5 Successful Startups that Will Inspire Your Enterprising Spirit

5 Successful Startups You’re Going to Want to Keep an Eye on This Year

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Taking the leap to turn your brilliant business idea into reality is exciting but can be terrifying at the same time. There’s a ton of self-doubt that accompanies getting your startup off the ground. It’s understandable, but if you focus on it too much, you might lose touch with your dreams.

When you’re in that spot of wondering if you can really do it, all you need is a little inspiration. Here are 5 startups with amazing concepts that have exploded on the scene. They all started with the same humble beginnings as you. They each had an idea and needed to figure out how to bring it to life. They’re successful, smart and worth keeping an eye on to see where they’re going next.


Zapier, founded in 2012, is in the business of making tools to streamline your professional life. Zapier makes it easy to connect multiple business apps and software with each other for a seamless experience. The genius behind the idea is that every business, big or small, craves simplicity. Zapier has found a way to provide it.

Not exactly new to the game, Zapier is on our list of startups to watch because they’ve found the key to success. They’ve done everything right, and it’s almost a guarantee that they’re going to keep moving in the same direction.

Zapier has only had $1.3 million in funding. A look at other monstrously successful startups will tell you that’s pocket change. They’ve been so successful that they’ve maintained being self-funded ever since.

There’s more to love about Zapier than the product they offer. They also have an amazing team structure. The company operates without an actual headquarters and employs a team that works remotely all around the world. The company is so focused on team member happiness that they were willing to pay a hefty relocation compensation to employees that were interested in moving out of the high cost of living San Francisco Bay area.

Interesting, innovative and team focused.


It’s estimated that 86% of melanomas and 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are attributed to overexposure to UV rays. While we all love a little sunshine, too much of a good thing can be devastating.

The problem is that advice on how long it’s safe to stay out in the sun, and the best sun protection to use is all over the place. Not only is it difficult to remember all those numbers, time slips away and it’s easy to overdo sun exposure without realizing it.

Enter Uvisio.

Uvisio is a Dutch-based company that has produced a wearable device that monitors your UV exposure. The beauty’s that Uvisio isn’t just a timer. It considers natural complexion and sunscreen and connects to your phone. It alerts you before you reach the danger zone and reminds you to reapply sunscreen before you lose protection. Uvisio is currently only available in Europe but has plans to bring its product to the United States this year, making it worthy of being on your successful startup radar.


Anchor is the perfect example of how the greatest ideas can come from the humblest beginnings. Started out of a small New York apartment in 2015, Anchor has found a way to reinvent social media.

Anchor is a platform for recording and sharing audio content. It’s a flashback to the heyday of radio, but with the modern twist of promoting and sharing via a social platform. If Instagram or twitter had an audio-based sibling, this would be it.

The concept is that users get two minutes to record their best audio. Music, stories, news…whatever strikes them at the moment, and then it’s shared with followers. Users can then reply to recordings with a “wave”, which is Anchor’s term for an audio message.

It’s a refreshing take on social sharing and it’s going to be exciting to see Anchor’s future.


The creators of Tilr looked at the economy and realized something was missing.

Here were all these companies, looking for great talent. Yet, there was all this talent, stuck in dead-end jobs because they couldn’t land the career of their dreams. Obviously, there was a disconnect, and Tilr set out to find it.

Working off $5 million in funding, Tilr developed a program that connects skill with opportunity. The platform matches job seekers with opportunities based on skills. Workers complete training and interviews with members of the Tilr team, not the actual employers. The idea is that biases are removed, and companies get the talent they need based on skill rather than meaningless words on a resume.

Tilr also supports furthering education and providing health care opportunities for individuals that find it difficult to acquire quality care based on part-time or self-employment status.

Tilr currently is in 4 markets but is looking to expand into at least a dozen in 2018.

Duo Security

Ann Arbor-based company, Duo Security is a startup that’s worth paying attention to. Their focus is cyber security in business networks, and their strategy is two-factor authentication and to make sure that devices connected to your company’s network are free of damaging viruses.

Their approach is genius because of its simplicity. Businesses need security but typically find that top-notch security tools are complicated, and not user-friendly for most of their team.

Duo Security has been so on target with business’s needs that they’ve doubled their revenue annually for four consecutive years.

Are you feeling inspired? 

These startups have shown us that with a brilliant idea, and the guts to follow through on it, success is within reach. Some of these startups have received massive funding, while others took off straight out of the gates with minimal investor backing. But, each of them has achieved their goals, and they’re only growing bigger. 

What are your hopes and dreams?

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