One of the most life-changing books I read this year was Zero to One by Peter Thiel. For those of you who arched your eyebrows or glanced away from the screen, let me help you out. Peter Thiel is the man who came up with PayPal (yes Bucky, I heard the audible gasp there). However, the modern world also owes him for the creation of Palantir, the data-mining company. It successfully triangulated the position of Osama Bin Laden, the terrorist who scarred America for all generations to come.
It was while reading this book that I realized that any individual, no matter what walk of life they come from, will always be awed by the likes of Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Peter Thiel, and many more. Do they look like a random assortment of names? Perhaps it wouldn’t look that way once you know that they are entrepreneurs who spun multi-billion-dollar startups that have turned out to be some of the world’s largest privately-owned listed companies known to man.
Why startups you say?
First and foremost, let us understand what a startup is in its most basic structure. A startup, as Iron Man would probably put it, is a venture that seeks to change the world. It brings out the raw sleeping talent in you, honing it to give you the powers of the Infinity Gauntlet. On a more technical note, a startup is a business enterprise that seeks to provide the market with a unique product. The product usually aims to resolve a previously unidentified or ignored pain-point.
Now coming to your previous question, imagine being your boss. Bask yourself in the thought that you won’t have to see the face of the ginger-haired man in the office. What could be better than not having to see that forever scowl cut so deep into his face that you do not remember the last time he smiled? You get to live your passion as a means to sustain your life. It is no longer a tedious 9 to 5 drudgery.
Most importantly, you have investors lined at your doorstep for shelling out money. They are willing to take a risk SO THAT YOUR IDEA GROWS! Still not sold? Do it for the sake of your Candian-South African mate Elon Musk man! The guy slept on the floor of his company building to make SpaceX what it is today!
However, nothing in this world runs without money. For a startup to generate enough traction, you need to feed the startup with enough money during its initial run. However, that is most often not the biggest problem entrepreneurs encounter.
Why is the US such a great country to see your startup bloom?
The United States is ranked #3 globally by Entrepreneurship Rankings for a reason. That is because if you have the right idea, there are High Net Worth individuals who are willing to invest their money in you. And your dreams. Don’t believe me?
Just watch Suits and Shark Tank instead of your boring soaps. There is one prime reason why the USA continues to be a favourite for startups. It is because of the entrepreneur-friendly commerce in the country. The USA has regular startup seminars and fairs that promote ideas and draw investments for the same.
While I won’t be able to help you with whether your idea is worth a shot, I can list out the top 20 startups in the US. These startups are blazing a trail for others to follow suit. You can base your research on this, and remember, you will be rewarded with what you seek.
5 Hottest and on-the-rise Industries in the U.S.
A moment of profound silence to those who thought startups could never happen anywhere except the technological industry. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Your startup can take shape based on any industry, anywhere in the world. While it is true that you will have to rely on the technological wonders of today’s age, your startup can aspire to make it big in any business niche known to one. Still better if you can create one for yourself. However, let’s quickly dive into the best startups to look out for in the coming year. I assure you, they are ones that have fared brilliantly in the last year.
Oh, God! Do I even have to elaborate on this one? Come on Karen! Why do you think the online grocery sites are spamming your Facebook wall? Why is the old man down the corner who was the pioneer of the diet movement so happy? Even though he does not step out anymore? It’s because online groceries have made life easier.
You can be anywhere in the world. In your own home (like a responsible citizen during the pandemic). Or out in your office (like the responsible individual still working to keep the economy of the country rolling. Kudos!). All that and you can still have fresh veggies delivered at your doorstep. Tada! You don’t jostle against people in the supermarket or at the local shops. All the customers have to do is open your app, select what and how much of it they need, and payout the balance.
By the time they reach home, they will have the glistening and juicy veggies. There can be nothing more tempting than that good ham waiting outside their door. Ready to be picked up, cooked, and devoured. Here is a list of startups the foodie in you would love.
Which US Startups to follow?
If you are in the US, you must have heard of Instacart. Who hasn’t? Do you want to support the local businesses and still have the comfort of ordering online? Instacart is here for you. The service works on assigning a person for you every time you order. Boasting a catalogue of 300,000 items from actual local stores, you have the liberty to cherry-pick items from your favourites. Again, there is the combined comfort of not having to step out.
This startup has impressive funding of USD 2.52 Billion. The startup has garnered investors such as Tiger Global Management, Valiant Capital Partners, and 34 other handsome investors.
If you are looking for organic non-perishable items and personal care products at wholesale prices, this platform was made for you. Thrive Market works on a membership basis costing you $60 a year. The startup also sets a minimum amount of $45 for every order to be eligible for free delivery. They sport a line of products ranging from Weleda, Garden of Eatin’, Nature’s Path. They also plan to start their line of label products to increase the range of their products to home gardening.
Funding: $332 million
Investors: Javelin Venture Partners, GS Group, and TYLT Ventures, and around 45 other investors.
Brandless is a startup that serves its customers with eco-friendly groceries. The interesting part is that they manufacture beauty products, food, groceries, and household supplies under their label. Sporting funding of USD 290 million, the startup has investors like Redpoint Ventures and Sherpa Capital. It came to the limelight thanks to its sustainable forestry practices and its organic, gluten-free, and vegan products. Each item is priced at $3 and because it manufactures the goods themselves, the products are free of brand tax. Brandless provides customer services everywhere across the US.
Till now we had been dealing with small amounts of goods. Boxed is a startup that is consumer-focused and aims to home deliver goods in bulk quantities. It achieves this by storing large quantities of goods in warehouses owned by Boxed. Boxed then delivers the products within 2 days from the date of order.
It sets a minimum order of $75 eligibility for free delivery. Boxed achieves this large size orders by focusing more on products that are more popular among customer bases. Having funding of 245 million USD, it is backed by investors such as Alpha Square Group, CDIB Capital and Aeon. Boxed is yet another startup to look for in 2021.
Technology is another and perhaps the premier field for startups. Given how technology-oriented today’s age is and the need for technology to evolve every moment for us to evolve as a species makes technology the best niche for a startup. The field is diverse. The incessant amount of research in the field ensures that this will be a sector too good to be left out. The ever-evolving ideas strengthen the fact that it can never be stagnant and will never have too many startups.
Which US Startups to follow?
Few apps have had global recognition as the one Pinterest has garnered. Ever since its inception, Pinterest has had one goal and one goal only. What? To delight its users with stunning images.
It also provides a platform for all that is visually appealing. Open Pinterest and you will be amazed to see the wide collection of genres of images and creative ideas. Anime? There. Movies? There. Images of Viking weapons in all their stunning glory? There. Guide to be a more groomed individual in one easy picture? There. Want to see how your favourite actor would look dressed as Wonder Woman (though we all stan Gal Gadot)? THERE. Oh, just for your information, Pinterest has funding of USD 1.5 Billion.
Now, this happens to be one startup that is my favourite. Not just me, it will surely be the favourite of every American out there (not that I’m an American). For the uninitiated, this is the company that tracked down the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Simply, it helped the Navy SEALs deliver him at the footsteps of Hell.
However, to be honest, Palantir is a data mining company that provides solutions to ‘what-if’ hypothetical problems. To both the private and public sectors. Started by Peter Thiel and with a funding of 2 million, Palantir is responsible for determining whether a particular project would generate enough impact to build safer automobiles and for advising and informing a government with prompt disaster forecasts and warnings.
No startup list is ever complete without the name of SpaceX featuring once, somewhere, if not multiple times. Give it up to our Canadian buddy Elon Musk who just dreamt of going to Mars for a vacation. On a serious note, SpaceX does a stupendous job of cutting the cost of space exploration by factors of ten. No Charlie, it is no joke. That is how transformative and definitive they have been in their ventures to make space exploration affordable and reliable. They specialize in sending spacecraft and rockets to outer space while stressing more and more on making reusable launch vehicles.
SpaceX has a funding of $3.2 billion.
Oh yes! My Fortnite fam, I have not forgotten thee. The society being the forever cynic believes nothing good comes out of computer games. Here steps EPIC Games to prove them wrong. Boasting total funding of $1.6 billion, EPIC Games provides a gaming engine to third parties. It is also responsible for some of the best and the biggest games to have been ever made. In fact, the gaming fraternity is so filled with startups, we could just make one of these lists with game startups. I am very serious when I say so.
Every employee reading this, thinking of starting a funded startup or just reading it because you like reading about them, close your eyes and tell me honestly if you would not like a workspace that feels better than home and brings out the very best in you? If yes, then The We Company has you covered. With total funding of USD 22.5 Billion, this startup is engaged in making dynamic workspaces. It makes workplaces that bring out the best in every employee, boosting creativity, focus, and most importantly, results.
We all know how tiring it is to wait for that one bus that plies on your route. Now, I am not counting the unforgiving people who board them with their feature set of tantrums. Not only that, but transportation also refers to the guys shipping your fridge based on an order you placed on an e-Commerce site. Transportation sucks out the living soul of every individual.
Convinced of this epic journey of dismay and pain, startups started building services. They had the aim to offer customers a plausible alternative from their existing means of transport. With an ever-blooming population throughout the world, this is one sector that has a plethora of unventured opportunities. Feed the entrepreneur in you.
Which US Startups to follow?
This startup uses Chariots! No, I am just joking. With total funding of $3 million, they call their 14 seater vans chariots. It is a startup that is intent on building and identifying better routes to commute between work and home. The fare can be as cheap as $3 for specified routes. They identify routes through crowdsourcing and are serving 60,000 rides approximately a month.
Another startup with total funding bordering around the 3 million dollar range is Bluespace.ai. This startup aids autonomous transit fleets by building software for them. This startup aims to finally build a normal vehicle that can travel on road at normal road speed unmanned.
Talk about helping the local businesses to grow! Consumers who move their things from one place to another find it ridiculously time taking and expensive. This is where Buddy Trucks come in. Buddy Truck is a startup with $1.28 million in total funding. It connects you with a ‘buddy’ with a truck with an average rate of $40/hr. The new connection then delivers things to your doorstep in a matter of a few hours instead of days.
Owing to the concept of maglev trains, the Virgin Hyperloop One has total funding of $368.4 Million. It provides for transportation through magnetic levitation tubular transit systems for both passengers and cargo.
A startup enthusiast can never get tired of our Canadian buddy Elon Musk. The name of the company itself speaks volumes about the work it does. The Boring Company has a total funding of 113 million dollars. It is engaged in building a series of interlinked underground tunnels to facilitate the underground transportation network.
The cannabis industry is a business avenue that has seen a lot of staunch regulatory frameworks for the past decades. However, with advancing science and a softening outlook, the cannabis industry is booming owing to its medical benefits. With proven effects like relieving chronic pain, improving lung capacity, and preventing diabetes to an extent. Hence it comes as a brainer that the cannabis industry will be a game-changer in the coming years.
Which US Startups to follow?
Nothing is more romantic than a startup helping out the farmers who toil day in and day out. Flow Kana is one such startup that connects cannabis farmers from California to nationwide suppliers. The company boasts total funding of $175 million and makes, packages, and markets their own cannabis. Added to that they also own a distribution line to facilitate their trade. Their traction owes to them being the suppliers of pesticide-free cannabis. Owing to that, the startup has been attracting a lot of Venture Capitalists to invest in them.
Startups can emerge anywhere based on solely one goal, removing a pain point. Vangst is thus a startup that is an employment platform for cannabis industries (smart move Vangst!). It is a vertical hiring program with job owners who have been vetted thoroughly. Sporting funding of 12.5 million dollars, Vangst will be a cannabis niche startup to look out for.
The startup that took the world by storm was Confident Cannabis when it decided to delve into both- B2B and lab testing. The startup provides for wholesale cannabis to legal cannabis sellers and also offers lab testing software and equipment to businesses. The business operators using Confident Cannabis can also choose to have themselves added to an ever-expanding catalogue where customers can browse and find new products. With total funding of $15 million, Confident Cannabis boasts of being the most widely used Laboratory Information Management System.
Video Streaming Services
If you need to know why video streaming services are a lucrative field to focus on your startup, I will let you do simple math. Just imagine, based on rational assumptions, the number of online streaming services that have launched just this pandemic. Now analyse the amount of traction they gained because the world came to an absolute standstill. I am sure you are amazed at what you had been overlooking till now.
Which US Startups to follow?
With great powers comes great responsibility. Similarly, with a great customer base comes the liability to suggest tailored content to the viewer. This is where Mux comes in. The platform serves as a real-time performance monitor. It helps in platforms curating a list of shows based on the viewer’s choices and watchlists. Mux has taken the world by storm as a startup by raising funds amounting to $68.9 million. Mux has proudly built the biggest open-source video player. But that is not all. Mux also sports for being the largest transcoding service in the cloud.
Many have heard of his particular startup, especially if you are a Twitch user. Restream has emerged as one of the most popular streaming service startups globally owing to the fact that their customers can stream on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and 30 other sites simultaneously. Imagine owning a startup that has a client base consisting of Microsoft, ESL, and Gameloft!
The total funding of Restream is $55 million.
Talk about living in a beauty setup and this startup has you covered. Built by a pair of award-winning florists and superb marketing executive sisters, this startup is all about DIY flower arrangements.
Not only does this save a lot of cash from the pockets of the customer, but it also helps in providing a much-needed sense of fulfilment to its users. They provide floral arrangements for all occasions and are in itself a wonderful community to be a part of. The total funding value of Itsbyu is estimated to be around $1.1 Million.
So what are you waiting for? The only thing stopping you is you. Remember, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.