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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 July 18, 2019

                                How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                                How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                                Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

                                However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

                                Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

                                Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

                                There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

                                Better Job Offers

                                Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

                                People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

                                Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

                                You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

                                Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

                                A Shot at Entrepreneurship

                                Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

                                We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

                                13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

                                1. Update Your Resume

                                You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

                                Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

                                While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

                                There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

                                2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

                                Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

                                That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

                                To hone this skill:

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                                Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

                                Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

                                This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

                                How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

                                3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

                                Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

                                Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

                                To hone this skill:

                                Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

                                4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

                                No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

                                Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

                                To hone this skill:

                                Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

                                Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

                                These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

                                The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                                5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

                                Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

                                How to hone this skill:

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                                Practice being resourceful.

                                Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

                                Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

                                No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

                                If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

                                6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                                6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

                                Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

                                The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

                                Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

                                How to hone this skill:

                                Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

                                Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

                                17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

                                7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

                                Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

                                What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

                                How to hone this skill:

                                Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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                                Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

                                5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

                                8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

                                Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

                                Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

                                How to hone this skill:

                                Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

                                Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

                                What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

                                9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

                                How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

                                Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

                                How to hone this skill:

                                Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

                                Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

                                The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                                10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

                                Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

                                How to hone this skill:

                                Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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                                Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

                                What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                                11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

                                Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

                                You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

                                How to hone this skill:

                                All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

                                How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                                12. Build Networks and Relationships

                                You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

                                Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

                                How to hone this skill:

                                Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

                                To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

                                How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

                                Final Thoughts

                                Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

                                You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

                                Happy career switching!

                                More Resources About Career Advancement

                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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