Company Profile

Simple Mills

How chronic pain and a bad diet inspired this fast-growing startup

Industry
Food & Beverage
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Year Founded
2013
Company Size
11-50 employees
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

Katlin Smith was in high school when she started experiencing joint pain. Around the time she turned 21, she consulted a doctor who couldn't diagnose the aches but hypothesized that they were likely growing pains. Smith didn't buy it. She talked with people who experienced similar symptoms and they suggested that processed foods could be the culprit. She started inspecting the ingredients of items at the grocery store and found words she couldn't pronounce. She cut processed foods and sugars from her diet and the joint pain lessened, she had more energy, and her seasonal allergies dissipated. She felt a difference after a few days and was inspired to create Simple Mills, a company that sells snacks and baking mixes that are free of gluten, grain, soy, and GMOs. Every ingredient on the back of the box is something familiar. Smith started with muffins and the brand has grown to include crackers, pizza dough, artisan bread mix, and even frosting. "If there is something you're passionate about and it can have an impact on people and it's not just something that people want, but something they need, go and pursue it," Smith says. --Emily Canal

Aerobo

This startup's technology is pushing movies into the stratosphere

Industry
Business Products & Services
Location
New York City, New York
Year Founded
2015
Company Size
1-10 employees
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

For Brian Streem, drones are simply a means to an end. A graduate of NYU's film school, Streem produced a number of commercials and independent films throughout his 20s. Then he saw a video online of a drone gliding through the air and realized the opportunity in front of him: The film industry needed this technology. "These entertainment companies are experts in whatever they do," says Streem. "They're not experts in flying, operating, and maintaining fleets of drones." In 2015, Streem co-founded Aerobo with Jeff Brink and began equipping powerful drones with high-tech cameras. (Brink has since left to pursue a separate career in the film industry.) The company, which owns its fleet and operates as a service for those who need aerial shots, was the first drone operator in New York state to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. It has already earned clients in Amazon, Netflix, and Fox, and footage its drones have filmed can be seen in movies including The Fate of the Furious. "I'm less interested in the drone, and more interested in being able to move a camera anywhere in three-dimensional space," says Streem. That's what fascinates me." -Kevin J. Ryan

Nomiku

Why celebrity chefs are flocking to this 'Shark Tank'-backed company

Industry
Consumer Products & Services
Location
San Francisco, California
Year Founded
2012
Company Size
11-50 employees
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

Working in restaurant kitchens during college, Lisa Q. Fetterman became obsessed with large, industrial sous-vide cookers. These appliances heat vacuum-sealed food, slowly, in a low-temperature water bath, preserving flavor and texture. She told Abe Fetterman, her future husband, about the devices on their first date. They finished out the evening building one. The couple started making sous-vide cookers for friends, and then created a DIY kit that they sold, along with classes, in maker spaces. In 2012, they raised close to $600,000 on Kickstarter and moved to China to study manufacturing. Now the Fettermans' company, Nomiku, is manufacturing the $250, Wi-Fi-enabled appliances in San Francisco and selling them to home cooks and restaurants around the world. A best-selling cookbook, an appearance at the first White House Maker Faire, and a Shark Tank moment (Chris Sacca bit) have further raised Lisa's profile. The company chiefly sells direct, but recently made its debut in Williams-Sonoma. Investors include Y Combinator, which helped Nomiku develop a sous-vide recipe-sharing app. The company recently dipped its toes into frozen foods. "In the beginning, it was just us and our friends," says Lisa. "Then it moved to professionals and food fanatics. Now it's anyone who knows how to put food in a bag." --Leigh Buchanan

By Chloe

By Chloe is a red-hot, $30 million restaurant chain (with a side order of drama)

Industry
Food & Beverage
Location
New York City, New York
Year Founded
2015
Company Size
201-500 employees
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

Chloe Coscarelli and Samantha Wasser (pictured above) are the creative forces behind By Chloe, a string of vegan fast-casual restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles, and most recently Boston. While the business relationship between the pair has changed since the eatery's inception, the brand continues to grow. Coscarelli, a chef who made a name for herself after winning Food Network's reality series Cupcake Wars, tapped ESquared Hospitality in 2014 to help build her eatery. It was there she met Wasser, the creative director who had recently designed the Mexican restaurant Horchata de Nueva York. They teamed up to create a place that served plant-based, Instagram-ready food. After a nearly yearlong legal battle, an arbitrator recently ruled that Coscarelli could be removed from the business. However, that hasn't stopped the company from expanding to seven locations across the country and planning to open another four before the end of the year. What's more, the restaurants raked in $10 million in 2016 and By Chloe is expecting to fetch $30 million by the end of 2017. -Emily Canal

Robinhood

The little stock-trading app that wants to replace Wall Street firms

Industry
Financial Services
Location
Palo Alto, California
Year Founded
2013
Company Size
51-200 employees
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

Without a second's hesitation, Vladimir Tenev will tell you the first time he invested in the stock market. He was just 12 but bullish on Palm, the maker of the PalmPilot, a hunch that earned him $1,000. That enthusiasm for mobile tech and the stock market led him to Robinhood, Tenev's startup, co-founded with Baiju Bhatt in 2013. Robinhood is a commission-free brokerage that lets you trade from a smartphone app. "If you're someone who's in your late teens or early 20s and you want to invest a hundred bucks to try it out for the first time, it [used to be] cost prohibitive," Tenev says. He's lured in enough young users to force older rivals like E-Trade and Charles Schwab to cut fees--the same way those firms forced Wall Street wirehouse firms such as Merrill Lynch to reprice trades. The company is focused on making money by providing premium features to its heavy-duty users through a $10 per month subscription service called Robinhood Gold. -Salvador Rodriguez