Startup News & Analysis

The key purposes behind emerging global companies

Eve Ash /

Graphic with permission from Digital Third Coast and Kempler Industries

A fascinating study has analysed the world’s top 200 startups to better understand what types of businesses are trending and which countries produce them. Conducted by Digital Third Coast, the study categorised businesses based on the product or service they provide end users.

Of the 200, the top represented country was predictably the US (72). This was followed by India (13), Canada (10), Japan/Spain (9), Indonesia (8), France/Russia (6), Australia/Germany/Israel/Sweden/UK (5) and Brazil (4). Startups from 24 other nations rounded out the list. 

The startups were then categorised based on what they delivered to customers. Here’s what was uncovered.

“Find” was the top trend

In the Harry Potterverse, seekers are prized in Quidditch teams, charged with finding and delivering the valuable ball known as the Snitch. Similarly, in commerce, what can be seen right away is that no matter where you live, online startups specialising in seek-and-ye-shall-find, or search-based, functions dominate the list.

Leading the trend are companies like Airbnb and Uber. This is no surprise, perhaps, as customers are continually on the hunt for greater choice and affordability when travelling and determining where they stay, and want this information instantly. 

This makes sense from the perspective of the classic theories underpinning the marketplace — providing that there’s sufficient supply to meet demand.  When demand exceeds supply of course, the price goes up.

Analyse/organise and other trends

Second to “find”, in Indonesia and India, the trend towards buying is strong, whereas in Israel, startups specialising in analysis do well.

The French, it would seem, like to organise just as much as they like to seek. 

Meanwhile, Canadians’ desire to “read” powers the second most successful type of startup in that region, with many businesses delivering services around reading.

Intriguingly, the Australian startup scene was found to be equally divided between digital startups that analyse, create, hire, organise and sell. Meanwhile, Germany shares honours between startups that collaborate, specialise in business infrastructure, share content, find and buy.

Other interesting trends from Digital Third Coast’s analysis:

  • 20% of startups in the top 15 (of the top 200) are business communication tools.
  • 33% in the top 15 help users create or share content.
  • India and Canada produce the most startups after the US, but there are hundreds of thousands more startups we don’t know about from this list alone.

What can SmartCompany readers infer from the above snapshots? 

To be a “thrivalist” startup in the 21st century, there are key factors:

  • Customers are always on the hunt for new information that makes their lives easier and less expensive;
  • The internet delivers a value-chain of information that allows cluey thrivalists to market wares to potentially huge customer and constituency bases (for example, Nation Builder, which allowed France’s President Macron to build a 370-member political party in a month — no more town hall meetings for him!);
  • Online value-chains of information are modern Towers of Babel where opportunities are easily cannibalised by competitors, and security and reliability are at a premium; and
  • An important aspect to being on this list is that Digital Third Coast’s algorithm measures which startups have a strong online presence and well-curated content.

NOW READ: Five ways to inspire creativity 

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Eve Ash

Eve Ash is a psychologist, author, filmmaker, public speaker and entrepreneur. She runs Seven Dimensions, a company specialising in training resources for the workplace.

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