Building a successful startup is always a difficult task and one need to face many challenges in the process. The path to the startup success is always dynamic and cannot be predictable. As per stats only 30 percent of seeded startups secure the additional funding. Some startups may thrive and some cannot survive or fail and to understand why some fails and some success, it is helpful to examine the startup success stories. Here I am listing 10 successful startups and the lessons to learn from their success.
Kaltura is the open source video platform for publishing, managing and distributing the video content and it was founded in 2006. It successfully targets and serves to several niches, education, enterprise and media. Kaltura boasts some specific features and functions that are designed to the needs of each of these sectors and being used by more than 3,00,000 enterprise, media and education organizations which includes Bank of America, GroupOn, HBO and Harvard. Kaltura has recently raised $25 million and it’s success illustrates the importance of targeting different niches. You need to learn that don’t target everyone, but select few niches and master them.
Pandora is the personalized music recommendation service and was founded back in 2000. It tailors the stations to suit the listener’s music taste and relies on the feedback about the songs and artists from the users. It offers the personalized listening experience and so individuals can enjoy the music selected just for them, which offers the users a unique experience and feeling that they matter and most of all deep brand loyalty. It is expected to raise $231 million for the sale of 10 million shares.
Taboola is the content marketing platform which offers a web widget to the content creators on their site to show “content you may like” which includes the links related to the videos, articles and slideshows both from within site and others from publishers. With only 120 employees Taboola is at revenue rate of $100 million is one of the highest revenue generating companies per employee in the world. While not only the content recommendation platform, Taboola has decided take the forward looking approach of democratizing recommended content by giving the control in the hands of the users.
Voxy is the multi-language platform learning service founded in 2010 by Gregg Carey and Paul Gollash. As of 2013 it has more than 2.5 million users and ranked #1 education app in 23 countries. With the advanced proprietary technology, Voxy could have expanded the service to other languages, but decided to stay focused on teaching English, especially to the Spanish speakers. By keeping focus on everything, Voxy has established the great presence in the market and has more than 3 million users and $15 million in funding. It teaches the lesson of don’t try to do too much at one time.
Gett is the mobile ride ordering app which makes it very easy to order the taxi in more than 20 cities including London, New York, Moscow and Tel Aviv. First it was launched in Israel and became a sounding success and then it expanded to United States and Europe. It is largely as a result of its global expansion that Gett now has more than 11 million users and about 1,500 enterprise clients, including Google. It has raised approximately $42 million and it teaches “go global but get customized for each market”.
ShoeDazzle is the online store for personalized styling which guides the women to find and purchase apparel, footwear and other accessories. It was founded in 2009 and since its launch it has built over customer base of 13 million members which has raised almost $66 million in series A funding. This tried and trusted eCommerce platform has been reintroduced in 2011 when it ditched its subscription model and now the company is once again thriving.
2U partners with leading universities and colleges to deliver their online degree programs so that students form all over the world can reach their full potential. Their cloud based software platform provides schools with comprehensive operating infrastructure they need to attract, educate, enroll, support and graduate students globally. It has raised about $100 million through venture capital and it is the leading player in education-tech world, offers infrastructure, marketing and software as the service technology to help universities digitize and scale their programs. The one thing to learn from this startup is Develop best in breed technology.
Prismatic is the news reader service which uses the algorithms to create the newsfeeds tailored to suit the reader’s unique interests. It is the self learning service based on the reader’s liked and read content. It has currently more than 25.000 weekly users and raised about $16.5 million in funding. Its success lies in its super collaborative and hands on working environment where there team work closely with designers, engineers and entire team. It teaches to emphasize the extreme team collaboration.
It was acquired by Under Armour for $150 million and it is the fitness tracking platform which relies on GPS technology to map and record workouts. It initially offered only the fitness tracker but then it added other fitness resources which includes training tools, nutrition tracking product and fitness calculators. It has grown with more than 13 million users and is currently compatible with more than 200 devices including FitBit and Garmin bike computer.
10. Apartment List
Apartment List is the rental market place which helps those who are looking for an ideal apartment. Apartment List consolidates with millions of listings easy to search online map and making the traditionally convenient home hunting experience and hassle free. Instead of competing with Craiglist, it was partnered with several leading real-estate marketplaces and using their inventories to power $15 million startup.