The past decade has seen new technologies disrupt almost every industry. The incredible advancement and proliferation of internet-enabled technologies have affected nearly every aspect of daily life, from taking a taxi to grocery shopping. This trend shows no signs of slowing down as the last few years of the 2010s tick by and there are plenty of innovative businesses with revolutionary ideas hoping to be the next big thing.
With powerful new ideas and teams comprising tech geniuses and maverick thinkers, here are seven start-ups that could become household names in 2018.
DeepMap: Maps to guide self-driving cars.
Self-driving cars have been one of the most buzz-worthy developments in tech over the past few years. As the technology improves, it seems inevitable that the self-driving revolution will start sooner rather than later.
There are a lot of challenges to overcome before self-driving cars genuinely go mainstream. One of the biggest is mapping. Self-driving vehicles require much more detailed maps to navigate streets safely than the current GPS satellite navigation systems upon which human drivers rely.
DeepMap is at the forefront of this crucial area of tech innovation. With a team that pulls together experienced digital mapmakers formerly employed by Apple, Baidu, and Google, DeepMap has all the tools necessary to dominate this critical space.
Hudl: Next-level analytics for sport
Data analysis is a crucial area of tech growth to watch. Advancements in data gathering and analysis are revolutionizing almost every industry. With billions of dollars at play, professional sport is an area with massive potential for growth.
Hudl is at the leading edge of sports analytics, its technology already utilized across a range of sports, from the NFL’s New England Patriots to English Premier League soccer team Manchester United. As Hudl expands to offer its services to everyone from the US national basketball team to minor league baseball teams, this company could be on the cusp of enormous growth over the next 12 months.
Hudl already has a stellar reputation among elite sports teams. Its brand recognition will get a considerable boost in the new year as Facebook begins screening a documentary series on the brand. As a reciprocal bonus, the series will likely receive a big marketing push as one of the first productions from Facebook’s new in-house studio.
Omni: Make money off items left in storage
The sharing economy is a crucial development of the past few years that is likely to go from strength to strength in 2018. With the world’s population increasingly concentrated in large cities, it makes sense for items that are infrequently used to be shared among many people, reducing the cost to each. And as the world’s population becomes ever more mobile, short and long-term storage solutions are likely to become increasingly lucrative.
Omni combines both of these trends to offer a service that could explode over the next year. It provides low-cost storage with the option of renting out the items you leave in their care. Their business model could disrupt the personal storage industry in the same way that Uber disrupted traditional taxi services. Why leave your items gathering dust in a storage locker when they could be earning you money?
As with many tech firms, Omni is a product of the San Francisco Bay Area innovation hub. With plans to expand to other areas, the next few years could be a fascinating time for this innovative start-up.
Gladly: Inventing an integrated customer service experience
While other business areas seem to be developing at breakneck speed, customer service still lags behind in many industries. It is often understaffed tech firms who are the worst offenders, with their low levels of staffing making it challenging to deal with customer queries and complaints. Major corporations often fail at handling customer service for the opposite reason, with their expansiveness making it difficult for different departments to adequately communicate about previous interactions with customers who are experiencing difficulties.
Gladly is a much-needed attempt to sort out the disorganization that blights so much of the customer service experience. Gladly brings together all customer communications in one place to make it much easier to keep track of what issues have been raised and when.
Low-cost airline JetBlue recently became Gladly’s first major client. Airlines frequently suffer from poor customer service, with the budget carrier being among the most frustrating firms with which to deal. If Gladly’s innovative streamlining of SMS, email, and Facebook messenger conversations can improve customer service in the airline industry, it could take off in almost any industry.
Frame.IO: Allowing remote collaboration on video editing
Video is a massive part of any marketing campaign these days. Thanks to YouTube and other online streaming platforms, the cost barrier to video production and sharing is so low that no business can afford to ignore it.
While services such as Google Docs have made it easy to collaborate remotely on other kinds of projects, no mainstream service allows teams in separate locations to work together on video production. That’s where Frame.IO steps in.
The best ideas are often the simplest ones, and Frame.IO excels in this respect. They do one thing, and they are aiming to do it better than anyone else. Collaborative video editing could benefit companies operating in a wide range of industries. If Frame.IO can get the underlying user experience right, this start-up could be huge in 2018.
Ripple: Instant international money transfers
Anyone who has ever sent money to another country knows that banking is lagging seriously behind other industries when it comes to global connectedness. You can communicate with people anywhere else in the world instantly, and there is no delay in paying with a credit card or sending money via an intermediary such as PayPal. But if you want to transfer money to a foreign bank account, it could take as much as a week for the funds to clear.
Ripple has been wrestling with this problem for more than ten years but now seem to have perfected the formula. Using the same blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, Ripple also for money to be transferred anywhere in the world in just four seconds.
Ripple is designed to work with all currencies, including Bitcoin. Santander has already started using Ripple to wire money instantly between the United States and the United Kingdom. Standard Chartered and American Express a few of the dozens of financial firms who’ve already climbed onboard.
It has also been recommended as one of the 5 cryptocurrencies to watch out in 2018.
Accompany: Making sense of digital identities
The social media age has seen much of the world’s population generating vast quantities of information about themselves. That is of obvious interest in the business world, whether you’re a hiring manager looking for the perfect candidate or an account manager trying to get a better understanding of an important new client.
Accompany pulls together information from a wide range of online source to provide a comprehensive overview of virtually anyone. Profiles currently exist for around 300 million people. It is highly likely that Accompany can provide you with background information on anyone with whom your work brings you into contact.
A team headed by CEO Amy Chang, the former leader of Google Analytics, designed the powerful algorithms that make Accompany possible. Chang’s experience shines through in the end product, which is already an incredibly powerful tool. As Accompany becomes better-known in 2018, it is a near certainty that it will become an essential part of the business lexicon.
These seven start-ups all take existing trends and technologies into exciting new directions. With tech niches such as data analysis and blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers growing more sophisticated, innovative companies are bringing them into more practical real-world services. While these seven start-ups cater to entirely different markets, they are all utilizing the latest tech developments to push their fields into exciting new directions in 2018.