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Top 13 Startups That Killed It In 2013

Jan 9 2014, 10:26am CST | by

Top 13 Startups That Killed It In 2013

Photo Credit: Forbes
 
 

While the year 2013 might already be starting to feel like a distant memory, it certainly gave us some exciting startup companies likely to disrupt the way we look at the world in 2014. Here are thirteen startups from 2013 which have bright futures ahead:

Snapchat

What is it? Snapchat combines text messages with photos, allowing users to send pictures that automatically disappear a few moments after the receiver opens the message.

How it gained traction in 2013: It’s not hyperbole to say Snapchat is the next big wave in social media networks. The service currently has 100 million users, who send on average 350 million “snaps” per day. Over the summer, the company raised $60 million, with five different investment groups valuing Snapchat at more than $800 million. Apparently, a picture is worth a million words…and many more dollars.

Uber

What is it? An on-demand car service connecting users who need a ride with dedicated drivers willing to give them a lift.

How it gained traction in 2013: Now in more than 40 cities across the world, Uber is gaining traction with everyone from drunk college students to overworked soccer moms. This might explain why investors think the business is worth a whopping $3.4 billion and why the service raised $361 million in August.

Zendesk

What is it?  A cloud-based customer service software company helping companies provide better customer support.

How it gained traction in 2013: Zendesk is providing a better customer service experience to a whole, whole lot of people. More than 100 million people in 140 countries have received customer service through Zendesk. In 2013, the company raised another $86 million in funding and began to eye a public offering. This will be one customer service solution to keep an eye on in 2014.

Optimizely

What is it?  Optimizely is a website optimization platform, helping companies A/B test different versions of their websites.

How it gained traction in 2013: The platform is currently used by more than 5,000 companies, including conglomerates like Disney, Starbucks, and eBay. Earlier this year, the startup received a whopping $28 million in Series A funding, so the startup is only going to grow in 2014.

Coin

What is it?  What if you could cut the fat out of your wallet by combining all your credit cards? That’s the question Coin wants to answer by giving you one card to rule them all.

How it gained traction in 2013: While the physical Coin card isn’t available for purchase until the summer of 2014, the company reached its pre-order goal of $50,000 in just 40 minutes. This is probably why the startup has attracted investors from Google, Square, and Goldman Sachs.

Dropbox/>/>

What is it? A cloud-based platform for storing and sharing data from anywhere.

How it gained traction in 2013: Dropbox has become the go-to solution for uploading and sharing files — but the startup hasn’t been happy to rest on its laurels. In 2013, Dropbox hit 200 million users and unveiled Dropbox for Business, a new version of its platform for business usage.

Lyft

What is it?  You know that ride to the airport you need? What if you didn’t have to bother your friends and family? The idea behind Lyft is to connect drivers with those in need of rides, like a crowdsourced cab service.

How it gained traction in 2013: Lyft is gaining popularity and facing down competitors, with a reported six percent week-over-week growth in revenue. The service also got a huge bump from none other than Conan O’Brien, when O’Brien aired a 10-minute segment about getting a ride with comedian Kevin Hart and rapper/actor Ice T.

Tinder

What is it?  An online dating app that lets you swipe through the profile pictures of those in your geographical area, then chat if you’re a match.

How it gained traction in 2013: Instead of waiting for Cupid’s arrow, Tinder has already made more than 50 million matches with users providing 4.5 billion ratings. It also expanded to a “just friends” feature in 2013, increasing the potential audience for the app beyond the lovelorn.

Hotel Tonight

What is it?  Traveling procrastinator? No problem, thanks to Hotel Tonight. The service allows smartphone users to book rooms at the last minute.

How it gained traction in 2013: Traveling can be a pain, but this smart smartphone app makes it much easier to plan on-the-go, which probably explains why the startup has already raised more than $80 million in funding.

Whisper

What is it?  Whisper is the anti-Facebook, letting you share photos, jokes, and whatever else is on your mind with complete anonymity.

How it gained traction in 2013: It turns out a lot of people are tired of the privacy concerns engendered by big sites like Facebook and Twitter, yet still want to share. This probably explains why Whisper has grown to about 2.5 billion pageviews and has raised upwards of $25 million in funding.

Upworthy

What is it?  That viral video you saw on Facebook or that crazy headline you read on Twitter? There are pretty good odds it came from viral-content distributor Upworthy./>/>

How it gained traction in 2013: Upworthy is growing so fast it’s beginning to rival the traffic of established giants like BuzzFeed. In fact, Upworthy has north of 50 million unique pageviews per month, and has even revolutionized its own headline style. This explains why the site recently closed an $8 million round and will begin accepting sponsored content.

Quizup

What is it? If you want to beat your friends and prove you’re the smartest, Quizup is the app for you. It allows users to play against each other in trivia rounds and add your own questions, leading to increasingly niche trivia.

How it gained traction in 2013: The trivia app surprised everyone (maybe even the founders) when it ratched up three million users in merely three weeks.The addictive app has raised $2 million in funding and already has more than 100,000 user submitted questions. So go ahead, test your knowledge.

Hampton Creek Foods

What is it? What if an egg wasn’t actually an egg? That’s the secret behind Hampton Creek Foods, which make egg substitutes they claim are better than actual eggs.

How it gained traction in 2013: The egg industry is a $6 billion industry, so jostling for market share is not the worst idea. The company is funded and supported by prominent investors, including Bill Gates and Al Gore, and some of its products already stock the shelves of retailer Whole Foods.

What startups do you think changed 2013? Share in the comments!

Image Design by Denis Carrier; Open Me

Source: Forbes

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