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Instead Startup Ideas

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The founders of this startup are trying to create a new kind of credit card that can be used across multiple merchants, instead of different cards for different merchants.


A credit card for the underbanked. It eschews traditional bank systems and instead relies on direct deposit.


A startup that’s building a business platform for people who want to monetize their own social media content and make money instead of just getting paid to post it.


A startup that promises to be the next Uber for the taxi industry. Instead of incentivizing drivers by paying them directly, they’ll pay the driver’s customer base.


A new type of restaurant that delivers meals, but instead of ordering food online, you get to pick it up at a store. The app will be available in the next few months.


A new kind of payment system that allows taxi owners to compete with Uber and Lyft. Instead of needing to call a dispatcher, riders can hail a cab in real-time and pay directly through the app.


A platform for pharmaceuticals that wants to be the Uber for drug distribution. Instead of having to find a distributor, the startup wants to connect patients directly with pharmacies that can provide them with medicines.


A startup that wants to make it easier for businesses to build their own online store. Instead of a lengthy process of building an e-commerce site themselves, the startup will make it easy for a business to buy in to a pre-built site.


A new way for companies to pay employees, using a rewards-based system with no cash transfers. The company instead creates a digital savings account for employees, allowing them to track their earnings and also cashing out the money when they leave.


A startup that wants to bring a similar UI to the world of online banking, except that instead of generic banks, the startup offers a wide array of financial products.


A startup that wants to solve the “capital management” problem for enterprise software startups. Instead of companies managing all of their own financial resources, they plan to provide a service that helps startups manage their capital, paying for those resources as needed.


A mobile app that helps a person use a credit card that does not have a magnetic stripe. Instead, it uses a special card reader that reads the information on the card, and sends it to the app.


Slack is a project management and chat platform for teams and groups. Slack builds software as a service (SaaS) products, which are web-based applications that companies or organizations can use instead of having to install or maintain software on their own computer.


A startup that wants to help businesses create video marketing content inside of a Slack channel instead of a separate app or website.


A remote-work solution for business partners and freelancers, letting them work from anywhere. It’s a sort of “Uber for freelancers”, and is based on the idea that most clients don’t want to hire someone for a long-term gig, but instead need someone to tackle a project for a few days or a week at a time.


A startup that wants to take the friction out of the process of purchasing a home. Instead of going through a bank, you can do all the paperwork online.


A new way to book travel. Instead of booking a flight, the travel planning app lets users plan their trip route and pick the times they want to travel.


A tool for software designers to create new apps in minutes instead of days.


Unbounce isn’t selling directly to customers, but instead to small agencies and marketers that want to hire them to do their advertising.


A startup that wants to build a “pay it forward” model, where people volunteer to pay for others’ purchases in the name of “paying it forward”. It’s a bit like the Amazon Dash, but with the automatic donation of the $5 to the cashier instead of the Amazon account.


A startup that is building a platform for mobile phone companies and carriers to provide their services on the open web and in mobile applications, instead of requiring people to download an app.


In theory, this company can help retailers build better loyalty programs for their customers. Instead of rewarding customers with discounts and other perks, this startup says it can help retailers build loyalty programs that allow customers to earn rewards and discounts based on how often they visit the store.


A software tool that lets companies own and manage the cloud infrastructure they buy, instead of relying on vendors.


A startup that gives away stock instead of cash to startups when they want to accelerate their growth.


A “digital concierge” that helps users personalize their own homes. Instead of searching around for different products, users can ask their digital concierge to come up with ideas and send them to the user.


A distributed team management system that moves employees to a new team instead of firing them.


The company operates in a similar fashion to Uber, but instead of driving people around, it takes shoppers to retailers. Shoppers use the app to locate stores and their location, then use the app to walk into shops and purchase items.


A startup that uses text messaging to help people who are sick or at risk of infection simply call in and connect with a nurse or other professional for a chat, instead of having to go to the doctor’s office.


This is an alternative to the standard subscription model for software. Instead of buying software and only using it, it allows companies to buy access to the software for a set number of uses over a year, and then the software is deactivated once the period is up.


A white-label company that sells customer data to insurance companies, but the startup says the data it offers is less than what a company buying data from a broker would pay for. Instead of buying a person’s data from a broker, Vitality starts with a person’s data from 3rd party sources and helps them create a profile.


A hardware startup that’s building a way for software to run on physical products, such as a keyboard or a mouse, instead of being software-only. The startup wants to create a device that can connect to a computer and transform a physical object into a fully-functional computer.


This company is building a chat-based social network for enthusiasts that aims to allow users to share their experiences and advice with each other, like Reddit or Quora. It’s a spin on the social media platform idea: instead of frequent posts from celebrities, the goal is to get your friends to post about their experiences and thoughts.


A crowdfunding website with a different twist. Currently popular in the UK, the platform allows users to use online loans for funding instead of just credit cards.


The startup is building a service that they describe as “the Uber of air travel”. It replaces the “front-end” that users deal with when they book a flight and instead of a travel agent, will connect them directly with an itinerary.


A credit card that rewards its customers for giving back to the community. Instead of paying a flat fee for the credit card, customers are charged based on the number of points they earn for charitable donations.


A tool to make choosing a car insurance a little easier. Instead of filling out forms, traditional agents have a choice to make a few basic questions.


A startup for freelance writers, editors, and translators. The startup is in its pre-launch phase, but has already sold $3,000 worth of services. It’s not a traditional marketplace, instead relying on a closed community of writers and translators who are all working on the same project.


A mobile app that focuses on the experience of the user, instead of the device.


A startup that helps businesses market to high school students, instead of relying on the university market.


Some of the ideas listed in this section are not considered to be ideas per se but instead products in development.


A company that makes an app for ride sharing that gives riders pay-per-mile pricing instead of the traditional per-mile pricing.


A new way to book tickets online. Instead of booking through a travel agency or airline, the startup plans to make it easy to book and pay for your tickets through the app.


This startup is building an app that enables workers to schedule tasks via a mobile app instead of an email. They’re currently working on a version for freelance workers, but they’ve also written a book on how to run your business without a web presence.


A tool that helps users create their own custom-built fonts with the company’s custom font editor. The startup aims to remove the need to have a designer build fonts for an application or website by allowing users to build their own instead.


A peer-to-peer marketplace and online marketplace for exclusively selling used goods. The company wants to bring a new way to buy and sell things, but it’s not quite a marketplace. Instead, it’s a service that connects buyers with sellers, and a platform where sellers can share their goods.


A financial app for students that helps colleges accept payments directly from a student’s bank account, instead of charging fees or taking checks.


It’s similar to an Instagram filter app, but instead of changing your appearance, it changes the tone of your photos.


Instead of having to manually create and manage your own social media pages, this startup is building a single platform for all your different social media accounts.


A startup that provides a platform for companies to pay employees via a monthly subscription instead of a one-time salary.


A new way of paying artists, based on a kind of marketplace model. The major difference is that the company doesn’t take any commission from the artists. The startup instead takes a 30% cut as a fee for the use of the platform.


A company that makes a product called “Flex”, a flexible structural material that can be used to build buildings instead of using steel beams.


A startup that allows users to “pay” with their face instead of their phone number.


A startup that helps businesses sell on Amazon. Instead of having to set up an Amazon seller’s account, the startup takes care of the legal, accounting, and shipping details.


A tool for crowdfunding on the blockchain, where the funds are held in a wallet, instead of a bank or payment processor, and can be transferred to multiple investors.


A company that makes a tool to help companies get their payroll done faster. The platform is based on the idea of a traditional monthly payroll cycle, but instead of hiring a payroll company to handle things, companies can outsource it to a company like Payroll Master, which runs the payroll for them for a monthly fee.


A new kind of online marketplace for buying and selling used cars. Instead of going to a dealer, it's a platform where people can bid on cars and sellers can list them on the site.


A cloud-based platform that allows families and businesses to forgo forking over large sums of money on software subscriptions and instead just pay for the software they use.


A startup that provides a service where people can book a room to stay in for a night like AirBnb but instead of an entire house it’s just a room


A startup that creates a service for helping people with their resume The startup helps people get their resume on the top of the pile instead of the bottom


Idea: A new consumer-focused mobile payments app to replace credit cards The company aims to reduce friction by letting users buy things with their phone instead of having to pull out their wallet They want to replace everyone’s credit card information The startup has processed over $1MM in payments


Idea: A mobile game that runs in-browser for the browser-based game streaming service The startup basically wants to make a mobile game but instead of building a native iOS or Android app, it can run inside the browser and be streamed to a phone


Idea: This is a real estate startup that wants to help people find homes to rent. They’re looking to target people who’ve been priced out of the market and need to rent instead of buy. The startup’s pitch is that it’s better than Craigslist because it focuses on neighborhoods and can recommend specific apartments.


A startup that allows you to transfer funds from a card (like a credit card or bank card) to a bank account using an API (application programming interface) instead of a physical card


Idea: A new way to order a steak. Instead of receiving an entire side of beef, customers can order individual cuts to their specifications.