By Kimberly Reyes (@CommDuCoeur)
You can’t click twice on the Web without stumbling onto a list of the world’s most innovative companies, with Google and Apple being crowned tech royalty almost every time.
Here at Zemoga, we’re all about the underdogs – the major players who are changing the digital landscape with faster access to more music, hot designer threads at a price that won’t break the bank, a social media game that has revitalized public interest in farming, an easy solution to all your web design needs, and a service that connects you with total strangers via webcam.
When you make Apple sweat, you know you’ve got something good. That’s what Sweden’s Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon had when they launched Spotify in October 2008, putting instant access to millions of songs in the hands of its users. The music streaming service allows users to build and share playlists, cache over 3,000 songs, and stream music from their smart phones with little to no buffering time–that’s instant access to your favorite tunes anytime, anywhere.
CEO Susan Lyne’s exclusive invite-only shopping club has not only helped the struggling fashion industry survive the recession by building brand loyalty with ego-boosting editorial, but it changed the way we shop. Gilt Groupe’s daily flash sales offer the world’s most coveted luxury clothing and accessory brands at a fraction of the retail price, and the competition to snag an Emanuel Ungaro gown or a pair Chloe sunglasses is FIERCE, adding a new dimension of entertainment to the shopping experience.
Tired of your friends publicly feeding their cows on your Facebook feed? You can blame San Francisco-based game developer Zynga, whose Farmville application has over 82 million Facebook users obsessed with growing their virtual crops. Although the company has yet to find an appropriate source of revenue, its application continues to grow in popularity, with sponsors lining up at Zynga’s door for a chance to share the spotlight.
Unless you’ve got a dedicated team of developers, designers, and other digital talent (say, in a super-chic office building in Bogota, Colombia), building a website is hard. And not building a website is just plain stupid. Fortunately, the nice folks at Squarespace are willing to do the thinking–and the legwork–for you. Squarespace is a content management system that helps users quickly and easily assemble dynamic websites, from design and layout to content, pages, and add-ons. The service can track changes made to the site, host forums, and even integrate Google Maps and Amazon Lists. Now there’s no excuse not to have your own, professional-looking dot-com.
If anyone’s ever advised you that “there are plenty of fish in the sea,” 17-year-old Andrey Ternovskiy can introduce you to about 500,000 of them. The young inventor of ChatRoulette developed a platform for strangers to have webcam-based conversations. Don’t like who you’re talking to? Participants can be “nexted” and a new partner is randomly selected. Perhaps the most exciting feature of ChatRoulette is the opportunity for a chance encounter with the handful of celebrities who have visited the site, including Kelly Osborne, Nicole Richie, and Joel Madden.
Do you know of any companies we can add to our list? Who are the innovation trailblazers in other industries?