Company Profile

Sustain Natural

Meet the all-natural condom company taking on Trojan and Karex

Industry
Consumer Products & Services
Location
Burlington, Vermont
Year Founded
2014
Company Size
1-10 employees
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

"When I was younger, I didn’t understand the depth of the shame and stigma around sexual health,” says Meika Hollender, 29, co-founder and co-CEO of Sustain Natural. She always felt comfortable talking about sexual health with her parents, though recognized that this wasn't the case for everyone. "It's one of those subjects where the more you talk about it, the healthier and safer you are," she adds. So in 2014, she launched a sustainable condom brand with her father, Jeffrey Hollender, a veteran of the consumer products industry. (In the late eighties, he acquired the company that would become Seventh Generation; he would later be let go by the company's board of directors.)

Unlike traditional condoms--which often contain harmful chemicals such as nitrosamines--Sustain condoms are made from organic, fair-trade latex, which the company sells to retailers and on its own e-commerce store. The cost to produce these, Hollender says, is only around half a cent extra than the standard, around six cents.

Today, the Burlington, Vermont-based startup has expanded to more than 4,500 stores, including Whole Foods, and is preparing to launch a line of non-toxic pads and tampons. “The taboos around sex were a big obstacle,” Hollender admits. Still, she persisted, and last year the startup saw $1.2 million in sales, up from $650,000 the year before. To date, Sustain has raised $5.5 million in funding. --Zoe Henry

 

Dagne Dover

This handbag startup wants to help working women organize their lives

Industry
Consumer Products & Services
Location
New York City, New York
Year Founded
2013
Company Size
1-10 employees
Twitter
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

Dagne Dover's handbags target professional women who routinely tote with them a day's worth of supplies, from laptops to gym clothes. Its products balance California Closets-like storage efficiency with the fashion sense that co-founder and creative director Jessy Dover honed while interning at companies like Coach and Dennis Basso. She was recruited as a co-founder of Dagne by Melissa Mash, CEO, and Deepa Gandhi, COO, who conceived the idea while students at Wharton. The three launched Dagne Dover with $200,000 from friends and family and have since raised more than $3 million from people like Warby Parker investor David Bell and Nicolas Topiol, CEO of luxury brand Christian Lacroix. Dagne Dover debuts this year on Nordstrom.com, Revolve, Equinox, Bandier, and Stitch Fix. Still, “we are a digitally native brand,” says Dover. Many decisions, such as an early move into leather, were driven by customer suggestions. That engagement guides the business as it chooses among opportunities for expansion. "There are so many ways we can interpret our mission of how to bring life to this," says Dover. --Leigh Buchanan

Bizness Apps

The $100 million startup Harley-Davidson hired to build its mobile app

3-Year Growth
3,572%
Industry
Software
Location
San Diego, California
Year Founded
2010
Company Size
51-200 employees
Inc. 5000 Rankings
No. 91 (2015), No. 58 (2014)
Data as of Publication on Aug. 11, 2020
Company Description

Andrew Gazdecki used to run an online job board. It was back in 2009, when Gazdecki was a marketing student at California State University, Chico. At the time, mobile apps were still new--and all the rage--so the job board focused on connecting local companies with mobile app developers. While skimming listings in his dorm room, Gazdecki noticed a pattern: A lot of companies, primarily restaurants, were requesting near-identical products with near-identical functionalities. “If this could work for one restaurant, this could work for every restaurant in the United States,” Gazdecki recalls thinking. He sold the job board for a six-figure sum, enough to launch Bizness Apps, a mobile-app developer, in June 2010. In the seven years since, that company has grown to more than 100 employees and a valuation over $120 million. It’s expanded well beyond restaurants; Bizness Apps has developed apps for everyone from auto companies Michelin and Harley-Davidson to rappers Soulja Boy and Fetty Wap. Bizness Apps wasn’t Gazdecki’s first company, but it very well may be his last--even if it gets acquired. “The way I view this industry is that it’s one in a lifetime,” he says. “I just can’t see myself getting away from this.” --Cameron Albert-Deitch