It is becoming a ‘Silicon Valley adage’ to converse about changing the world by launching a startup.
The majority of startups do not offer anything different neither they are able to mark an impression. But some of them actually are pretty cool.
Halfway within 2016, it is a perfect time to see the tech scenery to point out the startups that are doing something substantial.
We are going to study few startups that are disrupting their specific industry and are focused on becoming a household name in coming years.
Nobody can say with certainty whether these startups (that we are going to talk about) will reach the market position of Google or Facebook. But these companies are surely revolutionizing the world by creating some interesting and game-changing products.
Although many startups claim to change the world, there is some doubts and discussion regarding the same.
Uber is not a startup that is helping the poor. So, it will be correct to state that everything is political and even technology is not spared by its environment.
For an industry, which is highly obsessed with discussions of ‘disruption’, limelight of mainstream media is always on companies that thrive in larger industry verticals.
It is heartbreaking, but not shocking!
It is always considered cool and sexy to talk about an autonomous electric vehicle that speeds up faster than you fall.
The emphasis should be given to the companies that are social-centric and are impact-driven.
Firms such as Tesla, Facebook, and Uber have actually disrupted the entire market and are extraordinarily popular. The evaluation of these companies ranges from $30 to $200 billion in valuation or marketing capitalization.
Probably, this is the reason that technology and its potential to solve societies issue is being constantly ignored, owing to the glamour surrounding its flashier applications.
Do you know that the technology used to launch a man to the moon in 1969 is the same computing power that drives our mobile phones today?
That is the beauty and irony of startups that are so much focused on changing the world today.
Actually, the more pretentious we become about changing the world in anything & everything we see, the more it distracts us from the instantaneous and immediate things that can be changed by us.
You may be thinking that launching humans into space is a big step for humankind, and then what is the issue?
The problem is that we most of the times overlook the potential use of technology that can be used to solve more grounded issues. It is absolutely wrong to leave some people behind when we are taking a leap towards more advanced society.
So let us now hop on and see few startups that are really changing the world.
Social anxiety disorder is one of the most concerning issues in America and Europe.
As per a report from ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), social anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness in the country affecting around 40 million adults overall.
Imagine driving hours to go and enjoy your favorite band performing live, only to be suddenly awakened and jolted with anxiety, making you flee and drive back helplessly.
Joyable is an online service that renders a therapy called as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the patients at an affordable price.
Joyable is based in San-Francisco and gives away 12-week courses in which patients or clients are paired up with personal coaches.
Clients are gone through a series of cognitive restructuring exercises and then they gradually apply them in real life.
A study suggests that around 45% of the total untreated patients actually give cost as a reason for not opting for treatment.
Joyable, therefore, provides its courses at a price that is one-tenth of the conventional therapy so as to increase the reach & accessibility of mental health care.
Many experts have agreed that for the social anxiety disorder patients, CBT is the most effective treatment.
Till date, Joyable is able to aid 90% of its client-base lessening their social anxiety.
When David Lindsay was in the first year of Ph.D./MD at the University of Pennsylvania, he got a heartbreaking news. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
During that time, he scoured every medical outlet to find the best healthcare for his mother. David was highly disappointed with the lack of reliable resources.
Along with Christopher Berlind, David launched Oncora Medical. This startup ensures to assess big data cancer treatment centers globally to identify what is the most effective treatment for specific cancer cases.
Oncology, a $100B industry, which is fighting 8.3 million deaths every year, requires more of data-driven solutions.
The required numbers are available in hospitals across the world from the previous cancer treatments but are not accessible to the oncologists.
Oncora’s mission is, therefore, to enable radiation oncologists to read the data, identify the issue, tells the expected treatment outcomes, and ultimately makes a customized treatment plan.
The Philadelphia-based startup has been able to receive a $20,000 seed fund from Dorm Room Fund.
Sometimes, the thing that needs most attention is rarely talked about. One such topic is feminine hygiene.
Ruby Cup is a Berlin & Nairobi-based company that is constantly tackling the issues related to feminine hygiene.
Cloth pads and cotton disposables are considered as granted in the developed society and nations. But in the developing countries, menstruation care is dealt quite poorly.
One of the shocking reports depicted that around half of all the girls in the slum of Kenya have sex with older men in exchange for the sanitary napkins.
In other cases, unclean items such as rags, mud, bark or leaves are used generally by the girls. This results in infection, diseases, and several other health issues that gradually ruin the women’s life completely.
Maxie Matthiessen was determined to change that. Inspired by legendary Steve Jobs, Matthiessen was introduced to reusable menstrual cups by her sister when the former was studying in university.
Ruby Cup suddenly became an online store for menstrual cups. Made from medical-grade silicone, these cups offer up to 12 hours of protection.
Also, these cups are précised substitute of disposable tampons and sanitary napkins.
Matthiessen and her team ensure to offer these cups at ‘symbolic prices’; it means that the girls pay whatever they can and no girl returns empty handed if they cannot afford to pay also.
Started from a seed fund from the Ministry of Development of Denmark, Ruby Cup has provided around 5000 cups till date with 10,000 waiting to be delivered.
One of the highlights of the brand is that unlike to “buy-one-give-one” campaigns of firms such as Tom’s Shoes, it does not participate in the local competition (in Kenya).
Reason? Well, there are absolutely zero players in this industry in Kenya.
Share the Meal
We are sure that the thought of feeding the needy has come up in your mind at least once.
Well, now you can actually feed a malnourished child with only a few taps on your mobile phone.
The website counter of Share the Meal keep a close monitor on how many meals are being delivered to a hungry child via the UN World Food Program.
This Berlin-based startup co-founded by Sebastian Stricker, who used to be a strategy consultant at the Boston consultant group. He has also worked with the UN on food security and nutrition.
When he learnt that around 750 million people in the world are severely malnourished with a negligible reduction rate of 1 to 2 %, he came up with the plan of Share the Meal.
Share the Meal is a mobile application that enables users to pay for a meal for a person in developing countries with 40 cents in Euro or 44 cents in USD.
The basic foundation of this startup as per Stricker is the concept of ‘giving back’. Till last year July, ShareTheMeal has been downloaded 110 million times.
Stricker and his team are able to raise funds for 1.5 million meals in developing nations until last year.
When LanzaTech was launched as a startup, the whole idea was jotted down and implemented in such a way that this company received $100 million in funding from venture capitalists in China, Malaysia, and U.S.
LanzaTech operates in 3 countries and is focused on lowering one stat only; everyday 85 million barrels of oil is consumed globally leading to the generation of a significant amount of greenhouse gases.
Dr. Sean Simpson a New-Zealander, who is also the co-founder of LanzaTech, has a very broad and sensitive vision for our world and his company.
With oil demand rising swiftly, the launch of LanzaTech is an innovative yet useful gift to mankind.
LanzaTech has a proprietary carbon mitigation process, which captures the toxic gases that are released in steel plants and transform them into bioethanol fuel.
Investors are always looking for the billion-dollar unicorns since the wave of startups has hit this world.
Companies such as Uber and Snapchat are valued in tens of billions and are really raising the stake of elite winged unicorns.
But is that all that startups have to offer? Or is there something more?
Somewhere in the midst of multibillion-dollar evaluations and smaller companies, there are some firms that are actually bringing change to our thinking.
If you think there are any other inspiring startups that are really making a difference, please share it in our comment section below. We will love to hear from you.
Thanks and Have an amazing day!