A maker of low-sugar, gummy candy.
Tara Bosch has struggled to maintain a healthy relationship with food her entire life, because like many people, she has one major weakness: candy. It wasn't until she landed a job at a supplements store and had an enlightening conversation about weight control with her 89-year-old grandmother that she realized she needed to make a change. "It was a shocking moment for me," Bosch says. "I was like, 'Wow, you can literally be a senior and still feel bad about yourself because of what you're putting in your body.'" It was at that point that she started looking for healthier candy alternatives, and when she couldn't find any, she started recipe testing in her kitchen. A few months later, she dropped out of college to start SmartSweets, a candy company that recreates classics like gummy bears and Swedish Fish, but with less sugar. The Greendale, Indiana-based company, which officially launched in 2016, is now in more than 10,000 retail stores in the U.S and Canada, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods. And with deals in the works with Target, Kroger, and Vitamin Shoppe, Bosch expects that figure to reach 20,000 by the end of 2019. --Brit Morse
Sonder provides beautifully designed spaces built for travel and life to meet the needs of every modern traveler.
WHY WE THINK WE'RE A GREAT PLACE TO WORK
Sonder is building a team that is talented, passionate, and motivated by actively creating a lively company culture. Sonder offers weekly catered lunches, happy hours, and monthly events for teams to bond and enjoy themselves. Teams have seen musical shows, gone bowling, gone on cultural tours, and browsed museums. Sonder builds beautiful spaces for travel and life in 26 cities, and we encourage employees to explore and travel. Sonder employees have unlimited vacation time, with a minimum of two weeks.
A maker of Styrofoam-free, sustainable packaging.
In 2014, James McGoff and Charles Vincent--students at McGill University's materials-engineering program--and Brian Powers, a recent University of Pennsylvania grad, founded TemperPack, which makes Styrofoam-free insulation that keeps products cold during shipping. (Think: a customized cooler inside a packing box.) They started by "cutting strips of fiberglass and sealing them inside plastic... it wasn't a true innova- tion," understates McGoff. Still, in 2015, TemperPack negotiated a $100,000 trial run with the meal-kit giant HelloFresh. Plated signed on too, once TemperPack started using jute, a compostable insulation material. "Food companies were desperate to not use plastic and Styrofoam," says Powers. In February 2019, grocery giant Albertsons Companies started using TemperPack's newest recyclable insulation, called ClimaCell, for its drug-delivery business. This year, TemperPack is expected to double revenue, to around $50 million. --Diana Ransom
A data and analytics startup that helps companies track their human resources information.
The New York City-based startup's platform aims to help human resources teams organize and analyze employee data--diversity stats, employee salaries, performance metrics, and the like--so that company leaders can make more informed decisions. "It can answer those ad hoc questions that come up frequently in senior leadership meetings that would take hours or weeks to pull data and turn into analytics," says 29-year-old Jospeh Quan, who co-founded Twine with Nikhil Srivastava, 31, in 2017. Though it is still in stealth mode--the company plans to launch formally later this year--it has raised a total of $2.7 million in funding from personal savings, angel investors, and venture capital firm Trinity Ventures. Early customers include note-taking app Evernote and blood-test company Guardant Health. --Emily Canal
A direct-to-consumer luxury towel maker.
Lindsey Johnson thought she'd become a venture capitalist; instead she became an entrepreneur. While getting her MBA at Columbia University in 2017, the would-be VC met Liz Eichholz, who relayed a frustration: Eichholz had just spent hundreds of dollars on towels that took weeks to monogram and didn’t even absorb any water. “There were so many different options, so much jargon, so many brands," Johnson says. The pair couldn't get the problem out of their heads. They started ordering towels, testing them, and writing down everything they liked--or didn’t like--and asked their friends to do the same. “Not a single person we talked to was like, 'I’m obsessed with my towel,'” Johnson says. The two sensed that there was a market opportunity. They found a family-owned manufacturer in Portugal that produced long-cotton towels, and with a hefty loan from Johnson’s parents, the pair launched Weezie in October 2018. Through direct orders, today, it has sold more than 25,000 towels online, which range in price from $30 to $78. -- Brit Morse