Posted by Kath Walters on 01 August 2013
They start when others close. They grow when others collapse. They believe when others doubt. They are the innovators – the entrepreneurial companies that inspire us all to believe that dreams can come true. Here’s our list of five outstanding examples of innovative companies.
In the fast-moving world of online retail, brandsExclusive has burst onto the scene with an idea to exploit the growing use of personal mobile devices – an online retail site for impulse buyers. The online shopping club, which was started in 2009 by Daniel Jarosch and Rolf Weber, now has 2.5 million members according to BRW magazine and offers premium footwear, fashion and accessory brands at discount prices. It uses events to drive sales and nearly half of these come via mobile devices.
New companies are always looking for money, and BlueChilli is an innovator when it comes to providing it. The venture capital company’s mission? “We build online start-ups,” its website advertises – and its goal is one a month until it reaches 100 in 2016. It has made 26 investments so far.
A Sydney-based weapons engineer, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, is behind the movement. He left a 10-year career in the navy to start BlueChilli. He employs a 30-strong team of software engineers, web developers, graphic designers and experienced business gurus who work intensively with the startups before raising anywhere from $300,000 to $1 million in capital from private investors and venture capital companies.
LinkedIn currently dominates the professional networking space. In recent years it has reinvented itself from an online CV storehouse to a dynamic community of professionals and recruiters, publishing articles, contributing to discussions and making valuable connections. Features like LinkedIn Today – as well as automated recommendations and connections – have helped it reach more than 225 million members.
Samsung does not deserve its reputation as a “me too” company that simply follows behind Apple. That accusation could be laid against Samsung’s initial Galaxy iterations, although the latest versions stand on their own.
Samsung leads the world in screen technology, TVs, batteries and computer chip design, and early this year the company launched a strategy and innovation centre that will invest US$1.1 billion on innovation.
Historically, Samsung’s approach to research and development is itself innovative. The company forged a long-term partnership with the Russian Academy of Sciences and has used a Russian problem-solving, analysis and forecasting tool called TRIZ, which is derived from the study of patterns of invention in the global patent literature, to save millions of dollars and find hundreds of patentable ideas.
This “social scrapbooking” site is one of the top 50 most-visited sites in America and was recognised as the fastest-growing web service in history a year ago, according to FastCompany. It also has a strong revenue model rivalling that of Facebook and Twitter, with the magazine reporting that “the average purchase [...] nets more than double those off a wall post or a tweet.”
Why? The demographics of its readers – 70 per cent female and a third of all users on salaries exceeding $100,000 – might explain it.
Innovation is not an optional extra in business – it is essential to survival and growth. These companies show that innovation can drive new growth by delivering inspiring new products and services to our community.