Thanks to a vibrant start-up scene, a whole new ecosystem—in which start-ups cater to other start-ups—is alive and well. Many of these companies get their start by serving the needs of other entrepreneurial endeavors. The support they provide to each other allows them all to build a client base that they can expand to include all kinds of companies. Here are a few of the best and brightest.
Launched in 2006, DC-based media company Tech Cocktail gathers start-ups, entrepreneurs, and technology geeks of all stripes and keeps them informed and connected with news, how-to's, and industry trends online. The start-up also hosts local mixers, breakfasts, conferences, festivals, and other events that showcase entrepreneurs and connect local technology communities.
New York City-based Joyride is a delivery service for that most essential item in the entrepreneurial toolkit: coffee. The start-up delivers high-end roasts thanks to partnerships with Stumptown, Intelligentsia, and Blue Bottle, fueling Silicon Alley inhabitants such as Foursquare, Twitter, and Buzzfeed.
Teestarter , based in Lisbon, Portugal, a platform for designing t-shirt campaigns, doesn't cater exclusively to start-ups. But the company was so enamored with the start-up scene that it emblazoned the affection on a hugely popular hoodie that reads: "It's All About The Startup Life."
Describing the shirt, and the entrepreneurial path, Teestarter's site says: "Getting there is half the fun, but the thing is, where does it end? If you’re in it for the right reasons there is no finish line, and that is what it’s all about, the amazing journey of the Startup Life."
San Francisco-based ZeroCater keeps entrepreneurial bellies full with customized menus and deliveries from more than 250 restaurants, caterers, and private chefs in San Francisco and New York City. For start-ups looking to foster teamwork over collaborative lunches, ZeroCater is a natural fit on the food scene.
"I had myself been responsible for ordering lunches and I know the pain and effort it takes," said Arram Sabeti, CEO, who told Inc. ZeroCater now delivers to more than 300 companies. "A good rule of the thumb for start-ups is to go with the pain you have."
Upstart is a new crowdfunding platform in Silicon Valley that invests in individuals, giving them money to pursue learning new skills, support themselves while getting a business off the ground, or retire debt. Through the platform, backers invest capital in “upstarts," who in return share a tiny slice of their personal income for 10 years. Repayment is based on future success, enabling upstarts to repay investors as they can.
Task-management software resource Asana, founded by Facebook alums Justin Rosenstein and Dustin Moskovitz, counts some of the country’s fastest-growing start-ups (Pinterest, Dropbox, Foursquare, Airbnb, Stripe, and Uber) among its faithful users. Cloud-based Asana, which was originally developed within Facebook, increases workplace productivity by allowing teams to create, collaborate on, and track tasks across an organization.