Disruption fuels growth, especially in industries ripe for evolution. Without disruptive innovations, we’d be without many modern conveniences. This is why it’s so exciting when companies focus on out-of-the-box solutions and they emerge into the marketplace.
Not all disruptive innovations gain traction, of course. Some disruptions are ahead of their time. Others just aren’t appealing to a wide enough market. However, there are plenty of recent startups that appear to be getting disruption just right.
Below are a few standout disruptors that are shaping their respective industries with unique products, services, and approaches.
1. Guild Education: Free Upskilling
One of the biggest barriers facing people is how to get an education without incurring an overwhelming amount of debt. Many individuals who would love to learn and upskill simply can’t because of cost. This leaves them less attractive to potential employers as well as unable to realize their career goals.
To help bring pertinent education to more lifelong learners, Guild Education has become a conduit for free upskilling and reskilling. Guild Education works with employers to identify courses and classes appropriate for their workforce populations. The employers underwrite the cost to attend sessions, allowing interested employees to apply to become students. The model takes away the need for personnel to pay out of pocket to gain knowledge.
Guild Education’s strategy has attracted the attention of and commitment from many well-known corporations and educational partners. These include big names like Walmart, Chipotle, the University of Massachusetts Global, and Penn Foster. The hope is that Guild Education will open doors for adults who might otherwise never reach their full potential.
2. CitizenShipper: Private, Vetted Shipping
When you want to ship something valuable or beloved, which carrier or method do you trust? That’s a big question—and one that’s hard for a lot of people to answer. Shipping treasured packages—including furry friends like dogs and cats—requires a special touch. There’s no room for error.
CitizenShipper has solved this problem by becoming the connection point between people who want private shipping services and vetted drivers. The company’s site allows users to post their shipping needs and then receive competitive bids from transporters. Shippers choose their preferred bidder and arrangements are made to transport an object or animal.
Essentially, CitizenShipper has set itself up as a rideshare-style application for hard-to-ship belongings. It’s obviously filling an unmet gap: To date, more than 77,000 pets alone have been safely transported across more than 100 million miles.
3. Medable: Virtual Clinical Trials
Without clinical trials, we wouldn’t have the life-saving medications and vaccines available today. Yet it has been historically very difficult for a wide swath of potential patients to join trials. A big reason is the challenge of distance. If patients without support or financial means have to travel or temporarily relocate, they can’t participate.
Medable’s team members have found what they believe is a viable workaround: Virtual clinical trials. Medable has designed its system to make it possible for full-blown trials to be conducted online. This helps decentralize the conventional trial system. It also may be a way to speed up trials so therapies can get to market faster.
Medable has only been in existence for about seven years. During that time, it has caught the attention of clinicians and pharmaceutical brands. Medable is even transforming the lexicon involved in clinical trials. For instance, the term TeleCOA (tele-based clinical outcome assessments) is becoming more widely used. Overall, Medable may become one of the most important springboards to launch new treatments into the public eye.
4. Airtable: No-Code App Development
“We need a customized tech solution but can’t afford to pay a developer.” It’s a common mantra across teams, especially ones at smaller businesses. It’s also the impetus for Airtable’s disruptive innovation, the no-code solution to app and software development.
Airtable makes it possible for teams to tailor-make apps to improve their productivity, performance, and workflows. They don’t need to know anything about writing code, though. They can rely on Airtable’s intuitive, visual setup to construct proprietary apps. The result is a platform of integrated apps that provide exactly what a team needs and nothing it doesn’t.
To be sure, Airtable isn’t the only player in the no-code and low-code ecosystem. Quite a number of competitors are removing coding obstacles for clients interested in tech transformations. What sets Airtable apart is its thoroughness. Its site is filled with educational assets and collateral, including informative webinars. Users can easily get more confident with Airtable’s platform.
5. Oura Ring: One-Stop Health Data
Health tracking is gaining momentum and mileage year after year. Consumers spend countless hours—and invest disposable income dollars—on health-focused apps and other products. The only snag is that it can be hard to find one single source of health tracking truth. Instead, users are forced to cobble together disparate solutions to meet their needs.
The Oura Ring is a first-of-its-kind product to remedy this roadblock to integrated wellness. The ring collects health data throughout the day, sending the data into the user’s app. The user can then monitor anything from pulse rate to sleep stages through the ring. Best of all, the ring isn’t a clunky piece of technology. Oura has spent time engineering a fashionable wearable that marries style with practicality.
Oura does require a membership to get the full benefit of its product. Nevertheless, the cost of being a member is minimal at around $5.99 monthly. That may be a small price to pay to take control of one’s health.
Disruptive innovations may evoke images of upheaval and confusion. But when disruption is done well by innovative businesses, it’s a welcome and energizing attribute.