtual money and then post them for other users to admire, be inspired by, and purchase.
Taavet Hinrikus (one of the architects of Skype) and co-founder Kristo Käärmann started TransferWise in 2010. Their company reputes to reduce charges on international money transfers by as much as 85% over the leading competitors, and has attracted investments from such industry heavyweights as the owner of PayPal.
Created by Jon Penn and Damon Bonser, GoodFibres is one part t-shirt retailer, one part charity organization, and one part artist community. Artists submit designs, users vote to determine which designs make it onto the shirts, and the subsequent proceeds are split up between the amateur artists, the company, and the under privileged of the world.
Blippar is an ‘augmented reality’ advertising company launched last summer by Ambarish Mitra, Steve Spencer, and Omar Tayeb. Their app allows users to interact via mobile or handheld device with ordinary products in real space, producing an impressive futurist experience for consumers. This may be the future of advertising.
Jamie Ward, Mike Blake, and Neil Harmsworth started PayAsUGym early last year to provide a discount alternative to yearly gym memberships. The company has grown quickly, and is gaining popularity amongst those who aren’t willing to make costly long-term gym commitments.
In 2004, Marc Worth sold WGSN, his fashion forecasting company, for £142m. Now, he has launched a rival business that improves upon the first by providing “intelligence and inspiration” for designers, which extends beyond the world of fashion into culture, media, industrial, design and travel. Stylus has already proven to be an immense success in the UK and the US and may also soon be expanding into Asia.
Hailo is a fast growing app-based taxi service operating in five major cities worldwide (and based in London), which allows users to order a cab in two clicks by utilizing their smartphone’s GPS. Founded by a five-man entrepreneurial team led by Jay Bregman, Hailo has already attracted some major investors and seen considerable success as it continues to expand internationally.
The brainchild of Ning Li and Julien Callede, Made.com sells designer furniture direct from some of the top designers in the world, and saves customers considerably by eliminating middlemen and retail costs. Only two years old, the company has already made enormous profits––not to mention waves in the furniture selling industry.
Founded by Simon Prockter, Housebites is a truly innovative business plan. It connects foodies with a network of top chefs in their local areas, and delivers delicious home-cooked meals directly to their front doors. They provide restaurant quality meals without the restaurant: from the chef’s kitchen to yours.
It takes considerable courage, and even more cleverness to start a successful business. But for companies like these, the results have been well worth the efforts and risk. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for these innovative start-ups, and only time will tell whether their creative new business models will revolutionize their industries or merely fade away.