Billion Dollar Startups Save People Money

Jayme Hoffman
6 min readJan 23, 2017


Sarah Tavel put together a great post and presentation on how successful startups save people money.

Here are a few more ways I think we can save people money and startups that are currently helping.


33% of consumer spending


The biggest purchase you’ll ever make is tedious and expensive. Discovery is better but the transaction is far from seamless. Rent is expensive, especially for low-income.


Getting the best loan, gathering all your documents and getting the lender to close is painful and cost a lot of money. There should be alternative ways of liquidating equity in your house. Andreessen Horowitz had a good podcast on this.

  • Landed: crowd-funded teacher loans.
  • Sindeo: compare thousands of loans
  • Point: sell a percentage of your home.


Utilities are far from friendly. It’s tough to save when there’s no usage transparency. There should be more smart tools that help consumers save effortlessly.


Enabling long-term relationships ( not just discovery ) between consumers and pros is key. It’s still more painful and expensive than it should be to get a good pro out to your house.

Home Insurance

Home insurance is expensive, lacks personalization and traditional home warranties aren’t good.

  • Lemonade: text 4 home/rent insurance.
  • Super: subscription care for home ( home warranty 2.0 ).

Furniture / Equipment

Furniture is big, expensive and hard to liquidate. Appliances should track, predict usage to help you save.

  • Hutch: on-demand furnishing.
  • Nebia: water-saving shower.
  • June Oven: Easy-bake Oven with AI.
  • Echo: search engine for your home.


18% of consumer spending


Buying a car is expensive and a lot of work. It should get easier to find, buy and insure a vehicle. Also, people shouldn’t have to drive. The time-savings will be epic ( $160 Billion ).

  • Uber: tap a button, get a ride.
  • Beepi: buy a car online and get it delivered instantly.
  • Tesla: the future.
  • Metromile: pay-per-mile insurance.

Fuel / Maintenance

No one should have to go to a gas or charing station. Cars are idle most of the time. Maintenance should come to the car when it’s sitting around.


The flying experience isn’t good. Security check-points, layovers and waiting in lines take a lot of time. It will, in many cases be quicker and cheaper to jump in your self-driving car.


14% of consumer spending

Eating at home

Figuring out what you’re going to eat is still hard. Meal plans, grocery lists and food delivery should work together to save food and time.

  • Ando: Chinese takeout + Uber.
  • Gobble: easy-to-make dinners in a box.
  • Instacart / Shipt: grocery delivery.
  • Soylent: meal replacement drink.
  • Ibotta: coupons 2.0.

Eating out

Restaurant decisions are often made last minute. It should be easier for slow restaurants to connect with hungry consumers looking to save.

Pension / Personal Insurance

11% of consumer spending

Personal Insurance:

Life insurance is old, impersonal and difficult to understand. It should be easier to get what you need and much more flexible.

  • Ladder: modern life insurance.
  • Trov: on-demand insurance for all your stuff.
  • Sure: micro-duration insurance.


8% of consumer spending

Health Insurance

The future of health insurance is complicated and uncertain.

  • Oscar: modern health insurance.
  • Stride: find and compare health insurance.

Medical Services

There’s little transparency in the services you consume. Finding a doctor and scheduling an appointment is still painful. Telemedicine should work better alongside your local doctors. Patients proactively research and have a good idea of what’s going on with their body. It should be easier for doctors and patients to work together.


Prescription drugs are expensive, lack personalization and cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. There should be more cost-effective options that are tailored for our health. Drug development should get cheaper. We also need to do a better job of building in safeguards to protect consumers from abuse.


5% of consumer spending — more facts here


Discovery is hard. Connecting consumers and creators should get better.


Music startups are tough.


Console games are expensive. Casinos and lottery costs society a lot of money.


Communication is cheap but there still isn’t anything that beats face to face. AR/VR will help.


Pet ownership is hard and expensive.


Toys should do a better job of incorporating popular themes ( Princesses / Heroes vs. Bad guys ) with learning.


3% of consumer spending

Daily clothes cost a lot of time ( 16min per day ) and money. It should be more acceptable to wear the same thing or have an outfit chosen for you. Access to underutilized or special-occasions inventory should get better.

Cash Contributions

3% of consumer spending

Donations should be treated with the same level of scrutiny as investments. “What’s the roi and how big can this get?”


2% of consumer spending

Student debt

Student debt in the U.S. is at $1.2 trillion and growing. The average student will graduate with over $30k in loans…

Online learning

Certified online universities are expensive. Getting same level of recognition for MOOCs and online courses as traditional EDU should get better.


1% of consumer spending

Drinking at home

Bottles are nice some nights but wasteful others. Single serve and replenishment should get better.

Drinking out

Every college kid wants to start a bar startup… Experience should get better for loyal bar customers. Maybe blockchain for your local pub? Enable everyone to own a piece of their pub.

  • Beerme: no more waiting at the bar for a drink.

Personal Care

1.2% of consumer spending

Traditional products have big margins and lack personal experiences.
E-commerce should continue to provide 10x value for much less.


0.2% of consumer spending

Fake news is rampant, quality journalism struggles to coexist with ads and It’s tough to digest everything on the go. Someone will make affordable reading mutually beneficial to readers and writers.


Please comment below if you have ideas on how we can help people save or if your startup is tackling these problems.

Thanks for reading!