NY Report takes a look at a few entrepreneurs who are building businesses today that will fundamentally change the way business is done in the future. The Game Changers are industry disruptors who are creating rapidly scalable businesses. They can change their business model in hours, not months. Many of these companies are mission-driven and are as focused on the good they can do in the world as they are on the profits they stand to earn.
Jonathan Hefter, Neverware
How it’s changing the game: You may never have to buy a new desktop and you will still be able to use the latest software and OS, without sacrificing speed. “We have a piece of technology that can bring millions of aging computers back online and allow a few IT managers to manage the deployment of thousands of computers,” says Hefter.
Jason Baptiste, Onswipe
How it’s changing the game: Not only does Onswipe technology allow content publishers to automatically optimize a website that was built for point-and-click devices for a touch-and-swipe device within three minutes (yes, three minutes), but they do so for free.
Joseph Cohen, Lore
How it’s changing the game: “Our personal life is on Facebook, our business life is on LinkedIn; but if you think about educational life, it doesn’t exist online,” says Cohen. “We basically bring the idea of Facebook and LinkedIn to the educational world.”
Catherine Levene (pictured left) and Christopher Vroom, Artspace
How it’s changing the game: Having contemporary art from all over the world accessible in one place is unique. Artspace is also making the process of buying art much easier. On behalf of both the buyer and seller, the company handles logistics such as shipping, insurance, and customs, if it’s an international order.
Payal Kadakia, Classtivity
How it’s changing the game: Classtivity puts all its information on available classes together on one site that allows you to search with ridiculously specific and convenient criteria. Classtivity also incorporates user reviews.
Shafqat Islam, NewsCred
How it’s changing the game: While licensing and syndicating content has been done for years by services like Associated Press and Reuters, NewsCred does so with sophisticated, semantic technology. This technology automatically organizes all of the content NewsCred licenses by topic.
Joe Essenfeld, JIBE
How it’s changing the game: For employers, hiring an employee through someone you know is usually more desirable than a “cold” hire. And for job seekers, JIBE aggregates users’ friends and connections to show them the companies and industries they are linked to.
Brad Hargreaves, Adam Pritzker, Matthew Brimer (pictured left), and Jake Schwartz, General Assembly
How it’s changing the game: They host several classes each month. Startups pay fees for desk space and access to classes. General Assembly offers 30 to 50 classes a month, including one keynote lecture each week.
Kane Sarhan and Shaila Ittycheria (pictured left), E[nstitute]
How it’s changing the game: E[nstitute] was founded on the principle that real world experience and direct access to successful business owners will provide a more robust and valuable education than sitting in a classroom and taking notes.
Neil Blumenthal, David Gilboa (pictured left), Andrew Hunt, and Jeffrey Raider, Warby Parker
How they're changing the game: For anyone who wears prescription glasses, the notion of paying only $95 for a pair may seem like a dream come true. By designing their own frames and selling direct to the consumer through the website, Warby Parker is able to cut the licensing and retail costs.
Summer Rayne Oakes, Source4Style
How she's changing the game: Even as a teenager, Oakes had a strong sense of activism and studied environmental science. Before starting Source4Style, Oakes started in the fashion industry as a model at age 17. She entered the business side of the fashion industry with the caveat that she would only work with environmentally relevant brands or those interested in taking a path toward sustainability.
Amos Winbush III, CyberSynchs
How he's changing the game: The idea for CyberSynchs came about after Winbush’s iPhone crashed in June 2008 and he spent hours upon hours trying to recover all of his lost data. At the time, he was a recording musician who didn’t even know what software engineers did. Today, his technology startup has effectively disrupted the way the mobile content marketplace operates.
Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, Rent the Runway
How they're changing the game: Hyman and Fleiss are effectively democratizing luxury fashion. While doing market research, the partners learned that there was an eager market for their “Netflix for dresses” idea. But signing designers on as partners was a whole other matter.
Ian Schafer, Deep Focus
How he's changing the game: So, what is “consumer engagement?” Let’s look at a project Schafer is most proud of. AMC network hired Deep Focus to “engage” more viewers for their show Mad Men. They were given the task to draw a million new viewers to the show for its third season.
Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht, GroupMe
How they're changing the game: “There’s no real-time group coordination tool for mobile phones,” said Martocci. “I thought it was a cool idea but it seemed so generic and simple I thought, ‘Why hasn’t this been done this before?’”
Rachael Chong, Catchafire
How she's changing the game: Chong was born in Australia but lived throughout Asia from the age of eight until she graduated high school because her mother was an Australian diplomat. From that experience, Chong grew up seeing and understanding poverty from a very young age.
Anjula Acharia-Bath, DesiHits!
How she’s changing the game: Just like our economy and many other aspects of our culture, music is going global, in large part due to technology. And Acharia-Bath was out in front of this trend.
Jenna Arnold, Press Play Productions
How she’s changing the game: By creating “edutainment” for popular venues like MTV, Arnold has helped to create a form of activism infomercials. By presenting the content in a format similar to globally popular reality shows, Press Play’s products aim to create empathy and understanding of foreign cultures, as well as creating empathy for the US around the world.
Alan Chan (pictured left) and Manoj Dadlani, Arbitrage Clothing
How they’re changing the game: These are not your father’s dress shirts. With the help of designer Kristin Ming, Chan and Dadlani set out to create dress shirts that not only fit slim men better, but have a youthful, trendy style, while remaining work appropriate.
Fabrice Grinda, OLX, Inc.
How he’s changing the game: Some of OLX’s features that have changed classified, if not e-commerce as a whole, include: a distance field allowing you to see postings within a certain geographic range; the ability to post items in virtual worlds; the ability to include videos in listings; RSS feeds; the ability to display ads on social networking profiles; and the ability to access the site from mobile phones.
Divya Gugnani, Behind the Burner
How she’s changing the game: Behind the Burner integrates culinary brands into the content for a flat fee. In most online advertising, clients pay a price per guaranteed impressions or per unique viewers. By getting paid directly from the product, instead of basing her revenue model on charging for content distribution, she flips conventional video and television models upside down.
Brandon Kessler, ChallengePost
How he’s changing the game: When an individual, company, non-profit, or government agency posts a challenge, developers working on innovations to meet those challenges are rewarded with a cash prize, but also with the intellectual stimulation of the challenge itself, altruistic satisfaction, and social recognition for their ideas on the site.
Ben Lerer, Thrillist
How he’s changing the game: Most media companies use newsletters to drive traffic to their website, but Thrillist uses its website to drive newsletter subscriptions. According to Lerer, the reason their model was engaging to advertisers was because email is an easy way to quantify the audience.
Eric Litman, Medialets
How he’s changing the game: The company’s offerings can now be found installed on nearly half of the iPhones and iPod Touches in circulation. “The mobile industry is growing at a pace that is faster than anything I’ve ever seen,” says Litman. “Mobile use is outpacing desktop Internet use.”
Nihal Mehta, buzzd
How he’s changing the game: The concept for buzzd was influenced by other technologies, such as Twitter and foursquare. Since the vast majority of Internet users are voyeurs, Mehta knew it would be more effective to aggregate social media and attach that content to venues, rather than creating a venue completely from scratch.
Ted Myerson, FTEN
How he’s changing the game: What sets FTEN’s technology apart from financial enterprise software that existed in the past is that they help clients manage access to trading venues and adapt to regulatory changes. But unlike outsourced services, the clients keep the controls.
Barry Silbert, SecondMarket
How he’s changing the game: With nine diverse asset classes, more than 10,000 buyers and sellers, and more $25 billion in assets available for sale, SecondMarket is the largest illiquid asset marketplace in the world. The SecondMarket business model combines the efficiency of a centralized, transparent, online trading platform with the expertise of market specialists employed by the company.
Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia
How he’s changing the game: Through VaynerMedia, Vaynerchuk is helping traditional companies and organizations integrate “bleeding edge” technology and adopt new strategies.
Nate Westheimer, AnyClip
How he’s changing the game: “We’re different because of the way we think about data and about searching,” says Westheimer. “We believe people need to have the ability to search through the entire film, not just a few select clips.”