LinkedIn just released the startup edition of its Top Companies list: The 50 Industry Disruptors You Need to Know. While there are several companies on the list you would expect (Uber, Airbnb, Dropbox, etc.), there are other companies you may not have heard of as well. And guess what? They aren’t all from Silicon Valley, nor are they all tech startups.
LinkedIn’s criteria for eligibility to be on this list was that each company has to:
- Be 10 years old or younger
- Have a minimum of 100 employees
- Be independent and privately held
- Have had at least one round of venture-backed funding
Besides the fact that the startups on the list all have funding, major investors, and are growing like crazy, there are other commonalities that are more important. In fact, we think these 6 top traits startups on LinkedIn’s top companies list have in common are pretty telling of their success. If you’re a startup, business owner or wantrepreneur, take note!
1. Top talent
The top 50 startups aren’t just investing in top talent – talent is beating down the door to work for them. When curating this list, LinkedIn looked at which companies were getting lots of job-seeker attention. Employees for some of the startups on this list have actually left major companies to go work for them. Uber is one example. Uber has taken quite the beating in the press for shady business practices and sexual harassment suits; and yet, people are still leaving tech giants like Facebook and Google to go work for them.
Takeaway: Hiring “A Players” is key.
2. Amazing culture
Taking care of business means taking care of employees. Beyond hiring “A Players,” you’ve got to create a culture that makes top talent want to work for you. Culture is about more than nap rooms and pool tables. If you look at the companies on this list, they’ve all found unique ways to welcome new employees, offer fun and flexible benefits, and give them a workplace they can be proud to come to each day.
At Flexport, they do “lunch roulette,” where employees go to lunch with coworkers they don’t see regularly. At WeWork, new employee orientations include citywide scavenger hunts that familiarize them with the area and WeWork’s multiple locations. The scavenger hunts end in a “Thank God It’s Monday” dinner for the entire staff. Now that’s how you get employees to stop hating Mondays!
Takeaway: Spend time creating an amazing culture and you will have more success and less turnover. Want to know more? Check out our blog about work culture.
These startups are disrupting a wide variety of industries that really need it. We all know Airbnb’s story and how they’re disrupting the hospitality industry. Who are the other disruptors who may not be as well known?
Convoy is disrupting the trucking industry by helping companies optimize their supply chains. Aryaka Networks is taking on telecom giants like AT&T by providing a networking option with zero hardware and a pay-as-you-use model. Katerra is disrupting the construction industry by taking on the process of subcontracting, making it easier, faster, and more affordable to build. Hyperloop One is in the process of providing a completely new way to travel.
Takeaway: No industry is untouchable. If you see a need, don’t be afraid to get in and shake things up. Want to be disruptive? Read the 4 Key Traits That Every Disruptive Company Has In Common.
In the age of the app, consumers demand simplicity and convenience. That’s what many of these companies provide. For Blend, it’s simplifying the home loan application process. For Opendoor, it’s eliminating the entire real estate listing process. For Slack, it’s communication and collaboration. These companies have taken processes that were once slow and complicated and used technology to innovate and simplify.
Takeaway: User experience is everything. Look for ways to create an awesome user experience out of something that was once dreadful. To find more inspiring UI/UX ideas, check out, “8 UI/UX Design Principles to Make Your Next Project Even Better.”
5. Leading-edge technology
Some of these companies are using leading-edge technology to create new, innovative products and services. For example, augmented reality is a new frontier for apps and mobile websites that few businesses and industries have harnessed yet. But Houzz is using it to help improve the interior design process and increase online purchases.
Another technology on its way to the forefront is machine learning. While machine learning is definitely this year’s buzzword, we haven’t seen many startups use it. Cylance is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to protect companies from malware attacks.
Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to be the first to use new technology. Being ahead of the competition gives you an edge.
6. Solving a major problem
Here’s something all the startups on this list have in common: They’ve found a way to solve a major problem or pain point in their industry. For General Assembly, it was finding a gap in workforce education and filling it. There is a huge need for workforce training in areas like data science and web development, and they’ve filled it with their unique programming.
One major problem we’re all aware of this year (especially after the Equifax breach) is cybersecurity. Five companies on this list provided unique solutions for cybersecurity issues. All five have been very successful, hence their placement on this list.
Takeaway: Solve a problem in a way that your target audience finds valuable.