7 Promising Startups to Keep On Your Radar This Year

We live in an age where a new startup seems to pop up every five minutes.

Whether it’s a new social platform, a fresh take on an old technology, or something completely different and unique, there are countless promising companies that seek to transform their corner of the world (or the whole dang thing) one step at a time.

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Photo Credit: Zume Pizza/Instagram

So, what amazing new inventions and innovations will set the world ablaze next? Here are seven promising startups you really need to look out for.

Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress.

– Li Keqiang

1. SafeTrek

After realizing that the emergency blue-light pole telephone system that most college campuses employ wasn’t doing enough to stop crime on university campuses, Zach Winkler and his friends decided to do something about it.

That something is an app called SafeTrek, which can quickly and easily be used on your smartphone to create a record of your exact location and call for help if you’re in distress.

So, how does it work? When in a sketchy situation– such as walking home after work or from the gym, you open the app and place your finger on the screen of your smartphone. The app senses your finger and tracks your location until you reach your location, where you put in a four-digit code to signify that you’re now safe.

If the code isn’t plugged in and you take your finger off the screen for a certain period of time, it immediately marks your last location and notifies local police for help. With over 250,000 users (mostly female) between the ages of 25 and 34, SafeTrek is making the world a safer place.

2. Virtru

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Photo Credit: Breather on Unsplash

Founded by two previously high-ranking security and technology experts, Virtru seeks to make your email communications safer.

Brothers John and Will Ackerly, a former lead of tech policy for the George W. Bush administration and a former engineer for the NSA respectively, combined their expertise to create a solution to the growing privacy concerns the average person in the U.S. faces.

The result was Virtru, an encrypted application that helps users make their email communications safe and secure. The app was created using a technology that Will developed while working for the NSA called Trusted Data Format (or TDF), which makes it more difficult for outside entities to access your information.

And the really cool part? As complicated as this all sounds, the app is super easy to use. If you know how to navigate your email, you’re already good to go. Several big companies have also jumped on board and now use Virtru, including Mount Sinai Hospital, HBO, and some large universities.

3. Zume Pizza

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Photo Credit: Zume Pizza/Instagram

From sunny Mountain View, California, founders Julia Collins and Alex Garden bring robotics to the pizza business. The future of fast-food will never be the same

Zume Pizza is a pizza-delivery service that uses robots to perform certain basic tasks that don’t require human interaction. By automating tasks such as spreading tomato sauce, the entrepreneurs have created a more efficient system for making pizza.

But there’s more: It’s all done in a food truck. That’s right, the entire pizza is cooked and prepared in the truck while on the way to your home for delivery. Each truck has over 56 ovens and can crank out enough pizzas to make continuous deliveries.


Since 2016, Zume’s trucks have delivered over 15,000 pizzas to the Bay area alone, with plans for expansion.

4. MobileQubes

Ever been out when your phone was about to die? Not a great situation, right? But this situation gets 10 times worse if you’re out traveling in unfamiliar territory.

If you haven’t experienced this, good — you don’t want to know the feeling. If you have, you know the terror and frustration that can take over if you can’t figure out your way back.

It was with this problem in mind that founders Sean Carrigan (CEO) and Jason Palmer (COO) created MobileQubes, a network of self-service kiosks that allow you to rent a battery pack for 24 hours for just under $5 (you can even decide to purchase the battery pack for $50 and keep it).

While not yet located in many cities throughout the country (only 300 or so kiosks are up now, mostly along the East Coast), the pair have finalized deals for their “Qubes” to be installed in several major U.S. cities including San Francisco, New York, Miami, and Boston.

The kiosks will be located in airports, hotels, Amtrak trains and other major train stations, as well as other busy transportation-centric areas.

5. Ellevestpowerful-business-woman

Sallie Krawcheck and Charlie Kroll started Ellevest, a digital investing platform designed for women, with one thing in mind: to close the gender gap thanks to personalized investment advice and resources for women.

Krawcheck explains that women’s income tends to peak at different points in life. In addition, their time working is often interrupted during child leave. These factors affect investment goals and the timeline that goes along with that. And there weren’t any great resources out there to help women plan their financial future – until now.

Ellevest provides women with an investment roadmap and creates an optimal plan for maximizing earnings at the right times. There’s no minimum to get started, and fees are very low (with zero percent on emergency funds).

6. Superpedestrian

Superpedestrian is the result of founder Assaf Biderman’s mission to create a super bike that could handle the difficult terrain of many major cities.

While working as the associate director of the SENSEable City Laboratory at MIT, Biderman realized that, while cycling is the best form of transportation in cities, many bicycles are not equipped to handle the difficult terrain of major metropolitan areas.

Biderman created the Copenhagen Wheel, a bike that captures the energy generated while pedaling and breaking to allow the user to tap into boosted pedaling power.

Superpedestrian claims the wheel entirely erases the effort necessary to traverse hills and,  makes biking far more effortless.

7. Pymetricshiring-a-virtual-assistant

Founded in 2013 by Frida Polli and Julie Yoo, Pymetrics combines neuroscience-based games with big data to help companies improve their hiring process– and it’s catching on quickly.

The two founders realized that, despite developments in technology and science over the past several decades, companies were still using the same ineffective methods for screening and hiring new employees. After searching for hiring and career-matching software and finding nothing, they realized they were onto something.

Employers use Pymetrics’ games to qualify candidates in what they say is a more gender and ethnic bias-free method, not only allowing for an improved screening process with regards to matching the ideal candidate, but also promoting equality. The app features games that assess over 50 different cognitive and character-based traits.

Pymetrics says its games are 5 to 10 times more effective than traditional resume reviews and questionnaires. This game-based method could very well be the future of hiring.

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