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
A direct-to-consumer superfoods supplement company that makes and delivers plant-based powders.
When cancer struck Michael Kuech at age 24, Kristel de Groot was determined to raise her boyfriend's energy levels, and spirits, as he went through chemotherapy. She raided the cabinet for the random selection of bags of superfood she'd collected, and started a smoothie diet for Kuech. "It really helped improve his health, and he just felt so much better," she says. What was then just a slapdash regimen would, in 2015, transform into Your Super, a direct-to-consumer supplement company that has attracted $7.1 million from PowerPlant Ventures, a growth equity fund in Manhattan Beach, California, along with seed-stage funders Döhler Ventures and 500 Startups. They see consumer demand for healthier living and eating as a growth area. Interestingly, demand in the middle of the U.S. has been healthy, says de Groot, whose superfood mixes start at $29.90. "We actually sell to people who live in food deserts," she says. "And that's something we're really, really excited about." --Talib Visram