U.S.A.: Disruptors Welcome Here

September 15, 2015

in Plan Your Expansion

Authored by CeeCee Vandiver

U.S.A.: Disruptors Welcome Here

In covering U.S. expansion from all angles, we’ve come to notice that the companies that do best on American shores are the ones that break up the status quo. Even in the U.S., where seemingly every niche is covered, buyers are responding to those that dare to shift the paradigm toward better experiences.

From energy and manufacturing to retail and financial services, long-standing (and even time-honored) practices are being replaced by companies that enter traditional sectors and turn them upside down.

It’s not about having one unique practice or one killer product. Rather, disruption is best displayed in how smaller companies displace the established incumbents in an established industry. A true disruptor’s power is seen in its effects on multiple industries—and its ability to modify what the public perceives as norms.

The U.S. has birthed some of the world’s most innovative companies and products. But rather by having the courage to challenge established practice and reinvent how we do even the most basic things.

While Apple Amazon, and eBay are overused examples of successful disruptors here are a few other impressive of innovative companies that may may not be on your radar, but should be.

1. Warby Parker

By selling vintage-inspired eyeglasses and sunglasses directly to consumers worldwide through its website and 10 brick-and-mortar retail stores around the U.S., Warby Parker can offer high-quality glasses for around $95 a pair. Though the company doesn’t release sales figures, industry experts peg annual revenues at around $100 million.

Since its founding in 2010, the company has embraced its altruistic side. Its research showed that more than 700 million people worldwide lack access to glasses. That’s why the company partners with nonprofits such as VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses it sells, another pair is given to someone in need.

So far, Warby Parker says it has distributed more than 1 million pairs of glasses worldwide.

2. InMobi

Due to the increased presence of mobile tech in everyday activities, many companies are demanding more efficient mobile advertising technology. InMobi sees itself as the answer to this endless demand. It is a global mobile ad targeting network which provides advertising solutions for agencies and advertisers worldwide, posing a threat to tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple.

InMobi will be launching SDK 370 technology which will improve on targeting ad placement on mobile phones, by partnering with mobile app and website publishers.

3. Nest

Nest’s mission is to create simple, beautiful, and delightful hardware, software, and services that control energy usage in the home. Through a wide range of thermostats, smoke and CO detectors, and home security cams, Nest aims to dominate the “Internet of Things” movement currently rising in the U.S.

Co-founded by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010, the start-up company quickly grew to have more than 130 employees by the end of 2012. Seeing the potential in this advancement in smart home technology, Google acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in January 2014.

Today, Nest products are sold in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Belgium, Ireland, and the Netherlands, and are installed in more than 190 countries.

4. HackerRank

The goal of HackerRank is to help companies ask the right questions when they’re interviewing IT professionals. HR professionals are often tasked as the first interview point when companies are bringing on IT staff. The problem is, they often don’t possess the technical know-how to differentiate between an average IT candidate and a great one.

HackerRank gives companies the tools to create programming tests that actually screen for the IT skills a company is looking for. Using the HackerRank platform, a company can post their own coding challenges and use HackerRank’s code checker to determine the best candidate.

The Mountain View, California-based company was started in 2009 by Vivek Ravisankar, a former Amazon engineer, who was involved with interviewing tech candidates at Amazon, and saw how subjective and confusing the process could be.

Investors agree, as HackerRank has pulled in $12.4 million of financing from Khosla Ventures and Battery Ventures since launch.


LISNR (pronounced “Listener”) is a free communication technology app that delivers proprietary “data over audio” to connected smart devices. The company’s service—which uses ultrasonic signals—can turn any speaker or microphone, like those on a smartphone, into a trigger that then delivers relevant messages connected to the sounds around you, whether you’re watching TV, listening to the radio or attending a concert.

By lowering the barrier for proximity-based marketing on mobile devices, LISNR is expanding the opportunity for marketers and brands to target messaging to consumers through relevant mobile connections.

The Cincinnati-based company has raised $4.4 million of equity financing from Mercury Fund, Jump Capital and Sierra Capital since its launch in 2012.

Now, while you can’t create disruption with one solitary innovation, the most disruptive technology companies— which certainly includes startups and SMBs—keep inventing new technologies, and merge existing technologies to create new experiences.

It may take a while for your expanded business to gain competitive advantage in these changing U.S. marketplaces. However, with investment of time, research, and a healthy dose of courage, you can create a serious impact in any competitive niche.

As we’ve said countless times on these pages, when it comes to leveraging technology to expand your business, the U.S. is truly a land of opportunity. And the companies above are just five examples out of thousands of disruptive U.S. success stories.

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