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15 Entrepreneurs Who Will Make 2015 An Unforgettable Year

15 Entrepreneurs Who Will Make 2015 An Unforgettable Year

BirchBox

New York City

Founders: Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp

katia-beauchamp-and-hayley-barna-launched-birchbox-in-2010
    Photo: Birthbox

    In 2010, these Harvard Business School graduates started Birchbox. First it was just a monthly subscription service delivering personalized items of beauty products right to customers’ doorsteps. Today, the concept has transformed into a physical store in Manhattan, an online service in Canada, a lifestyle guide for men, and a women’s magazine. The two entrepreneurs’ business smarts, along with the combination mentioned above, leveled up Birchbox to an April 2014 valuation of $485 million. The company has delivered millions of boxes and has even expanded to five European countries.

    Chobani

    Location: Norwich, New York

    Founder: Hamdi Ulukaya

    greek-yogurt-boom
      Photo: MIKE GROLL/ASSOCIATED PRESS

      Speaking of rags-to-riches stories, this yogurt mogul’s story is authentic. Growing up in a semi-nomadic family that tended a dairy farm in Turkey is Ulukaya’s telenovela-like story. Before Moving to New York in 1994 to study English and business, he took up Political Science at Ankara University. As the story escalated, he bought a defunct yogurt factory using loans and business incentive grants in 2005. After running the business successfully for some time, he turned billionaire by 2012. Today, the company is set to grow its product line, as well as international reach with a $750 million loan. Definitely, 2015 is the year to watch Ulukaya as Chobani has all the signs of going public.

      In Good Company

      Location: New York, New York

      Founders: Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams

      Adelaide-Lancaster-Amy-Abrams
        Photo: Jezra

        In a nutshell, In Good Company provides a nurturing community that encourages women to work, meet and learn together. The outfit offers office space (part-time and full-time) for its members. It also organizes regular classes and workshops to educate and empower women entrepreneurs. The founders have created a unique business community for female business owners to network and access everything they need for success.

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        Hampton Creek

        Location: San Francisco

        Founders: Joshua Tetrick and Josh Balk

        hampton-creek-josh-tetrick_37758
          Photo: Jeff Minton

          Hampton Creek was launched in 2011. Why is it in the list? The food technology company works hard to discover new ways of utilizing plant produce to make healthier foods. The founders Joshua Tetrick and Josh Balk were blessed to get the nod of some big names to sign on. Names like Li Ka-Shing and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang and they have also recruited a new company VP of Data Science Dan Zigmond. He’s Google Maps’ former lead data scientist. They have four products so far, including Just Mayo and Just Cookies. This may be just the beginnings of something fabulous.

          Houzz

          Location: Palo Alto, California

          Founders: Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen

          houzzfounders2
            Photo: Houzz

            Houzz has offbeat origins: Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen during the planning stage of remodeling their home, got fed up of gathering pages from magazines. So, after awhile, they created an online photo database to ease up things when browsing for photos. Houzz was launched in 2009. Since then, it has developed into a community site that got a $165 million financing in 2014. Presently, this database features more than 4 million images, design articles, and a robust directory of more than 2 million housing professionals. Fans are positive, these figures will absolutely grow in no time.

            Instacart

            Location: San Francisco Founders:

            Brandon Leonardo, Apoorva Mehta, and Max Mullen

            Apoorva_20
              Photo: Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

              I’m pretty sure you remember the food delivery service called Webvan. It didn’t really do well; partly due to the fact that too much money went into developing its infrastructure. However, in business, as they say — timing is everything — and this made way for Instacart’s success, at least, partly. Thought of as Uber of online grocery shopping, it uses the universality of people with cars and smartphones. Since orders come in, usually, with a request for products from different locations, car drivers purchase the specific grocery items and deliver them. Instacart operates in fifteen metropolitan areas nationwide and is looking to expand across the U.S..

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              LittleBits

              Location: New York City

              Founder: Ayah Bdeir

              Ayah_10
                Photo: TED Talks

                3D printing and the maker movement is getting so popular these days. Naturally, LittleBits, maker of modular electronics is taking off. The outfit offers kits for those who want to build everything from motors, light sensors, pressure sensors, or even entire coding bundles. All color-coded components magnetically and exactly snap onto another. It’s actually legos for adults — except this year, these legos are now also cloud-enabled. They also have their own app store called BitLab.

                Pinterest

                Location: San Francisco

                Founders: Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp, and Ben Silbermann

                tech_pinterest48__01__600
                  Photo: Bloomberg Businessweek

                  What, you haven’t heard of Pinterest? You must have lived in Mars for years if that’s the case. This social media site has about 40 million monthly active users. Pinterest users “pin” photos and videos to “pinboards” on their account’s pages in hopes of discovering similar things. By creating virtual storefronts that link to purchase links, businesses can join the pinning rave too. Presently, the company has a $225 million of equity funding secured in 2013. Today, Pinterest is estimated to have a $5 billion value.

                  Passion Planner

                  Location: San Diego, California

                  Founder: Angelia Trinidad

                  angelia_resized
                    Photo: The UP Lab

                    It’s a no-brainer that a woman who devotes her time helping other people to pursue their passion caught our eyes. Angelia initially created Passion Planner (a portable life coach, organizer, and a daily dose of inspiration, all within a planner) in 2013. Two crazily successful Kickstarter campaigns later, she delivered more than two thousand Passion Planners in just 20 days and in most probability will continue to change the habits of hundreds and thousands of people in the coming years.

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                    Quirky

                    Location: New York City

                    Founder: Ben Kaufman

                    Quirky (10)
                      Photo: Quirky

                      Whenever you watch TV, there’s a big chance you’ll see Quirky’s Robot Butler ads — the one that promotes the fruits of its close to two years partnership with GE (General Electric) to develop and ultimately come up with smart products that are programmable from remote locations. But, this company that has been founded by Ben Kaufman is not comfortable keeping still. After running a reality TV series bearing its name, it opened another office and has informed the public about its plans to build a mini-factory in San Francisco.

                      Rent the Runway

                      Location: New York City

                      Founders: Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss

                      jennifer-hyman-jennifer-fleiss-10
                        Photo: Guest of a Guest

                        Also Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman, and Jennifer Fleiss started Rent the Runway in 2009. The company aims to give regular Janes a chance to wear designer clothes minus the intimidating price tag. Currently, Rent the Runway has a strong nationwide presence and has stylists ready to answer queries via email, phone, and live chat. The company got $54 million in venture capital in 2013 and has grown to handle 250 employees, 200 designer partners, and more than four million customers.

                        SLACK

                        Location: San Francisco

                        Founder: Stewart Butterfield

                        Slack founder
                          Photo: kris krüg

                          Stewart Butterfield could be the most successful accidental-entrepreneur of this generation. He’s mainly known as the co-founder of photo-sharing site Flickr, which is a result of his attempt at creating a game called Game Neverending. After a while, he set out to make another game called Glitch–and, again, accidentally ended up with Slack, the group communications software. In just eight months it transformed into a $1.1 billion dollar company minus a single advert. Slack got its first chief marketing officer in November, which might be a sign that the company with over 73,000 paid users (the group includes eBay, PayPal, the Wall Street Journal, NBCUniversal, HBO and several more) is, at last, ready to have a big start.

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                          Snapchat

                          Location: Venice, California

                          Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown

                          evan_spigiel_bobby_murphy
                            Photo: Lucas Jackson, Reuters

                            Snapchat has only been running since September 2011. Many people find that hard to believe. The business’ seemingly omnipresent mobile app provide a platform for users to send time-bombed photos and video, and here’s my fave part — it gives users the option to add text and/or drawings. If I say it has absolutely made headlines, it’s an understatement. The company’s founder controversy has prompted Reggie Brown to fight, on the legal route, for recognition; the 2013 revelation that Spiegel still resides in his father’s mansion and another one — the global shocker — the rebuff of Facebook’s buyout offer worth $3 billion! Spiegel ultimately transferred to his own house in the middle of November, and despite the general disagreement of the business world and the masses, holding out on Facebook’s offer turn out to be a wise step for the company. Valued at $10 billion, Snapchat is definitely a company to watch this year.

                            Square

                            Location: San Francisco

                            Founders: Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey

                            Jack Dorsey_LH
                              Photo: JD Lasica

                              There’s a big possibility that you have run across a Square device one time or another, especially if you frequent food trucks or maybe mobile small business. Noticed that tiny piece of plastic that allows customers to swipe credit cards on smartphone or tablet? It has been transformed to be joined by an iPad docking system. Basically, it’s become a full cash register (minus the cash). The company that is co-founded by Jack Dorsey–also the co-founder of Twitter–has been around for five years and has more than 600 employees to date. Today, Square has a value of at least $6 billion. And last summer, the company informed the grapevine about its intentions to join the food-delivery market by purchasing a startup named Caviar.

                              Walker & Co

                              Location: Palo Alto, California

                              Founder: Tristan Walker

                              tristan-walker-image
                                Photo: Mashable for Gap and Courtesy of CODE2040

                                Walker & Co. are making people of color happy with its health and beauty products specifically manufactured for them. Founder Tristan Walker, who started the company in 2013, made headlines recently by getting rapper Nas as one of its investors. As you can see by now, this is not an ordinary startup. With the goal of becoming the ‘Procter & Gamble for people of color,’ Walker formerly of Foursquare, managed to raise $6.9 million funding from a group led by Andreessen Horowitz. Bevel, the company’s first product, is a shaving system for people with thick, coarse curly hair. It’s also the company’s sole product, that’s the reason why this year could be a make or break year for Walker and Co..

                                Featured photo credit: Entrepreneur/American English University via Http

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                                Last Updated on February 11, 2021

                                10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                                10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

                                Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

                                You have to work hard to develop the right skills

                                If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

                                1. Make your presentation short and sweet

                                With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

                                JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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                                2. Open up with a good ice breaker

                                At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

                                • Joking
                                • Tugging on their heart strings
                                • Dropping a bombastic statement
                                • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
                                • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

                                You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

                                3. Keep things simple and to the point

                                Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

                                4. Use a healthy dose of humor

                                Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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                                It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

                                5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

                                Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

                                6. Practice your delivery

                                Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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                                7. Move around and use your hands

                                Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

                                8. Engage the audience by making them relate

                                Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

                                9. Use funny images in your slides

                                Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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                                10. End on a more serious note

                                When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

                                As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

                                Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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