So far, 2015 has been a great year for consumer tech. So we decided to take a look at the best startups that have launched so far this year.
To determine the best startups, we took into account factors like funding, revenue, growth, and investor interest.
Did we miss a great startup that launched this year? Let us know in the comments!
What it is: Former Groupon exec Ben McKean launched Hungryroot to turn veggies into amazing pasta dishes. When you order from Hungryroot, you get a packaged meal the next day that consists of 70 to 80% vegetables and 20% protein. The base ingredient is vegetable noodles -- made from sweet potatoes, radishes, beets, zucchinis, and more -- paired with a creative sauce, and served with an optional protein side. In its first month, Hungryroot sold 10,000 meals.
Funding: $US2 million from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, and KarpReilly
What it is: In March, Twitter launched Periscope, a livestreaming app it acquired back in February before Periscope even launched. Periscope lets users easily stream footage from their devices to followers. Viewers can comment and send 'hearts' to the streamer. The footage can be then replayed later, which sets it apart from rival app Meerkat, where the footage is gone once the stream is over.
What it is: The League -- a selective dating app for elite, successful individuals -- launched in San Francisco earlier this year, and it just launched in New York City. Stanford graduate Amanda Bradford founded The League to match up highly motivated and interesting single professionals. Its users often have advanced degrees.
Funding: $US2.1 million seed round from Jon Vlassopulos, IDG Ventures USA, Roman Feola, Naomi Gleit, Cowboy Ventures, XSeed Capital, Peter Kelly, Russ Siegelman, Mark Leslie, Allen DeBevoise, SherpaVentures, Structure Capital
What it is: Gogoro launched this year after working in stealth mode since 2011. The company debuted its first product at this year's Consumer Electronics Show: a smart, plug-free electric scooter. The scooter is powered by a portable battery that you will be able to swap out at Gogoro stations across major cities, according to the company. Gogoro's scooter is best for commuting and short trips: its scooters go up to 60 miles per hour, and you can get about 100 miles out of a charge. The Gogoro system connects to the cloud via a cellular network and provides onboard diagnostics through a connected smartphone app.
Funding: $US300 million; investors include Dr. Yin and Cher Wang of HTC
What it is: Oscar Salazar, Uber's founding CTO and third cofounder alongside Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, launched Ride earlier this year to make commuting less of a hassle. Ride is focused solely on commuters and carpooling and it wants to create efficiency there, particularly in places where public transportation is not readily available. It works by matching a company's employees -- people who likely have their own cars but want to save money by riding together -- with coworkers who share similar commutes.
What it is: Honour matches seniors with professionals who can take care of them in their homes while giving concerned family members a way to keep track of everything. Unlike on-demand services like Uber and Lyft that let people accept jobs right away, Honour wants its home-care professionals, who start at $US15 an hour, to foster long-lasting relationships with seniors. Honour tries to teach them what to expect and pair them up with seniors with whom they can work well. For example, a senior who speaks Mandarin Chinese can opt to match with a home-care professional who also speaks Mandarin.
Funding: $US20 million from Kevin Colleran, Slow Ventures, Homebrew, Jessica Alba, Jeremy Stoppelman, Max Levchin, Kapor Capital, Andreessen Horowitz
What it is: There's nothing worse than having choppy Wi-Fi throughout your apartment. That's the problem Eero is trying to solve. Eero's devices are little white pods that use Bluetooth and mesh networking to connect and extend the Wi-Fi in your home. When you buy three -- that's how many Eero says a typical home needs -- you'll connect the first to your modem, and the others get plugged in to power outlets. The devices connect to one another through internal radios. Eero's devices are available for preorder now -- you can get one for $US125 or three for $US299. Its devices will ship this summer.
Funding: $US5 million from AME Cloud Ventures, Initialized Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Homebrew, Menlo Ventures, First Round
What it is: Even is a smartphone app that's meant to help low-income employees with uneven income streams manage from paycheck to paycheck. While a lot of Silicon Valley tech startups target the rich, Even caters to people with bad credit, or people who have an hourly job and unpredictable hours, by giving them credit to help them when they're having a rough week. They pay a flat fee rather than interest. Even works with a user's bank account, charging $US5 a week to give users a steady paycheck for the same amount of money every week -- even if they get a lot of hours one week and fewer the next. Users can take advantage of features including emergency expenses and automatic budgeting. There's also a pause button, which stops payments, for users who are facing financial difficulty.
Funding: $US1.5 million from Andrew Kortina, Joe Ziemer, Red Swan Ventures, Slow Ventures, Sam Lessin, Adam Rothenberg, David Tisch, L. Michelle Wilson, Mike Krieger, Kevin Systrom, Homebrew, Keith Rabois
What it is: Marc Lore, the former CEO of Quidsi, has been working on a mysterious e-commerce startup that wants to take on Amazon. This year, Jet.com launched in beta, backed by investors including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, for 10,000 'insiders.' The site promises to offer prices that are 10-to-15% lower than anywhere else, including Amazon. Instead of making a profit by taking a cut off the top of product prices, Jet makes money solely from a Costco-esque membership free: Users have to pay $US50 a year to shop.
Funding: $US225 million from David Spector, Primary Venture Partners, MentorTech Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Silicon Valley Bank, Western Technology Investment, Citi Ventures, Thrive Capital, Temasek Holdings, Norwest Venture Partners, Google Ventures, Goldman Sachs, General Catalyst Partners, Coatue Management, Alibaba
What it is: Founded by Ben Fischman, the founder of flash-sales fashion website Ruelala, M.Gemi wants to make beautiful, hand-crafted Italian shoes more affordable for people around the world. Shoes made in Italian factories cost between $US500 and $US2,000, whereas M.Gemi's -- which are sold straight from small, Italian shoe factories to consumers -- run between $US98 and $US300. M.Gemi is also capitalising on fast fashion: it only takes the M.Gemi team 60 to 90 days to get a show from concept to retail online.
Funding: $US14 million from Breakaway Innovation Group, Forerunner Ventures, General Catalyst Partners
What it is: Meerkat is a new livestreaming app that syncs up with Twitter to let you live stream and share video in real time. The app quickly became a favourite of Product Hunt users several weeks ago after it was posted to the startup and app discovery website. It was a hit at SXSW as well. Sources tell TechCrunch that Meerkat now has more than 300,000 users. Meerkat initially depended on Twitter for its social graph, but on the same day that it acquired livestreaming startup and presumed Meerkat rival Periscope, Twitter briefly crippled Meerkat by limiting its access. From a usage standpoint, however, both apps are now seeing similar engagement.
Funding: $US18.2 million from Raine Ventures, CAA Ventures, Vayner/RSE, WME, Chad Hurley, David Tisch, Ooga Labs, Aleph, Entree Capital, DreamIt Ventures, Gigi Levy, Ron Gura, Eyal Gura, PLUS Ventures, Jared Leto, Universal Music Group, Broadway Video Ventures, Comcast Ventures, SherpaShare, Vaizra Investments, Slow Ventures, Kevin Colleran, Soma Capital, Greylock Partners
What it is: 21, a bitcoin startup that's been operating in stealth, recently announced its plan: a product in the form of an embeddable chip called the BitShare chip that lets you 'mine' bitcoin in the background of your phone. These bitcoins could be used to pay for small services you use. Mining bitcoin essentially lets you generate a stream of cryptocurrency as a reward for continuously verifying transactions. The applications for 21's new product in the Internet of Things space, e-commerce, and micropayments could be significant. In a blog post, the company explained: 'Rather than paying a number of different subscription bills, by including the right-sized 21 BitShare with the device one can under many scenarios wholly or partially defray the expense of the cloud service.'
Funding: $US121.1 million from Winklevoss Capital, Pantera Capital, Peter Thiel, Qualcomm Ventures, Data Collective, Khosla Ventures, Yuan Capital, RRE Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz
What it is: For $US99 a month, Vive lets customers get as many blowouts as they want from hair salons in their city. Alanna Gregory, the company's cofounder, had a hard time finding a place to get her hair blown out aside from Drybar, which books up weeks in advance. Instead of taking on the at-home, Uber-for-blowouts market -- where companies like Glamsquad and Priv compete -- Gregory and her cofounder Cristin Armstrong wanted to keep the experience in-salon. Vive has launched in beta in New York City, and follows a similar business model to fitness class subscription service ClassPass: one monthly rate for unlimited sessions.
Funding: None announced
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