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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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                                Anthony Dejolde

                                TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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                                Last Updated on September 18, 2019

                                11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                                11 Hard Skills That Will Land You More Career Opportunities

                                Are you looking to move up the career ladder? Or maybe you’re tired of having a “job” and want to start looking for a more permanent career?

                                Whatever your motivation, you are going to have to learn some new and different hard skills to broaden your opportunities. After all, there’s a very famous quote that says:

                                “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

                                While the insanity part doesn’t really fit here, the overall message is a good one. If you are looking for a different result (career advancement, more money or even a career instead of a job), it’s up to you to make it happen. This is both the good news and bad news!

                                The good news is that because it’s up to you, you have complete control over it happening. The bad news is that change is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, that’s why we develop routines, and anything that disrupts that routine causes us anxiety. And we will do almost anything to get rid of that anxiety. The overweight person will calm their anxiety by eating that doughnut, the smoker will light up a cigarette to avoid anxiety.

                                What we want to do with this article is to give you the hard skills you’ll need to reduce that anxiety so you can move up that corporate ladder, make more money or have career instead of just a “job.”

                                The following hard skills are essential to learn if you want to advance your career. They may not be easy to take up, but definitely worth your effort of learning:

                                1. Cloud Computing

                                “Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet “the cloud” to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.” Microsoft[1]

                                There are many different jobs available in the cloud computing world today. They range from architects and developers to data scientists, security pros. Each job is its own specialty and requires a high level of specification for advancement.

                                This is definitely a hard skill that requires education. But if the tech world and computers are your thing you can make cloud computing a lucrative career.

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                                2. Data Mining and Statistical Analysis

                                Again, these are highly specialized fields. Data mining is defined as using large sets of data to look for anomalies and other patterns that can be used to predict future behavior.

                                Amazon is probably the best known company to use data mining. Have you ever noticed that when you buy something at Amazon, you’ll see a little ad at the bottom that says “customers who bought this also bought…”and it lists 2-3 other items? All of that information comes from data mining, by examining the millions of sales amazon makes they can predict that if you buy item #1 there is a high likelihood that you will buy one of the other items too. T

                                his not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also serves as a reminder for you that you may need these additional items for your project. This is very valuable information and has a wide range of uses. Although it has a bad reputation and evil sounding name, it is a very useful tool for maximizing productivity and sales.

                                3. Data Management

                                All companies today deal with a ton of data! Being able to manage that data in an efficient manor is not only highly prized, but a necessity.

                                We all have these things on our desks called computers. Unless there is a need for a paper copy, almost all of our data is computerized. Meaning that, in theory it is all at our fingertips. Being able to organize that data so that it’s easily and quickly retrievable is why computers are replacing filing cabinets!

                                However, just like the old fashion filing cabinet, data management on a computer is only good if it’s well organized. You want to make sure that you are keeping your data well organized so that it’s easy to find when needed. This is a skill that comes easily to some people (are you a person that makes lists? Good!) but with others it will be a skill that needs to be practices. Make sure that this is a discipline you master.

                                4. Scheduling

                                Being able to make and keep to a schedule is a very useful tool in both business and life. Effective scheduling means that you can prioritize projects, understand the tools needed to get the job done on time and that you are organized enough to lead people.

                                An important point here is to write things down! Whether it’s in an old fashion daily or weekly organizer or in a PDA. Have a copy of your schedule available at your fingertips at all times.

                                5. Financial Skills

                                These are especially important when looking for that promotion. The higher up the ladder you go, the more you’ll have to deal with things like accounting, budgeting, financial planning and cash flow management.

                                While you may not need to be an expert at all of these, you should have a good grasp of all of them. This is where taking a few night classes at your local community college is a good idea. You don’t need to become an expert, but brushing up on these skills will help you tremendously.

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                                6. Research Skills

                                These are important in all aspects of life, but especially in your work-life.

                                Are you looking for that first job out of school? Nothing impresses a boss or hiring manager more than someone who has researched the company. Trust me, they deal with people walking in off the street everyday looking for a job, but managers and owners need to see the value in hiring (or promoting) you.

                                So do your research and have some company specific questions ready to ask. Show that you are interested in working for that company or that position and not just “a” job or the “promotion” because you have seniority or need the money.

                                If it’s a promotion that you are after, never bad mouth the previous occupant. Instead pick out an example that he/she was good at and explain how you would like to use or expand that policy and how it would enhance the policy changes you’d like to make.

                                If it’s a new job you’re going for, then make sure to have some company specific questions ready to show that you have done your homework for the new position.

                                7. Marketing Skills

                                While marketing a companies products or services has always been a highly sought after skill. In today’s world, it can take on several different forms.

                                Some of the marketing skills that are highly sought after today include, SEO, Search Engine Optimization, SEM, Search Engine Marketing and marketing campaign management. Familiarity with Google Analytics as well as Word Press are also valuable.

                                While traditional marketing and branding were focused on advertising and selling. Almost all marketing efforts now a days are focused on the internet.

                                8. Network Security Specialist

                                Again, this is a highly skilled position that requires specialized training. But the amount of data that all companies store is significant, and if that data is leaked or stolen, it can costs them millions of dollars in both lost revenue and lawsuits.

                                So, if you have an interest in network security you will find the field both lucrative and stable.

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                                9. Communication Skills

                                At first glance, communication skills may not look like it fits into the category of “Hard Skills” that can help you succeed. But in this ever shrinking world where companies can do business from almost anywhere, communication is more and more important.

                                Are you bilingual? It really doesn’t matter what language you speak, there’s a company out there looking for someone who speaks that language.

                                10. Computer Programming

                                I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that computers are going to be around for a while! As both the hardware and software get more advanced, the need for computer programming is only going to increase.

                                11. Graphic Design

                                As of 2018, there were 4.37 million new websites launched.[2] A good number of them will fail because they just aren’t interesting enough visually. The use of templates and replicated websites is only making the problem worse.

                                Part of the way Google ranks sites is through originality, this almost ensures that replicated sites will never get ranked through Google. So the more original your site is, the more likely people will visit and actually spend time there.

                                That is what a good graphic designer does. Takes your basic idea and turns it into a website that people actually want to visit.

                                Embrace the Anxiety That Comes with Change

                                You know it’s going to be there, you know that you’ll want to give up as you’re learning these new skills but, you’ll also know that the end result is worth the journey.

                                Here’s a little trick when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

                                Have you ever met an ex-smoker who was sorry they quit? An ex-drinker or drug user that said life was much better before they quit? These people have gone through some of the most difficult challenges humans can go through including weeks, if not, months of intense physical withdrawal symptoms. They did it because they knew that the pain and anxiety they would experience would ultimately get them to a much better life.

                                Now what was that complaint you had about attending night-school?

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                                This is the part everyone hates, everyone thinks night-school, adult education and just generally giving up family and/or spare time. While those are certainly possible ways to develop the necessary skills, they aren’t the only way.

                                You’ll want to check with your human resources department because depending on the company, a certain degree maybe required in order to even be considered for a position. In those cases, night-school, on-line or some other form of adult education maybe your best route.

                                But as long as a degree isn’t required, then your options are wide open.

                                Let’s just say that you’re a sales person interested in becoming the sales manager but, the territory you’ve been given will never produce the sales figures that would make you stand out as a good candidate for sales manager. So how about you start your own side business (don’t compete with your company), but let’s say you enjoy golf.

                                In this day and age, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to sell products on-line and even set you up with your own website. So you start a site selling golf equipment and accessories (don’t worry, you won’t even have to carry inventory or worry about shipping).

                                Now, when that sales manager spot opens up, you can explain that even though other salespeople had better numbers than you, it had nothing to do with your sales ability, it was more of a consequence of the territory your were given.

                                And to prove it, you brought in some information about a side business, you started showing that you’re on target for a sales growth rate of 30% this year. And because you had to do all of the marketing for the business, you came up with some marketing strategies that you can bring to the new job (built-in experience).

                                The Bottom Line

                                We’ve put together these 11 hard skills as a way to give yourself a “leg up” on the competition. We’ve tried to make this a mixture of both skills that require a great deal of training, and also ones that you can work on and develop by yourself.

                                We know that not everyone is cut out to be a cloud computing expert, but we also know that working on and having good scheduling skills will make you a much more desirable candidate for the position!

                                We also don’t want you to discount the idea of a “side hustle“. Especially for people new to the workforce, having a business that you have started and run successfully shows potential employers that you have initiative, scheduling skills and ambition which can put you well ahead of your competition!

                                As usual, we hope you found this article both enjoyable and informative. If you did, may we ask that you share it with your family and friends through social media. It really does help us and is greatly appreciated!

                                More Skill to Help Advance Your Career

                                Featured photo credit: Kyle Sterk via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Microsoft Azure: Cloud Computing
                                [2] Netcraft: December 2018 Web Server Survey

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