Technology startups first became the talk of the town back in the mid 90s with the dot-com bubble. Many of the small companies trying to make their mark sunk once the bubble burst, but a few stuck with it through the early oughts, regaining strength and ultimately surpassing their previous peaks.
As these companies endured and technology progressed at an astounding rate, the road was paved for new startups to blossom in the enriched soil that was the new age of technology. These fledgling companies, often comprised of just a few individuals at the onset, have pushed the envelope and redefined possibility in the modern world. In fact, what was only five years ago thought as the whimsy of science fiction has today been made reality by these very companies.
Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix are just a few of the companies that were placed in the category of “startup” not too long ago. What was once a simple seed of an idea to the founders of these companies has now exploded into not only abundant financial success, but also into new and exciting ways humanity views the world.
The way media is consumed, the way we buy things, the way we learn, and the way we interact with each other has been redefined by the leaders of the technology industry. Now there are more startup companies than ever, all reaching for the next paradigm shift. Some of the ideas being worked on by these small teams of innovators will alter the norm economically and culturally.
This list of the most promising start-ups is comprised of companies that are not just creating products and ideas for consumers today, but companies who are on the edge of technology and concepts for tomorrow. These are teams of people who not only expand the niche in which they are working, but are expanding the horizons of the world of technology and bringing us closer to the next step of the technological age.
5 Phone Bloks
Based in the Netherlands, Phone Bloks was created in 2013 by Dave Hakkens, an independent designer. The company’s main goal is to create a modular, customizable smart phone. The idea is, instead of buying a new smart phone every time a part of the old smart phone becomes obsolete, simply make a phone where you are able to remove and replace just the obsolete part. Not only would this save the consumer money, but it would also significantly reduce electronic waste from obsolete phones.
Phone Bloks has already made some giant strides in their several months gaining massive support from people worldwide. They have teamed up with Motorola and are currently working to produce a prototype of the first modular phone. They’ve also set up an online platform where anyone can give their input into the creation of the new device and get updates on its progress. This unprecedented, open source, long-lasting modular phone could turn the current smart phone business model on its head by doing away with phones that become basically worthless in just over a year.
Splice, created in 2013 and located in New York, NY and Santa Monica, CA, offers a new music production workflow for musicians and producers. Splice is an application that, once downloaded, automatically saves music projects onto the cloud. The idea behind Splice, however, is not just to save projects, but to allow easy, seamless collaboration from other artists using Splice. Each collaborator’s efforts are recorded for each project, allowing for multiple individuals to work on the same song while having the original tracks and samples backed up on the cloud.
The goal is to stop music creation and production from being a solely individual endeavor and make way for what Splice calls, “An open source music world.” Splice hopes to take the idea of open source programming, where collaboration and building on other’s ideas create a product that far surpasses that of any one individual, into the world of music creation and production. The current beta is compatible with Ableton Live 8 and 9. Its official release date is set for March 26, 2014.
Renew is a London based company already spreading overseas and gaining exponential recognition. Renew’s main focus is specified advertising utilizing “pods” which are basically recycling bins with screens on them. By using these pods in specified areas at certain intervals and providing a live stream of content, they are able to advertise seamlessly over a distance. In terms of content, the Renew pods offer both product advertisement and live, real time news feeds.
The audience also has a say in what content is shown, which is an important feature of the Renew pods as it separates them from other types of billboard-like advertisements. This makes for not only a great consumer experience, but also a very researchable one, allowing advertisers to more efficiently meet the needs of their target audience. Renew is reaching over three million people in London alone and have already spread to New York and Singapore. Renew could definitely change the way advertisements are seen and delivered.
Founded in 2013 in San Francisco, Compology is a company focused on technology based waste solutions. By using wireless technology, the small team at Compology can monitor how full containers are around the city. The data received from the receptacles is then analyzed so that people picking up the waste will know the most efficient way of doing so based on how much is in the container and what kind of waste is inhabiting it. Because the system is always monitoring fullness, regulators can remove the waste before the container is overfilled. What’s more, there is no need to produce any special containers for the device.
The technology is made so it is compatible with any type of receptacle, dumpster, tank, etc and can be easily be integrated with commercial and city haulers. The flexibility and results of this product make it a no brainer for pre-existing waste management teams to use. Compology is already helping reduce waste and cleaning up its home city of San Francisco. Once this catches on, it could mean a much cleaner world for all of us.
MakerBot differs from the rest of the companies on this list as it is a relatively old company. It was founded in 2009 and is the leader in 3D printing. The company makes and distributes reliable, cost effective printers around the world to leading minds in innovation from all fields. Their products are used by everyone from engineers, to architects, to designers, to regular, everyday consumers. MakerBot has received numerous awards for its forward-thinking designs and the extraordinary quality of its printers.
MakerBot not only makes 3D printing technology, but also fosters a community of education and new ideas so everyone can enjoy this new step forward in modeling and creation. While many have already heard of 3D printing, the constant technological leaps in the industry and the fact they are on the front lines pushing the boundaries of this new technology makes MakerBot a must watch company for 2014.
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