Successful Startups: Stories to Learn From
All successful startups encountered their fair share of obstacles and struggles before they found their footing. Building your own business can be challenging, that’s why it’s critical to learn from those who have already established theirs. If you’d like to hear more about how business owners overcame their hurdles, you can listen to Startup Hustle, a podcast show for entrepreneurs.
Stories of Thriving Startups
There’s a lot of successful startup stories to learn from. We’ve handpicked some of the most inspiring ones we can relate to because they experienced the same difficulties that we had in operating a new business. They encountered fierce competition, and uncertainties if customers will patronize their products. But these startups endured and won over their obstacles. We hope these thriving businesses will motivate you to never give up when you face challenges in your startup.
Slack (Software as a Service STARTUP)
In 2012, corporate internal messaging tools had many issues such as inbox clutter, difficult file transfer and sharing, and real-time replies of messages between users were slow. Due to these issues, Slack Technologies CEO Stewart Butterfield and his development team created the collaboration software to solve those problems.
Stewart launched Slack in 2013 amid stiff competition from other platforms such as Skype, Outlook, Yahoo, Facebook, and Windows. Therefore, the company’s development team built the software with features that their competitors didn’t have — which are search, synchronization, and simple file sharing.
These features made Slack very popular that in four years, it had six million daily active users and 2 million paid users. The enterprise’s value went up from $0 in 2013 to $5 billion by 2017. The winning formula for the software’s popularity is a platform that was fun and easy to use. Slack’s triumphant story became a source of motivation for other startups in the Software as a Service industry.
Pony.ai (Artificial Intelligence)
Self-driving car company Pony.ai started in December 2016 and since then has become one of the fastest-growing autonomous vehicle startups in China.
Pony.ai is using a strategy of building an overall system for autonomous driving, not just the AI software for a driverless vehicle. It stands out from its competitors because it focuses on complete artificial intelligence. Unlike its rivals who are concentrating on assisted-driving technology.
The company’s flagship product, the Pony Pilot is being used in a test project for an autonomous driving fleet in Guangzhou. This will be developed into a driverless car-hailing service initially available in the city, but it will eventually expand to other cities.
Co-founders James Peng and Lou Tiancheng are positioning a global image for their enterprise by establishing its headquarters and R&D facilities in Silicon Valley – the tech capital of America. They recently obtained a license for a robot taxi service in California. Pony.ai’s strategic efforts in China and the U.S. is helping its goal of becoming an international name in AI driving.
Cystellar (Insurance Technology)
Floods, drought, and other natural disasters are devastating for farmers and can cause massive economic losses to them. Cystellar helps insurers and their clients in alleviating the effects of those damaging events by providing a platform for avoiding financial ruin.
The firm is using a new cloud-based data fusion application for improving data-driven decision making, and predictive analytics for the insurance technology sector. The platform integrates geo-referenced information from satellite imaging and drone-based surveillance; weather forecasts, ground-based Internet of Things sensors, and a variety of sources.
Cystellar’s flagship product, the CyStellar TerraRisk RE — delivers geospatial insights in real-time for insurers. It also assists insurance providers in risk selection and underwriting; reserving and rate making, and portfolio optimization processes. The company’s investment in cutting-edge technology is paying off as more insurers subscribe to its products.
Daily Harvest (Food Delivery)
Rachel Drori entered the healthy food delivery market already saturated by established names. However, the full-time mom was unfazed because she believed this innovative concept for nutritious meals will be greatly patronized.
Rachel convinced several partners to bankroll Daily Harvest’s launching in 2015. The menu initially had smoothies and bowls of fruits and vegetables. She sourced her produce from organic farmers to ensure freshness.
She practiced hands-on approach by doing meal planning, preparation, cooking, and packaging. Her previous branding and marketing experience came in handy as she promoted her products all over social media.
Daily Harvest became an instant hit with consumers and expanded its service beyond the East Coast. By 2019, the business had over 100,000 subscribers and still growing. It has become one of the leading subscription services for pre-portioned healthy meals. Rachel is winning the game in the industry because she’s providing on-time delivery of superfoods that are healthy and taste good.
TravelPerk (Travel Assistance)
Many travelers are facing issues such as obsolete travel tools and lousy customer service during the different stages of their journey. TravelPerk’s travel management software is an all-in-one mechanism that solves the hassles of business traveling.
CEO Avie Meir started TravelPerk in 2015 when the industry was dominated by the big players. Undaunted, he came up with a booking tool that lets people easily search, book, and manage their travels in just one app.
TravelPerk’s outstanding aspects are:
- Viewing, tracking and managing of a company’s real-time travel data
- Integrating with apps such as Google Calendar and Airbnb
- Allowing customization of spending limits and workflows
- Scheduling of travels with transparent and pre-defined booking preferences
- Receiving invoices after each booking and personalized reports with detailed travel expenses
TravelPerk’s user-friendly features consistently receive positive testimonials from online reviews, and its subscriber base is growing. The application is reinventing travel for millennial professionals because it simplifies the process of corporate-sponsored traveling.
Tribe (Influencer Marketing)
Many labels look for eye-catching promotional content that can be created at the scale, speed, and a fraction of the cost from other applications. The Tribe platform accomplishes that by connecting brands and micro-influencers for mutual benefit.
It was a struggle for the firm on how to come up with a platform that would achieve a fruitful partnership between the two parties. Founder Jules Lund and CEO Anthony Svirskis found a winning solution by using several simple steps.
Firstly, an influencer submits pictures and videos featuring the brand. The label approves the ones they like. Secondly, the opinion shaper posts them to his or her social media and gets paid for it. After that, the maven’s followers see the product which leads to potential customers for the brand
The ingenious approach makes Tribe a hit in the UK and the US. It now has a network of over 50,000 influencers with the numbers still growing. Tribe’s utilization of the power of social media for its influencer marketing and content campaign strategies are boosting investor confidence. The startup has raised more than $10.5 million of financings in 2019 and more funds are coming before the year ends.
Game Plan for Success
To sum up, successful startups used product innovation, investor confidence, knowledge of what customers want, and competitive advantage as their winning strategies to overcome challenges. Likewise, you can apply those strategies in your company to minimize the chances of failure. Your hard work and perseverance will help you on the road to success.
Building a Startup
We have connected with like-minded business owners and founders who have shared much essential advice with us in all our years as entrepreneurs. We also met them in our book launch events and business conventions. Many of them have shared advice about the process of starting a company.
One of the most important guidance we have learned from them is the preparations required before a business takes shape. Based on our conversations with fellow entrepreneurs and our own experience, we share with you some tips on how to build a startup:
- Make a business plan – When you are creating a plan, ask yourself “What are you selling?”, “What is your goal?”, and “Who are your target customers?” This will help in knowing where your business is heading and in overcoming potential obstacles.
- Secure financing – Your funding sources can be personal savings and credit, bank, family and friends, venture capital, and crowdfunding. Make a financial plan consisting of a balance sheet, sales forecast, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement. These reports will help you in determining how much money you need to finance your business.
- Get partners – Co-founders can contribute capital, technical and marketing talent, professional network, and moral support. You must get collaborators who are driven, experienced, and passionate in operating an enterprise.
- Stay ahead of the competition – Make your brand unique from the others since this will give customers a reason to buy from you. Do research on the latest trends about your product because you’ll be updated on consumer preference.
How Startups Work with Full Scale
Full Scale is an offshore services provider that helps companies to fulfill their business goals through our Guided Development approach. This program allows you to directly work with our remote software development team. We screen and hire the developers, then we assemble the team that will work for you. It’s that simple! Talk to us to know more about how we can help your enterprise move forward.