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Top 7 Startups that Do Things Differently
  23 July, 2014      By Heather Stugen      Posted in { Startups }

These startups are heading in new directions, merging, modifying, and sometimes abandoning current practices in an attempt to push their businesses forward. They blend genius business plans, revenue models, and stylish branding to surge ahead. Here’s our count, in no particular order, of the top 7 startups that are doing things differently.

1. Bio-bean – Stylish, sustainable biofuel.

Founded in 2013, this company creates biofuel out of used coffee beans. It’s one of many sustainability-focused companies, but Bio-bean stands out with it’s hands-on, tangible benefits to all parties involved. Cleverly targeting the coffee industry and appealing to coffee drinkers, they’ve crafted a stylish image for themselves that resonates strongly with the next generation of business people.

2. Mainstage Travel – Travel for a younger generation.

This travel company aims to provide high quality, low cost travel options to youth and students. Founded by young entrepreneurs Aden Levin and Rob Tominey, Mainstage Travel landed £100,000 funding from Dragons’ Den’s Piers Linney. This company was built to enable young people to make the most of their younger years (and lower incomes), and styles itself accordingly, pushing major social events, clubbing and festivals as the chief travel destinations.

3. Steer – Learn coding online quickly, cheaply, and effectively.

Another startup from a young entrepreneur, Amelia Humfress set out to create simple, effective online coding courses with fair pricing, and that’s exactly what she did. Each Steer course runs for up to 5 days, covering topics like iOS development, HTML, and Ruby on Rails for any level of experience. It’s a highly capable service based in London and expanding rapidly.

4. Classpass – Fusing discount services with fitness.

Classpass essentially helps users find fitness studios and classes in their area and then offers discounted prices for admission. Classpass’ brilliance lies in it’s simple fusion of two hugely popular startup trends: Health & Fitness tools, and Discount/Coupon services.

5. Fancy Hands – Democratizing the personal assistant.

Visit the Fancy Hands website and the first thing you see is a calculator asking “how much is your time worth?” Fancy Hands is an on-demand assistant, which is a weird concept. You contact Fancy Hands, ask them to do something (anything) and it gets done; get hotel reservations, manage a calendar, or make purchases on your behalf.

6. HelloFresh – Get food delivered right to your door, then cook it yourself!

Food delivery is a booming business—everybody needs to eat. For many, food delivery serves as a time-saver. HelloFresh puts a new spin on food delivery. Instead of full meals hot and ready, HelloFresh sends out unprepared ingredients with detailed recipes so that anyone can take what’s in the box and cook up a delicious, healthy meal in 30 minutes or less.

7. Yplan – Find events faster and more conveniently than you ever thought possible.

Yplan is an app that helps users find something to do in extremely short-term time frames. It’s all about spontaneity. Find the best events in town tonight and book tickets in just two taps. Yplan takes the convenience factor of mobile to a whole new level, ensuring that users can find what they need instantly. They’ve gone mobile-first and mobile fast, committing wholly to the new platforms.

Take some tips from these successful startups. Finding a new direction is key, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the success of others. In fact quite the opposite, as these companies reveal. Success stems from foundations built by your predecessors. Your job is to climb to the top of what they’ve built and pick a new direction to take from there.

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