Super startups: 8 crazy but cool business ideas you probably didn’t know existed

  • Millions of businesses are started each year, most fail, and many we never get to hear about.
  • From blockchain films, to nuclear reactors that could fit in your garage, we’ve picked a selection of ideas that deserve more attention.
  • We’re not saying they’ll succeed, only that they sound awesome.

In 2022, 5 million new businesses were started in the USA. Of the new businesses, around 20 each year will make revenue of $100 million or more. 90% of startups fail, and 10% of startups fail in the first year.

The niche with the highest chance of surviving for at least five years? Mining. The niche with the best revenue? In 2022 that was healthcare, where startups (defined as no more than five years old) brought in $12.6 billion.

But while mining and healthcare are lucrative and needed, there are many other super cool startups too, that we just don’t get to hear too much about.

This is our attempt to address that oversight.

Miniature nuclear reactors: Last Energy

Last Energy CEO Bret Kugelmass

The nuclear industry has long maintained that the power plant of the future will be smaller, cheaper, and quicker to establish than the behemoths of the past. However, the endeavour to reinvent nuclear power has brought about its own costly engineering and safety challenges, leaving innovations in a state of limbo for years. Furthermore, plans to expand existing projects like the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia have burdened ratepayers with billions in unforeseen costs.

A start-up named Last Energy believes it has a superior solution. It is utilising scaled-down versions of old nuclear technologies to construct small, modular reactors. The company asserts that its “microreactors” can be mass-produced and sold in the form of a simple kit that companies can utilise to power factories.

Bret Kugelmass, the 36-year-old founder and CEO of the nuclear start-up Last Energy, is accustomed to sceptics. “If your five closest friends have been misinforming you [about nuclear power], I cannot blame you,” he says. A slight grin betrays what he would like to tell them: that nuclear power is far less deadly than our typical sources of energy; that it remains the only large-scale source of electricity and high-temperature heat that does not emit carbon; that its detractors often misunderstand it.


Pop quiz

What innovative approach is Last Energy taking to revolutionize nuclear power?

A. Developing larger and more expensive nuclear power plants.

B. Using old nuclear technologies to build smaller, modular reactors.

C. Focusing on expanding existing nuclear projects.

D. Ignoring safety and engineering challenges in nuclear power.

The answer is at the bottom of this article.


Ethical, positive payments: Cheddar Up

Cheddar Up

Despite the recent trend away from cash or cheque payments in favour of digital transactions, many smaller organisations, including schools, still depend on traditional methods for collecting money from groups. Although this can be cumbersome for both the organiser and the payer in the long term, cheques are often more straightforward than directing users to online tools like PayPal or establishing websites with built-in payment mechanisms for the sole purpose of a one-time fundraising campaign, for instance.

A company named Cheddar Up aims to provide an alternative for group payments, whilst maintaining the simplicity of collecting cheques or cash for both parties. The company’s journey as a female-founded fintech brand commenced in 2013, when Nichole Montoya and Molly DiCarlo, both Denver-area professionals, recognised the personal inconvenience of having to write numerous cheques for their children’s school-related activities and sought a more efficient solution. This frustration led to the creation of Cheddar Up. Now serving over 100,000 groups and processing hundreds of millions of dollars annually, Cheddar Up has emerged as a significant entity in providing a flexible and comprehensive platform for group payment collection, forms, and sign-ups across North America.

Also read: 9 very different ways AI is changing the world

Blockchain filmmaking: Film.io

Film.io

Originally established by a group of technology, filmmaking, and cryptocurrency industry veterans, Film.io uses NFTs and fan involvement to develop, validate, and fund diverse content. Film.io will initially be governed by the Global Creativity Foundation, with governance gradually transitioning to the community through the Film.io DAO. The foundation is an ownerless charitable organisation that advocates for the democratisation of the filmmaking industry. It offers a framework that aids in ensuring the Film.io project operates in a fair and inclusive manner.

“The road to the next generation of content is paved with tokens,” says Ian LeWinter, co-creator of Film.io and president of blockchain entertainment studio Ingredient X. “We just built that road, and it’s on the blockchain. Fans–the ultimate beneficiaries of content–want to engage with creators and ‘greenlight’ the projects they love. What we’ve launched today gives fans around the world crypto keys to transform the $300-billion entertainment industry plutocracy.”

“FAN Tokens are the fuel powering the platform,” says Don Richmond, co-creator of Film.io and CMO of Ingredient X. “In our hyper-digital world, fan validation is the new currency in determining project success.”

Free to creators, Film.io offers filmmakers a distinctive platform to showcase their projects, build audiences, secure funding, and ultimately license and distribute their content. Unlike other digital platforms, Film.io provides filmmakers with access to an AI-driven matchmaking engine that connects them with film funds, studios, and streamers.

Also read: Meta releases new text-prompt Emu AI image and video editing tools

Housebuying online: Homebourse

Homebourse

A new online real estate marketplace is enabling buyers to purchase properties globally from any location. HomeBourse offers a genuine online store experience for buying real estate through a straightforward, efficient process. HomeBourse allows buyers to complete the entire purchasing process online, from perusing listings to finalising deals.

With HomeBourse, buyers can explore properties, view high-quality photographs and videos, and request live video tours and inspections, giving them a sense of being physically present. They can then either make an offer or complete an instant purchase. Buyers pay a 1% refundable deposit and are provided with an eight-day cancellation period to reconsider or visit the property in person. After this period, commitments become legally binding. Transactions are conducted online, typically entirely paperless, and are facilitated by Homebourse’s administrative staff and local solicitors.

HomeBourse enables real estate buyers to buy, sell, and negotiate offers and counter-offers from virtually any location, avoiding bidding wars with a “first click, first served” approach.

The platform is commencing in Florida, with plans to extend to other significant markets in the forthcoming months, including New York City, Los Angeles, Marbella, Dubai, and the Cote d’Azur. The Miami-founded PropTech company, a pioneer in its field, is revolutionising the property acquisition process by incorporating the ease of online shopping. Currently, it boasts over 20,000 listings, with hundreds of thousands more anticipated.

Plastic surgery loans: PLIM

PLIM

Introducing PLIM, a fintech company dedicated to revolutionising the medical aesthetics industry with its “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) credit service and online marketplace. PLIM’s mission is to improve accessibility for elective aesthetic treatments.

PLIM’s online platform, PLIM Marketplace, streamlines the process for patients. They can effortlessly browse clinics, request consultations, apply for BNPL services, and select convenient payment plans. The company emphasises accessibility by offering 0% interest financing, allowing patients to spread the cost of treatment over 1, 3, 6, or 8 months according to their preferences.

With already over 352 partner clinics in the UK, PLIM addresses the financial needs of both clinics and patients, aiming to tackle the 30% revenue loss due to insufficient finance in the Global Medical Aesthetics Market. PLIM’s impressive website traffic and BNPL invitations sent underscore their commitment to making medical aesthetics more accessible.

In recent weeks, PLIM celebrated international expansion, with Switzerland being the first country they have entered outside of the UK, heralding an exciting future for the industry. “As we expand our BNPL service into Switzerland, we embark on a new chapter not only for PLIM but for the global medical aesthetics industry as a whole,” Nada remarks. “We are both excited and proud to see what this new expansion will bring not only for PLIM, but also for the lives of our Swiss partner clinics and their patients.”

Making workflows more fun: Induced AI

AI

Induced AI enables businesses to input workflows in plain English, converting them into real-time pseudo-code. This development is a significant advancement for automating repetitive tasks typically handled by back-office staff.

The eponymous platform initiates Chromium-based browser instances and utilises its technology to read on-screen content and control the browser in a manner akin to a human to complete various steps of a workflow. This enables the browser instances to interact with websites, even those lacking an API, as demonstrated by Aryan Sharma, Induced AI co-founder and chief executive.

The start-up, currently comprising just five members, has recently onboarded a few small to mid-sized customers, including a sales firm utilising Induced AI for employee onboarding, and is developing many new use cases, Sharma stated.

Induced AI announced on Tuesday that it has raised £2.3 million in its seed funding round. Its investors include SignalFire, Untitled Ventures, SV Angel, Superscrypt, Balaji Srinivasan, Julian Weisser, IDEO Colab, and OnDeck.

“Induced is the epitome of RPA 3.0. They are not only taking a significant leap forward in providing true human-like interaction and efficiency, but they also democratise access by allowing users to describe their workflows in natural language and execute parallel agents for any back-office workflow,” said SignalFire’s Elaine Zelby in a statement.

An AI production lab: Hugging Face

Hugging Face is more than just an emoji: it’s an open-source data science and machine learning platform, functioning as a hub for AI experts and enthusiasts – akin to a GitHub for AI.

Initially launched as a chatbot application for teenagers in 2017, Hugging Face has evolved into a space where individuals can host their own AI models, train them, and collaborate with their teams. It offers the infrastructure necessary for running everything from your initial line of code to deploying AI in live applications or services. Additionally, you can explore and utilise models developed by others, search for and employ datasets, and experiment with demo projects.

AI dentistry: Overjet

Overjet

Overjet is an Artificial Intelligence-powered dental technology tool which helps dentists and hygienists diagnose and assess potential dental issues. This FDA-cleared tool provides exact measurements of decay and bone loss, clearly highlighting these problem areas on your x-ray. Seeing your results alongside your doctor helps you to better understand exactly what is going on in your mouth and how dental treatment can help.

Boston-based Overjet’s dental AI software supports dentists in understanding what the scans show with regard to disease identification and progression. Its Dental Assist product has FDA clearance and its strategy of targeting dental groups with large numbers of providers, for example its partnership with 50-clinic New England Family Dentistry, announced in October, is keeping the company busy working to implement its software into thousands of practices, Inam said.


The correct answer to the pop quiz is B. Using old nuclear technologies to build smaller, modular reactors.

BTW-

BTW

Blue Tech Wave Media (BTW.Media) is a media company specializing in cutting edge coverage of the latest trends and innovations in the tech industry. Our team of experienced journalists, analysts, and storytellers deliver timely, engaging content to give you the insights you need to stay ahead. Also find us on all the main social media platforms.

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