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IS YOUR BUSINESS READY TO GROW?

Make Your Mark

BRILLIANT COMPANIES

IDEAS, PEOPLE, INSPIRATION, RTUNITIESS R RTUNITIE

The Tools to How Traveling LaunchYour Can Transform Business in Days, Your Career Not Months

Master the Exclamation Mark! Write Better Off覺ce Emails!


It’s All About

22 The 100 Brilliant Companies of 2016 Our annual guide to the best new ideas and entrepreneurs who are reshaping the world (and how it does business).

66 Marketing Budget: $0 It sounds too good to be true—so how do companies pull it off? By thinking differently about who does the marketing. By Jason Feifer and Brittany Shoot

76 Strength in Numbers Making the jump from one franchise unit to a multi-unit empire. By Jason Daley

99 Franchises’ Secret Ingredients This year’s top restaurants prove that success is more than simple, fast service. By Tracy Stapp Herold

35 Stacy Spikes of MoviePass has reinvented going to the movies.

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ON THE SUBSCRIBER COVER AND ABOVE: Photograph by Adrian Gaut. Cover design by Nathalie Kirsheh.


50 10 Editor’s Note The undeniable link between the human spirit and brilliance. By Amy C. Cosper

Culture 13

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Etiquette Guy

The Ethics Coach

Travel

By Ross McCammon

Take control of your company’s culture— without alienating everyone. By Gael O’Brien

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Brainstorming Routine can kill creativity. Here’s how to break the cycle. By Margaret Littman

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Ask a Pro How can I start an effective mentorship program at my company? By Christopher Hann

Our new Inspiration Anywhere column kicks off with a ’trep’s success in tropical Panama. By Ashlea Halpern

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Packaging of the Month What is “birch water”? Take a look at Tapped’s bottle and you’ll know. By Ian Frisch

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Tools 47

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Shiny Object

Ask a Geek

A legendary car designer crafts the ultimate desk chair.

Can I use Big Data without going broke?

By Seth Porges

By Mikal E. Belicove

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Future Tools Coming to the U.S. to open a business? For $500, Atlas cuts through red tape. By Matt Villano

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The Fix A startup boosts online sales 65 percent. By Vanessa Richardson

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Logistics for Less Bring order to the chaos: an app will manage your business’s delivery squad for 20 cents or less per delivery. By Marty Jerome

47 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS DELORENZO; PHOTOGRAPH BY FLOTO+WARNER; PHOTOGRAPH BY KATHERINE WOLKOFF

Believe it! You should start using exclamation points!


RIGHT NOW, YOUR BUSINESS CAN GO IN A MILLION DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS. AND ONE OF THEM IS RIGHT.

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55 Your Money Illness or injury may stop you from working—but it shouldn’t stop your income.

Startup Finance Funding for startups in underserved communities.

61 Transitions Two Reebok execs trade in their big jobs for a startup— and they’ve never felt more creative. By Jared Keller

By Steph Wagner

By Michelle Goodman

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Why the smart money is on B2B over B2C.

When do I need an outside audit?

Rather than make cold calls, here’s how one ’trep found an investor on his own turf.

By Joe Worth

By Brittany Shoot

VC Viewpoint

By Sam Hogg

Ask the Money Guy

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Who’s Got VC?

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Franchise 73

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Franchisor

Franchisee

Bringing back Bundt cake, tasting sweet success.

She owns two phone franchises— and she’s only 26.

By Jason Daley

By Jason Daley

120 Back Page It’s always better to be done than to be perfect. By James Victore

JOIN US Expand your network, share ideas, learn and grow at Entrepreneur Media events. 6

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX HOERNER; ILLUSTRATION BY JAMES VICTORE; PHOTOGRAPH BY CODY PICKENS

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EDITOR IN CHIEF/VP

Amy C. Cosper EXECUTIVE EDITOR

EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR Grant Davis SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Tracy Stapp Herold CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Margaret Littman,

Jenna Schnuer, Stephanie Schomer COPY CHIEF Stephanie Makrias

Jason Feifer

PHOTO DIRECTOR

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BUSINESS PRESIDENT/CEO Ryan Shea CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Dave Pomije CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER Bill Shaw PUBLISHER Justin Koenigsberger ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/MARKETING

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Nathalie Kirsheh, Tracy Toscano CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Carl Alviani, Mikal E. Belicove, Jeff Chu, Jason Daley, Ian Frisch, Michelle Goodman, Ashlea Halpern, Christopher Hann, Sam Hogg, Marty Jerome, Jared Keller, Ross McCammon, Gael O’Brien, Seth Porges, Margaret Rhodes, Vanessa Richardson, Kate Rockwood, Brittany Shoot, James Victore, Matt Villano, Steph Wagner, Joe Worth ENTREPRENEUR.COM EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Dan Bova MANAGING EDITOR Linda Lacina NEWS DIRECTOR Stephen Bronner ARTICLES EDITOR Andrea Huspeni CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR Peter Page RESEARCH EDITOR Carolyn Sun SENIOR WRITER Catherine Clifford WEST COAST EDITOR Kim Lachance Shandrow ASSOCIATE EDITORS Joan Oleck, Erin Schultz STAFF WRITERS Lindsay Friedman, Nina Zipkin EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Carly Okyle IT MANAGER David Bozanic AD OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Michael Frazier TRAFFIC COORDINATOR Jose Paolo Dy ONLINE AD TRAFFICKER Michelle Rosol DIRECTOR, SITE OPERATIONS Jake Hudson DESIGN DIRECTOR Austin Allsbrook DIGITAL MEDIA DESIGNERS Kevin Chapman, Monica Dipres, Nicole Leach ENGINEERS Angel Cool, Brandon Davis, Jaime Parra FRONTEND ENGINEER Nicholas Jennes DATA ANALYST Jing Li ENTREPRENEUR PRESS ACQUISITIONS AND MARKETING DIRECTOR

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Gildardo Jimenez MARKETING MANAGER Nicole Jurinek COMMUNITY MARKETING COORDINATOR Ralph Li CREATIVE SERVICES ART DIRECTOR Jeff Meston GRAPHIC DESIGNER Christian Zamorano MARKETING COPYWRITER Matt Vecere

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Monica Santana

Brilliant idea #2: Easy-to-assemble, efficiently packed furniture, from the startup Campaign. (p. 25)

EXECUTIVE STAFF CHAIRMAN Peter J. Shea SENIOR VP/CFO Joseph Goodman CORPORATE COUNSEL Ronald L. Young DIRECTOR, INNOVATION Deepa Shah VP, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Charles Muselli STAFF ACCOUNTANT Jane Otsubo ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE MANAGER

Lynn Van Winkle ASSISTANT CORPORATE COUNSEL Rick Ignarra OFFICE MANAGER Yvette Madrid FACILITY ADMINISTRATOR Rudy Gusyen

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Printed in the USA GST File #r129677027 Vol. 44, No. 6. Entrepreneur (ISSN 0163-3341) is published monthly by Entrepreneur Media Inc., 18061 Fitch, Irvine, CA 92614. Periodical postage paid at Irvine, CA, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Entrepreneur, P.O. Box 6136, Harlan, IA, 51593-1636. One-year subscription rates in U.S.: $19.97; in Canada: $39.97; all other countries: $39.97; payable in U.S. funds only. For customer service go to entrepreneur.com/ customerservice or mail subscription orders and changes to Entrepreneur, Subscription Department, P.O. Box 6136, Harlan, IA, 51593-1636. For change of address, please give both old and new addresses and include most recent mailing label. Entrepreneur considers its sources reliable and verifies as much data as possible, although reporting inaccuracies can occur; consequently, readers using this information do so at their own risk. Each business opportunity and/or investment inherently contains certain risks, and it is suggested that the prospective investors consult their attorneys and/or financial professionals. Entrepreneur is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not rendering legal services or financial advice. Although persons and companies mentioned herein are believed to be reputable, neither Entrepreneur Media Inc. nor any of its employees accept any responsibility whatsoever for their activities. Advertising Sales (949) 261-2325. Entrepreneur is printed in the USA and all rights are reserved. ©2016 by Entrepreneur Media Inc. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Unsolicited manuscripts and photographs will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All letters sent to Entrepreneur will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication, copyright purposes and use in any publication or brochure, and are subject to Entrepreneur’s unrestricted right to edit and comment.

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Editor’s Note

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” —Albert Einstein

E

very year we do this list—this fantastically unscientific list, in which we acknowledge 100 brilliant ideas, companies and the founders behind them. This list represents everything that is great and meaningful in entrepreneurship and living in a country that celebrates and cheers for disruption. (Gotta love an election cycle.) It’s sort of our kiss on the cheek and nod to innovation. Honestly, it’s my favorite issue of the year because it captures the spirit of what we entrepreneurs stand for: boldness, creativity and collaboration. It’s our essence, and more important, it’s your essence. And in the spirit of disruption, this year we made a point of doing away with the traditional, quantifiable markers of brilliance—revenue numbers, head count,

OUR BOARD OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ADVISERS

ADRIAN GAUT Gaut may have gotten his start as a painter, but it’s as a photographer that he’s found his calling. The Portland, Ore., native, who photographed our cover, has had his work featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair.

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STEPHANIE SCHOMER Schomer has worked at Fast Company, Architectural Digest and Entertainment Weekly. In overseeing our “Brilliant 100,” she got hooked on more on-demand and finance services than she ever knew was possible.

archetype and whatnot—to focus on the ideas, almost all fueled by passion and implemented by strong leaders who simply get shit done. This is our definition of brilliant, and this year all the visionaries we highlight really are freakin’ brilliant. Here’s the thing about brilliance: It can’t be truly measured. It just is. We know this because we tried. There is nothing scientific or academic about being a brilliant entrepreneur. You can go to school for it. You can study it. But until you do it, you’ll never get it. Entrepreneurship is equal parts science, art, luck and, yeah, capital, but an infusion of cash doesn’t always equal great new ideas. In fact, an absence of funding often leads to the breakthroughs that become brilliant ideas. That’s why I love this list so much. Time will tell whether the companies, entrepreneurs and ideas we profile become the next big thing or flame out before Christmas, but their influence will certainly last. That’s because great ideas generate the next wave of gamechanging ideas, and so on. I see it repeated year after year. One thread of an idea can spawn generations of brilliance. That’s the goal of our unscientific look at how cool humans can be. To data wonks and business purists, we may sound like lightweights here, but I submit that we are not. Every day, highpriced, by-the-book MBAs are eclipsed by the artists, the creatives, the poets and the dreamers. No b-school would ever make the case for landing a used rocket on a tiny platform in the middle of the ocean, but Elon Musk made it happen. Brilliant. If there’s anything I’ve learned—and seen—from covering this world for years, it is to never underestimate the power and force of the human spirit. So let your freak flag fly, guys. These are our brilliant freaks. All 100 of them. Now let the celebration begin.

Amy C. Cosper acosper@entrepreneur.com @AmyCCosper

Amy C. Cosper photograph by Nigel Parry/CPI

PHOTOGRAPH BY ADRIAN GAUT

100 NEW IDEAS, ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES


Now is the time for agility. Now is the time for

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Live + Work

etiquette guy

A PRESCRIPTION FOR PLEASANTRIES OFFICE EMAILS NEED MORE EXCLAMATION POINTS! By Ross McCammon

OR YEARS, I resisted the exclamation point. In emails, I typed “Hi”; not “Hi!” “8:30”; not “8:30!” And “Disregard previous email. I found a large binder clip”; not “Disregard previous email!! I found a large binder clip!!!!!!” As Kanye West and Donald Trump indiscriminately employed the exclamation point in tweets, as Panic! At the Disco enjoyed modest success in the mid-’00s, as even my least enthusiastic coworkers expressed enthusiasm over email, I remained stoic in the face of the exclamation point’s rise. And then one morning, not all that long ago, I gave in. I typed “Thanks!” And reader, I am here to tell you that it felt fantastic. Nay, fantastic! The resistance, the stubborn reluctance to emote, the grumpiness—it all fell away. In one two-step stroke, my message was transformed from grumpy, curt, maybe even a little rude, to happy, eager, maybe even a little (but just a little)…giddy. And yet! I felt a bit dirty. Not dirty! Dirty. What I felt when I typed “Thanks!” was a taste of an extremely addictive drug. The exclamation point is the caffeine of punctuation. But that addiction has raised the baseline emotional requirement of professional

F

Illustration by Paul Sahre

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communication. First we just needed one. Then two. Then three. Then eight, nine, 17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why? Recent studies at Binghamton University found that participants rated punctuation-free text messages as less sincere than those peppered with punctuation. And that punctuation and other markers—emoticons, slang and the like—serve as stand-ins for facial expression and vocal intonation. That’s why an email without an exclamation point now seems sad, annoyed or terse. You know, exclamation points couldn’t even be found on typewriter keyboards until the 1970s. People had to type a period, then backspace and type an apostrophe above the period. Now it’s a shorthand for all our emotion—and it’s making us lazy communicators. It’s time to craft a vision for the exclamation point. A policy. A manifesto! Or just, you know, some rules: • Only one at a time. (Stop the madness!!!) • Only one per message. • Type an exclamation point only if you are smiling or otherwise physically emoting. • An exclamation point should never take the place of words that could more specifically convey emotion. Which means: “Thanks!” is no longer allowed. Nor is “OK!” or “Hello!” However, “Whoa!” is fine. (Related: It’s whoa, not woah. Woah isn’t a word. It’s

never been a word. Why is everyone spelling it woah?!) • “Amazing.” is more effective than “!” “Unbelievable.” is more effective than “!!” “Remarkable.” is more effective than “!!!” Any descriptor is better than “!!!!” • “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” is irritating. Don’t be irritating. • In emails to your boss: Nah. • In emails to your brand-new boss, whose general bearing you haven’t figure out yet and who doesn’t know you’re an enthusiastic team player: Yes. • In PowerPoints: No. Exclamation points show commitment. They show that you’re not afraid of the vulnerability of enthusiasm. But too often the exclamation point is used to take the place of words people need to hear. So we should use words—strong, forceful words, worthy of how we’re feeling as we type them. After all, which sounds more sincere: “Thanks!” or “Thank you so much for this. You have gone above and beyond, and I won’t forget it”? The exclamation point indicates enthusiasm, but only words can specifically prove it. Period. (You knew that was coming!) Ross McCammon is the author of Works Well with Others.

Snap Out of It! Routine can be a creativity killer. These three companies break the cycle. By Margaret Littm an

MIX IT UP. Brooklyn, N.Y.–based Gimlet Media makes popular podcasts such as Startup and Reply All—but early this year, all work froze for a week. Its 45 employees were scrambled into groups and given two days to dream up a new show and produce its first episode. “It was an unreasonably difficult exercise,” says cofounder and president Matt Lieber, but the real goal was to shift comfort zones and encourage risk taking. If the exercise spawns new shows, that’s a bonus. MAKE IT UP. Louis Addeo is CEO of the SoCal gift shop San Diego Trading Co. He wanted his 65 employees to become engaged at work. So he hired the comedy troupe Finest City Improv, which led the team through some unconventional communication exercises. Improv’s first rule: Say yes to every new scenario, and run with it. Since the class, he’s seen employees think more about the company—not just their department. “Every day now,” he says, “I hear people say, ‘Yes, and…’ rather than ‘but’ or ‘if.’” PLAY WITH IT. Morphonix should be a creative space: The San Rafael, Calif.–based company makes educational video games for children. But staffers are “young guys sitting at a computer, wearing headphones. They hardly ever get up,” says founder Karen Littman. So Littman dumped a big pile of Legos on the floor—and the coders couldn’t resist. “The Legos help jump-start a different, more creative part of the brain,” she says, and remind her staff of how kids process information.

jargon

CREDIT GOES IN THIS SPACE HERE

Sorority duty (n.) DEFINITION: The business (and, OK, moral) obligation to help a drunk, possibly barfing client into a cab. USAGE: “Well, my sorority duty last night has paid off: I just heard from the client, and they’re in!”

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Illustration by Serge Seidlitz


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the ethics coach

WHEN THE LEADER ISN’T FOLLOWED

IF CORPORATE CULTURE STARTS AT THE BOTTOM, YOU’RE IN TROUBLE. By Gael O’Brien

I’m a woman in a male-dominated industry. When I was an employee, I could roll as one of the guys. Now I own a company, and an unpleasant bro culture has emerged here. I can’t hang with the guys (I’m the boss, after all), but I also can’t seem to influence their behavior. What do I do?

A

YOU’VE SPENT more time being “one of the guys” than being at the top, so here’s a helpful reminder, in case you’re feeling wistful: When you’re one of the guys, you’re fitting in— which is the opposite of being a strong leader. As CEO, you can’t have a sense of belonging. You need to flip that on its head and create a place others want to belong to. Every leader makes mistakes, and it seems you’ve

made your first big one: You hired a team and then let them dictate the company culture. Now you need to fix that. Can an entire company’s culture be changed? Yes, but it has to be done fairly and transparently. If you haven’t formalized a company code of conduct, get started immediately so that employees stop making up their own rules. Make it clear to employees

what needs to change and why. Everyone will need to know what is expected going forward. That may all sound overwhelming, so start small: Identify three or four core values that guide how you want employees to act toward one another, and how you want your company as a whole to behave. To make those values concrete, identify specific actions that employees can take to embody

design

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Garamond:

Helvetica:

Bodoni:

venerable, academic, sturdy, understated, timeless, refined

neutral, transparent, serious but approachable, universal

dignified, crisp, elegant, structured, grounded but not stodgy

ENTREPRENEUR 6/16

Illustration by Brian Rea


ask a pro

Make a Match

Q

How can I start an effective mentorship program at my company?

A

those values. For those who can’t buy in, show them the door—and use those openings to enhance diversity and talent. Once staffing issues are sorted

out, continue to work with your team to build on values and evolve a culture of respect. This will be lonely work, so it’s time for you to tap into a support

Gotham: no-nonsense, geometric, engineered, confident, nostalgic

1. Identify your goals. What, exactly, do you aim to achieve through mentorship? “It generally comes down to retaining employees, improving employee satisfaction or increasing sales and productivity,” Bunt says.

system of your own peers. Leave the staffers to go have drinks themselves. You’re no longer one of the guys—now you’re one of the CEOs. Gael O’Brien is publisher of The Week in Ethics and founder of

2. Be a careful matchmaker. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not as simple as asking supervisors to mentor their subordinates. Figure out how prospective mentees learn, Bunt says, then find the right mentors for their learning styles.

coaching/consulting firm Strategic Opportunities Group.

The wrong typeface can give the wrong idea about your business, so pick wisely. “Create a list of keywords that represent what you’re trying to convey,” says typeface designer Rod Cavazos, of San Francisco–based PSY/ OPS. Then do the same for many fonts. Which match up? Here, he riffs on four popular fonts. —Carl Alviani

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM KING (BRAD BUNT)

IF YOU HAVEN’T FORMALIZED A COMPANY CODE OF CONDUCT, GET STARTED IMMEDIATELY SO THAT EMPLOYEES STOP MAKING UP THEIR OWN RULES.

As the longtime director of the Small Business Development Center at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Tex., Brad Bunt has watched plenty of entrepreneurs put mentorship programs to work—with varying degrees of success. His three steps for getting it right:

3. Keep a close watch. Set a timetable that allows things to really get going before you review the program. Bunt says six months is usually the sweet spot. “Once it’s established,” he says, “mentors get over some of the insecurities they had and see the benefits of the program.” —Christopher Hann

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travel

Inspiration Anywhere Traveling can spark unexpected businesses—and David Harmatz started his with a distant Panamanian shack. As told to Ashlea Halpern

HIS STORY: When I graduated from college, friends went to Manhattan to interview for corporate jobs. I found that terrifying—as did two of my closest buddies, Daniel Saxe and Daniel Smetana. We wanted adventure. So, in July 2004, we traveled to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama, and rented a single room in a rustic bungalow balanced on stilts over the water. The roads were made of mud. For a few months, we learned the town, the people and the beaches, and we fell in love with the place. We knew the backpacking scene well, and started thinking: Could we run a business here? We reached out to the owner of the Mondo Taitu hostel—a ramshackle clapboard house in nearby Isla Colon—and were just in time. He’d decided to leave the island and was looking to sell. Within three weeks, it was ours. The seller promised to give us extensive training, but all we got was a one-hour walk-through. The rest was total trial by fire. Employees, it turned out, were easy to find: Locals mostly worked in the banana industry, a grueling line of work they were happy to leave. But, dealing with customers? When the first guest came to our reception desk, we fumbled the check-in so badly that she turned around and left.

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The island was a gritty place— the power would go out, there’d be floods, toilets would break, you name it. So we learned to ask for help. Our cleaning lady, Huba, knew we were a lost cause, and she became the eyes and ears of our hostel. And what we lacked in experience, we made up for in energy. We knew all our guests’ names, and we had a bar, so we’d hang out all night. Transparency, we learned, was key: If somebody’s bed wasn’t ready when we said it would be, we told them why. If there was a robbery, we’d admit something was stolen and work with the police. Guests are forgiving if they feel you’re being up front. 

We also learned Spanish. We saw other expats come here to start businesses but refuse to learn the local language. That didn’t engender much respect. Language is necessary to form bonds and to resolve disputes. As we grew as businesspeople, we began expanding our business. We opened a second hostel, Heike, in Bocas in 2006 and a third, Luna’s Castle, in Panama City in 2008. Our conversations had to do with occupancy rates and TripAdvisor reviews. We replaced our paper ledger with Excel spreadsheets. As we matured, so did the tourism industry. And in 2009, we sold that first hostel—for nearly four

times what we bought it for. Secondary markets are amazing places to do business, if you’re willing to chase opportunity. When we heard the Groupon craze was spreading in the States in 2010, we built a similar site for Buenos Aires and Panama City called OfertaSimple; within two weeks of launching, there were 10 competitors. So we scaled back and focused on Panama, the small but healthy market we knew best. Back then, those living in Panama City rarely bought things online using a credit card—but they were excited to start. They were quickly drawn to the novelty of it. Now OfertaSimple is the most highly trafficked e-commerce site in Panama, and it’s our main business. We’ve taken an unexpected path. Most investors aren’t going to look at us and think, This is my next unicorn, but we prefer teaming up with investors willing to take bets on those with colorful pasts. We just wanted to create a strong, well-received business that put smiles on people’s faces. And we did.

Photograph by Katherine Wolkoff

SET STYLIST, EMILY MULLIN

travel


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packaging of the month

Backstory in a Bottle HOW A NEW KIND OF BEVERAGE INSTANTLY EXPLAINS ITSELF. By Ian Frisch

with water. The British startup Tapped saw, well, an untapped market there: It could draw liquid from the trees, much

The tall font was designed to be easily read on the front of a narrow package. It also plays off Norse iconography, but without being distracting. “They wanted to nod to the heritage and history of their product’s source,” Pidgeon says.

The “bark” is printed on coated paper and is smooth to the touch, mimicking the feel of birch bark. In contrast to that, the label is made of a heavily textured, uncoated paper that gives the brand a natural and organic feel.

You know the water aisle: It’s almost entirely clear plastic. “Tapped needed to be clearly distinguished from regular water,” says Pidgeon. So Horse designed a container that literally explains the product. To drink it, a buyer sips directly from the tree.

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the way Vermonters do with maples, and sell it as a new kind of water from a natural source. To help tell the story, Tapped tapped the London-based design consultancy Horse. “We don’t only consider the

label and graphics,” says Sarah Pidgeon, a Horse cofounder. “Moving away from a plastic bottle helped communicate the product better and differentiate it from mineral water.”

Bottle design usually stays on the bottle, but Horse wanted Tapped to stand out as much as possible— so it created this flap, which extends threefourths of an inch out. It represents the tagging of young saplings.

The cylindrical shape serves two roles. First, it mimics a birch tree. And second, it’s manufactured using fully recyclable, paperboardbased material (with an aluminum lining, for added shelf life). “It makes it feel like a tree,” Pidgeon says.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF TAPPED

FTER A LONG and snowy winter,

A Finnish birch trees are bursting




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The 2016 consumer is a demanding one. They want what they want, when they want it. They want personalization, and they want control—of their money, their ir food and their health, hea and almost everything else. As we compiled this year’s Brilliant 100, it was immediately clear that the advantages go to smart businesses that create specialized, automated experiences. Consider Qapital (p. 37), 3 ), a savings app that may finally trick millennials into int financial nanc stability, or Care at Hand (p. 28), which ca can predict redict (and prevent) hospitalization n of senior citizens. citize And a al along with personnalization, consumers want wan instant tant ant g gratification—proving ving the on-demand economy econ is still vve very much in demand. d. According Ac to a rece recent studyy by th tthe Aspen Institute, 44 4 pe percent of U.S. adults have ve e par participated in the system. That That’s some 90 million folks ks bu buy buying and selling from one another, anot pumping cash into ttheir h own pockets as well as the overall economy. Check out page 32 to see how, from rom home design to babysitting, this still-emerging industry stry is about way more than Uber. This year’s list spotlights another ever-increasing trend in business: s: women-owned wo companies. According to the 2012 U.S. S. Census, Ce women own 36 percent of all businesses, with revenues hitting $1.6 trillion. By 2018, it is expected that womrev en entrepreneurs will be responsible for the creation of more than half of all new small-business jobs. But here’s what we love most about many of the women on this list: They’ve built businesses specifically for women, solving problems that impact half the population but have historically been ignored— from building a better bathing suit (Bikyni, p. 24) to setting an ambitious plan to modernize how we handle menstruation (Thinx, p. 42) to creating fashion-forward clothing for the modest consumer set (Louella, p. 24). Intention, impact and profit aside, every company on this list has one thing in common: an idea worth fighting for. Some of these businesses may change the world. Some may strike it rich. And others, well, may not be so lucky. But at the very least, we hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us.

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T O P 10 I N . . . FA S H I O N , D E S I G N & R E TA I L 1. B I K Y N I THE FIX FOR BAD FITS While lounging poolside at a

bachelorette party in 2014, Jude Al-Khalil and her friends got to talking about swimwear— but instead of reveling in the purchases they liked, they couldn’t stop talking about how awful the shopping experience is. “If you look at the most challenging and intimidating categories to shop for, it’s lingerie, jeans and swimwear,”

Al-Khalil says. So she created Bikyni, an online brand and retailer that takes the pain out of shopping for bathing suits. Tagline: “You don’t need a better body, you need a better Bikyni.” Bikyni’s designs cost $100 or less and are made from highquality Italian fabric in a Los Angeles factory. But their true selling point is fit, rather than style. The company offers just seven tops, six bottoms and two one-pieces—and that's as big as the collection will get, Al-Khalil says. “We don’t want to hit you with a ton of options.” Every element of those options is explained in a fit guide that hits the details most women fret about but most mass retailers ignore. Want padding? No padding? Extra support?

Adjustable straps? A low-rise bottom with minimal coverage, or full coverage with a high rise? “We surveyed close to 5,000 women before we started designing the fit guide,” she says. “Every year you read articles about, ‘What fruit shape are you?’ But that’s not helpful to women.” Bikyni's appeal has proven to be universal. For young women with a limited budget, a $95 quality suit feels like an affordable splurge. For women in their 40s, a $95 quality suit is an irresistible steal. “We’ve been able to capture a really broad part of the market,” Al-Khalil says. “This is about understanding what women need.” JUDE AL-KHALIL, BASED IN LOS ANGELES.

3. Mansur Gavriel’s timeless handbags are coveted by every fashion fan who doesn’t want to be a slave to trends. After winning 2015’s CFDA Swarovski Award for accessory design, the brand expanded into footwear. 4. The New Stand—a fancy underground bodega in New York City’s Union Square— makes on-the-go look good, selling modern must-haves like delicious granola bars, Google Cardboard and fancy condoms. 5. The Black Tux is here to save your wedding pictures. The tuxedo rental company has no ill-fitting penguin suits; its sleek, customizable styles start at just $95. 6. Created by former massfashion designers, Cienne sources quality materials from artisans around the globe to produce New York–made minimalist clothing. 7. Feetz, a 3-D-printed-shoe company, recently launched its first make-your-feet-happy product, distributing a limited number of custom-printed shoes to customers. A wide rollout is planned for this year. 8. Stone Fox Bride is the anti-Kleinfeld for the anti-bride, and this spring it partnered with plus-size fashion company Eloquii to offer its cool-girl designs in sizes 14 to 24. 9. Online design publication Sight Unseen has grown into a foolproof taste-making machine. Brands highlighted on the site—or showcased in the offline design fair Sight Unseen Offsite—are virtually guaranteed success. 10. U.S. Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad founded Louella to bring chic, vibrant clothing to the modest fashion industry and women like her who wear hijabs daily.

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Photograph by Chris DeLorenzo


2 . C A M PA I G N THE LIVING ROOM IN A BOX To buy one of Campaign’s

midcentury modern-style chairs or sofas, you place an order online, and a few days later, it arrives in disassembled pieces. There’s no shipping or delivery fee. Sound like every West Elm purchase you’ve ever made? It’s not: A sofa takes maybe 10 minutes to assemble and requires no tools— not even that tiny, cursed Allen wrench. This is how Brad Sewell, Campaign’s founder and a former designer at Apple and Honda, plans to reinvent furniture: by designing heirloom-quality couches delivered right to your door—for less than $1,000.

Every component is built according to UPS and FedEx size regulations. By keeping boxes within one inch of those requirements, Sewell can avoid charging customers a hefty delivery fee. Sewell treats furniture design like automotive design: the pieces need to be strong but lightweight. The furniture’s frames are laser-cut steel and withstand testing similar to crash-course simulations. The chair alone can hold up to 1,800 pounds—“almost the size of a Mazda Miata,” Sewell says.

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF CAMPAIGN

Cushion covers “are designed to grow with you,” Sewell says. They adhere to the frame with Velcro, making them easier to clean—or replace. Campaign furniture snaps together. The solid-wood legs go on last and have built-in screws, making them technically the only tool required.

T O P 10 I N . . . H E A LT H 1. A K I L I I N T E R A C T I V E THE GAMERS WITH A CAUSE Could a doctor treating ADHD

or Alzheimer’s one day prescribe a video game? Eddie Martucci and Matthew Omernick think so—and the cofounders of Boston-based Akili Interactive Labs recently raised more than $30 million from pharma companies, government grants and investors who agree. The team’s tablet-based game, EVO, guides players (er, patients) through a series of foreign worlds, where they collect stars and gems and interact with aliens. What seems like superficial play at first is actually carefully designed to improve attention, inhibition and working memory in kids with ADHD. Where are you in the long slog to get FDA approval? Martucci: The past four years have been about making this new kind of medicine a reality, and now we’re staring down the launch. We’re entering our phase-three clinical trial for our primary product, pediatric ADHD. The trial spans many sites across the country and multiple hundreds of patients. It’s the first-of-its-kind drugstyle study in which patients are taking home a video game instead of a pill. What are you working on while the trial is under way? Martucci: It’s the not-so-sexy stuff—growing the commercial part of the company, building a distribution system, hiring the actual people to put together the launch plan. Omernick: We’ve never operated in a milestone-based way, where we accomplish

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something and take a pause to congratulate ourselves. Maybe once we’re to market, we can give each other a high five. Your team is a mash-up of video game designers and cognitive neuroscientists. Was it hard to create a shared language? Omernick: There were some early fears that the science requirements would make us build a less-fun game. But the science rigor actually forced us to dig deeper into the creative well. Martucci: In that first year—of prototyping and beta testing and so much back and forth—there was tension. But once the prototype ran smoothly and the science side was excited and the game side was excited, we got past it. It was like we went from hoping to knowing we can do this.

2 . C A R E AT H A N D THE LIFESAVING QUIZ Home-care workers know a lot

about their patients, but they don’t always know what's worth telling doctors. San Francisco–based Care at Hand bridges that gap: It produces surveys for caregivers to complete (via the company’s app and platform) that can identify if a senior is at risk of serious medical issues. “Our library has 2,700 questions and 55 algorithms to determine which 15 should be deployed for a particular person,” says founder Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky. He explains the importance of some questions. Q: Did Mrs. Jones sleep on more pillows last night than most other nights? Purpose: “One symptom of heart failure is called pillow orthopnea. When the left side of the heart

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ANDREY OSTROVSKY LIVES ACROSS THE COUNTRY FROM HIS STARTUP, NEAR WASHINGTON, D.C.

is petering out, it’s not pumping well. The blood backs up, and the only place it can go is the lungs. If you lie down, it literally feels like you’re drowning. To avoid that feeling, patients prop themselves up on a bunch of pillows.” Q: In the last month, did Mrs. Jones ever go without groceries or personal items because no one was there to help her shop?

Purpose: “As physicians, we tell our patients to avoid salt at all costs. It absorbs fluid and brings it into your body. For people with heart failure, they hold on to that water—the body just overflows with fluid, and you could die, because you can’t breathe anymore. If someone can’t get to a supermarket, they’re going to reach for the canned food, which has a shitload of salt in it.”

Q: In the past week, has Mrs. Jones been afraid that she wouldn’t get the services she needed? Purpose: “Based on the homecare worker’s responses, the platform will automatically send an alert to a supervising nurse, prompting her to look into that patient and coordinate further care. And that can mean the patient avoids hospitalization.”

Photograph by Adrian Gaut


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3. Created by women for women, Lola sells 100 percent natural cotton tampons with BPA-free plastic applicators and provides full ingredient transparency—a rarity for feminine care brands. 4. Health insurance company Oscar’s easy-to-understand language and explanation of benefits has been a hit with consumers: A third of its 145,000 members have been referred by friends. 5. Digital health firm Vitals rewards consumers for making decisions that save their insurer money. Go to urgent care instead of the ER? You get a percentage of that savings. In 2015, Goldman Sachs led a $40 million round of investing.

T O P 10 I N . . . BUSINESS TOOLS 1. T O P TA L THE TALENT SCOUTS When firms like Google, Ideo,

Airbnb and even Pfizer need a freelance Java expert or UX designer—and they need it, like, yesterday—they call Toptal. The $80 million company has developed a rigorous, four-part screening process: “We get thousands of applicants every month,” says cofounder and CEO Taso du Val, “and we take the top 3 percent.” Here’s how Toptal vets its freelancers.

Hurdle One: Soft-Skills Screening “We have to screen for adulthood,” says cofounder and COO Breanden Beneschott. “You need to be able to work across the world and still get stuff done. So, do you have a certain energy level? Are you disciplined? If you’re one minute late to the call—literally 60 seconds late—it’s an automatic fail.” 26.4 percent of original applicants make it to the next round… Hurdle Two: Coding Challenge Applicants are given 90 minutes to solve three coding problems. Even developers with decades of experience face-plant under the pressure. “And if there’s a hint of cheating, you’re never going to get into Toptal,” says Beneschott. 7.4 percent of original applicants make it to the next round…

Hurdle Three: Big-BrotherStyle Exercises Toptal hopefuls have to share their screens so an evaluator can watch their every keystroke. This is as much about creativity and collaboration as speed and intellect, so candidates are encouraged to talk through their thought process. 3.6 percent of original applicants make it to the next round… Hurdle Four: Faux Project Test projects can take 30 or more hours to complete. “People at the very top are so much better than everybody else—they’re endlessly hungry, endlessly talented,” says Beneschott. “It’s hugely valuable to find them.” That’s how 3 percent of original applicants make it into Toptal.

6. Iodine recently launched its first in a series of diseasespecific smartphone apps to help patients better understand their treatment. The app, called Start, helps depression patients track their progress. 7. Livongo’s remote patientmonitoring application and device acts as a connected glucometer and pedometer, tracking a diabetic’s status and alerting caregivers when necessary. 8. Celmatix crunches medical data from millions of women to predict which fertility treatment will most likely result in pregnancy for a particular patient. It is also developing a genetic test with 23andMe to predict infertility. 9. Emulate is redesigning drug research: Researchers test drugs or irritants on microchips that act like human organs. Results are far more accurate than those from tests on cultured cells or animals. 10. Hometeam offers in-home care for senior citizens—employees are paid 30 percent more than the industry standard, plus good benefits—and provides each household with an iPad that gives regular health updates.

2 . G R E AT H I R E S THE SYMPATHETIC SOLUTION FOR STAFFING What’s worse than a terrible job interview? Yeah, we can’t think of anything either. To improve how

companies treat candidates, San Francisco’s Great Hires built a web-based platform that shows interviewees whom they’re meeting with and details on the job opening, and provides a way to give the company feedback on the process. Ray Tenenbaum, founder and CEO, now you’re in the hot seat! Walk us through your background. I’m originally a chemical engineer, and my first job out of college was making Tide and Bounce at a plant for Procter & Gamble. I spent the first half of my career at large companies—marketing at Kraft, consulting at Booz Allen—and then channeled my entrepreneurial side. Great Hires is the third company I’ve started. What got you interested in this position? I had a terrible interview experience at a large tech firm in Silicon Valley. They even asked me back for a second interview, but I never learned any specifics about the job. When I asked for a description afterward, I never heard back. Only 38 percent of candidates receive any interview information other than a time and a place. What do you consider your greatest strength? NBC, Samsung, Intuit, Demandtech—we have a

lot of enterprise customers with really sophisticated HR teams and tools. We’ve built something that helps them improve their candidate experience even more. And what’s your greatest weakness? Demand has exceeded our supply until very recently. We’ve had to delay taking on some new enterprise customers until the features they needed were ready. Our development team worked their butts off to change that. Now we’re ready. If you could describe your ideal workplace in a word, what would it be? Transparent. On the platform, companies can link to Glassdoor reviews, Github pages, Facebook and Twitter accounts, blogs. Candidates are smart. Not linking to Glassdoor doesn’t mean people won’t see if the company has terrible reviews.

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ADVERTISEMENT

INCREASE SALES USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN 3 STEPS In the second of a four-part Entrepreneur webinar series presented by Comcast Business, experts outlined a three-step strategy for going beyond the likes, comments and shares to convert followers into paying customers. Find insights here shared by presenters Kim Walsh-Phillips and Kelly LeMay, co-authors of the No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing, and learn how to turn cold traffic into your best buyers.

WATCH THE RECORDED EVENT AT CBCOMMUNITY.COMCAST.COM ATTRACT AN AUDIENCE HUNGRY TO BUY First, it’s important to get to know your targeted audience to draw them in—instead of chasing them. Start with something of value instead of going right for the sale to establish yourself as the expert and market leader in your industry, helping you attract a higher caliber prospect eager to pay for your services. What problems does your audience face? What does success look like to them? Use this information to share valuable ideas through your social platforms as an entry point into your sales process. GO FOR THE OPT-IN FIRST Once someone has shown interest in your expertise, the next step is to get their contact information. Many people won’t be ready to buy on your first ask, but with their information you can nurture the relationship and ask again later without having to pay to find the prospect. In this phase it’s important to start with something of

value in exchange, such as a video series, e-book or discount code. One quick way to create a lead magnet is to write down 10 questions prospects ask you and create a lead-generating piece answering those questions. Use real case studies to help build trust in the process. You can grow slowly through organic media, but to speed up your audience-building, Walsh-Phillips and LeMay suggest you use paid media. The ability to hyper-target helps make advertising on social media effective. You can find your ideal prospect based on age, location, net worth, profession and even what TV shows they watch! Start small and test several versions of your ads for optimal performance before investing significant dollars. “You can test verbiage, you can test imagery, and you can test landing pages you’re driving to,” LeMay says. By testing one area at a time, you’ll know exactly how to refine your ad in order to maximize your spend.

&5($7($67521*2))(5} TO GENERATE SALES Once you’ve engaged your audience through your content and captured their information, you’re ready to begin to make the sale. There are a lot of ways to convert leads to customers, such as hosting a webinar or launching an email campaign with an irresistible offer. You can even drive sales offline by using your marketing to generate phone or in-person appointments. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to track each click and then measure which advertisement and audience leads to paying customers. With that knowledge you can optimize your marketing activities in real time. “From developing an audience, to creating engagement, to making the sale… social media offers the perfect platform for an effective, yet simple, three-step marketing and sales campaign,” Walsh-Phillips says.

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3. Niko Niko assesses employee happiness and engagement with quick, fun surveys that can be answered with emoticons. Participation is fast and easy, so the resulting insights are actionable. 4. Codefights game-ifies coding by giving developers exercises and challenges— fighting against the clock, say, or other live opponents.

T O P 10 I N . . . ON-DEMAND SERVICES 1. S H Y P THE POST OFFICE THAT COMES TO YOU

When by-the-hour interior “I used to be a power seller on eBay, and the biggest point

of friction was the shipping,” says Kevin Gibbon, founder and CEO of San Francisco–based Shyp, which aims to ease how packages are sent in the mail. He traces one package’s dual paths:

WITHOUT SHYP

5. Automated wealth-management service Betterment recently rolled out a 401(k) service to help employers and employees establish, manage and monitor savings.

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11 A.M. You decide to send cousin Johnny your old hoverboard. You hunt for a box, contemplate the efficacy of newspaper as padding.

8. Flexe connects temporarily empty warehouse space with companies that need shortterm inventory storage. The warehousing marketplace has potential to greatly impact same-day shipping.

11:30 A.M. FedEx is closer, but isn’t the postal service cheaper? You search for shipping and fall down an internet rabbit hole.

10. Eden, an on-demand tech-support and repair service, is available to individuals but has become invaluable to small businesses without IT departments.

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7. Hyphen is the complaint box for modern offices. The mobile app lets employees anonymously discuss their company, safe from their employer’s wrath.

9. Augment uses augmented reality to help vendors visualize in-store product placement for merchants. It recently secured $3 million from Salesforce to expand. Coca-Cola and L’Oréal are clients.

WITH SHYP

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6. Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) streamlines bookkeeping for small-business owners, managing and automating everything from health insurance to workers’ comp.

2. HOMEPOLISH THE REASON YOUR HOME IS ABOUT TO LOOK AMAZING

11:45 A.M. You rouse yourself from your search stupor and settle on the post office. 12:05 P.M. You enter the post office. Fourth in line. 12:20 P.M. You debate abandoning this whole gift-giving endeavor. How close are you to this cousin, really? 12:25 P.M. You are called to the counter by a begrudging clerk, fill out some slips, hand over the package and say one last prayer that you stuffed the box with enough newspaper.

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11 A.M. You decide to send cousin Johnny your old hoverboard. You open the Shyp app and type in his name and address. “You can schedule a pickup for later in the day, or press ‘Pick up now’ and one of our couriers will get to you in less than 20 minutes,” says Gibbon. 11:15 A.M. The courier arrives, and you hand over the hoverboard. No box? No problem. The couriers are employees, not contractors, so they’re experienced with fragile items. 11:16 A.M. You get on with your day. Meanwhile, the package is routed to a Shyp warehouse. If you didn’t package it, they’ll do so and charge you for the materials. Shyp calculates which carrier will get you the best rate and charges you for that plus a $5 pickup fee— but because Shyp gets discounted rates, the cost is about the same as if you mailed it yourself.

design firm Homepolish launched in 2012, cofounder and CEO Noa Santos had to beg the design community to participate. “I was basically going door to door being like, ‘Hey, wanna be a part of Homepolish?’” he recalls. Today he works with 500 designers nationwide and has a waitlist of 1,000. (Just 5 percent of applicants are accepted.) The company provides a free hour-long consultation, and from there a $130-an-hour designer is matched to the client’s style and needs. Projects range from $5,000 to $1 million. Santos credits the success, in part, to timing: Just as Homepolish was starting, he says, interior design was becoming a trendy subject, with people sharing ideas and styles on social media. “Once information is available, people feel empowered to develop their own style,” he says. And then they’ll want to hire a designer to make it happen. Clients aside, Homepolish has another very important customer base: the designers. “We’ve become a 360-degree talent agency,” Santos says. “We’re not just doing administrative billing work for our designers. We’re tagging them in front of 750,000 Instagram followers, shooting their work, building profiles for them.” That’s a monumental shift in an industry that used to be mostly for wealthy homeowners. “You’re in a room drinking wine with a bunch of stuff y people and it’s like, This is not what design should be! Design is fun!” Santos says of industry events. “We wanted to build a community that was supportive.”


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4. On-demand massage? Why, c'mon in! Soothe sends a masseuse to your home within an hour’s notice, and the company plans to expand to 20 new cities and international markets by the end of the year. 5. SitterCity is your Saturday-night hero. The company connects babysitters and parents in one place, and recently launched Chime to offer well-reviewed sitters who are nearby and available now. 6. No time to get to DryBar? Glamsquad delivers professional hair and makeup artists to your door, with appointments booked via an app or online. 7. Former Apple and JC Penney guy Ron Johnson’s latest endeavor, Enjoy, sells gadgets to consumers, delivers quickly to their door and shows them how to set up and use the stuff—and even integrate it all into a connected home. 8. Move Loot helps users sell and buy furniture, providing pickup, listing, storage and delivery. Its movers—salaried employees trained to not break your stuff—can guarantee an ultra-narrow pickup and delivery window. 9. Pickup and drop-off laundry isn’t new, but Washio has nearly perfected the system with its quick turnaround and efficient deliveries—especially among business travelers, who are ditching hotel dry cleaning. 10. OpenDoor wants to buy your house. The company uses data analytics to determine the fairest price, makes you an offer and can close the sale within three days. Then it deals with the headache of listing and selling it.

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1. L O O K L I V E THE ENTERTAINMENT SHOP Dying for that bag Kerry

Washington was toting on last week’s Scandal? Need the sweatshirt you saw Kanye wearing on Instagram? LookLive has you covered. The Amsterdam-based startup spent two years developing tech that identifies exact items of clothing worn by your favorite characters and stars. CEO Christopher Archer explains how they did it. Companies have been promising shoppable TV for years. What’s been the holdup? The technical integration is easy peasy, but the challenge is the metadata, and how you get it. If I’m watching The Voice, how do I know what jacket Pharrell is wearing? The broadcaster and network don’t know—they’ll tell you to call the costume designer. It’s just impossible to do this at scale. When we started, we said that if we can’t figure out how to identify items independently, we’re going to shut down. So what was the magic trick? We use a mix of image-recognition technology and machine learning. People have what we call a style profile—essentially the identity of self. Claire Underwood is going to dress in a specific way from specific brands in a specific price range. The machine-learning tech learns this, and when it sees a white three-button blazer on her, it knows she would never wear H&M or Forever 21, but she would wear Prada and Armani. That’s where the narrow search for product identification begins.

Users can purchase clothing from your mobile app and your website. Are we inching toward real-time shopping right on the TV screen? The challenge is still speed and scalability. Right now, we can have every TV show produced and ready to shop within three hours of its airing. But we have our fingers crossed that we’ll have it fully automated in real time within the next 12 to 18 months.

3. Ubeam releases its first product this year—a transmitter to automatically recharge smartphones—but its long-term plan is to power the Internet of Things. 4. Detroit-based Identilock aims to curtail the thousands of accidental shootings that happen annually in the U.S. Its biometric clasp allows a gun’s trigger to release only when matched with the owner’s fingerprint. 5. Paribus tracks your online purchases via your emailed receipts—and if the price on a recently purchased item changes, it follows stores’ policies to file for a price adjustment.

2. TECHNOLOGY W I L L S AV E U S THE TEACHING TOOLS FOR TOMORROW’S GENIUSES Bethany Koby is determined

to remind us—and our kids—that “technology” isn’t synonymous with “electronic screen on a mobile device.” The cofounder and CEO of London-based Technology Will Save Us has created DIY gadget kits, priced from $27 to $130, that provide hands-on learning, letting kids build everything from simple circuits to handheld gaming consoles. (And to children, they’re all just toys.) “Sixty-five percent of kids in primary school today will have jobs in the future that currently don’t exist,” says Koby, who has a 4-year-old son. “We can either be optimistic about technology and support young people to explore and learn, or we can be scared. The more we can spark their imagination and help them find their passion, that’s empowerment.”

6. Identified Technologies uses drones for mapping and site monitoring, serving clients in construction and energy. It immediately uploads its data to the cloud for customer analysis. 7. Fetch Robotics, which recently completed a $20 million round of Series A funding, uses two robots (named Fetch and Freight) to streamline warehouse operations, accelerating pulls and shipping. 8. Knewton’s adaptive learning platform is free to teachers, students and parents, and tracks students’ learning to deliver programs based on their personal progress. 9. Augmented and virtual reality startup Magic Leap has raised nearly $1.42 billion for its highly anticipated technology: glasses that seamlessly blend computergenerated images with the real world. 10. JukeDeck’s artificial intelligence technology can compose custom, affordable, royalty-free music soundtracks for video and podcast projects.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF TECHNOLOGY WILL SAVE US

3. For as little as $60 a month, ClassPass provides unlimited access to boutique fitness classes. No wonder the service (available nationwide and in Australia and London) has attracted $84 million in funding.

T O P 10 I N . . . TECH


T O P 10 I N . . . R E C R E AT I O N

3 . PA C I F I C C O N T E N T THE CONTENT WHISPERERS FOR CHATTY BRANDS

1. U N P L U G THE "AHH" FOR YOUR "OMM" “I opened Unplug for selfish reasons,” says Suze Yalof Schwartz of her modern meditation studio in

Podcasts will attract 98 million

Los Angeles. In 2012, she was stressed—a mother of three shuttling for work between New York City and L.A. She was curious about meditation, but classes required weeks of commitment. What she really wanted was “a quick fix of calm”—so she built it. Now in its third year, Unplug has amassed a cult following, and Schwartz “has a folder of a thousand people who want to franchise it.” Here’s how she did it:

sets of ears this year—double the number from 2009. But their ads are supereasy to skip. Four ex-radio producers formed Pacific Content to fix that problem: They create branded podcasts for companies such as Slack and Shopify, which are so good that listeners won’t treat them like ads. Its founders explain how:

Step 1: Study the status quo. Schwartz took Deepak Chopra’s class, visited Buddhist temples and enrolled in a Vedic meditation class “in some guy’s apartment for four days.” Aside from peace of mind, she found an industry stuck in the 1960s—right down to the incense and Birkenstocks. “Not that that’s bad,” she says, “but for a person who has never meditated, it would be great to have someone who’s modern and treats it like a life hack.”

2 . M O V I E PA S S THE GREATEST THING SINCE BUTTERED POPCORN

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNPLUG

A trip to the cinema is

practically a luxury event: $15 for a ticket, $6 for a Diet Coke and another $5 for some Sour Patch Kids. Stacy Spikes, CEO of MoviePass, says that’s bad math for the movies: “There are 40 million people that go to the movies at least once a month,” the CEO explains. “That’s just 11 percent of the population, but they make up 50 percent of ticket sales. If we could get just four million of those people to increase their behavior by 50 percent, the entire industry will see an overall lift of 15 to 20 percent.” To do that, he created a $30-a-month, all-youcan-watch movie pass, accepted by 95 percent of cinemas across the country. The new math is looking good: A recent thirdparty study found that MoviePass subscribers’ moviegoing behavior lifts an average of 111 percent. That’s box-office gold.

Photograph by Adrian Gaut

Step 2: Borrow ideas from other successful ventures. Schwartz has called Unplug "the SoulCycle, DryBar or Calvin Klein of meditation." Like those brands, Unplug is clean, efficient and minimally designed. The studio is “white on white on white. No Buddhas, no tapestries. I want it to feel fresh, like you’re checking into heaven.”

Step 3: Honor your customer's time, which is limited. Unplug’s classes last for roughly 30 to 45 minutes, and instructors talk only for the first five. Schwartz edited out what she calls “meditation-y voices.” (“Siiiiink intoooo your breeeaaath,” she intones.) To bypass lengthy in-class Q and A’s—as are common in meditation studios— instructors wait outside afterward.

STACY SPIKES, BASED IN NEW YORK CITY.

Steve Pratt: “The future of the

media business is teaching brands to act more like media companies. When Serial came out in 2014 and podcasting rose, we realized there’s a massive market void in branded content.” Jennifer Ouano: “We needed brands that were willing to take a risk and that wouldn’t expect people to sign up for their service the minute they heard the podcast. It would be a first touch of the brand and would be about telling compelling stories.” Chris Boyce: “It takes time for people to wrap their heads around it. But what we’re producing is every bit as good as the stuff I used to produce at CBC Radio. We’re expanding the types of business models that can create high-quality content— and the audience will follow.” Rob Leadley: “We use Seth Godin as inspiration. He wrote Permission Marketing back in 1999. It’s not a new concept, but the challenge is how to tackle it. Part of it is looking for the imaginative companies, the ones that are innovating and driving our world forward.” Pratt: “I feel like we’re part of helping define the future of media. The rules aren’t written yet, and we’ve created our dream jobs. I don’t want to gloat, but we’re having an awesome time.”

6/16 ENTREPRENEUR

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T H E _ BR I L L I A N T_10 0 has helped secure $140 million for more than 2,500 businesses. 5. Earnest helps refinance those dreaded student loans by using career and financial histories to determine a borrower’s ability to pay, and saves borrowers an average of $18,000 over 10 years. 6. Microfinance startup First Access uses prepaid mobilephone payment histories to quickly and affordably predict credit risk for borrowers in developing markets. 7. iAngels, an Israel-based equity crowdfunding platform, helps international private investors access early-stage opportunities alongside Israel’s leading angels. 8. Painless1099 helps freelancers save for tax season, automatically putting away the proper amount before payments route to a checking account. 9. New to investing? Simply Wall St. turns stock data into simple, helpful graphics. 10. Fastacash, which recently closed a $15 million Series B round, wants to make sharing money with friends (and paying brands) as easy as texting.

T O P 10 I N . . . S O C I A L I M PA C T 1. S T O R M S E N S O R THE WATER DETECTIVES Storm-water runoff is the

leading cause of water contamination in urban areas, but tracking it has been a clunky, pen-and-paper process. Erin Rothman and Anya Stettler built a better way: Their platform tracks water quality in real time with waterproof hardware and cloud-based software. “We want

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to help cities spot and fix problems before they get out of hand,” Rothman says. Prior to getting funding from the 9Mile Labs accelerator in Seattle, the duo designed and built the Stormsensor prototype for $2,000. Here, their secrets to seriously bootstrapping a business. Embrace the cold call. Rothman has an environmental background; Stettler’s is software. They knew they needed electrical expertise, so “I googled ‘electrical engineer University of Washington water,’” Rothman says with a laugh. “I asked one of the professors for 30 minutes, and we wound up talking for three hours.” Be up front. “When I talked to people in marketing, manufacturing, design—basically everything—I was completely honest,” says Rothman. “‘This is our crazy, cool idea and we’d love for you to be involved, but we don’t have any money, and we won’t have any money for a long time.’” Some people bailed, but plenty stayed. Even the team’s law firm deferred payment until Stormsensor makes its first half million. Don’t quit your day job (yet). For nearly a year, Stettler and Rothman worked full-time elsewhere while building Stormsensor. “Focusing on really short-term goals helped me get through those periods of feeling like I can’t do any more,” Stettler says. Never pay retail. “Whatever we did have to pay for, I made sure we negotiated down to the lowest possible number,” says Rothman. Tune out the haters. “We can have six meetings a day for two days straight where everyone says it’s the stupidest idea ever,” says Rothman. “But we still

know we’re right. My job is to make sure everyone sees the beauty in what we’re doing—even if later I might be curled up in a ball, crying.”

2. THRIVE MARKET THE GROC STO (A.K.A. THE HALF-OFF GROCERY STORE) “I grew up very poor, with a

single mom who worked hard to make healthy choices,” says Gunnar Lovelace. So when he cofounded Thrive Market, a membership-based e-commerce site that sells (and delivers) organic groceries at up to 50 percent off retail price, making healthy food accessible to low-income families was its top priority. The service is for everyone, and uses the money from its wealthier customers to fuel its social impact. The Problem 49 million Americans experience food insecurity. 80 percent of low-income families buy less-healthy (and cheaper) food to make ends meet. 23 million Americans live in “food deserts,” where poverty is high and supermarkets are rare. Thrive’s Solution 1-to-1 giving model. For every $60 annual membership, Thrive donates one to a family facing food insecurity, partnering with the Boys & Girls Club and LA Fund to get the word out. 25 percent to 50 percent: savings members get off retail. At checkout, they can donate those savings to families in need. 1,500 low-income families receive four purchase credits each month, funded by members making donations. $202,000: amount members raised over the 2015 holidays for Feeding America.

3. Watsi is YCombinator’s first nonprofit, and crowdfunds medical treatment for folks in need around the world; 100 percent of donations go to patient care. 4. Omaze offers anyone the chance to win an out-of-thisworld experience for a flat $10 donation. The company is building a self-serve platform to help schools and organizations launch their own campaigns. 5. News Deeply is a singlesubject news model that deep-dives into topics like Syria, Ebola and refugees. Its sites’ audiences are packed with academics and humanitarians, impacting policy and action. 6. The Ocean Cleanup has crowdfunded more than $2 million for tests and a reseach expedition, inching toward the goal of building a floating device that will use the Pacific Ocean’s currents to help collect floating trash. 7. Donating to nonprofits is easier with Classy, which powers charities’ sites with a built-in donation option (rather than using, say, PayPal). Fund-raising jumps an average of 225 percent. 8. Nascent Object’s latest product, Droppler, is a tiny device that tracks a home’s water usage simply by listening to running water, and lights up to communicate waste—which can help cut consumption by 30 percent. 9. Political news analysis platform Sidewire (and its app) cut through the campaign noise with quick-hit thoughts from candidates, campaign managers and journalists who curate content. 10. Peer-to-peer insurance company Lemonade aims to bring some social good to the costly property- and casualty-insurance game. By moving insurance to the sharing economy, it becomes accessible to all.

Photograph by Chris DeLorenzo


ERIN ROTHMAN (LEFT) AND ANYA STETTLER, BASED IN SEATTLE.


T H E _ BR I L L I A N T_10 0

1. E AT S A THE BEST SERVICE WITH NO SERVERS

2. BRIGHT CELL ARS THE MATCHMAKERS OF MERLOT (AND MORE)

There are no cashiers, servers or meat products at Eatsa—but

“Wine clubs are a proven

there are crowds eager to experience the future of fast food. Cofounder and CEO Tim Young launched two outposts—one in San Francisco, one in L.A.—of his fully automated eatery last year, with more locations on the horizon. He gave us a tour (by phone, natch).

model, but millennials aren’t signing up,” says Richard Yau, cofounder and CEO of Bright Cellars. Why? His hypothesis: Young winos crave personalization. That’s why the Milwaukee company set out to become the Pandora of wine. “We built a personalized wine-matching algorithm to help subscribers find their perfect bottle,” says Yau, and more than 6,000 drinkers have signed on. Answer seven questions, from desert-island chocolate choice to how you drink tea to whether you usually imbibe with a meal. Be honest—algorithms don’t judge.

STEP RIGHT UP “We want to provide as many cues as possible that the food is custom—this isn’t a vending machine,” Young says. “So the menu skews toward personalization: Do you want to build your own? Do you want to add avocado or leave anything off?”

THE HUMAN FACTOR Don’t know where to find the napkins? Forgot to order your meal without cilantro? Look to the “Eatsa concierge,” the lone human tasked with interacting with customers. “Some people want to be reassured, and the concierge is there for that.”

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PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN While some fast-food spots move toward an open kitchen, Eatsa’s is entirely hidden. “We’re trying to keep the back of the house a mystery.” At any time, roughly half a dozen humans are prepping quinoa bowls.

ORDER UP Food is served through a wall of cubes. “There’s a short animation and then the food is unveiled, with the diner’s name sort of floating over it. It drives home the idea that the order is personalized to them.”

Your love of peanut butter cups, sweet tea, whiskey and tomato juice makes you a weirdo. But Bright Cellars thinks you’ll love Nebel Riesling. You also get paired with a pinot noir, a zinfandel and a red blend.

OPEN WIDE Young and his cofounder, Scott Drummond, spent two years collecting and analyzing data on consumer taste preferences and engineering dishes that would best the usual fast-food staples. The results: eight quinoa-based bowls, with flavor profiles ranging from Mexican to Mediterranean to Indian, for $7 a pop.

You rate the zin four stars— it does beat the Two-Buck Chuck you’re used to, but it’s not love at first gulp—and you give the Riesling and the red blend three. The pinot noir is a pinot no. Bright Cellars crunches that love, like and hate into four new bottles. The company is always tweaking its inventory, so as it calibrates to your palate, it’s also pairing you with a new lineup. This month you find a favorite and head to the site to tell them so. The other bottles get three and four stars. You raise a glass and toast your computer screen.

3. MINTSCRAPS THE BEAN COUNTERS, BUT FOR WASTED BEANS Nearly one-third of food in

America is trashed—a drag on the environment and restaurants’ bottom lines. But Tony Vu sees it as data: His startup Mintscraps tracks how much a kitchen dumps each night, then calculates savings based on certain tweaks. Restaurateurs can use the app to spot trends (like that questionable Tuesdaynight fish special), and extra food due to overproduction can be diverted to a local food bank. When Mario Batali piloted Mintscraps at five of his restaurants, Vu realized competition is a powerful motivator. “Restaurants wanted to put that data in context and compare it with other stores, so we incorporated that feedback,” he says. Mintscraps is now in L.A. and New York City (including at the massive food emporium Eataly) and hopes to roll out nationwide. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF EATSA

T O P 10 I N . . . F O O D & FA R M I N G


T H E _ BR I L L I A N T_10 0

4. Maple, a food-delivery startup in Manhattan, works with top chefs to deliver fresh meals—a major office lunchtime upgrade. 5. Reserve’s digital concierge service works with in-demand restaurants to get you the impossible reservation. And if it can’t, it will suggest available tables at restaurants of similar quality. 6. Danish restaurant Amass finds creative—and delicious— ways to use food that used to be trashed each night. As an example, chef Matt Orlando has started using coffee grounds to make crackers. 7. As demand for organic crops continues to outpace supply, Mercaris uses market data to tell farmers what the true price of their crops will be—now and in the future—and can connect buyers and sellers. 8. With more startups using crickets to help solve the global food crisis—they’re high in protein!—Tiny Farms is building a high-tech industrial farm to optimize the breeding process and supply the bugs.

pads, might not be for everybody. Agrawal fiercely believes— to quote Thinx’s tagline—that these panties are “for women with periods.” Meaning: all of them. “Girls are sick of wearing tampons,” Agrawal says. “As a woman, how many pairs of our underwear have we all ruined from monthly accidents?” She might be right: Since a big market push last spring, she says she’s sold “tens of thousands” of pairs of Thinx, which look like normal underwear. According to Agrawal (and a few enterprising bloggers), they feel like regular underwear, too. But unlike your daily underpants, theseareantimicrobial,moisturewicking, liquid-absorbing

garments that took three and a half years to develop. They come in six styles, cost from $24 to $38 each and promise to hold up to two tampons’ worth of fluid. For women in the U.S., Agrawal pitches this as a low-cost luxury item. For women in developing countries, it could be the key to keeping girls in school. While visiting South Africa in 2010, Agrawal met a young girl who wasn’t attending class. “She said, ‘It’s my week of shame,’”

Agrawal recalls. “Girls in the developing world have a ‘period problem,’ too, but access to nothing.” So for every pair of Thinx sold, the company donates to AfriPads, a Uganda-based company that makes reusable pads and employs local women. Agrawal will also launch a nonprofit arm this year, with plans to open 10 safe, empowering “Girls Clubs” across Africa. Agrawal sees Thinx’s mission as sociopolitical. “There’s a true shift in ‘period feminism,’ moving away from using a product invented by men in 1931,” she says, referring to the year Tampax first hit the market. That hints at Thinx’s next product, of which she won’t say much, just that it will “disrupt the category and the sustainability problem of the 20 million tampons and pads that go into landfills every year.” She has also launched a line of low-cost, attachable bidets, and underwear for incontinence is up next on her brave to-do list.

9. By using restaurateur Nick Kokonas’s Tock, restaurants nationwide can sell tickets to experiences—special events, tastings and so on. 10. Dutch Institute of Food Design is the first structured, international community for food designers—promoting improvements in materials, practices, services and systems.

T O P 10 I N . . . WE AR ABLE WELLNESS 1. T H I N X THE TAMPON REPLACER Don’t tell Miki Agrawal that

Thinx, her line of underwear designed to let women menstruate freely without tampons or

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MIKI AGRAWAL, BASED IN NEW YORK.

Photograph by Adrian Gaut


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T H E _ BR I L L I A N T_10 0

4. Roar’s tiny Athena device—worn as a necklace or clipped to clothing—is a security system for women. When held for three seconds, it sounds an alarm as loud as a freight train and alerts preset family and friends. 5. Swiss startup Ava is developing a wearable device to track fertility and help a woman better predict her window for conception each month. 6. Owlet’s tiny sock tracks an infant’s heart rate, oxygen level, temperature and sleep position—and notifies parents of any concerns. 7. Smart collar Nuzzle keeps track of your pup—it even buzzes you if he wanders off the lawn—and the company helps owners sign up for affordable pet insurance.

Having trouble sleeping? Tim Antos did, too, which is why he

founded Kokoon Technology, a London-based company that’s about to launch its much-buzzed-about headphones that monitor brain activity and guide wearers into a deep and lasting sleep. He discusses the many design hurdles.

1

1. Keep them low-profile. “We had to make sure they don’t have a big displacement of the pillow. I started out messing around with a 3-D printer, and it took about 200 prototypes.”

2

2. Keep them comfy. “The whole headphone is flexible and molds to the shape of the head. It’s essentially an extra cushion.”

3. Keep them cool. “We worked to ventilate them better so they don’t get hot and sweaty.” 3

8. The Moov fitness tracker focuses on movements and provides personalized coaching to make workouts better and safer. 9. Ringly is the anti-smartwatch: It’s a ring with no buttons or screen, and it simply vibrates to alert you to noteworthy happenings on your device. More accessories and home features are coming this year. 10. Whoop is a fitness tracker for the pros. Subscriptions cost $500 to $5,000 a person (or a whole team’s worth is $100,000); it monitors sleep, skin conductivity and heart rate, to analyze a body’s ability to recover from a workout.

4

4. Make them intuitive. Brainwave sensors tell the headphones—within a 20-second window—when the wearer is passing out of consciousness. “We can then fade out what you’re listening to and bring in protective white noise. Your natural hearing sensitivity is decreased, protecting your sleep through the night.”

BRILLIANT 100 REPORTING BY JEFF CHU, KATE ROCKWOOD, MARGARET RHODES AND STEPHANIE SCHOMER

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PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF KOKOON

3. Athos’ athletic clothing contains sensors to measure muscle performance, heart rate and more. A corresponding app helps wearers understand the benefits— or missteps—of their workout.

2. KOKOON THE BRINGER OF SHHHHH (AND THEN, ZZZZZZZZZZZ)


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The Right

shiny object

THE NEW OFFICE COCKPIT

A LEGENDARY CAR DESIGNER PUTS YOU IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT. By Seth Porges

HERE IS A TIME-TESTED chair that may be as close to perfect as possible. The problem: It’s bolted into a car. “The automobile seat is designed to be comfortable for long-term sitting,” says Ken Okuyama, a Japanese product designer known for his work for Porsche, Ferrari and Maserati. Now Okuyama is giving his treatment to office workers: His Vaya office chair (starting at $6,000) is supportive and infinitely adjustable, right down to the headrest. This is no mere vanity throne: Research shows that your posture can impact your body’s physiological state. “When you slouch, it changes a lot about how your body runs,” says Erik Peper, a professor of holistic health at San Francisco State University. “Even your mood can be more dominated by helpless and hopeless thoughts.” But when you sit up, your focus and reaction times improve. In other words: You are how you sit.

T

Photograph by Floto+Warner

6/16 ENTREPRENEUR

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Fine Tuning How a clever music app fixed its fatal flaw.

Coming to America LAUNCH YOUR U.S. BUSINESS IN A MATTER OF DAYS, NOT MONTHS. By Matt Villano

W

hen Australian expat Donna Katz set up her wine exchange company, Tradeagrape, in Napa Valley back in 2013, she faced what every international business does: U.S. incorporation documents, and a long list of regulations and compliance issues. “I had to figure out every step on my own,” she says. She still is, to the tune of more than $50,000. Had she started today, she might have appreciated a new service called Atlas: It offers to take care of all this fuss and more for just $500.

Atlas is the creation of Stripe, the electronic payment processing company, and was launched in early 2016. It helps entrepreneurs incorporate a U.S. company with a Delaware address, set up a bank account with a U.S.–based bank, obtain a federal tax ID number and start accepting digital and credit card payments (through Stripe, of course). It also connects founders with local tax and legal professionals. The service is available only to foreign businesses, but Stripe says it would like to expand domestically at a future date.

biz math: (

Stripe says that, in its first months, Atlas processed handfuls of companies and reduced their setup time from months to a matter of days. No early client was ready to speak up, but there’s no shortage of entrepreneurs who wish they’d had help like this. Christian Van Der Henst is one: He’s Colombian, but wanted to launch his online education company Platzi in the States— and it took two months. “I could have focused my energy on starting the business,” he says, “not getting bogged down by red tape.”

Major update: After some 1.5 million downloads, AmpMe’s designers reworked how devices find each other. Now it happens automatically—all a user needs to do is have the app open. Devices don’t even have to be online, because the app creates an ad hoc hotspot that links them. This taught Archambault an important lesson: Even if you think you’ve made something easy for your customer, you can still make it easier. —Seth Porges

+ messaging) x 3.5 =

TRANSLATION: Young people (aged 13 to 24) spend 3.5 times more time in messaging apps than people aged 45 and older. And in fact, the older cohort is the only group that spends more time with email than messaging. That means it’s time to get clever: The next generation of consumers won’t be opening your email blasts. Source: App Annie, 2016 Report of U.S. Android smartphone users

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Illustration by Stuart Bradford

ILLUSTRATIONS BY PEACOCK DREAM FROM NOUN PROJECT (FACES)

future tools

First launch: One phone is never loud enough to fill a room. AmpMe’s solution: Its app syncs an unlimited number of devices, so they act like one big speaker. But when it debuted last fall, users had to enter a fourdigit “party code” to sync each device—and they just wouldn’t. “We found that most people tried anything they could to skip this step,” says AmpMe CEO MartinLuc Archambault. “We ended up losing 50 percent of the people in the friction.”


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the fix

Site Built for Sales A tiny fitness brand powers up profits with a new e-commerce platform. By Vanessa Rich ard son

ANGELA MADER’S BUSINESS, Fitlosophy, began in 2008, when she started printing fitness and nutrition journals for men and women. Over the years, as sales grew steadily, she expanded into food scales and more journals, among other products. But one number scared her: Fifty-six percent of her online sales were coming from mobile, and yet her website was ancient and unreliable. “Without a mobile-friendly website,” she says, “we were seeing a lot of lost sales.” Still, she had only a staff of five The Fix and annual revenues Mader talked to a lot of web-savvy colleagues, over $1 million. Could she and many of them suggested a service called Shopify. It’s a simple e-commerce platform afford a slick solution? that companies can use to build their own online stores. She loved hearing that it’s easy to maintain, and that it can manage her site, inventory and mobile sales needs. In June 2015, she switched everything over. “The transition wasn’t easy, but I had to do it,” Mader says. She had to rebuild her entire catalog on the site’s back end. But once she did, she also discovered that Shopify easily integrated with QuickBooks (her accounting tool) and her email-marketing platform. That would save her time in the future.

The Results Fitlosophy’s website instantly became cheaper to operate: Maintenance fees dropped from $1,000 to $250 a month, and that includes Shopify’s $79-a-month cost. More impressive: Fitlosophy’s month-over-month online sales jumped 65 percent in the first six months. That’s in part because Shopify integrates with apps that help steer visitors toward purchases; when Fitlosophy posted a press release, for example, the product photos could also serve as buy-it-now links. Mader also enjoys Shopify’s robust, real-time dashboard. “For the first time, I can see our site traffic, what portion comes from mobile, and which products and pages are driving sales,” she says. And thanks to Shopify, she expanded the business to sell digital content and e-books through her site.

A Second Opinion

Angela Mader of Fitlosophy.

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Shopify’s easy setup makes it a great choice for novice to intermediate-level e-tailers, says Travis Romine, an e-commerce growth consultant at Sharp Commerce in Spokane. “You don’t need a lot of online experience to get going,” he says. But a word of caution: “If you’re a larger retailer with a big product catalog requiring advanced filtering, product presentations and flexibility, Shopify isn’t ideal. Depending on how big you grow, you’ll eventually need to explore a fully customizable platform like Magento.”

Photograph by Chris DeLorenzo


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ask a geek

CAN I USE BIG DATA WITHOUT GOING BROKE?

Yes, if you follow the advice of Scott Martineau, cofounder of Infusionsoft, a small-business software provider. GOT AN OPERATIONAL PROBLEM? Big Data will solve it! Marketing ills? Ask Big Data! Those two words have become a catchallâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but data-crunching services tend to chase after enterprise-level businesses, making them out of reach for most small businesses. (Google Analytics Premium, for example, starts at $150,000 a year.) Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry: Martineau says that with a strategic approach to Big Data, anyone can afford it. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Mikal E. Belicove So, where do I start? Identify your single biggest opportunity for improvement. Then within that category, focus on tracking and improving one key metricâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;something where experimenting with a little time and money can move the needle. The three I recommend: How much traffic and leads did I generate this month? What percentage of leads converted into customers? What percentage of my customers are not satisfied enough to refer me to others? Pick one and follow it for a couple of weeks to a quarter.

OK, but how will I follow it? A few vendors will automatically gather this information and tell you what is working and what isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. These include Wicked Reports ($99/month), ClicData ($75/month) and Graphly ($49/month). Another one, SumAll ($99/month), connects to your social media accounts and provides insights. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still expensive. What about a free option? The free version of Google Analytics offers

a wealth of reports that can help you evaluate whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s happening on your website. It wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t provide you with the granular, minute-by-minute insights and support these other services do, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good place to start. Will Big Data ever be widely accessible? In the not-too-distant future, small businesses will leverage Big Data without even knowing it. Accounting software, CRM and marketing automation software will automatically serve predictive analytics, insights and more. These solutions will help you know which questions to ask and give you the answers you seek without having to concern yourself with complex technicalities.

Logistics Experts for Less CONQUER THE LAST MILE WITH DELIVERY SOFTWARE.

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ore than 80 percent of delivery businesses are winging it, ^P[OUVKLKPJH[LK[LJOUVSVN`[VKPZWH[JOHUKM\SĂ&#x201E;SSVYKLYZ Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what CEO Khaled Naim discovered as he cofounded 6UĂ&#x2026;LL[H`LHYVSKJVTWHU`[OH[WYV]PKLZZVM[^HYL[VJVVYKPUH[L deliveries, communicate with customers (even angry ones) and man HNLJVZ[Z¸0[ÂťZLHZPLY[VZL[\WHUKLHZPLY[V\ZL[OHU[OLV[OLYTVYL archaic programs out there,â&#x20AC;? says David Coupar, director of oper ations and new business development at Cernx, a courier service IHZLK PU 9PJOTVUK *HSPM ;OL RL` [V 6UĂ&#x2026;LL[ÂťZ ZLY]PJL! H Z`Z[LT [OH[WPJRZ[OLILZ[KLSP]LY`YV\[LHUKRLLWZKPZWH[JOLYZHUKJ\Z [VTLYZ^LSSPUMVYTLKHSSMVYHIV\[JLU[ZVYSLZZWLYKLSP]LY`To get a sense of it, just pull out a penâ&#x20AC;Ś â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Marty Jerome

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Illustration by Edmon de Haro (top); Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey (bottom)


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your money

WORK STOPPAGE

CAN’T WORK? NEITHER CAN YOUR BUSINESS. By Steph Wagner Photograph by Dan Saelinger

F YOU’RE LIKE pretty much every business owner I’ve ever met, you can’t stomach the idea of abandoning your business. But if an accident or illness knocks you off your feet, and you’re not prepared for it, you can go from six-figure monthly revenues to squat overnight. And yet, you’ll still need to pay your mortgage, business vendors and payroll. Can you do it? If you don’t have a backup plan, turn the page—you’ll find the three financial steps you should take today to protect you tomorrow. >>

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vc viewpoint

STEP #1 Secure access to cash. For years, financial advisers have recommended that everyone stash enough cash to cover at least six months of personal and business operating expenses for emergencies. Yeah, right. To most people, that’s an obscene amount of money to have parked in a near-zero-interest bank account. A better solution: Open a line of credit (both personal and business) that can supplement a more modest emergency fund amount of about two to three months’ expenses.

THE CASE FOR UNSEXY By Sam Hogg

Or why the smart money invests in B2B over B2C.

I

GET IT: You want to build a consumer product that will wow your friends, and that maybe even your mom will use. You want to join the herd of unicorns roaming the venture-backed pastures of Silicon Valley. But thanks to some painful and costly lessons, I’ve learned to mostly pass on business-to-consumer companies— or B2C, as we call them. These days, my colleagues and I are more excited to hear about startups building often boring solutions for other companies—and that means you should be excited to create these business-to-business (B2B) companies. Here’s why.

STEP #2 Insure your paycheck. If you don’t have disability insurance, get it. Some policies guarantee a percentage of your income— typically up to 60 percent—while others cover your business’s overhead so you can pay bills (which, conveniently, includes your full salary). But make sure you shop around and read the fine print to uncover any loopholes. A client of mine learned this the hard way, when she found herself in the hospital after a car knocked her off her bike. The insurance company paid nothing because it determined that her business did not suffer a “significant enough” drop in revenue while she was debilitated. She nearly went bankrupt. STEP #3 Get down to basics. Whether you end up relying on a lump sum of cash or a reduced income stream, one thing is for sure: You’ll need to live lean when you’re out of commission. The more time you prepare for the worst by limiting your personal overhead, the easier it’ll be to weather adversity. Personally, I never let my fixed expenses account for more than 45 percent of my income after taxes.

Downside of B2C

Upside of B2B

It may be easy to find and acquire customers and users, but they’re fickle and will drop your product for the next shiny thing.

One paying business client can be more valuable than millions of users—particularly if that customer relies on your product.

Why was your great idea so popular? Because the internet, social media and cloud-based computing made it easy and cheap to reach consumers. Same goes for the competition.

Businesses don’t like change. If you create a truly unique and valuable enterprise-level solution, it can stick and flourish for years. Unseating you would be a long and costly battle.

In the five-year period from 2009 to 2014, the top 100 successful B2C exits sold at roughly 22 times the value their investors bought into. That’s nice, but…

…it’s not that great. The top 100 B2B exits yielded 37 times the investment. In my world, this translates into significantly better capital efficiency. It’s also why I love B2B more than B2C.

Steph Wagner is a private equity investor and financial strategist.

How I Saved

Larry Gadea, CEO of Envoy, San Francisc

Sam Hogg is a partner with Open Prairie Ventures and Huron River Ventures.

$50,000

We make an iPad-based visitor log, so that people who arrive at an office can sign in easily. More than 2,000 companies use it, and many buy the dedicated iPad directly from us—and so, in turn, we make sure we’re buying all those iPads with

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our company credi i i g ints we get, we’ve been able to book 10 int i al, $5,000 first-class flights to see clients in places such as the Persian Gulf since last year. —As told to Grant Davis


2013 Over the summer, Konte

builds a roasting lab in his garage, where he experiments with coffee blends and roasting techniques while getting pro bono advice from ICAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s advisers on launching Red Bay Coffee. Keba Konte of Red Bay Coffee.

startup finance

A (New) Prime Location

A VENTURE FUND INVESTS SERIOUS CASH ON STARTUPS IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES.

2014 Red Bay Coffee opens

in Oakland as a micro-roaster, roasting less than 130 pounds of coffee at a time. Now that Red Bay is an official business, Konte joins ICAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s accelerator program and spends the rest of the year developing a fund-raising plan and financial and job-creation projections. Summer 2015 Konte works with ICA to construct a Kickstarter campaign with optimal prizes and prices, then raises $87,000 on the site to fund a coffee barâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and, with the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s help, also begins negotiating a sizable seed round with several of the philanthropic fundâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s financial partners.

By Michelle Goodman Fall 2015 Red Bay Coffee

I

N RECENT MONTHS, community leaders from New York, Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, D.C., have come to Oakland, Calif., to ask: How can we launch something like the local-business-building program ICA Fund Good Jobs? The program helps new companies create jobs in underserved communities, and does so in many waysâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with workshops, an invite-only accelerator, venture funding of $250,000 to $1 million and relationships with community banks and local organizations that pitch in as well. Since launching in 2013, Fund Good Jobs has invested more WKDQ  PLOOLRQ LQ Ă°YH VWDUWXSV XQORFNHG  PLOOLRQ PRUH LQ RXWVLGH FDSLWDO DQG created more than 100 local jobs. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how one of those businesses grew, using the right tools at the right times.

2011 Oakland-based Keba Konte is accepted into an ICA 10-week business class. At the time, he owns and manages Guerilla CafĂŠ, an organic coffee shop in Berkeley, but he dreams of building his own small-batch coffee roaster business and a chain of cafĂŠs. 2012 Konte opens a second coffee shop in San Francisco, Chasing Lions Cafe. The shop does well, but he still wants to roast and sell his own coffee in his shops.

Photograph by Cody Pickens

closes a $725,000 investment round of debt and equity; ICA Fund Good Jobs contributes $300,000, and the rest comes from a handful of angel investors. Konte opens his dream 7,800-square-foot roasting facility in East Oakland. Today Red Bay Coffee employs more than 25 people, most of them minorities, many of them formerly incarcerated. Wholesale customers include Uber, Salesforce, Twitter and Instagram. By yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s end, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have opened his Kickstarterfunded coffee bar and another one inside the roasting facility.

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ask the money guy

When do I need an outside audit? By Joe Worth

BUSINESS OWNERS ask me this question all the time, and with good reason. Outside audits are intense examinations of your company’s financial systems and controls, including sample testing and outside verification of many transactions on your ledgers. An outside auditor’s opinion will include assurance that your financial statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and that your business is viable and sustainable. They can cost tens of thousands of dollars and suck up an accounting department’s time for weeks at a stretch. Here’s when you’ll need one: THREE CONSECUTIVE YEARS. If you’re courting investment or a buyout from major corporations and private equity firms, they’ll want to review three years’ worth of audited financial statements before they commit. Same goes for a bank looking to make a loan to you in excess of $1 million. EVERY YEAR. If you’ve sold your company to a private equity firm or taken out a sizable loan (congrats on that!), you’ll need to conduct an outside audit every year to reassure financial partners that your company is buttoned up and their investment is safe. That’s also true if you take your company public. NEVER. Depending upon your company’s credit history, a loan or a line of credit under $1 million may only require what’s called a review, where an outside CPA firm looks through your accounting systems to confirm everything is legit.

Bonus advice:

Don’t skimp on your CPA firm!

It doesn’t matter what you think: If you’re talking to a bank or a potential buyer, their opinion of your CPA firm is what matters most. That means you’ll often have to go with a bigger, more reputable— and more expensive—accounting firm than you may want. So when you do, keep this in mind: The people pitching you their CPA business should be the same ones in charge of your audit. Also, ask for a multiyear price guarantee on their work, to prevent them from lowballing their fees to buy your business only to jack them up next year.

Joe Worth is a partner at B2B CFO.

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Illustration by Ben Wiseman


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Visit owncheckersfranchise.com/ENT or Call 888-913-9135 © 2016 Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. 4300 W. Cypress St., Suite 600, Tampa, FL 33607. 1. Per Item 19 in Checkers & Rally’s 2016 Franchise Disclosure Document. Same-store sales results are measured by combining 2016 FDD and 2015 FDD data. 2. Per Yahoo!.com Fast Food French Fries Taste Test Winner Gets an Asterisk article 3.Per Franchise Business Review 2015 Top Multi-Unit Franchises Report. Written substantiation will be provided on request. This advertisement is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. The franchisor, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. is located at 4300 West Cypress Street, Suite 600, Tampa, Florida 33607, and is registered as file number F-4351 in the state of Minnesota. In New York, an offering can only be made by a prospectus filed first with the Department of Law, and such filing does not constitute approval by that Department. 20160625


Embrace simplicity: “At big companies, there are a lot of layers and lots of input, and you end up with very complex products,” says Schaeffer. NoBull has no time for that. Layers of input? There aren’t even layers of people. Schaeffer says that allows his company to make something Reebok can’t: Its signature style is cut from one piece of material, without extra features competing for attention. “There’s a desire to create something simple, understandable, functionally sound, that came out of a stripped-down process.” Here’s something else NoBull does differently: It can turn a new shoe around in four months, nearly five times faster than big brands do. “We make our decisions based on our gut and knowledge of the market, versus market research,” he says—and they’ll review an entire product line in a day or two, as opposed to several weeks. This helps NoBull react to (and influence) trends, and sell new products without a money-losing lag time.

Make your weaknesses strengths: Compared with NoBull, the founders’ old gigs were cushy: “We took for granted the resources at our disposal, when it comes to materials sourcing

to logistics to supply chain,” Wilson says. Now they’re getting to know this stuff—and find that they’re more creative as a result. When they visit manufacturers in China, say, they leave with a holistic understanding of how a design decision in their office impacts costs half a world away. Now they have a philosophy: “We constantly ask ourselves, ‘Is this moving us forward?’” says Wilson. “You can easily drown in getting something perfect, as opposed to understanding where you are, having a clear destination or goal and making sure you’re continually moving toward that goal on the product side and the marketing side.”

Build your own culture: “CrossFit consumers really pull for everyone else,” Wilson says. “If you watch CrossFit games, the people who finish first turn around and cheer for people who are finishing next.” NoBull’s cofounders want to make sure their culture has the same good nature—and that’s much easier to do on a small scale. (“All you need is one rogue element on a big team to destroy culture very quickly,” Wilson says.) NoBull has only 10 employees, and it’s growing slowly for a reason: “When we hire, we don’t hire people to be like us, but people who live up to the same values. We’ve not hired a lot of people because of that. They could be superstars in their own way, but it’s integral to us to have every person, from a personality perspective, be a right fit.”

“IF YOU WATCH CROSSFIT GAMES, THE PEOPLE WHO FINISH FIRST TURN AROUND AND CHEER FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE FINISHING NEXT.” 62

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q&a

Learn from Failure Every flop is worthwhile. Here, how a dead-end subscription startup shaped its founders. By Michelle Goodman

T

here are many subscription-delivery success stories, like BarkBox (a monthly shipment of dog treats) and BirchBox (for makeup samples). Dallas couple Blake and Taylor Davis tried to follow with The Jerky Box, promising handcrafted beef jerky from three vendors each month. Eight months later, it was dead. Time to debrief.

So, what went wrong? Blake Davis The business relied heavily on the jerky companies—seeking them out, explaining why it was smart to sell us x amount of their jerky at wholesale. There were not enough craft jerky companies to make it work.

Taylor Davis We had a couple months where we had to send three bags of jerky from the same company to our subscribers. We could’ve gotten 10,000 subscribers, but without having enough jerky companies to consistently supply us, it was no good.

Did you try to fix the problem? T.D. We thought about adding nuts or different specialties from other artisanal companies, but that would have added to the shipping, cutting into our profits.

How’d you finally decide to call it quits? B.D. Our margins were pretty low. The cost of shipping was never consistent. If we had a customer in Maine versus somebody local, the shipping ranged from $3 to $8. We were pretty much just breaking even. We couldn’t scale it. So in summer of 2014, we realized the business was way too much work for what we got out of it.

What did the experience teach you? B.D. We didn’t want somebody else’s input or product to define our success. That’s why we moved into the service model, so we could be in full control of our success.

T.D. Now everything we do to make a profit comes down to us. The Davises now run Long Drive Agency, a digital marketing firm, and Something Pretty Floral, a wedding floral design company. They collectively employ a dozen people and expect $1 million in revenue this year.

PHOTOGRAPH BY AR PHOTOGRAPHY

sponsor four CrossFit celebrities and have 11 shoe styles for sale, and have learned a lot about the benefits of being small.


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who’s got vc?

Find Your First Funder THE INITIAL CONNECTION MAY NOT HAPPEN IN AN OFFICE. THIS STARTUP WENT LOOKING FOR BACKERS ON THEIR OWN TURF. THE CHALLENGE: Suman Kanuganti and Yuja Chang knew zero VCs but needed funding for their startup, Aira. It creates internetconnected, camera-equipped glasses for the blind; if a person wearing them needs help navigating somewhere, an on-call sighted person can watch the camera feed and verbally direct the blind person. THE SOLUTION: Rather than beg for meetings, the cofounders became active in the blind community, where they hoped to find support. At a fund-raiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) in 2014, they chatted up the evening’s speaker, Lux Capital partner Larry Bock. He’d lost most of his vision to macular degeneration. “I was so in awe of the low-profile, inconspicuous but extremely powerful nature of the technology,” he says. Soon he provided seed capital and joined as Aira’s executive chairman.

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THE POWER OF PUBLIC PRAISE “Employee of the month” programs are pooh-poohed as cheesy, or dismissed as discouraging to those who haven’t won. But a new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found a wrinkle: Researchers ran experiments at a university and a factory, and found that when one person was singled out for doing great work, that person didn’t become an even better employee...but everyone else stepped up their game, hoping for the same recognition. Don’t have a parking lot to give awards in? No problem: You can still say, “Good job.”

Illustration by John Hersey

PHOTOGRAPH BY ERMINGUT/GETTY IMAGES

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH PARKING

THE FOLLOW-THROUGH: Aira launched a prototype at a local FFB charity walk, where one tester successfully navigated several miles. A year of product tweaks followed, and then Bock helped again: His fund, along with ARCH Venture Partners (which tends to back companies he seeds), provided nearly $800,000 in new seed money in October 2015—and contributed to Aira’s $3.5 million Series A in March 2016. “We love funding founders who tackle big, hard problems unconventionally,” says Josh Wolfe, Lux’s managing director. The cash will help Aira launch officially later this year and hopefully scale up to 200 users by early 2017. —Brittany Shoot


7 MEATS

2 BREADS 1 CHEESE =

1 SIMPLE CONCEPT

LIMITED DEVELOPMENT AREAS AVAILABLE 800.546.6904 + OWNAJIMMYJOHNS.COM ©2015 JIMMY JOHN’S FRANCHISE, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Chris Dingman, not your average moving guy.


Marketing Budget:

$0

IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, AND YET MANY COMPANIES PULL IT OFF. HOW? BY THINKING DIFFERENTLY ABOUT WHO DOES THE MARKETING. By Jason Feifer + Brittany Shoot Photography by Brian Higbee

T

EN YEARS AGO,

Chris Dingman launched his company on the flimsiest of grounds. It’s called The Dingman Group, and it relocates professional athletes—so, say, if a guy is traded from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, The Dingman Group would arrange to sell the house in Miami, pack it up, move the stuff and find a new home in Cleveland. It’s a clever, one-of-akind service, but there was a hitch: The “Group” was just Dingman, and he had no experience in real estate or professional sports. Also, he was damn near broke—and it took him almost a year and a half to find his first client. “It was gnarly,” he says. “No matter how much you’re struggling as an entrepreneur, you have to put a face on.” >> 6/16 ENTREPRENEUR

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His fortunes are considerably different now. When he spoke to Entrepreneur one day in early April, The Dingman Group—now a five-person outfit in Newport Beach, Calif.—was in the middle of relocating 115 athletes, coaches, personnel and entertainers, plus opening offices in Denver and London. He has much to be proud of, but here’s one of his biggest sources of pride: “When it comes to PR and advertising, we’ve never paid for anything, ever,” he says. “I dig my heels into that. I really enjoy being able to tell people that.” So, yes, Dingman is one of those people. When one entrepreneur says, “We did it with no marketing dollars,” 50 other entrepreneurs simultaneously gnash their teeth. It seems unfair. Also, it seems impossible. Really? Nothing? What—do clients just show up at the door waving money? Of course not. Here’s what’s happening: These companies are marketing, but they’re doing it in a far more personal way. “When you say ‘no marketing,’ you’re talking about advertising, broadcasting, taking a traditional marketing approach,” says Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs. “But the best marketing is more about brains than it is about budget. Really think through who you’re trying to attract, what value you can offer them and how you can put your product or service in the context of their life.” You don’t need to hire someone to do that. The job is yours.

“THERE’S ALWAYS THIS ASSUMPTION THAT MARKETING IS RELEGATED TO A LOWER LEVEL, THAT IT’S NEVER THE JOB OF THE CEO,” SAYS HANDLEY. “BUT WHY NOT?”

ARLIER THIS YEAR,

an email arrived in Handley’s inbox. It was a contest announcement from Baking Steel, a cookware company she likes: Tell them what sandwich you’d make on their new mini griddle and you might win one. So she entered (sandwich: fried eggs, arugula, avocado, bacon). A few days later, the company’s CEO emailed Handley to say she’d won, and then he wrote a blog post about her culinary vision. “It was thrilling for me to win, but it was more thrilling to talk to the guy—the brain trust for this product I’d been using for years,” she says. Handley says there’s an instructive lesson here: Founders and CEOs often forget what a powerful presence they are. Nobody wants to meet a publicist—they want to meet a visionary. “There’s always

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this assumption that marketing is relegated to a lower level, that it’s never the job of the CEO. But why not?” she says. “That’s the role that you are: You’re the face of the company.” Lifelong oilman Paul Chittenden knows that well. In 2013, he founded Bad Ass Work Gear, which makes durable vinyl bags and heavy-duty gloves for seriously dirty work, including oil-rig repairs and offshore drilling (as well as firefighting and environmental cleanup jobs). Rather than build a marketing team, Chittenden relied heavily on Facebook and leveraged personal relationships he already had in the industry—to make sure that, say, his bags

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF DRY SODA CO.

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Growing a

Dena Tripp

Debbie Shwetz

EHOLD THE BUNDT cake, the ring-shaped dessert that enjoyed a brief golden age in the 1960s— before becoming a staple of potlucks and afternoons with Grandma. But then, in 1997, Dena Tripp brought a Bundt cake to her friend Debbie Shwetz’s house. “I asked her why she hadn’t used my cream-cheese-andbutter frosting, and she said she couldn’t figure out how to frost the cake,” Shwetz says. “We started talking about how one could decorate a Bundt cake, and the idea for the business was

B THE CONJURERS franchisor

OF CAKE

TWO FRIENDS BRING BACK A DISCARDED DESSERT, AND CREATE A NATIONAL HIT. By Jason Daley Photographs by Alex Hoerner

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Behold the Bundt.

born.” The next year, the duo opened their first Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery in Las Vegas, serving up flavors like cinnamon swirl, chocolate chocolate chip and pecan praline. It was a local success, and the duo began franchising in 2007. Now the company has 164 units across the U.S., with another 40 cooking for 2016. Bundt cakes! How did you make them cool again? Tripp: What we wanted to do is find an item

that could set us apart. We wanted something super-desirable in flavor and texture. That’s not how Bundt cakes typically come across. They’re dense and somewhat dry. We knew that, and we said, “Let’s do the opposite.”

What’s different about your cakes? Shwetz: We offer full-size 10-inch cakes;

eight-inch cakes; small cakes called bundtlets, which are single-serving, like a cupcake; and bundtinis, which are bite-size cakes. People stop in to get a treat for themselves or for a party, or even funerals. Tripp: Our brand is not really a bakery. We’re a retail bakery. We consider our products to be part of a gifting concept and as a treat. There are not a lot of brands that work both sides of that angle. You started franchising right before the recession. How’d that go? Shwetz: It was not a great time to start

franchising, and funding was almost nonexistent. But in 2010 Craig Moore, the former president and CEO of the CiCi’s pizza franchise, asked us about becoming a franchisee. He ended up buying part of the company. That was huge. We’ve opened most of our franchises since then. OK, so what’s the most popular cake? Tripp: The chocolate chocolate chip. It was our very first, the one with my cake and Debbie’s frosting so many years ago. In the beginning, we didn’t think our cake would change people’s lives at all. But we have had some of the most loyal guests you can imagine. We laugh, because it’s just cake!

franchisee

AT AGE 15, MOLLY MARTIN took a part-time job at

Getting Into the Zone

a mobile-phone store in Greenville, Mich. She was a natural and quickly worked her way from intern to sales associate, then sales manager and, eventually, at the age of 21, division manager. By the time she was 22, she decided to go into business for herself. “I started looking at different franchises in the mobile space and eventually signed on with Wireless Zone,” says Martin, who took ownership at 23. “This industry is growing more into a tech industry—there’s so many ways to expand.” Now 26, she has opened two successful units, in Fremont and Whitehall, north of Grand Rapids.

HOW A PART-TIME JOB TURNED INTO A FULL-TIME MOBILE-PHONEFRANCHISE CAREER. By Jason Daley Molly Martin has owned this Zone for three years.

Wh did Wi l s Z t k h n 23 - ld ? I d been in the industry so long that I had good support from Verizon, the carrier Wireless Zone works with. I’d worked with account managers and district managers for years, and they had my back. I was fresh out of college, where I studied business and marketing and entrepreneurship. I learned how to manage the back end of a company and how to run the sales floor. In fact, with my experience, the training period was cut to 10 days from 21. Wh did add r d t ? Within six months of opening my first store, in Fremont, a second location opened up, in Whitehall, 20 miles away. That area really needed a store, and I simplified operations by replicating everything I’d done with my first store. Wh t s big t tu l af hi e ? I opened my third location, a kiosk, in February 2015 in the Grandville mall, but I didn’t really know anything about how malls work. The whole experience was outside my comfort zone. Staffing in the mall, for one, was difficult. The employees were really “mall employees” and not salespeople. The kiosk took up a lot of my attention, and my other stores suffered, so 11 months later I closed the kiosk. In two weeks, the numbers in my original two stores were back up. I learned that if you’re not comfortable, there’s no reason to waste your time and energy on it.

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Photograph by Jesse Chehak


STRENGTH IN NUMBE

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RS

Make the jump from one franchise unit to a multi-unit empire. BY JASON DALEY ILLUSTRATIONS BY PATRICK HRUBY


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AAMCO FAST FACTS

AAMCO: BUILD YOUR SUCCESS ON OURS For more than half a century, the American public has linked the word “transmission” to AAMCO, and for good reason. The brand’s iconic, “Double A, Beep Beep, M-C-O” mnemonic brings instant recognition and trust from the American consumer. Over the last decade, AAMCO has capitalized on the growing automotive aftermarket with its expansion into Total Car Care services and continues to experience growth in its core category of transmission repair. In addition to automatic brand recognition, AAMCO franchisees benefit from an Executive Leadership Team with over 75 years of combined franchising and automotive experience. With this franchisee focus in mind, AAMCO provides a wide variety of ongoing training and support services in real estate, financing, marketing, staff recruitment and operations. AAMCO also offers a world-class training program at its specialized training facility, AAMCO University. The award-winning curriculum includes hundreds of courses specifically designed for new and current franchise

owners, customer service managers and technicians. Another competitive advantage that separates AAMCO from other automotive repair brands is through its partnership with sister company Global Powertrain Systems and its remanufacturing transmission facility. This reinvestment back into the brand allows AAMCO franchisees to share in exclusive cost savings, have better quality of product and the quickest speed of delivery on its highest ticket item, transmissions. To further increase its franchisees’ longterm profitability, AAMCO unveiled an enhanced consumer financing program, which gives customers access to multiple lenders. This trio of revenue streams – transmissions, Total Car Care and regular maintenance services – along with AAMCO’s proven business model, allow its franchisees to serve as a one-stop shop for all of its customers’ auto repair needs and capture more market share in the industry.

Instant brand recognition with low initial investment Award-winning training program offered at new state-of-the-art training facility Remanufacturing transmission facility allows for fast turnaround without impacting quality Thomas and Rhonda Scott, Multi Center Franchise Owners: “This is a business that is very trustworthy. With the new leadership and innovation, we are doing better than ever.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION AAMCO Eric Simon | Director, Franchise Development P: (858) 945-8848 E: esimon@aamco.com W: aamcofranchises.com Come visit us at the IFE show, booth #428, to learn more about the AAMCO franchise opportunity.

This advertisement is not an offer of a franchise. AAMCO franchises may only be offered by way of a current franchise disclosure document (FDD) and in accordance with applicable laws or regulatory exemptions. Please contact an AAMCO representative for additional details.


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ABOUT ILOVEKICKBOXING ILKB is a boutique fitness concept that takes the bag-hitting, calorie-busting workouts of pro fighters & makes them fun & accessible to anyone.

ILOVEKICKBOXING FAST FACTS Fastest growing fitness franchise in the USA (500+ licenses awarded) No unit closures. Not a single iLoveKickboxing has ever closed

ILOVEKICKBOXING: THE “SECRET” FASTEST-GROWING FITNESS FRANCHISE They don’t buy up big ad space. They’ve had minimal publicity. Yet iLoveKickboxing, a boutique fitness kickboxing concept, is currently the fastest-growing fitness franchise in the nation, selling over 425 units in the past 24 months with no signs of slowing down. How is this possible? What about this franchise is so appealing to entrepreneurs nationwide - including those who never even considered a fitness franchise prior to iLoveKickboxing? “The answer to that is two-folds I think,” stated founder and CEO, Michael Parrella. “In short: We researched what entrepreneurs really want in a franchise, and we created it. “That led to a few key points. The first: great unit economics with a low initial investment. You don’t need to buy treadmills or any expensive machinery like that. Kickboxing is simple: mats on the floor and heavy bags are the only ‘equipment’ you need. Next, we solved the biggest problem businesses face: getting new customers.

“We pioneered a multi-layered online and offline marketing funnel that drives memberships right to our locations’ doors, and they never have to lift a finger. You don’t have to suddenly become a marketing expert to own our franchise as you do with many others. We handle about 95% of all marketing for every franchise, so they can focus on having fun. “And finally, we have systems in place for semi-absentee and absentee ownership. That way, if you so desire, your franchise can run itself without you ever needing to be there. That’s why no fitness experience is required.” Another factor contributing to the growth is current owner validations. When prospective franchise candidates do their due diligence and call around, they hear nothing but glowing praise for the concept. The individuals making these validation calls are attorneys, CPAs, and corporate executives with backgrounds in research as well. Yet despite their more-than-thorough efforts, they just can’t seem to “poke holes” in iLoveKickboxing.

Current owners love us. Call as many as you’d like to validate. $50k liquidity minimum & amazing unit economics

“We researched many other franchises, and every third or fourth call you’d make, you’d get someone who regretted purchasing that franchise. With iLoveKickboxing, we never ran into that. Not a single person said they regretted it. They said they wished they’d found it sooner,” stated one franchisee. “Territories are disappearing every day,” stated Director of Franchise Development, Scott Ferrari. “Now is the time to reach out and get on board while they’re still available.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION iLoveKickboxing P: (516) 882-7182 E: FranchiseInfo@iLoveKickboxing.com W: www.myilovekickboxing.com Learn how easy it is to get started in the travel industry!


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ABOUT DWYER GROUP Dwyer Group represents a variety of service franchises, providing a diverse array of home services through more than 2500 franchises.

CONSIDER THESE DWYER BRANDS Mr. Appliance Grounds Guys Five Star Painting

SERVICE INDUSTRY BOOMS IN SENIORS MARKET After 20 years in the same home, imagine not being able to turn the handle on your front door for the first time. Think about what it might be like to feel unsteady walking down the hall to your bedroom, or worry about bathing safely. Rooms appear dimmer. Doorbells ring softer. Franchisees throughout the home services industry are tapping in to an entire new sector of this growing population: Aging-In-Place Certification. Dennis McGee owns Mr. Handyman serving Ocala to West Apopka in Florida, and is a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS). A CAPS certification gives him a higher level of credibility when compared to the local guy, and more opportunity for business. “The average ‘grab bar guy’ is limited to grab bars only and does not have the credentials to discuss the options available in respect to Aging-In-Place,” McGee said. “This gives us more time with the customer and expands our services to the customer for CAPS issues and Home Repair.” Ad does not constitute franchise offer.

Molly Maid Mr. Handyman

In addition to helping keep his business profitable and sustainable, CAPS jobs are rewarding.

choice as they get older? A way to feel safe, and not like a burden to other family members?

“When we send our techs out to do work for a senior citizen, I tell them they just might be changing someone’s life with that project,” McGee said.

The National Association of Home Builders (nahb.com) has created the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation program that teaches the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to competing in one of the fastest growing segments of the residential remodeling industry: home modifications for the aging-inplace. The Aging-In-Place Remodeling Checklist presented by the NAHB has plenty of tasks for every type of business, from landscaping to appliances.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 76 million baby-boomers currently entering into their retirement years. With the high cost of assisted living, many boomers find themselves caring for older loved ones. Not all seniors will experience limitations, but even one setback can dramatically affect quality of life and independence. At some point, millions of senior citizens could face the decision of whether or not they are able to continue living independently in their homes. The decision weighs heavy with emotion, dignity, and oftentimes, financial strain. What if you owned a business that could provide these residents another option? A way for seniors to live longer in the home and community of their

FOR MORE INFORMATION Donna Gibson P: (855) 910-6754 E: donna.gibson@dwyergroup.com W: Go.dwyr.com/entr


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ABOUT CRUISE PLANNERS Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, is a low-cost home-based franchise opportunity that yields high returns even without travel experience.

CRUISE PLANNERS FAST FACTS No previous travel experience necessary Startup Costs – $495 to $15,000

CRUISE PLANNERS YOUR LAND & CRUISE SPECIALIST! Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, is constantly innovating—in the past few years, Cruise Planners continues to be the most award-winning travel company and is a leader in technology, marketing, and travel franchise ownership. Here are some of the top reasons why owning a Cruise Planners franchise, the most awarded company in the homebased travel industry, is the right choice for you. Gain credibility with American Express Travel Cruise Planners is an American Express Travel Representative agency, which lends instant credibility to its new franchisees and offers a variety of exclusive marketing programs to help close the sale. Customers get exclusive added benefits and can purchase cruises with American Express Membership Rewards® points, with agents earning full commission. Work with award-winning professionals Named the No. 1 Cruise Tour/Travel Agency by Entrepreneur magazine for the past 13 years, Cruise Planners positions franchise owners for success by providing innovative marketing, booking and lead-generating tools, as well as professional development and hands-on training with the industry’s top executives.

Frequent turnkey marketing campaigns • Award-winning advertising programs created by an in-house marketing team • Monthly direct mail brochures and full-color pieces are customized with agents’ contact information; mailed to clients at no cost • Personalized, full-color, 32-page magazine available twice a year featuring hot destinations, new cruise ships, and vacation specials • Weekly email campaigns to customers with special offers • Website and lead generation program • Print-on-demand marketing and communications tools Sell with great tools Cruise Planners agents have access to proprietary software enabling them to research travel trends, manage and book reservations, market their business online and create customized marketing materials. Through innovative mobile applications, agents can access clients’ booking information and practically run their business from the palm of their hand. Agents can also connect with the supportive home office staff to help grow their business, produce invoices, and track commissions.

6-day training in Florida focused on travel, technology, and marketing Highest travel commissions with multiple revenue streams Turn-key, award winning marketing and advertising programs State-of-the-art technology and mobile tools allowing you to run your business from the palm of your hand On-demand virtual training programs offering more than 600 modules, videos, and webinars for continued education Proprietary accounting and customer management web-based software One-on-one coaching and development

FOR MORE INFORMATION Cruise Planners P: (888) 582-2150 E: franchising@cruiseplanners.com W: CruisePlannersFranchise.com Learn how easy it is to get started in the travel industry!


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ABOUT KUMON Kumon is the world’s largest education franchise with nearly 300,000 students enrolled in its after-school math and reading programs, at 1,500 learning centers in the U.S.

KUMON FAST FACTS Ranked No.1 tutoring franchise by Entrepreneur magazine 15 years in a row Lowest franchise fee and initial startup cost in supplemental learning industry

FOUR REASONS TO OWN A FRANCHISE While many people dream of owning their own business, not everyone is willing to take a leap of faith. Having a fulfilling career doing what you’re passionate about doesn’t have to be a fantasy. Instead of worrying about “what if,” think about “why not” and the limitless opportunities that owning a franchise has to offer. Cristina Acosta took the reins of her own career 18 years ago and she’s never looked back. After enrolling her son in Kumon, the world’s largest after-school math and reading program, and seeing the success of the program, she decided to open her own Kumon franchise. Eighteen years later, she now owns two Kumon learning centers with a combined 450 students in Boca Raton. She gives us insight on why you should open your own franchise. 1. Brand Awareness. Investing in a franchise provides a unique opportunity to receive direct support from a recognizable brand with a proven system in place. Founded in 1958, Kumon has more than 4.2 million students

enrolled in 26,000 centers in 49 countries and regions worldwide. Along with global brand awareness, Kumon does extensive national advertising and offers support for its franchisees with local and regional advertising efforts. 2. Solid Business Plan. Many people who want to become their own boss don’t necessarily have a business background. Lacking this can make the sheer thought of owning a business intimidating and overwhelming. A franchise model can help alleviate this fear because you are buying into a business that is already established. Kumon offers the independence of small business ownership supported by the benefits of a big business network. 3. Training and Support. Great franchisors offer a tremendous amount of ongoing business support to their franchisees. Kumon provides its franchisees with all the tools necessary to succeed—professional training, marketing, and continuous research and development programs, which keep the business current and competitive.

Investment required for start-up is $69,428 - $140,626 Kumon offers initial financial incentives totaling $19,000

4. Professional Growth. Franchise ownership can offer a level of freedom and opportunity for growth. The advantage of owning a Kumon franchise is that you are part of a bigger community that has the same goals in mind, but have the power to run your business independently and successfully with the freedom to establish your own management and business styles. Whether you are contemplating a career change or want to enhance your role as an educator, investing in a Kumon franchise may be the best choice for you.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Thomas Kuczek P: (866) 633-0740 E: franchise@kumon.com W: www.KumonFranchise.com Learn how easy it is to get started in the travel industry!


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Stratus Building Solutions A Master Franchise Program that provides the Exclusive Territory, Recurring Revenue and Freedom you desire.

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500

ABOUT STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Stratus® provides turn-key franchise opportunities in the commercial cleaning industry and is the leader in green facilities services.

STRATUS BUILDING SOLOTUIONS FAST FACTS Exclusive major metropolitan territories available

FASTEST-GROWING

FRANCHISE

2016

Lowest investment costs in the industry Multiple recurring revenue streams

FIND SUCCESS WITH A TURN-KEY BUSINESS MODEL Stratus Building Solutions® provides an environmentally friendly commercial cleaning experience driven by entrepreneurial, small business owners and regional support centers. Since 2006, Stratus Building Solutions® has developed into a household name in janitorial services and is the industry leader in green facilities maintenance. Now under new ownership, the company prides itself on offering exceptional, turn-key franchise opportunities. With a proven Stratus Building Solutions® business model and a commitment to customer service, your own commercial janitorial service franchise has unlimited earning potential. At the Forefront In an ever increasing health and environmentally conscious consumer market, the demand for Stratus® Green Clean services puts it at the forefront of the commercial cleaning industry. Offering a range of special services, customizable options, state-ofthe-art cleaning equipment with air-quality improvement components, and Green Seal Certified Stratus® Green Clean chemicals, Stratus Building Solutions® is second to none in green janitorial and the pursuance of cleaning for health. Growth and Demand The Commercial Cleaning Industry is one of the fastest growing service industries in the world today and is projected to continue to provide tremendous opportunity. Demand for green

products and services has also profoundly increased, an area which Stratus® successfully leads the commercial cleaning franchise industry. Frequent customers are schools, medical offices, shopping centers, warehouses, dealerships, religious centers, professional offices, daycares, retail stores, gyms and more. Purchasing a commercial cleaning franchise provides a limitless source of new customers, in major metropolitan areas to smaller towns. Success for Today and the Future Stratus Building Solutions’® business model targets multiple recurring revenue streams, assuring a consistent income for today and into the future. Customer contracts, financing payments, and a scalable organizational concept provide a solid base to leverage continuous growth. Many economists also label the commercial cleaning industry as recession proof. It is distinctive in providing a continuous income even during an economic downturn, as proven by many existing Stratus® franchises. The Stratus® Difference Stratus Building Solutions® offers a turn-key business model with franchise concepts ranging from home-based businesses to exclusive regional Master franchises. With the lowest investment costs in the industry and availabilities in major metropolitan areas, Stratus® provides the nation’s premier business opportunities in the commercial cleaning industry.

Comprehensive business support Multiple franchise concepts No experience necessary

Regional Master Franchises: • Exclusive Territories Available in Major Metropolitan Areas • Executive, Area Developer Model • Monthly Recurring Revenue • Multiple Income Sources Model • High Margin Earnings Capability • Continuous Business Development Support • National Marketing Campaign • Proprietary Management Software • Corporate Offered Inside Sales Call Center Unit Franchises: • Lowest Investment Costs in the Industry, as low as $1000 down • Guaranteed Sales Accounts • Multiple Franchise Concepts • No Experience Necessary; All sales, marketing, billing and collections, and support provided • State-of-the-Art Equipment and Materials • Military Discounts Available

FOR MORE INFORMATION Stratus Building Solutions P: (888) 981-1555 Learn how easy it is to get started in www.stratusclean.com W: the travel industry!


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ABOUT PIRTEK USA PIRTEK is the leader in fluid transfer solutions in sales and service, the only brand of its kind in franchising in the United States.

PIRTEK USA FAST FACTS More than 400 locations in 23 countries B2B franchise David Entwistle (left), owner of PIRTEK Rockville in Rockville, MD, received the Franchise of the Year award, presented to him by Glenn Duncan, Executive Director of PIRTEK International.

DAVID ENTWISTLE: FROM THE OLYMPIC GAMES TO PIRTEK ENTREPRENEURSHIP David Entwistle is a competitor with an unquenchable drive to win – whether in sport or in business. In March, Entwistle did just that: PIRTEK named his PIRTEK Rockville in Rockville, MD, the Franchise of the Year during a recent awards ceremony in Orlando, FL. “It’s so satisfying to see hard work pay off like this,” said Entwistle, whose PIRTEK Service & Supply Center covers Maryland, north Virginia and the Washington D.C. beltway. Raised in the Virgin Islands, Entwistle’s love of competition brought him to farflung corners of the world to pursue an unlikely avocation: bobsledding. “Of course, there’s no place to do it in the Virgin Islands,” he said. “To practice, I had to travel to places like Germany, Austria and Finland.” Eventually, Entwistle worked up sufficient skill to qualify for the Virgin Islands Olympic Team. He participated in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, and the 1994 games in Lillehammer, Norway.

Entwistle started up his PIRTEK franchise in 2013 after studying physical education in school and spending years in the food services business. “I didn’t have a mechanical background, but that’s OK,” he said. “The main thing is that you have a knack for being an entrepreneur.” PIRTEK has 57 Service & Supply Centers in the United States. Worldwide, there are more than 400 locations and 2,000 Mobile Service Vehicles serving industries that use hydraulic- or pneumatic-powered machinery. Entwistle’s PIRTEK Rockville was one of several PIRTEK champions honored during the awards ceremony. Ken Adair of PIRTEK O’Hare in Elk Grove Village, IL, earned the Top Sales Award for 2015. His PIRTEK McKinley Park in Chicago also received honors for being the Midwest’s highest-performing Service & Supply Center. Other top-performing locations included PIRTEK Long Beach in Signal Hill, CA, owned by Paul Martin, and Jennifer Prendergast’s PIRTEK Space Coast in Rockledge, FL. Those centers earned

Turnkey with exclusive territories Service & Supply Centers with Mobile Service Vehicles $50,000 franchise fee

honors as the No. 1 West Coast and Southeast locations, respectively. Jim and Laurie Phillips, a spousal team, earned the Southwest Award for PIRTEK Jersey Village in Houston. For Entwistle, the thrill of running an award-winning PIRTEK location is enough to keep him going these days. He dropped bobsledding in 1994, and now transfers that same focus and drive to the franchise. “You have to stay mentally sharp, keep ahead of the game and work as a team,” he said. “That’s crucial, whether you’re talking about bobsledding or running a successful business.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION Steve Morris Franchise Director PIRTEK USA

P: (321) 504-4422 E: smorris@pirtekusa.com W: www.pirtekusa.com


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ABOUT PINOT’S PALETTE At Pinot’s Palette guests enjoy an unforgettable evening with friends, fine art and cocktails in an entertaining, upscale atmosphere. It’s the perfect business for the fun-loving, social entrepreneur who loves to entertain.

PINOT’S PALETTE FAST FACTS #1 paint and sip in franchisee satisfaction according to the Franchise Business Review 175+ locations in 34 states

PINOT’S PALETTE: PAIRING WINE & PAINTING Innovating Paint and Sip Research shows that 13.8 million Americans enjoy painting, and 2.4 million enjoy it every week. As amateur art has become a lucrative investment, Pinot’s Palette has built a system that capitalizes on this activity, making it interactive, social and fun. By elevating the customer experience and transitioning the traditional art class to entertainment, first-timers and experienced artists alike can become inspired while spending quality time with friends and connecting with new ones. Since franchising in 2010, Pinot’s Palette has served more than 1 million guests across the country. A New Kind of Night Out The Pinot’s Palette concept is simple: Guests bring their friends (and, if BYO format, their wine) to a Pinot’s Palette studio for a group painting event they’ve registered for online. Pinot’s Palette provides the canvases, paint and wine glasses. During the two- or three-hour class, a trained artist guides guests step-by-step in creating their very own masterpieces. Some locations have a BYOB arrangement, while other studios offer wine bars in accordance with state laws or as a convenience to customers. This expertly curated and rewarding experience is like no other form of entertainment.

Diverse Revenue Streams From private parties, to corporate teambuilding, to mobile Pinot’s Palette events, the company is well-versed in tailoring the paint-and-sip concept to nearly any event: companies looking for an inventive way to unite their team can do so through a collaborative painting. Pinot’s Palette is also a hot-spot for birthday and bachelorette parties, as well as singles mixers. Also, under the company’s new “Little Brushes” brand name, kids ages seven to thirteen work with a trained art instructor to create their masterpiece in a family friendly atmosphere. Business Automation The Pinot Technology Suite (PTS) makes it easy for franchisees to manage their studios from their computer or mobile device, allowing for a flexible schedule and more free time. This proprietary software, developed specifically for Pinot’s Palette business systems, allows franchisees to focus on strategically growing their studios. The latest enhancement to PTS has been the Pinot Perks Rewards Program: customers love returning to us because they can enjoy the Perks each time they visit. Internal surveys have shown that PTS frees up more than 20 hours per week for our owners.

BYOB, wine bar and mobile formats available No art experience required

A Palatable Investment It doesn’t take much to open a Pinot’s Palette—candidates should have a passion for art and entertainment, and no art experience is required. Franchisees can expect to spend between $76,600 and $196,600 total investment to open their studios, which includes the $27,500 franchise fee, retail build-out, grand opening marketing, initial inventory, hiring staff, three months of operating capital, and ongoing operational support. Pinot’s Palette has been recognized as #1 in franchisee satisfaction in its category by the Franchise Business Review and is the first and only international paint and sip franchise. If you love art, wine and entertaining, contact Pinot’s Palette today to learn more and to secure your interest in an area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Pinot’s Palette P: (844) 287-4668 E: PinotsPalette.com/500ranked Learn how easy it is to get started in the travel industry!

W: Franchise@PinotsPalette.com


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ABOUT EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT PROFESSIONALS Express Employment Professionals franchisees are on a mission to put a million people to work annually by helping as many people as possible find good jobs with as many clients as possible.

EXPRESS EMPLOYMENT PROFESSIONALS FAST FACTS FRANCHISE

500 BEST OF THE BEST 2016

STAFFING: A GREAT BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY Choosing a growing industry is one of the first steps in selecting a successful franchise. The decision often lies between selecting an emerging trend or an industry with a history of success. Consider the staffing industry—it’s more than 120 years old in North America and is in a robust growth pattern. Staffing has added more jobs to the market in the past three years than nearly any other industry in North America. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts the staffing industry to be one of the top 10 job-growth industries in the U.S. through 2018. In today’s economic climate, more companies are turning to staffing firms to guide them through the challenges of maintaining an effective workforce.

their workforce through recessions and high-demand seasons. According to the BLS, the temporary help services industry now employs around 2.8 million Americans per week, an all-time high. “The staffing industry and Express show no signs of slowing down,” said Bob Funk, CEO and chairman of the board for Express Employment Professionals. “We’re unique in the staffing industry. We’re among the top brands in North America and have committed to the winning model of franchising.” Express expects to reach 800 franchises in 2016 and welcomed more than 50 new franchisees in 2015. Helping People Succeed

Robust Growth Pattern Prevalent in a $142 Billion Industry Staffing Industry Analysts forecasts the staffing industry will reach $142 billion in 2016.

Franchise owners with Express have the opportunity to manage a professional business—one to be proud of, making a difference in the community by matching people with jobs.

The staffing industry has survived the test of time, allowing companies to manage

A release of the performance of Express franchises in 2015 revealed the average

Start-up costs range from just $120,000 to $140,000 Average start-up offices generated more than $1 million in first year sales* Mature offices average $5.6 million in annual sales* More than 760 franchise locations and 33 years of success

success new owners generated in their first year. During the first 12 months, on average, new offices generate sales of more than $1 million. Looking beyond the startup phase, the most recent Express Franchise Disclosure Document showed that the average mature office generates $5.6 million in annual sales* and more than $1 million in annual gross profit margin. Express franchise owners also benefit from paying a low percentage in royalties—on average just 8.1 percent of sales. With two ownership models and more than 200 available franchise territories, now is the time to explore the Express franchise opportunity.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Express Employment Professionals P: (877) 652-6400 W: ExpressFranchising.com

*For franchises open more than two years, average sales per territory in 2015 were $5,658,388. And for first year offices, sales were $1,027,957 according to Item 19 in the Express Franchise Disclosure Document.


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ABOUT SELF ESTEEM BRANDS Self Esteem Brands offers the only franchise opportunities that will truly change your life. Passion-driven, we are committed to improving the self-esteem of the world.

SELF ESTEEM BRANDS FAST FACTS Anytime Fitness’ low-cost, flat-fee model makes entrepreneurship easier. It’s a proven concept with over 3,200 location that’s helping franchisees and members get to a healthier place.

IMPROVING THE SELF-ESTEEM OF THE WORLD What if you could be your own boss, make a difference in the world, and truly love what you do? If waking up excited to go to work every day sounds appealing, then you might be the next franchisee at Anytime Fitness or Waxing the City. From the very beginning, the founders of Anytime Fitness had two simple goals: 1) eliminate the barriers to healthier lifestyles for fitness consumers, and 2) create a low-cost franchise business model for entrepreneurs who want to positively impact their communities without having to work so many hours that they miss out on the most important events in their personal lives. Fast-forward 14 years and both goals have been realized – and much more. The very first Anytime Fitness gym opened in Cambridge, MN in 2002. Today, more than 3,200 Anytime Fitness gyms, owned and operated by more than 1,600 franchisees, serve nearly 3,000,000 members in all 50 states and 25 countries on five continents. Along the way, Anytime Fitness has been named “One of America’s Most Promising Companies,” the world’s “Top Global Franchise,” and “The Best Company to Work For.”

How did all of that happen so quickly? Perhaps most importantly, the founders of Anytime Fitness – Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen – focused intensely on providing franchisees with the support, guidance and tools needed to operate a thriving business. “Running a successful franchise is a lot like hosting a great, big party,” Runyon says. “You need to make sure that all of your guests are happy and well-fed before you even think about heading to the buffet table yourself.” New Ventures, New Opportunities Expanding on their goal of “Improving the self-esteem of the world,” Runyon and Mortensen recently formed a parent company for Anytime Fitness: Self Esteem Brands. Always eager to assist and mentor other entrepreneurs, they also partnered with two women, Summer Vasilas and Alex Arlotta, and helped them fulfill a life-long dream of franchising their Denver-based business, Waxing The City. Already the recipient of an Entrepreneur “Top New Franchise” award, Waxing The City is well on its way to becoming the next great brand in franchising. Supported by one of the world’s best franchising teams, Waxing The City delivers on its promise to provide

Waxing The City is also a lowcost model, featuring proprietary products and techniques. Supported by the corporate team from Anytime Fitness, Waxing The City is poised for rapid growth. Franchise opportunities available for both novice and experienced investors.

the best waxing experience available anywhere to its consumers. “The corporate staff at Waxing The City, Anytime Fitness and Self Esteem Brands is the best in the business,” says Jason Gast, the owner of two Anytime Fitness gyms and three Waxing The City Studios. “As a franchisee of both businesses, I’m living the best of both worlds. At my gyms, I’m helping people in my community get to a healthier place. And at my studios we’re helping improve the self-esteem of our clients.” If you’re ready to join a team that’s making a difference in people’s lives, contact us today.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Self Esteem Brands P: (800) 704-5004 E: Opportunities@anytimefitness.com Learn how easy it is to get started in the travel industry!

W: www.SEBrands.com

MINNESOTA FRANCHISE REG. #4424 AND #F-7091 FOR NEW YORK RESIDENTS: THIS ADVERTISEMENT IS NOT AN OFFERING. AN OFFERING CAN ONLY BE MADE BY A PROSPECTUS FILED FIRST WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF LAW OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK. SUCH FILING DOES NOT CONSTITUTE APPROVAL BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LAW. THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT INTENDED FOR THE SALE OF A FRANCHISE.


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ABOUT PILLAR TO POST

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500

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500

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BEST OF THE BEST

2016

2016

FASTEST-GROWING

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with over 500 franchisees, located in 48 states and 8 Canadian provinces.

PILLAR TO POST FAST FACTS Franchise Fee: $18,900

FROM NASA TRAINER TO INSURANCE ADJUSTOR, TO NEWEST PILLAR TO POST FRANCHISE PARTNER As a former insurance adjuster, Todd Goodwin witnessed the devastation and loss that can occur in people’s lives. In the aftermath of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, he helped families find temporary housing, provided funds for food and clothing, and helped coordinate with building contractors to replace or repair the homes. Goodwin now draws upon his adjuster experience as the owner of local Pillar To Post Home Inspection of greater Houston area. With over 500 existing franchises through the 48 states and Canada, Pillar To Post has been offering stellar home inspection services for more than 20 years. “I felt that the transition to home inspection would go very smoothly with the skills I was utilizing as an insurance adjustor,” said Goodwin, 49, who also worked for NASA for fi ve years teaching astronauts to work in zero gravity underwater.

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors recently ranked as the number one franchise in the Home Inspection category by Entrepreneur Magazine (January 2016 issue). Understandable since they represent the evolution in home inspection companies. With the help and support of the franchisor, there is ease of booking, same day reports, and most importantly ongoing training and the latest tools and data available in the industry. “I didn’t want to go this alone”, says Goodwin, “a good franchise is the best way to go into business. This is the answer for me.” The company is currently North America’s leading home inspection franchise, whose professional inspectors work with both the real estate community and the buyer or seller of a home to provide on-thespot inspection reports that allow for rational thinking about an emotional purchase.

Provides flexibility and financial security Helps your work/life balance Allows you to take control of your financial future

What excites Goodwin about the home inspection business is “watching the progress and technology that is now incorporated in new construction.” He also thoroughly enjoys continually learning about the history of older homes and the progress that is made in home construction and safety today. “My main goal is to educate and assure home buyers that their families will be happy and safe in the home they choose.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION Pillar To Post Home Inspectors P: (877) 963-3129 E: franchise@pillartopost.com Learn how easy it is to get started in W: www.pillartopostfranchise.com the travel industry!


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TAPOUT: NOW FRANCHISING WORLDWIDE Tapout is the official fitness and training partner of WWE. Throughout its history, Tapout has been fueled by hard-body fitness at its core. By aligning with worldclass athletes, Tapout quickly became synonymous with dedication, hard work and passion. With its roots in martial arts, Tapout has evolved to focus on training and fitness for athletes of all disciplines. Tapout remains committed to the essence of discipline, determination and motivation-and today, inspires the athlete in every individual. In partnership with WWE, Tapout Fitness is set to improve the fitness industry in its entirety by creating greater member value and loyalty, which has created a better franchise model. Our partnership with WWE allows us to have greater brand equity than any other fitness franchise company, as well as, provides us the marketing resources and expertise to aggressively expand and support our franchisees worldwide. “To date we have over 300 domestic

units planned to open over the next few years through the awarding of franchises and area development agreements” says Drew Paras, Head of Franchise Development for Tapout Fitness. “Further, we have just begun to work internationally with master franchisees who see the value of the business model, partnering with a global brand and the powerhouse support enhanced by the WWE.” Tapout Fitness is not an MMA Gym or Fight Club; we focus 100% on enhancing fitness. We provide group classes and one-on-one training for any man, woman or family to deliver total-body transformation and avoid stagnation or boredom. Tapout Fitness has researched the top fitness techniques in the country to offer the world’s “best of the best” fitness platforms, equipment and training—all in one location! Tapout Fitness is a health, lifestyle and fitness philosophy. Here is your chance to be in on the ground floor and be associated with the power of being with

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Solid business model in a thriving industry with a lower investment for higher profitability 24/7, Family Focus with a variety of classes Brand roots in martial arts culture creates a more loyal member

an internationally recognized brand name! The time to control your market area, own a chain or a facility is now! Do not let this potential “one in a lifetime” opportunity pass you by. “We are excited that WWE has partnered with Tapout to allow Tapout Fitness access to such a loyal, diverse and significant fan base, as well as, their unmatched social media and marketing power that works to support each business” said Ben Crosbie, President/ CEO of Tapout Fitness.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Drew Paras P: (800) 598-8872 E: franchise@tapoutfitness.com Learn how easy it is to get started in W: www.TapoutFitness.com the www.TapoutFranchise.com travel industry!


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HEN MOST PEOPLE HEAR THE word franchise, their first thought is food. It’s a natural reaction, considering how many high-profile franchise concepts are food-related. In fact, our FRANCHISE 500 LIST this year contained 119 food franchises, representing more than 200,000 individual places to grab a bite, from vending machines and carts to drive-thrus and sit-down diners. This month, we look at the top food franchises—a list full of trends, such as spicy flavors (people love their Buffalo wings), wacky food mash-ups (bacon on everything) and over-the-top treats (ice cream with gummy bears). But the leaders of these franchises

W

say they succeed because of other ingredients as well—transparency, responsibility and sustainability. “The traditional attributes of ‘lower calorie’ or ‘low fat’ are no longer the defining hallmarks for healthy choices,” says Firehouse Subs CEO Don Fox. “And the determination of what is good for you, for the world—or what is not—is a complex and personal mosaic that’s different for each customer.” As you peruse this list, please keep in mind it is not intended as an endorsement of any company. Before investing in a franchise opportunity, you should always read the company’s legal documents, consult with an attorney and an accountant and talk to existing and former franchisees.

Table of Contents MEXICAN FOOD PIZZA RETAIL FOOD BUSINESSES SANDWICHES SMOOTHIES MISC. QUICK-SERVICE RESTAURANTS

BAKED GOODS Auntie Anne’s HandRolled Soft Pretzels

Wetzel’s Pretzels

Buffalo Wild Wings

Soft pretzels, lemonade, hot dogs

Buffalo wings, sandwiches

Soft pretzels

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #163 Startup cost: $156.6K–$370.9K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 290/12

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #59 Startup cost: $1.4M–$3.6M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 576/594

Great Harvest Franchising

Church’s Chicken

Bread bakery

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #63 Startup cost: $413.3K–$1.3M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 1,396/261

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #31 Startup cost: $196.5K–$370.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 1,632/16

Cinnabon Cinnamon rolls, baked goods, coffee 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #55 Startup cost: $181.1K–$387.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 1,340/2

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #411 Startup cost: $113.5K–$642K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 195/1

Chicken

Chester’s Pretzelmaker

Krispy Kreme Doughnut

Chicken

Pretzels

Doughnuts, coffee

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #423 Startup cost: $154.5K–$237.8K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 294/0

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #64 Startup cost: $21.9K–$293.8K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 1,073/0

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #119 Startup cost: $275K–$1.9M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 931/114

Great American Cookies Cookies 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #128 Startup cost: $183.2K–$316.7K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 357/0

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CHICKEN KFC Chicken 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #41 Startup cost: $1.3M–$2.5M Total franchises/co.owned: 14,162/5,258

Wingstop Restaurants Chicken wings 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #71 Startup cost: $192.3K–$688.4K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 766/19

“The biggest food trend is safety. We’ve started testing for GMOs and chemicals. Our wheat isn’t organic, but we test for chemicals as if it is. It’s important that our ingredients meet high standards.” —Mike Ferretti, CEO, Great Harvest

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GREAT HARVEST

100 BAKED GOODS 100 CHICKEN 102 COFFEE 103 FROZEN DESSERTS 103 FULL-SERVICE RESTAURANTS 107 HAMBURGERS


Chicken fingers, Buffalo wings, sandwiches, salads

Coffee, doughnuts, baked goods

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #82 Startup cost: $284K–$664.3K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 574/122

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #8 Startup cost: $217.3K–$1.6M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 11,750/0

Bojangles’ Restaurants

Scooter’s Coffee

Cajun chicken, biscuits, iced tea 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #99 Startup cost: $356.7K–$558.8K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 381/281

Golden Chick Chicken 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #222 Startup cost: $758.95K–$1.7M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 125/6

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COFFEE Dunkin’ Donuts

ENTREPRENEUR 6/16

Specialty coffee, smoothies, pastries 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #376 Startup cost: $272.5K–$393.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 105/19

Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees & Smoothies Specialty coffee and smoothies 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #471 Startup cost: $75.4K–$469K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 190/0

“We believe in sourcing Fair Trade, non-GMO and socially conscious ingredients, like our brownies, which come from Greyston Bakery, a company that utilizes an open-door hiring policy.” —Paula Glasmann, franchise development coordinator, Ben & Jerry’s

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BEN & JERRY’S

Zaxby’s Franchising


Biggby Coffee

Cold Stone Creamery

Carvel

Specialty coffee, tea, smoothies, baked goods

Ice cream, sorbet

Ice cream, ice cream cakes

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #476 Startup cost: $160.4K–$317.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 203/0

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #57 Startup cost: $261.1K–$404.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 1,253/10

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #122 Startup cost: $250.3K–$383.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 406/0

Kona Ice FROZEN DESSERTS Baskin-Robbins Ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen beverages 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #29 Startup cost: $90.4K–$396.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 7,597/10

Dairy Queen Ice cream, burgers, chicken 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #34 Startup cost: $356.5K–$1.8M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 6,665/2

Shaved-ice truck 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #77 Startup cost: $114.1K–$129.4K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 713/8

Culver Franchising System

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt Frozen yogurt 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #125 Startup cost: $223K–$427.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 310/0

Frozen custard, specialty burgers

Yogurtland Franchising

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #89 Startup cost: $1.4M–$3.7M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 549/7

Self-serve frozen yogurt

Rita’s Italian Ice

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #173 Startup cost: $307.2K–$699.9K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 292/16

Italian ice, frozen custard 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #94 Startup cost: $140.5K–$414.2K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 597/0

Freddy’s Frozen Custard

Dippin’ Dots Franchising

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

Frozen custard, steakburgers, hot dogs

Specialty ice cream, frozen yogurt, ices, sorbet

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, ices, sherbets

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #215 Startup cost: $596.2K–$1.1M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 184/14

Pinkberry Ventures Frozen yogurt, frozen-yogurt shakes, Greek–yogurt smoothies 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #228 Startup cost: $310.8K–$615.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 242/33

Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, smoothies 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #299 Startup cost: $155.99K–$485.8K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 574/16

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #312 Startup cost: $112.2K–$376.95K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 130/1

Bahama Buck’s Original Shaved Ice

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #492 Startup cost: $262K–$1.3M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 183/2

Red Mango-Yogurt Cafe & Juice Bar

Shaved ice, fruit smoothies

Frozen yogurt, smoothies, juices, wraps

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #364 Startup cost: $223.3K–$720.8K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 77/3

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #494 Startup cost: $193.2K–$501.3K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 285/1

The Haagen-Dazs Shoppe

FULL-SERVICE RESTAURANTS Denny’s

Ice cream, frozen yogurt 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #459 Startup cost: $145.2K–$457.4K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 212/0

Family restaurant 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #9 Startup cost: $1.2M–$2.1M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 1,551/162

Continued on page 107

Growing rapidly Select opportunities available Cantina Laredo is a fast growing full-service restaurant brand. The high-end Mexican segment is poised for rapid expansion & we are the leader in this space. Cantina Laredo is part of a company with more than 35 years of franchise experience, operating over 100 restaurants in 18 states, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates & the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These decades of experience enable us to offer our franchisees unique & extraordinary opportunities.

CALL TODAY For more information contact Ericka Garza: 972.888.8114 or egarza@croinc.com www.cantinalaredo.com/franchises

6/16 ENTREPRENEUR

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Fresh Cuts Saladworks reinvents itself for a smarter, savvier and more health-minded customer.

HE FIRST SALADWORKS opened in 1986 in Cherry Hill, N.J.—a whole year before McDonald’s added salads to its menu. “We were selling salads before salads were cool,” says Saladworks’ new president and CEO, Patrick Sugrue. And it quickly got attention, separating itself from the sea of burgers, pizza and tacos that dominated the quick–service landscape.

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But now, 30 years later, the landscape has changed again—and drastically. It seems that every fast-food concept, even Dairy Queen, offers a salad. Against this competition, Saladworks, now with roughly 100 locations, seemed in danger of becoming as boring as lettuce. Plus, the company was shaken by a years-long dispute between founder John Scardapane and investor Vernon Hill; it was resolved last year when the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was snatched up by private-equity firm Centre Lane Partners. The change at the top gave Conshohocken, Pa.–based Saladworks a fresh start. First up: the menu. “The idea of what goes into a salad is evolving,” Sugrue says, and Saladworks had to evolve with it. The Farmhouse Salad, for instance, includes roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash; it’s been a hit since it was added to the menu this past January. The revamped menu also added more “power food” ingredients, such as quinoa and kale. And Sugrue plans to keep the menu fresh with new ideas from franchisees. He also wants to solicit new recipes from chefs, especially those just graduating from culinary school. “We’re in a position to tap into not only their expertise but the fact that they are millennials and can help us create recipes that will appeal to new consumers.” In addition to the menu, the whole brand is getting a makeover to look more upscale. Odom Architects out of Mobile, Ala., designed a store that will be smaller and more efficient, as well as more inviting and in sync with Saladworks’ earthy offerings. The result— unveiled at the reopening of a Newtown, Pa., franchise store in February—is awash in greens and browns (as opposed to its older, primary colors), with wood and brick accents, a slick digital menu board, communal tables and a wi-fi bar. “It really brings us into 2016 and beyond,” says Sugrue. This year he expects to remodel at least five existing stores and build 11 with the updated design. Franchisees, he says, “still have a lot of energy for the brand” and are enthusiastic about the changes. Perhaps Saladworks can become a quick–service trailblazer once more. —T.S.H.

PHOTOGRAPH BY DOMINIC EPISCOPO PHOTOGRAPHY

THE REVAMPED MENU ADDED MORE “POWER FOOD” INGREDIENTS, SUCH AS QUINOA AND KALE.


YOUR BIG BREAK Average Annual Sales

$677K $126K

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Contact Brynson Smith

877-224-4349

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Franchise Opportunities


Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants

Del Taco

Papa John’s International

Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs

Pizza

Pizza, subs, bread, wings, salads

Burgers, fries

Mexican/American food

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #251 Startup cost: $155.4K–$1.3M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 505/323

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #483 Startup cost: $847.7K–$1.8M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 247/299

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #30 Startup cost: $129.9K–$844.2K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 4,141/752

Fatburger North America

PIZZA Pizza Hut

Marco’s Franchising

Burgers

Pizza, pasta, wings

Pizza, subs, wings, cheese bread

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #287 Startup cost: $498.1K–$890.6K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 161/3

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #11 Startup cost: $297K–$2.1M Total franchises/co.owned: 13,248/2,357

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #81 Startup cost: $221.6K–$546.6K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 697/0

MEXICAN FOOD Taco Bell

Papa Murphy’s

Mexican food

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #19 Startup cost: $264.8K–$446.2K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 1,369/119

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #18 Startup cost: $1.2M–$2.6M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 5,398/923

Take-and-bake pizza

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #88 Startup cost: $239.7K–$472K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 533/18

Jet’s Pizza Pizza, subs, wings, salads 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #126 Startup cost: $350.7K–$615.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 350/34

Pizza Ranch

Toppers Pizza

Pizza, chicken, salad bar, buffet

Pizza, breadsticks, wings

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #205 Startup cost: $1M–$2.8M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 183/7

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #337 Startup cost: $262.7K–$490.6K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 73/0

Villa Italian Kitchen

Fox’s Pizza Den

Pizza, Italian food

Pizza, sandwiches, wings, salads

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #244 Startup cost: $296.95K–$894K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 113/158

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #389 Startup cost: $110.6K–$210.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 251/0

Rosati’s Pizza Pizza, Italian food

Your Pie

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #277 Startup cost: $136.7K–$733K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 109/19

Assembly-line pizza 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #391 Startup cost: $311.8K–$475.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 21/2

Moe’s Southwest Grill Southwestern food 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #83 Startup cost: $453.2K–$757.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 634/5

Qdoba Mexican Grill

“We have committed to serve chicken raised without antibiotics, and all our ingredients are artificialflavor- and synthetic-color-free.” —Sean Muldoon, SVP of research and development, Papa John’s

Mexican food 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #111 Startup cost: $623.1K–$815K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 342/315

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Baja-style Mexican food 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #271 Startup cost: $329.3K–$1.1M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 83/7

TacoTime Mexican food

Pancheros Mexican Grill Mexican food 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #408 Startup cost: $394.3K–$931K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 42/26

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PAPA JOHN’S

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #311 Startup cost: $141.7K–$817.6K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 268/0


Seafood 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #261 Startup cost: $771K–$1M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 242/272

Zoup! Systems Soups, salads, sandwiches 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #314 Startup cost: $391.7K–$561.3K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 86/2

Saladworks Salads, soups, sandwiches 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #320 Startup cost: $494.5K–$532.8K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 101/0

Billy Sims BBQ Barbecue 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #368 Startup cost: $169.2K–$433.1K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 45/2

Fresh Healthy Cafe Smoothies, juices, wraps, sandwiches, salads 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #396 Startup cost: $176K–$343.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 37/0

Green Leaf’s/ Banana’s Salads, sandwiches, smoothies, frozen yogurt 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #402 Startup cost: $160K–$574.2K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 24/23

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Asian-American food 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #407 Startup cost: $130.2K–$520.5K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 184/0

Taste of Mediterranean Greek and Middle Eastern food 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #430 Startup cost: $98.8K–$287.4K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 17/0

Golden Krust Franchising Caribbean-style food 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #466 Startup cost: $173.4K–$564K Total franchises/ co.-owned: 109/5

Nathan’s Famous Hot dogs, hamburgers, seafood, chicken, cheesesteaks 2016 Franchise 500 rank: #493 Startup cost: $276.4K–$1.1M Total franchises/ co.-owned: 297/5

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NATHAN’S FAMOUS

Captain D’s


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Kumon North America Lil’ Orbits Lift Brands Inc. Massage Green Midas N-Hance Papa John’s International Inc. Pinot’s Palette Pirtek Pillar to Post Primo Hoagies Restoration 1 Retro Fitness Rosati’s Pizza Stratus Building Solutions TapOut Fitness The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Tide Dry Cleaners UBREAKIFIX

Go to entrepreneur.com/freeinfo now to make your selection and get more information fast! Or, you can also fill out this form, circle your selections above, and then fax or mail back your request. Please check appropriate boxes: 1. Are you considering starting/buying an additional business?

1/ Yes

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5/ 13 to 24 months

3. How much do you plan to invest in the purchase of your business? 8/ Less than $50,000 9/ $50,000-$99,999 10/ $100,000-$499,999

2/ No

11/ $500,000+

Please print clearly: Name_____________________________________________ Title______________________________________________ Company____________________________________________________________________________________________ Address_________________________________ City______________________________ State______ ZIP____________ Phone (_____)__________________________________________ Fax (_____)____________________________________ e-mail ______________________________________________________________________________________________

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Be Your Own Boss! Own a Lil' Orbits mini-donut operation. It's fun, flexible and profitable. We love it! You will too. Make the money you want, when you want. Guarantee your job security and Made in stop worrying! the USA

You can't be laid-off or fired! Besides the 80% profit margin, the best part is selling our delicious snack food to happy customers. Turn-key programs make it easy to get started. Call toll free for complete information. Ask about the Lil' Orbits FREE INFO KIT and lifetime warranty. 1-800-228-8305 (Ext. 1545) Fax: 763-559-7545 E-mail: contact@lilorbits.com

Lil’Orbits, Inc. Department 1545 8900 109th Avenue, Ste 100 Champlin, MN 55316 If you write to us, please include your phone number!

www.lilorbits.com

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117


ClassiямБed ADVERTISING

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119


Resolutely Difficult Advice By James Victore

Most of us are too concerned with the idea of perfection. Perfection is the death of creativity. It lacks spontaneity and assumes certainty—closed tight in its search for one “right” answer. But life is not math. The pursuit of perfection stops you from starting projects or even relationships. And it stops you from finishing or shipping projects because they are not ready or perfect. “I’ll be ready when I’m perfect!” is not our mantra. The weather, the economy, the atmosphere will never be perfect. Your timing will never be right and you will always be a little wrong. Feck perfuction. You know what’s better than perfect? Done. Done is better than perfect.

James Victore is a designer for bold believers, an advocate for creativity and an artist whose work has been exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

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SAFEGUARD YOUR DRIVERS. SAFEGUARD YOUR BOTTOM LINE. Available cutting-edge safety technology featuring Pre-Collision System1 with Pedestrian Detection2 and automatic braking. Incredible fuel economy including Prius Two Eco’s EPA-estimated 58 city mpg3 and Prius Four Touring’s EPA-estimated 54 city mpg,4 as shown. The 2016 Prius. It’s all you could want from a fleet vehicle. Learn more at fleet.toyota.com. Prototype shown with options. Production model may vary. 1The Pre-Collision System is designed to help reduce the crash speed and damage in certain frontal collisions only. It is not a collision-avoidance system and is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors, such as speed, driver input and road conditions. See your Owner’s Manual for further information. 2 The Pedestrian Detection System is designed to detect the presence of a pedestrian ahead of the vehicle, to determine if impact with the pedestrian is imminent and to help reduce impact speed. It is not a collision-avoidance system and is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving. System effectiveness depends on many factors, such as speed, size and position of pedestrians, driver input and weather, light and road conditions. Please see your Owner’s Manual for further information. 32016 EPA-estimated 58 city/53 highway/56 combined mpg for Prius Two Eco. Actual mileage will vary. 42016 EPA-estimated 54 city/50 highway/52 combined mpg for Prius. Actual mileage will vary. ©2016 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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