Not every startup is destined to succeed. What separates the best from the crowd is often a bit of luck and smart tactics that boost their popularity right out of the gate. The following tech giants started out just like everybody else, but each tapped into something that helped them achieve superstar status.
Tinder – Since its inception in 2012, Tinder has achieved worldwide success to the tune of about 50 million users total and 10 million daily users. Right from the beginning, Tinder was off to a strong start. The founders initially unleashed the app on the student body of the University of Southern California. Within a week they had 1,000 users swiping away. The team chose to focus their attention on enlisting sorority girls as early adopters which appear to be a big part of the driving force behind Tinder’s growth in popularity during the initial stages. Later on, the developers fostered growth by: ensuring the UI was user-friendly, adding third party integration with other social platforms like Facebook, and obtaining celebrity endorsements.
Instagram – After launching in late 2010, Instagram’s developers published a blog post highlighting how their app would solve the problem of lackluster photos shot on a smartphone. Through easy-to-apply filters in a wide range of styles, users would be able to transform dull camera phone pics into works of art. Right off the bat, Instagram offered integration with other social media platforms so users could share their masterpieces to their Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter accounts. Finally, Instagram eliminated lengthy upload times by using smaller file sizes that could transfer instantly. By offering these three key features right at the start, Instagram secured its immediate success which translated to more than 10,000 downloads of the app within hours of release.
Netflix – This company has actually been kicking around since 1997, but it didn’t really cement its iconic status in our cultural landscape until a decade later around 2007. During those 10 years, Netflix made the jump from a DVD subscription service to an online streaming service which allowed users to watch TV shows and movies on their computers. Willingness to evolve and grow helped keep Netflix alive, but what helped it stand out from the pack was being the first streaming service to offer convenience and affordability. Since 2007, the company has focused on adding high-quality content to their repertoire, completing the ultimate trifecta of features that secure user loyalty: convenient access, affordable pricing, and high-quality goods.
Salesforce – Ask any startup team that has achieved success in the last decade or so, who their inspirations are, and Salesforce is bound to make that list. A big factor in this company’s success was having the forethought to focus on customer segments that responded well to their product. From there, Salesforce worked on incorporating feedback from employees and clients to perfect their product. This move turned their primary demographic into a loyal customer base that they could grow from.
Uber – There are a few ridesharing apps out there, but Uber is still on top. It was the little things that helped secure Uber’s reign over its competitors. The company’s approach was simple and fueled by efficiency. Unlike other ridesharing apps that marketed themselves as friendly and personable offering a more laidback experience, Uber offered a more “upscale” experience, like a limo service on a budget. Where consumers responded negatively to the overly friendly and casual demeanor of drivers from other ridesharing apps, Uber’s professionalism and efficiency made users feel more secure and comfortable. Once again, high quality at a good bargain wins out.
The moral of these stories? Traditional business models are not totally obsolete. They just need to be reshaped as technology and culture evolves.
Which was your favorite startup success story? Leave your answer in the comments!