In the startup world, 2020 may as well be the next century.
No one knows what will happen over the next decade, but there are a few dozen startups rising ever higher in 2016 that are targeting control of core aspects of our daily lives.
Here are 20 you should know about and share with your friends:
Who needs another dating app? Except Bumble is different, capturing the progressive spirit of my time and generation by having women choose whom to speak with. It's a win-win for both genders that may well take over the category.
Despite dozens of national lawsuits and fervent, well-funded competition, Uber shows no signs of slowing down. The most amazing thing? Travis Kalanick, Uber's CEO, was recently quoted as saying that UberPool, the company's new carpooling service, is the real future of the business and the evolution of transport. The $50 billion business that came before that? Just the amuse-bouche.
Honor pairs the elderly with long-term caretakers. The goal is to create a deeper, bonding relationship that lasts and goes far beyond the typical "on demand" credo of providing a service. As more Americans age, this category will become a critical market space.
While obvious and hardly a startup, Facebook deserves to be here because it has done more than almost any other internet company to become profitable while staying relevant daily. Facebook's dominance of news and current events shares will not go away anytime soon--indeed, its stranglehold on them may lead the company to challenge Google on search.
One of my own portfolio companies, Teckst enables businesses to communicate directly with customers through the medium everyone actual prefers--text-based messaging. Every company needs this, and Teckst's early customer base--60 and counting in about six months of growth--knows it.
Jet is one of the most fascinating startups in the world today. The goal--to be more efficient than Amazon--is daunting. Jet has a high chance of failure--probably the highest on this list. But if it does succeed, the sky really is the limit.
23andMe is a leader in human genomics. Its next step is to build on FDA approval for testing for various genetic diseases. But bioethical questions remain: Will this take humanity to darker places?
Rideshare is the future, and it will not only be UberPool. Getaround is generating excitement by taking rideshare to a whole new level by letting people rent their cars to strangers. It will be interesting and exciting over the next five years to see where people draw the line on the sharing economy.
Betterment is a leader in the Millennial investment management category, trying hard to democratize what has previously been the exclusive domain of the wealthy. Its information and tools are useful for Millennials, but sophisticated competitors are rapidly rising.
10) Managed by Q
Dan Teran founded Managed by Q to change the way offices are managed. But what is perhaps more impressive than Q's success is its focus on building a sustainable company that rewards employees with benefits and an ownership stake. Q takes part in a new paradigm for rewarding workers, even those traditionally at the bottom of the food chain. To his credit, Teran, who was my floor mate in college when we were freshmen at Johns Hopkins, was always committed to social justice, so it's great to see Q be in position to make a difference in the way employees are treated and motivated.
Select started growing barely a year ago, as a special "new black card" offering benefits you can't get elsewhere. With little marketing, it has more than 10,000 members and is present in five cities: New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, San Francisco, and L.A. In the cards for Select, according to founder Carlo Cisco: 50 cities and a million members.
12) Class Pass
One of the most important trends of the past five years is Millennials' demanding access to exclusive places, events, activities, etc., in bundled form for much lower cost than the old à la carte model. Class Pass is a leader in this trend, applying it to exercise classes and gyms. The startup is now in transition to become more of a lifestyle and movement company.
Whether or not Tinder itself wins the day, it represents the kind of instant-judgment-while-looking-for-love-or-lust dating app that is fast replacing traditional online dating. These apps are beginning to open a chasm between those folks who are fully embracing the app experience and those who are reaching out for more retro-style affinity groups for meeting people, such as the fast-growing Hebro for New York's gay Jews.
Call it 2/2. Jeff Raider, who founded standout eyewear startup Warby Parker, has also founded Harry's, which is bringing quality shaving and homecare products to the masses at low cost. Expect some of them in your bathroom soon enough.
Instacart is bringing the sharing economy to groceries, and is changing the way Americans shop for food much the same way Plated is changing how home cooks prepare it.
This fast-growing San Francisco startup is trying to change the age-old delivery and package management industry.
17) Narrative Science
One you may not have heard of, Chicago-founded Narrative Science is a leader in news automation. As digital journalism profit margins grow ever thinner, an increasingly popular idea to stop the journalistic bloodletting is to automate news that is rote, boring, and necessary to free up a smaller set of better-trained journalists to focus on hard-to-report news and issues.
When you need to remodel your home in the next five years, San Francisco-based startup Houzz may well be where you end up.
Or substitute Blue Apron. The two are the leaders in the make-it-yourself meal delivery space, which is revolutionizing how Americans eat at home.
Just kidding :)