Who to Watch: Fast Growing Start Ups of 2015

There’s no denying that 2014 was an exceptional year for start-ups. The question is, will we see the same level of growth in 2015? It may be too early to tell for sure. However, since we are nearing the end of the first quarter, there are a few companies who have piqued the interest of both investors and technophiles alike. Let’s take a look at the most promising start ups of 2015, what they do, who they are, and who is bankrolling them. Entrepreneurs should pay especially close attention to this list, as they might find inspiration for their own startup ideas.

Wish

Founded by Danny Zhang and Peter Szulczewski, Wish is a mobile application made for lovers of online shopping. It combines a friendly user interface reminiscent of Pinterest with a more streamlined approach. Wish tailor’s the shopping experience of each user by presenting only items that are likely to interest them. Apparently, the idea of a sales experience enhanced by an algorithm is an exciting thing. If current negotiations go as planned, Wish will end this year with a billion dollar valuation.

Illumio

Several events that have happened over the past twelve months have highlighted the importance of data security in the cloud. Cue the entrance of Illumio, a security firm that specializes in keeping cloud data out of the wrong hands. Thus far, this Sunnyvale, California company has secured over forty million dollars in startup funding. They’ve also, perhaps more importantly, secured Microsoft head John Thompson as a board member.

Slack

Anyone with an interest in enterprise applications needs to follow this startup very closely. Slack’s technology enables users within a business to communicate with each other via messaging and chat. The app even includes file sharing capabilities. The founders have managed to raise nearly two hundred million dollars in investment funds from partners like, Google Ventures, and Accel Partners. Slack has earned the label of one of the fastest growing startup companies of all time.

Anaplan

Who would have ever thought that Excel would ever be unseated as the “go-to” financial planning tool of the corporate world? Well, if predictions are correct, that may very well occur in 2015. Anaplan has raised nearly 145 million dollars in funding from industry giants such as Salesforce and Workday. This cloud-based financial software package is going to do amazing things over the next nine months.

Instacart

Having raised an amazing 154 + million dollars, Instacart is definitely a company to watch. Founded by Max Mullen, Apoorva Mehta, and Brandon Leonardo, this company performs a simple, yet proven service. Customers utilize Instacart to order groceries and other items for delivery to their homes. However, unlike other similar delivery services, Instacart delivers in less than sixty minutes. Major retailers such as Whole Foods and Costco are already on board. Funding sources include Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

DataGravity

Considering Paula Long’s amazing resume, it’s no wonder that DataGravity has made this list with her in the role of Chief Executive Officer. DataGravity, head quartered in Nashua, New Hampshire is a tech startup that has turned the world of data storage on its ear. Like other similar services, companies can use this technology for data storage, security, and access. Unlike other services, DataGravity uses smart technology to inform business principals about who the fonts of knowledge are within the company along with providing other useful information. At this point, investments in DataGravity are closing in on the 100 million dollar mark.

Hampton Creek

Is an egg free world a possibility? If they have their way, the folks at Hampton Creek will make this a reality. This company manufactures an egg free mayonnaise that, according to reviews, tastes amazingly like the stuff people have been slathering on their ham sandwiches for decades. In fact, mayonnaise juggernaut Hellman’s actually brought a lawsuit against Hampton Creek. Founder Josh Tetrick has stated that it is his goal to rid the world of food that has a negative impact on personal health and the environment. It’s clear that many agree with his mission. Hampton Creek has managed to raise 30 million dollars in funds from Khosla Ventures and other groups.

Lynda.com

Who is Lynda? Lynda is Lynda Weinman, the co-founder and name behind Lynda.com. Lynda.com provides corporate training videos covering a wide variety of disciplines to corporations all over the world. Who uses Lynda.com? The majority of companies on the Fortune 500 list. Lynda.com is certainly not the only player in the video-based training niche. They do, however have appealing business models. For a subscription fee of less than forty dollars a month, users have unlimited access to the company’s library of training materials. What do investors think? They are apparently impressed, as Lynda.com has obtained almost 290 million dollars in funding. This may truly be the biggest startup news of 2015.

As 2015 marches on, it will be fascinating to watch the progress of these innovative startups. Their successes can mean far more efficacy for the rest of us.

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