100 Brilliant Companies to Watch

This story appears in the 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If there’s one clear trend that has emerged as we compiled the 2015 Brilliant 100, it’s that everyone—especially young adults—wants to keep tabs on everything. 

Millennials are driving technology and commerce in an altruistic direction that melds personal responsibility (for one’s health and well-being, as well as that of employees and customers) with social responsibility (for the global community, planet and big-picture economy). 

That starts with monitoring our own bodies and habits. The global market for wearable devices is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 35 percent, reaching 148 million units by 2019, according to a report from BI Intelligence. Nearly half of wearable tech owners, 48 percent, are between 18 and 34 years old, according to Nielsen.

In addition to their health, consumers are keeping an eye on the activities of the businesses they patronize. In a survey conducted by Nielsen, 55 percent of global online consumers said they were willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental change—and Millennials represent 51 percent of that group.

Online platforms that enable crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer sharing make it easy to keep in touch with one’s social and business circles. Consumers are using these platforms to raise funds and drum up support for every move they make—right down to that most basic function, human reproduction. Companies, meanwhile, are taking advantage of the vast talent pool of internet users to crowdsource services they need.

That’s the picture of entrepreneurship today. It’s a picture we try to illustrate through our selection of 100 brilliant companies, ideas and technologies that are responding to consumer demand, solving problems and filling voids we might not have even realized were there. They’re not always the most influential, lucrative or serious notions, but they have a couple of qualities in common: They inspire us, and they are driving change. We hope they’ll inspire the inventor or innovator in you, too.


100 Brilliant Companies

Tech

How MindMeld Is Letting Companies Add Voice Recognition to Any App

The days of talking to all of your devices are closer than you think.

 


Business Tools

This Startup Is Giving Businesses a Better Way to Offer Employee Perks

AnyPerk aims to 'enable happiness' through a variety of incentives..

 


Finance and Capital

This Entrepreneur Is Proving That a Zero-Interest Loan Platform Can Work

Check out what's taking crowdfunding to a new level.

 


From the Crowd

Let This Company Make Your Concept a Creation

If you have a product idea, but lack the skills to execute it, Assembly can help.

 


Social Impact

How a Creative Agency Became a Catalyst for Social Change

The frogImpact program creates design-centric solutions for issues in health care, disaster relief and more.

 


Health

The Brilliant Software That's Turning Grandma's TV Into a Caregiving Tool

A TV-based caregiving platform keeps the elderly in touch.

 


Design and Fashion

How One Apparel Brand Is Bringing Style to Sustainable Clothing

Nothing hip and sexy about sustainable and recycled fabrics? Guess again.

 


Food and Drink

Meet the Machine That's Turning Grocery Stores' Food Waste Into Fertilizer

A pair of seasoned tech workers are helping to solve a $165 billion problem.

 


Recreation

Why This Fantasy Sports Company Is a Dream Come True for Fans

Bigger, stronger, faster: FanDuel is fantasy sports on steroids.

 


Travel

Traveling in Europe? A New Search Engine Wants to Show You Every Transportation Option.

A startup goes the extra mile to help travelers in Europe plan routes.