Manufactures nicotine liquid for e-cigarettes and vaporizers.
Solace Technologies' first year of business was about what you'd expect from a startup--funds were tight and the company's founders, who didn't take a salary for 12 months, worked from a basement in an office building in downtown Los Angeles. But they stuck with it. The nicotine liquid manufacturer has grown mightily since then, reaching $3.7 million in 2017 revenue. And soon it will move into a 40,000-square-foot facility north of the city.
Amid stiff competition, in 2016, the company began producing a different formula of nicotine liquid, which is used inside vaporizers and e-cigarettes. Its new product, made with nicotine salt, is considered more satisfying for people addicted to nicotine, as it mimics the buzz of a cigarette. More and more distributors began carrying their products and Solace started making nicotine salt liquid for a couple of big tobacco companies. With the recent acquisition of its contract manufacturer, Solace estimates it will bring in $18.1 million in annual revenue by the end of 2018. --Will Yakowicz
Provides data services and software that help public agencies improve arrival predictions by up to 30% and complete planning projects up to 90% faster, leading to increased ridership, fewer complaints, and more efficient transit operations.
WHY WE'RE A BEST PLACE TO WORKAt Swiftly, our employees care deeply about improving the world through transit while learning and growing personally. Our mission is interwoven with the foundation of our culture. Swiftly invests in initiatives that cultivate our culture on a larger scale--things like investing early in an employee survey platform so that everyone's voice is heard, running monthly company-sponsored volunteer happy hours, and providing an educational stipend for every employee. There is also an employee-run culture committee.
Tiesta Tea Company
Creates understandable, affordable and accessible quality loose tea blends by using natural fruits, herbs and spices that enhance the flavor and function of tea.
We’re a tight knit crew that keeps it simple; all natural, loose leaf tea blends with real fruits and herbs. Today, our 50 flavorful & functional loose leaf teas can be found nationwide in over 6,500 specialty, natural and conventional grocery stores along with hundreds of cafes! We tell you what matters: what it does for you, what it tastes like, and how to make it. So what’s stopping you? Find your function, pick your flavor and get ready to Live Loose!
WHY WE THINK WE'RE A GREAT PLACE TO WORK
It is work and lots of play at Tiesta Tea, but the benefits make it even better. Employees get 15 PTO days a year plus one day for every year they have worked with us and flexible work-from-home days. Each employee gets annual profit share, as well as a bonus for the winter seasons. The health benefits include health, vision, dental and the 401k plans match up to 4%, and a good retirement plan. We offer paid maternity and paternity leave and every day there is open fridge at 4 pm and on Fridays, open fridge starts at 3 pm.
A stock photography company focused on showcasing people of color and other underserved communities.
A couple years ago, Karen Okonkwo had a difficult time finding photos of women of color for her blog, Sorority Secrets. "If I ever found them, it took me hours, and the imagery was not up to par," Okonkwo says. This experience inspired her to start a stock photography company focused on showcasing people of color. She met photographer Joshua Kissi, and they launched Tonl in August 2017. "People equate a lot of imagery to social media, so it may feel full and robust based on people's profiles and Facebook and Instagram and all types of social media platforms, but when it comes to stock photography, that isn't the case," Kissi says. "That's where we come in." With no employees, the Seattle-based company relies on its small team of contracted workers--seven, to be exact--to keep the business humming. After just five months of operation, the company brought in nearly $47,000 in 2017 revenue. Tonl expects that number to quadruple to $188,000, thanks to partnerships with companies like PopSugar, Sundial Brands, and Google. "There's an opportunity to tell more stories, because that's what really moves people, within photography, and we really want to go into the depths of that when it comes to people of color," Kissi says. --Sarah Jackson
Touch of Modern
A curated, online shopping website for men offering unusual products, clothing, and accessories.
For the founders of Touch of Modern, the third time's a charm. The San Francisco-based men's clothing and home goods seller initially launched in 2010 as an app to help people find things to do on the weekend. Less than a year later, it relaunched as an event planning app. "It's really hard to scale and make money when you have to manage all of these small businesses and be hyper-localized," says 29-year-old co-founder and CTO Steven Ou.
Rather than give up and return their investors' money, Ou and his three co-founders pitched their VCs one last idea: a destination for stylish guys to find unique products. To test the idea, the company ran two preview sales before its official launch in 2012. The sales brought in more revenue than the previous two companies combined. The idea worked, but the logistics were an afterthought. The team had no idea how to ship the $7,000 Danish couch they had advertised on a whim. When a customer unexpectedly bought it, it took six months to get it to her. "She was very patient," Ou says.
Touch of Modern has raised a total of $17 million in funding and says its revenue is on track to hit $200 million in 2018. The brand takes more than a million orders a year, the bulk of which come through its mobile app. Top-selling items include luxury watches, clothes, art, and--everyone's favorite James Bond accessory--a wrist-mounted flame thrower. --Lindsay Blakely