Startups are absolutely everywhere, and there seems to be an indie business for every niche and vertical. Some do better than others, and some that didn’t even exist a few years ago are already household names with millions and sometimes billions of dollars of revenue each and every year. It’s super impressive and kind of scary to think about! So, here are the 25 most successful startups of the last decade. Let’s dive in and find out more.
Here are the 25 most successful startups in the last decade
The NFL is big business in the US and is rapidly spreading across the world with games being played in London, UK every year as a part of the schedule. DraftKings capitalized on the fan participation angle with their fantasy football platform. The difference is that DraftKings let users bet real money on their fantasy teams with data given in real-time. Back yourself and build the ultimate team.
Education startups are big businesses, especially if you’re working in the coding or developer space. Udacity combined these two ideas to offer meaningful short courses that upskill you and prepare you for new and exciting jobs in tech.
New media was definitely living its best life in the past decade or so. Covering Eater, The Verge, The Cut, and more, Vox runs magazines, websites, video channels, and a whole host of media entities. Although they’ve had some issues recently, their overall brand remains one of the most successful startups in the last decade.
Meal prepping can be a hassle and a lot of different startups have gone into the prepared meal delivery space, but the first one to do so was Blue Apron, and it’s made a huge impact. It’s brought great convenience and tasty recipes to so many different people across the world, helping people learn how to cook!
Celebrity-fronted startups often do well because the marketing is already built in. So, Jessica Alba’s all-natural cleaning and baby product company was bound to do well, but it surpassed all expectations, filling a much-needed niche in the sustainable baby sector.
Not to be confused with the Awards Ceremony, Oscar is actually a health insurance company that wants to simplify the process and make it accessible for more people. The backing from different venture capital schemes gained it the coveted Unicorn status, meaning that it’s definitely one to watch moving forward as it launches across more and more states.
Ride-sharing apps are a part of many of our daily lives, especially in big cities, so it’s mad to think that they didn’t really exist a decade ago. Lyft was often seen as the lesser version of Uber, but it’s gaining a bigger following as drivers and customers leave Uber. In fact, many
drivers work across both apps.
Buy in bulk for cheap and sell on for an affordable rate. That’s essentially what Wish set out to do. With so many weird and wonderful things on their site, and selling worldwide, it kind of took over the world. There have been a lot of jokes about the quality of the products though…
No one likes admin tasks in business like HR and payroll, but they’re necessary evils to keep a business going. Zenefits created a platform that takes care of all of this with minimal effort or input needed from the user themselves. It’s grown exponentially and has changed the game for small businesses that are looking to grow.
It may not be the most used social media platform anymore, but Snapchat had a powerful hold over us for a hot minute. Having a photo-based platform where the images disappear after a few seconds was an intriguing concept, as were Snapmaps for a while, but there
were a lot of ethical questions surrounding the app, and slowly people are moving elsewhere.
Staying in other people’s houses seemed like a bizarre concept that only really existed in The Holiday before the mega platform Airbnb exploded onto the travel scene. Used by people with holiday homes, people with spare rooms, and existing hostels and hotels to get rid of spare rooms, it’s a one-stop shop for homey, spacious holiday accommodation.
Let’s be honest, not every business can go to venture capitalists and get funding the way bigger companies do. Artists, creatives, and small niche businesses need funding too, and Kickstarter opened the door for crowdsourced funding. You contribute to their business and you get an exclusive gift or extra in return if they reach the funding goal. Everyone wins!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two or three years, you’ll have heard of TikTok. Essentially it allows you to create short videos, remix your friends, and be part of challenges and communities. From fun dance routines to recipes to activism and more, it has it all.
Who hasn’t lost hours of their lives mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest, adding destinations, interior design, food, style, and more to their various boards? A digital mood board with links and a social aspect, the platform recently added shopping, ads, and video to the dashboard to make it even more interactive.
Contactless payments are pretty much a necessity at this point now. Square saw that many independent businesses and charity organizations didn’t have the infrastructure for card machines and the hefty fees. Enter the tiny Square tap and go. Even street performers use these at this point!
Sharing files used to be a massive hassle with email attachments having a low limit. Creatives needed to collaborate and Dropbox helped solve that problem, creating cloud storage and sharing across borders. Although there are a lot of similar products out there now, Dropbox was one of the first big names to properly bring file sharing to the masses.
We’ve spoken about ride-sharing with Lyft, and arguably, Uber is the bigger name in the space. With the launch of Uber Eats going head to head with food delivery giants like Deliveroo and Postmates, this business keeps adapting and coming in strong. Rumors are they’re committing to grocery deliveries next, focusing on smaller convenience stores for all those last-minute necessities.
Payment protection has never been more important with more and more of us shopping online. Stripe enables transactions to run smoothly all around the world, dealing in multiple currencies and across borders. Chances are if you buy anything online, Stripe is probably involved in the transaction somehow – especially if you’re using !
Who doesn’t love listening to music or podcasts when you’re on the move? Spotify is super popular for letting people make their own playlists and downloading them on the Premium version. Although there are some issues with paying artists, it remains one of the most
popular audio streaming platforms.
The gaming industry has exploded over the last decade or so. Although most people think of Steam for PC-based gaming, Epic Games is fast becoming the go-to online platform, thanks to the success of Fortnite. Let’s be honest, it’s one of the biggest games ever released and it was Epic Games’ baby, boosting the profile of the platform overall.
Whether you love it or hate it, Slack has transformed how we communicate at work. Bringing a more casual edge to projects, meetings, and to-do lists, the notification sound of this app will bring trauma to many of us. Join a channel, have subsections for different departments or have one-to-one messaging – Slack gives you plenty of variety.
Regardless of what Elon might do next, Twitter has been massive for giving bite-sized updates across the past decade. From breaking news to fads to controversy, Twitter has covered a lot and continues to do so!
As one of the most used and beloved social media apps across the world, Instagram has brought visual media to the forefront. Now owned by Meta (Facebook and co.), we’re seeing more and more features being added every month, borrowing from other apps to make Instagram more comprehensive. From shopping lookbooks to sharing TikTok-style reels, to having disappearing stories like Snapchat, Instagram is a collection of the different innovations social media has become famous. It’s also opened up a whole new influencer
career path for many people. It’s a huge business.
Discord is fairly new and niche at the moment. It’s based on the idea of community channels that you can join and talk in forum style. You can join loads of different ones, they can be public or private, and you can stream live gameplay, connecting it to your Steam account. It’s super popular in the gamer world and among student societies and fan culture, but whether it expands into the next big social media platform remains to be seen.