Startups that matter redefine relationships
Posted on 13th March 2012 by Asi Sharabi -
At Sidekick we’ve got a thing for Startups that Matter. It’s what unite us all here but at the same time it’s quite a contentious idea that stirs some good internal debates.
Matters to who exactly?
What matters to me doesn’t necessarily matters to someone else of course. Yes, we may have a shared thing for purposeful innovation that solves societal problems, or our passion to find markets in places that that aren’t obvious but ‘what matters’ is a tricky concept.
All I can personally say is that if you’re passionate enough about something you should go and do it. If it matters to you, it matters.
I was thinking a lot lately about what makes a good, interesting startup (that matters) and looking at some new businesses that makes me tick I came to realise that what is common to all of these, is that in whichever market they operate, they have redefined the relationships between players in that market.
My real fascination with the web has started when it moved from being a platform for data/information to being a space for people or, put differently, when the web has evolved from being ‘just’ an information superhighway to the connective tissue of society.
The web today is the web of relationships. It’s about extending and strengthening relationships that already exist and allowing the creation of new ones. The web is enabling opportunities to create real value out of those relationships - to make them easier, more valuable and to extend them from the physical to the digital and back again.
If you manage to either strengthen, redefine and/or create new relationships to happen you are probably onto something good - socially, commercially, creatively and sometimes all of the above.
Remember the good old Threadless? The thing that was so cool about Threadless, is that it changed the relationship between a brand and consumers. The brand no longer dictates what it thinks you should wear. The shape of the brand and its products are decided in a three way negotiation between the brand, the designers and the customers. And they’ve done it in a way that makes the whole thing more fun than buying a normal t-shirt. How quickly we got used to that way of doing things? (I know, I could just simply said marketplace or platform but that wouldn’t make my point innit)
Of course any crowdsourced and peer-to-peer platform will have redefined relationships too. Zopa, the pioneer of peer-to-peer landing that redefined our relationship with money and people, or the brlliant Kickstarter which is fast becoming a real alternative to fund your project as it redefined the relationships between audiences, founders, funders and finance.
Airbnb redefines our relationship with our real-estates and with strangers.
Patients-like-me and CureTogether create new and redefine the relationships between people and their health - tens of thousands of patients around the world are already sharing information about symptoms and treatments for hundreds of medical conditions
Good karma clothing as well as various other swap clubs startups redefines our relationships with and sense of ownership to clothing and made sustainable consumption fun
Housebites makes any foodie and aspiring masterchef a local take away spot.
The list goes on...
And finally our very own The Amazings aims to redefine the relationship between society and older people. We want to give every retired individual an opportunity to become micro-entrepreneur by wrapping up their skills and selling them back to the community.