A communication platform that pulls disparate channels like Outlook, Slack, Salesforce, social media, and text messages into a central location.
While working at a software company in her early 20s, Mathilde Collin had a realization. Every type of software she could think of had evolved in some way over the previous decade, except for the one she and her co-workers used the most: email. In 2013, she took that notion to European startup studio eFounders, where she met fellow Parisian Laurent Perrin. Just months later, the French duo co-founded Front, a San Francisco-based software company that has amassed $79 million of funding in less than five years and tripled its revenue every year since 2014.
Collin and Perrin define Front as a "shared inbox for teams"--a modernized version of email that pulls disparate communication channels like Outlook, Slack, Salesforce, social media, and text messages into one platform. Managers can assign employees to handle specific conversations without the hassle of cc's and bcc's, and teams can group-edit messages in real time before they're sent. Collin believes Front can affect a fundamental part of modern life--after all, everyone uses email. "We have an entry point to deeply change how people work," she says, before pausing to acknowledge, "It's an incredibly ambitious thing to do." --Cameron Albert-Deitch
Hosts bug bounty programs for companies including General Motors, Starbucks, Spotify, Airbnb, Uber, and Wordpress.
As teenagers in the Netherlands, Jobert Abma and Michiel Prins hacked into the high school TV station. When they were in college, they told an education software company that its platform leaked grades and personal data. In 2012, Alex Rice, then Facebook’s head of product security, challenged them to find a vulnerability. They did, scored a contract with Facebook, and started hacking into Twitter, Spotify, and Uber to win work from them, too. Along with Merijn Terheggen and Rice, they started HackerOne in 2012, to run “bug bounty” programs--which reward hackers for finding security flaws--for Starbucks, GM, Uber, the U.S. Department of Defense, and about 1,000 other organizations. Such customers pay subscriptions, costing from the low four figures to tens of thousands per year. --Will Yakowicz
Creates personalized skin care regimens for users.
When Siqi Mou was in college, she suffered from acne and other skin conditions. Her friends recommended over-the-counter products they liked--but none worked. "Why is there no personalized solution?" Mou remembers thinking. Later, when she was a news anchor in Indonesia, a skin care company asked her to star in an ad. She turned it down after learning the products were loaded with harsh chemicals. Her frustrations led to HelloAva, which creates personalized skin care regimens. Users answer questions about their skin via chatbot, attach a selfie, and receive recommendations. (They can also consult with an aesthetician.) The company takes a cut of online sales made through its platform. "If I had never gone through this experience" of having bad skin, says Mou, a concert pianist who once performed on the Great Wall of China, "I would have never figured this out." --Emily Canal
Makes software that allows autonomous drones to "see" where they're flying and avoid obstacles.
Alexander Harmsen has been interested in aviation since he was a teenager. "I got my pilot's license before I even got my driver's license," says Harmsen, who was 17 when he started flight training. Now, along with his college friend James Howard, he wants to help drones pilot themselves, without humans having to dictate every move. Their company, Iris Automation, uses the same technology that's propelling driverless cars--and they think it'll be revolutionary for a variety of industries.
One current use-case is inspecting railway lines for targeted maintenance. Harmsen says that the company has roughly two dozen clients in five countries. Due to strict regulations, "every single drone that's flown right now has to have a pilot and a visual observer with their hands on some sort of remote control," which limits the drone's flight to about a mile. That changes when you have a full-fledged "sense and avoid" system like the one Iris Automation is building. --Sonya Mann
A staffing company that supplies carpenters, general and demolition laborers, landscapers, and snow removal personnel.
In the spring of 2010, Alex Riley was working a construction project in Detroit and discovered that not all laborers are suited for the same tasks. “We had a labor force of 150 demolition employees,” he recalls, “but we were supposed to be doing a residential rehabilitation--carpentry, plumbing, roofing, masonry.” After a frustrating experience trying to recruit workers, Riley--along with co-founders Patrick Beal and Paul Kaser—built a staffing website, billing it as “LinkedIn for contractors.” Now, besides connecting talent to local employers, MeritHall and its affiliate companies find road salt for clients, offer facility management and vocational training services, and provide management consulting--all the while helping to revitalize the Motor City. “We really focused on getting Detroiters to work Detroit jobs,” Riley says. --Zoë Henry