A private in-home chef service for meal-prep and special occasions.
Tiana Tenent, 29, had spent five years as a financial advisor and consultant for J.P. Morgan when she realized she wanted to reconnect with her one true love: food. She was considering opening a restaurant when she met Jill Donenfeld, a now 34-year-old private chef, caterer, and cookbook author who was running a private chef placement agency. Together, they launched The Culinistas, an in-home chef service for meal-prep and private event meal production. With a focus on easing the burden of busy parents, the service--which starts at $250 plus the cost of groceries--brings a private chef into users' homes to prepare a week's worth of meals selected from a rotating menu. The service is also available for dinner parties and special occasions. The Culinistas' stable of 80 chefs work out of people's homes in New York City, Palm Beach, Aspen, and the Hamptons. The service is launching in Los Angeles in fall 2019. "There's such a personal component to it," says Tiana. "These chefs are coming into your home and changing your lives, your schedules, the way you move throughout the day." The company hit $920,000 in revenue in 2018 and expects to book $2.4 million this year. -- Brit Morse
A supplier of fast-shipping services to e-commerce businesses selling on eBay, Shopify, and Walmart.
Deliverr's model mimics Fulfillment by Amazon, with the company taking care of the shipping and logistics arrangements on behalf of third-party sellers. Clients using Deliverr's services are automatically approved and granted fast-shipping tags on eBay and Walmart, a badge similar to Amazon's Prime blue checkmark. Unlike the Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth, however, Deliverr does not own its warehouses; it leases them, which co-founder Michael Krakaris, 24, says has helped the company scale faster. At the end of 2018, Deliverr had access to 13 warehouses scattered throughout the U.S., though Krakaris says the number is changing every day. Deliverr has raised about $7.1 million from investors including 8VC, the San Francisco-based venture fund started by Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale. In February, Walmart chose Deliverr to be its exclusive delivery provider for its two-day shipping program. --Guadalupe Gonzalez
A maker of health-promoting apple cider vinegar and energy shots.
Ethan Hirshberg's organic food business pedigree is second to none. His father, Gary Hirshberg, is the chairman and former president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, and his mother, Meg Hirshberg, a longtime farmer, helped run the family business for many years. So his foray into the organic beverage business, with Ethan's, a maker of apple cider vinegar and MCT oil shots, certainly had a helping hand. "I grew up on Stonyfield farm," says the 29-year-old Hirshberg, who notes that his company's products can be found in Whole Foods stores nationwide. But he still has much to overcome in the world of consumer products--namely, getting people to see the benefits of drinking vinegar. He's hopeful the purported health benefits--improved digestion, weight loss, and more--along with the small size of the brand's "shots," which are two ounces each and come in flavors like Cinnamon Maple and Tumeric Apple, will help ease the process. --Tim Crino
Maker of a web-based tool that lets designers collaborate in real time.
Thanks to Google Docs and Office 365, much of your work likely has shifted to the cloud, where you can easily collaborate with colleagues on shared documents. Designers, meanwhile, largely have been left out of this workflow revolution. Their projects tend to go like this: Use a number of tools to create a design mockup, export it to file, save it on Dropbox, and then send the file link via email for review. There's a lot of back and forth, and the risk of winding up with multiple versions of the same file along the way is high. That's the problem Dylan Field and Evan Wallace set out to solve when they created Figma, a web-based tool that lets designers collaborate in real time. They hit on a problem a lot of people want to see solved: Within four years of launching, Figma has collected over a million sign-ups and a customer roster that includes Slack, Twitter, Uber, Dropbox, the New York Times, and Microsoft. The San Francisco-based startup has raised $82.9 million to date from investors including Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners. --Michelle Cheng
A maker of portable, reusable straws made from metal and silicone.
While training for a half-marathon, Miles Pepper, 24, developed an interesting habit: picking up straws on the streets of Los Angeles. Within two months, he had 300. "I began to see how all the plastic trash got swept into the ocean," he says. Few reuseable straws were available--so he and co-founder Emma Rose Cohen built one. With a $30,000 loan from Pepper's parents, some engineering help, and a 3-D printer, the pair started developing FinalStraw, a fully collapsible straw made of stainless steel and silicone that folds like a tent pole and fits in a case the size of a keychain. The pair launched FinalStraw on Kickstarter in April 2018 with a campy marketing video featuring a mermaid; within two days, it had raised $200,000. (Ultimately, the campaign raised $1.9 million.) With its eponymous product, which costs $24.50, FinalStraw expects revenue to hit $13 million this year.. --Brit Morse
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly indicated that Miles Pepper decided to create the straw, secured a loan, and used his film industry engineering connections to help initiate the development of the product on his own. In fact, co-founder Emma Rose Cohen was directly involved in the product’s creation from the start. The article also misstated the price of a FinalStraw, as well as the company's location and number of employees. The price is $24.50, and the company is based in Santa Barbara, California, and has 18 employees.