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The startup realm is an incredibly exciting space, with new players popping up globally on a weekly basis in the hopes of being the next multi-billion dollar venture. The world is constantly undergoing rapid change and this has created a mentality to match, which has led rise to a breeding ground of ideas that address various niche needs for businesses and consumers alike.
Keeping up with this ever-evolving industry has become a near-impossible task for investors and aficionados alike, so here’s a list of 20 startups you might not know about that you should definitely keep on your radar.
Please note, this list is in no particular order.
This wouldn’t be a startup list without some Fintech companies. Financial technology and startups go hand in hand. Businesses and individuals spend billions of dollars every day, and new startups fill niche market gaps to make these transactions more efficient while also creating new streams of income for many companies. This makes Fintech one of the hottest industries in today’s business climate that is moving almost entirely towards digital payments.
As more and more people move around the world for work, the need to transfer money back to one’s home country becomes more prevalent. Unfortunately, international money transfers tend to be full of red tape and bureaucracy, and this is where Rewire comes in.
Rewire is an online financial service that allows migrant workers to instantly transfer funds back home to their families, creating a more fair and convenient banking system for everyone.
Payoneer is a financial service designed to transfer funds abroad much like Rewire, however, it is geared more towards freelancers, service providers, online sellers, and digital marketers.
This Israeli startup went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Monday, 28 June 2021, and is expected to see revenues of $432 billion in 2021 — more than quadruple the $94.7 million revenues generated in 2020!
This kind of growth coupled with the rise in remote work means that Payoneer’s current trajectory is unlikely to change anytime soon, making them one of the hottest startups in the world right now!
If you haven’t already invested in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, you’ve definitely heard endless conversations about this topic. VALR is a South Africa-based crypto exchange you should definitely be aware of.
VALR has partnered with the US-based blockchain platform Bittrex. This gives VALR industry-leading security and the ability to support the trading of over 50 cryptocurrencies while also boasting very competitive withdrawal rates. This means that VALR has the largest crypto offering in South Africa and one of the largest in the world.
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Artificial intelligence has become one of the most sought after types of technologies due to its ability to make business processes easier and more efficient.
There is a vast array of incredible AI out there being used for various automation and machine learning processes, and this field is experiencing exponential growth. Below are some companies that are doing pretty groundbreaking work using AI.
This South African startup has created revolutionary technology that helps doctors automate their diagnosis process by finding abnormalities in x-rays using their RADIFY AI.
Its use cases have seen successful in the diagnosis of chest-related complications from TB and COVID-19, as well as successful detection of breast cancer in mammograms.
Wasteless helps supermarkets and online grocery stores reduce their food waste through AI-powered dynamic pricing. This not only helps food retailers increase their profit margins, but it also addresses major global issues such as food shortages and waste management. That means this technology is both a financially and environmentally sustainable solution.
Audioburst is the world’s first AI-based audio search & delivery platform. It allows people to access an extensive indexed library of audio stemming from radio, TV and podcast recordings.
This platform is perfect for people and companies who want to add a layer of talking to their content and has subsequently been used by massive companies like Hyundai, Samsung & Flipboard.
Neurala uses AI-powered visual technology to automate the quality control process by detecting anomalies and product variations, which helps manufacturers achieve higher levels of production with more efficient quality control.
Their vision is to offer a tool is that’s cost-effective and can be easily integrated into existing production infrastructure. Neurala is an ideal solution for any manufacturing firm looking to automate their quality inspection both on the cloud and on-site.
Tessian focuses specifically on the security of enterprise emails. In order to do this, their products make use of machine learning to automatically detect and stop data breaches and security threats caused by human error.
This is done with minimal disruption to workflow, meaning that enterprises don’t have to worry about their employees making potentially detrimental mistakes like sending confidential information to the wrong person or opening a malicious attachment 😱
There’s no denying that as more people begin to see the value in the security and decentralisation that blockchain technology offers, blockchain-based industries will continue to see exponential growth in the coming years.
Blockchain is said to be the biggest thing to happen to the internet since smartphones came about, and this means that the early adopters making use of this technology are certainly innovators that you should be aware of.
Molecule is a groundbreaking company looking to bring about a new era of drug development. They do this by connecting leading researchers and novel therapeutics with investors through the availability of a digital asset called Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
Their platform allows early-stage biopharma intellectual property to be attached to NFTs, which provides an opportunity for anyone with an interest in that particular treatment to fund its development and production — essentially decentralising the entire process.
Conventional biopharma is an industry with zero consumer choice and 100% consumer dependency, and Molecule aims to combat this by creating a system where anyone with the right intentions can become a stakeholder. This has the potential to significantly increase the diversity of treatments while also lowering the costs and time to market.
“Our core thesis revolves around what the world would look like if therapeutics were owned by patients as opposed to being owned by pharmaceutical companies.” — Tyler Golato, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Molecule
Dapper Labs make use of NFTs to bring about decentralisation in the gaming & entertainment industry through fairness and true ownership. Their mission is to get more people using blockchain technology through the power of play. Their projects include games such as CryptoKitties and Cheeze Wizards, as well as NFT ownership of sporting moments in the NBA and UFC. Dapper Labs have also developed their own blockchain called Flow.
The likes of Union Square Ventures, Venrock, Alphabet’s GV (formerly known as Google Ventures), and the founders of Dreamworks, Reddit, Coinbase, Zynga and AngelList, make up some of the investors behind this company. In other words, it’s safe to forecast plenty of development and growth for this innovative company.
Mythical Games is a game development company that makes use of blockchain technology and NFTs to create the next generation of games, putting them at the forefront of bringing these technologies to the gaming industry. They are led by former executives who worked for the world’s biggest game development companies, so expect to see some incredible innovation in their pipeline.
Mythical Games has been building a game called Blankos Block Party, which is now available for early access gameplay on PC. They are also working on their own game engine and marketplace to create new means of digital transactions within games, as well as new ways for game developers to build their games.
Every business wants to stand out above the competition, and these startups are offering some very powerful solutions that companies can use to increase their marketing reach as well as their income.
Companies and marketing teams use multiple platforms to promote their brand, and every platform has its own analytics tools. Drawing accurate insights from all these various graphs and figures across numerous platforms can get tricky and confusing, and this is the problem that Funnel aims to address.
Funnel collects & aggregates the marketing data from all of your different analytics platforms, allowing you to gain valuable insights into your marketing campaigns. This data can be funnelled into other tools you use and has seen successful use cases not only with marketing professionals, but also with analysts and IT departments.
Hopin’s goal is to put online events on the same playing field as in-person events, allowing event organisers to achieve the same results they would attain with offline events.
They offer a full A-Z solution for virtual event management which can also be used for in-person events. Hopin has been successfully used for networking events, conferences, workshops, online courses, trade shows, and more.
ironSource is a solution for app creators to help them turn their apps into scalable and sustainable businesses. This is done through a combination of monetization, engagement, analytics, and discovery for app developers, device manufacturers, mobile carriers and advertisers.
The growing app economy in today’s world has contributed to ironSource’s immense success in recent years, which is a large factor that lead to their IPO on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday 29 June.
We live in a day and age where people value convenience above most things, and part of this means that delivery waiting times are getting significantly shorter. Here are two startups that are taking convenience to a whole new level.
Flytrex is building the world’s first drone delivery service that promises to deliver products to your backyard efficiently and securely. Their drones can carry packages weighing up to 3kg and can travel up to 10km with almost no handling or manpower requirements, making this an incredibly efficient delivery service. Their website promises 5-minute backyard delivery, which has the potential to change the world forever if successfully (and safely) implemented!
Gorillas offers grocery deliveries within 10 minutes from the moment you put in your order on their app, which is less than the average person spends physically shopping at a grocery store. Their idea is built on the premise that if humans can get to the moon, then we should also be able to get groceries conveniently.
With thousands of items available at retail prices in most major cities around Europe and the USA — and constant expansion being high up on their agenda — one can only expect Gorillas to become a household name in the delivery game if they continue on their current trajectory.
“Working in a fast-growing company like Gorillas is amazing. Having to adapt to a fast-paced environment teaches you a lot about how to overcome major challenges on a daily basis. I’m really proud to be part of one of the fastest-growing startups in history.” — Dean Thorne, Demand Planner Benelux at Gorillas
Climate change is undoubtedly one of the biggest concerns in our day and age, and there is extensive evidence highlighting that the meat industry is one of the largest contributors. Cell-based protein technology is being used to sustainably create real meat in laboratories with no animal byproducts. While this industry is still very much in its infancy stage, there is huge potential for its forerunners:
Aleph Farms is an Israeli-based startup that creates real steak made from cow cells grown in laboratories. Their meat is said to taste just like the real thing, without any harm to animals or the environment — and with no GMOs.
BlueNalu Inc. addresses several major issues stemming from seafood consumption such as the environmental and ecological impact of overfishing, as well as the rising toxicity of seafood due to increased pollution in our oceans. They do this by growing seafood using cell-based technologies in laboratories to grow great-tasting and healthy seafood in a clean and sustainable manner.
Upside Foods is one of the market leaders in cell-cultured meat production and boasts some pretty remarkable achievements, such as creating the world’s first cultured beef meatball in 2016, the world’s first cultured chicken and duck meat in 2017, and raising the industry’s largest Series B funding round to date in 2020.
The company is hoping to share its products with consumers across the US by the end of 2021 and have plans to distribute globally thereafter.
Edtech forms an important sector in the startup realm, with the core focus of using technology to make learning more convenient and more accessible. There are thousands of fascinating companies in this field, but this one in particular stood out to me the most.
Labster is the world’s leading provider of virtual science labs. It offers various virtual reality simulations of incredibly realistic and high-end laboratories. This gives students and educational institutions access to top-of-the-range science equipment without the extensive capital required to create such facilities. The platform also offers quiz questions and theory materials, making it the perfect addition to any scientific syllabus.
Labster is currently offering its services to over 2000 institutions and over 3 million students worldwide.
We’re transitioning into an exciting new era of technological innovation with the introduction and growth of the industries mentioned in this article. Personally, I feel like I could not have chosen a better time to enter the startup realm, and I can’t wait to watch these startups contribute to global change in the coming years.
Narrowing this list down to only 20 companies was not an easy task! There are so many more great companies out there that are starting up with groundbreaking ideas and approaches to the world’s problems. I learned a lot while compiling this list, and I hope you also learned a thing or two while reading it.
Ofek Liepaz is a curious and entrepreneurial individual with a wide array of interests including the underwater world, the environment, coffee, and electronic music. His extensive experience in the hospitality and events industries, coupled with more recent involvement in the startup industry, has given him a broad worldview with unique insights. He particularly enjoys writing about customer service, innovation, and technology. He is currently working as the Customer Success Manager at Hi5.