March 16, 2021

The top 50 innovative companies: who made it to the list and for what merits (rating by Fast Company)

Fast Company has published a list of the 50 best innovative companies for the beginning of 2021. Whether Apple or “UI / UX genius” aka Facebook may be offended or not, the picture looks like this.

In the original list, you can expand each of the items, and read the details of achievements for each of the companies.

Top ten companies

  1. Moderna. Everything is clear here: the appreciation is for the development of a vaccine that can be transported relatively easily without ultra-low temperatures.
  2. Pfizer + BioNTech. Like the previous one, but they were officially the first ones (editorial note: messenger RNA technology is a major breakthrough in medical technology, as the MIT recently wrote about)
  3. Shopify: for the opportunity for small businesses to easily launch a basic online store.
  4. SpaceX. There is nothing to comment on: Musk has money, and he's got the inspiration. So he is trying to escape from the planet to help earthlings explore space. Mostly successfully. The place in the list is deserved, even a bit strange that it is only #4.
  5. SpringHill Company: for the ability to create and distribute entertainment content to those creators who find it difficult to break into the entertainment industry on their own.
  6. Epic Games - for bringing a new user experience to the fight against tech giants. Fortnite is mentioned in this ranking as an example. Today it is not just a game, but a whole virtual environment that lives its own life. It even hosts concerts with millions of visitors.
  7. Netflix - This streaming service made the list not because of its content, but because it pays attention to its audience needs, listening to the voices of all genders, races, colors, and generations.
  8. Tock is a reservation and delivery service for cafes and restaurants. For small and medium-sized businesses, the solutions like this in 2020-2021 help to keep them afloat.
  9. Microsoft: for active innovations in the organization of workplaces, for developing emergency response systems for natural disasters, for a number of environmental initiatives (for example, a plan to remove all carbon emissions by 2050). We periodically check Bill Gates' blog and LinkedIn account, where he is actively promoting eco-projects. So, just as in the case of SpaceX, we wonder why MS hasn't got a higher position in the top 50.
  10. Graphika is an analytical company that was included in the list for actively fighting disinformation (from detecting electoral manipulation to finding distorted facts about COVID-19).

In order to not turn the text into a long roll of all 50 companies, we will mention just a few more interesting companies, which made it to the top thanks to their interesting business models. There was a demand for them in society and market niches, so they took their chances. So, Peloton and Zwift actively took up a healthy lifestyle. Both companies focus on exercise bikes and customer engagement in home workouts and competitions.

Other companies have turned towards local tourism and nature outings under lockdown conditions. For example, the American service for booking camping Hipcamp. Or the Getaway company, which offers to relax in ultra-modern single cabins in the forest (no matter how scary it sounds for horror movies fans). At the time of this writing, the company has 12 locations in the US. 

Snap Inc, the creator of the Snapchat messenger, made it to the top with the introduction of mini-apps. These are third-party applications that run inside the messenger and combine socialization and remote interaction with commercial services and solutions. Businesses have a financial gain, while users benefit from a combination of usefulness and entertainment. For example, virtual fitting rooms (AR) or applications for joint discussion of which movie to watch with the ability to immediately buy tickets. Or a mini-app that uses Computer Vision to recognize and identify objects in the real world directly from Snapchat.

Developers of the popular service for PM Asana ranked 15th. In this case, there is nothing to comment on: the service is well-known, they have 89 thousand companies and 3.5 million users.

Another biotech company that develops COVID-19 tests, Seegene, is in 20th place (55 million test systems sent to 67 countries).

You may have heard about Corning (# 22 on the list) for a long time when the high-tech news talked about their impact-resistant Gorilla Glass. Why, then, is the company on the list for 2020-2021 again? Last year, the company began to pay much more attention not so much to protecting devices from falls but to protect surfaces from scratches. Corning made good progress in this direction, for which they hit the top.

There is another space-related company on the list, besides the brainchild of Elon Musk. These are LeoLabs - the developers of radars for tracking objects in low Earth orbit. Considering that in the next few years the number of satellites in orbit promises to exceed 50 thousand, the company introduced a subscription for customers - satellite owners. This service allows them to track whether their satellite has decided to collapse into the Earth's atmosphere. And in general, these solutions can be helpful to solve the problem of space junk.

There are several companies on the list that are solving food problems. They tend to efficiently cultivate herbal substitutes for dairy and meat products (Puris and NotCo).

Ranked 43rd is cloud data giant Snowflake, whose tools help store, analyze, and extract value from massive amounts of data.

On the 45th place - the personal Make it in Ukraine's favorite - mailing and blogging service with monetization option - Substack. Someday we will write a case study about how we switched to Substack and how much we managed to save by eliminating unnecessary expensive options. More often, people write the other way around: what did they exchange Substack for and why. Yes, it lacks some customization and a number of useful features. But with the tasks that we have set for this platform, it is doing well so far. So we are very happy to have Substack on the list.

At 49, we find the well-known video platform for distance learning, Skillshare. This learning format became extremely popular last year (and you know why). The company currently has 12 million students. Only in 2020 they attracted 3 million users. This is not surprising to us, considering how many courses we got for ourselves since spring 2020.

Instead of a conclusion

The FAANG giants (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google) mentioned in the first paragraph are not only absent from the top 10. They did not make the list at all. A real signal and a reason to think for their management - are they not walking along a familiar track and is it time to come up with a new useful initiative?

Which company do you consider the best innovator? Contact us, leave comments on our LinkedIn posts. We are happy to know your opinion.
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