INNOVATE

Three Entrepreneurs Who Are Getting Ahead By Innovating

Innovation can be the differentiator between success and failure

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BY Gordon Tredgold - 10 Jan 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

 

Entrepreneurs have been busy lately. In the last quarter of 2016, 7.4 percent of people looking for employment started their own businesses. Compared to 4.8 percent from the year before, it's clear that startups are on the rise.

What's also clear is some of these businesses will succeed while others will fail. While there are lots of factors that go into success and failure, innovation is one of the most important. Innovative businesses are more likely to stick around from year to year.

Check out a few of the most innovative startups out there. You can learn some valuable lessons by understanding how these startups operate.

Orbital Insights

Orbital Insights proves just how exciting and forward-thinking innovation can be. The company uses a combination of machine learning and computer vision technologies to interpret large amounts of data, helping businesses make sound decisions.

That's the complex explanation. The business essentially analyzes images from satellites to look for trends and changes. For instance, it used the data to predict that fewer people were shopping in the last quarter of 2015. It came to that conclusion by looking at parking lot images and realizing fewer people were in store parking lots. Retailers came out and announced they missed their estimates well after Orbital Insights recognized the trend.

This is just one example of the innovative company at work.

This company provides a great example of the power of innovation. If you can find an innovative solution to problems that businesses don't even realize they have, you can become a business powerhouse. Orbital Insights helps companies determine solutions by looking at data. You can find your own niche that will help companies make smart decisions or avoid problems.

Lemonade

If you're like most people, the idea of renters and home insurance doesn't sound very exciting. That's just because you haven't heard of the innovative startup Lemonade. This insurance company operates online, and it streamlines the entire insurance process, including payouts. It manages to accomplish this by using artificial intelligence and algorithms.

The company has to keep some premium payments for overhead expenses, but it only keeps 20 percent. All of the leftover money goes to a charity of your choice.

This creates a different business model. Lemonade gets 20 percent, no matter what. That means it doesn't benefit from denying claims. People get paid, and everyone is happy.

Lemonade illustrates the ability for entrepreneurs to change entire industries. You can find a new way to operate inside of an existing industry. When you start a business, you get to set the rules. Lemonade changed those rules, and you can, too.

Hooked

Reading has been around since the time of hieroglyphics, but the way people read has changed. People moved from the caves to the libraries, and then from the libraries to the bookstores. Now, people read on their Kindles and other mobile devices.

That's great for the older generation, but what about young people who are addicted to text messaging? They would much rather read a short message than a long novel by Stephen King.

That's what Prerna Gupta and Parag Chordia realized. They needed to come up with a reading solution that was perfect for teens and young adults, and they did so with Hooked.

Hooked delivers short stories in text messaging format. Instead of using traditional books, the stories are created with mobile first in mind. This app engages people with short attention spans and leaves them excited about what is coming next.

Entrepreneurs can learn an important lesson from this application. If you can package something for a particular demographic, you can succeed. Hooked isn't meant for baby boomers or even millennials. This is meant for young people with short attention spans, and it's expected to deliver the goods.

Innovation means finding a way to do something differently. While you can learn from these startups, it's important to forge your own path. Use these lessons as a springboard but then formulate your own ideas and put your vision to work.