James Aviaz is a Community Manager at Uber NYC
The new darlings of the tech world, and rightly so, are so-called 'disruptive' companies. Heck, New York just played host to a 3-day conference called Techcrunch Disrupt.
So, what makes a disruptive company? Essentially, these disruptors are taking old, broken industries and using innovative tech to fix their problems. Along the way, most of these companies come up against regulatory issues, requiring them to show serious cojones and nimble thinking.
These companies are also revered for their revenue models - they take real money for real services. Something most startups only dream of when asked: 'So, how are you going to monetise this thing?'
Here's a selection of disruptive companies to check out:
Founded by Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Square turns any iPhone or iPad into a mobile credit card machine. With a card reader attachment plugged into your audio jack, you can literally take card payments anywhere / any time. Square takes 2.75% of each transaction. Yep, it's fucking genius.
Ever tried getting a yellow taxi in San Francisco? It's a nightmare. Two entrepreneurs Garrett Camp (StumbleUpon) and Travis Kalanick (Red Swoosh) took the challenge on-board and turned a dormant, disparate network of luxury cars into a fully-functioning yellow taxi alternative. Now in NYC, Uber has Seattle, DC, Boston and Chicago next in its sights.
(Disclosure: I'm the Community Manager for Uber in NYC).
Starting as a marketplace for finding air mattresses to crash on people's floor, Airbnb founded by Brian Chesky has in the last two years become a genuine hotel alternative. Apartment owners list their cribs online for short-term rentals, and then savvy travellers snap up the awesome rooms. Just raised $100m with a valuation of $1bn. NBD.
Americans pay a shitload to go to college with diminishing returns, so Mike Karnjanaprakorn decided to 'start an education revolution'. His contention is that college success does not equal long-term job success, so he's building a learning marketplace where students take take highly-targeted classes at competitive prices.
Now ask yourself: What makes you facepalm each day? What industries are broken? What can you fix?
At a time when the tech world is on the verge an IPO bender, disruptive companies are poised to make a lot of noise. Disrupt something and do it now.