100 Brilliant Companies 2011

This story first appeared in the June 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

"Good ideas are common," the aptly named British humorist Ashleigh Brilliant once said. "What's uncommon are people who'll work hard enough to bring them about."

Thank goodness, then, for the entrepreneurs on our annual list of 100 Brilliant Companies, who have coupled genius and execution to fantastic -- and, in many cases, fantastically lucrative -- ends. We picked 10 areas, some that have been booming for years (mobile tech, seniors) and some that are just now hitting their stride (social shopping, startup-to-startup), and spotlighted some of the most innovative and inspiring companies in each. The brilliance runs the gamut, from a deal site aggregator recognizing a void in a crowded sector to a service that simplifies the notoriously difficult process of creating an app.

Here's hoping that reading about all this brilliance will spark some in you

Connected

How ShareSquare Is Leading the QR-Code Marketing Pack

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Travel

How Hipmunk Gained Traction As the Go-To Flight-Search Site

The San Francisco-based service puts a more streamlined spin on the age-old agony of booking passage.

How Hipmunk Gained Traction As the Go-To Flight-Search Site


Media

How Zite's iPad Magazine Is Bringing Browsing Back

A hit from the start, this Vancouver, B.C.-based company delivers an (increasingly) personal reading experience for tablet-toters.

How Zite's iPad Magazine Is Bringing Browsing Back


Beverages

How Yellow+Blue Is Making a Difference in the Wine Business

The Chester, Penn.-based wine company's early success shatters long-held industry standards.

How Yellow+Blue Is Making a Difference in the Wine Business


Health

How H.U.M.A.N. Is Breaking Through As the Next-Generation Snack Machine

This vending company reinvents the business by stocking health and information.

How H.U.M.A.N. Is Breaking Through As the Next-Generation Snack Machine


Seniors

How Rest Assured Is Filling a Niche in the Senior-Care Market

This Lafayette, Ind.-based company lets seniors and their families know that someone has their backs.

How Rest Assured Is Filling a Niche in the Senior-Care Market


Value

How Yipit Is Upending the Daily Discount Model

This new service scans the web to aggregate offers.

How Yipit Is Upending the Daily Discount Model


Mobile

How Mobile Roadie Became a Leader in Do-It-Yourself Apps

This self-service app creator aims to make it cheap and easy to go mobile.

How Mobile Roadie Became a Leader in Do-It-Yourself Apps


Startup-to-startup

How Betterworks Is Helping Startups Perk Up Their Perks

This Santa Monica, Calif.-based service boosts benefits for strapped startups.

How Betterworks Is Helping Startups Perk Up Their Perks


Social Shopping

How Polyvore Became a Trend-Setter in Social Shopping

Polyvore tells your network what to wear. And you thought engineers had no fashion sense.

How Polyvore Became a Trend-Setter in Social Shopping


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