Top 10 Most Disruptive Brands of the Last 10 Years

Of all the brand and business strategies, the most exciting, most daring, highest risk, and highest reward is disruption — shaking up an industry or a way of life in such a way that it changes the world forever. Here are our top 10 disruptive brands of the last decade.

 

01 // Slack

Slack came onto the market in 2013 and has made quite a splash, disrupting the workdays of millions of companies and individuals. Originally created as an internal messaging platform for a now-defunct online game, this collaboration platform remained in a beta phase for years before coming onto the market. Slack went public in June of 2019, earning a $15.7B valuation today.

 

02 // Uber

No list of disruptive companies would be complete without Uber. The ridesharing app has taken over the transportation industry. Uber launched in 2009, and today boasts over 110 million users and a (suspicious) valuation of $100B. Uber has changed the way people get from point A to point B and our expectations of brands as a culture. The instant, on-demand nature of Uber has spawned a psychographic shift in how quickly and painlessly we now expect things.

 

03 // Tinder

Speaking of psychographic shifts in instant accessibility of all things, the popular dating app Tinder comes in at number 3 on our list for impact alone. Launching in 2012, Tinder has since shifted the volume of humans accessible to other humans in a romantic context. It has disrupted the courtship process.

 

04 // Airbnb

Just as Uber fundamentally changed how people get around, Airbnb totally redesigned the way people travel. Much to the displeasure of the hospitality industry, there has been a sizable shift away from hotel lodging and toward people opening their homes for short-term stays. No longer are the days of hotel bookings, room service, and kitchenless vacations. Today, Airbnb is valued at $31B, with an IPO announced in 2020.

 

05 // Casper

Casper is the mattress company that cut out both the middleman and the inflated overhead costs of buying a mattress. They disrupted by marketing to consumers directly, delivering to their door in a mattress-burrito, and utilizing influencer marketing to spread the word. Now, instead of purchasing a mattress for a few thousand, you can access one for a few hundred. The innovative and consumer-centric branding and marketing efforts have paid off, and today the company is valued at $1.1B and growing.

 

06 // Warby Parker

Warby Parker disrupted the optical industry in one fell swoop after its founder broke his glasses on a backpacking trip and didn’t have the hundreds of dollars he needed to replace them. Curiosity as to why eyeglasses were so expensive led to Warby’s birth. This brand focuses on providing accessible eyewear while cutting out both the middleman and the monopoly that Luxottica and Essilor has on the industry. Since launch, they have skyrocketed in popularity, becoming a staple in any glasses-sporting wardrobe and earning a reported valuation of $1.7B.

 

07 // Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway came onto the market in 2009 and changed the way we shop for luxury. Previously inaccessible fashion items like designer dresses, handbags, and shoes can now be rented for just 10% of the retail price—and returned after one special event or a season.  And, to be clear, that’s not 10% off, but 10% of.  It is valued today at $1B.

 

08 // Venmo

Another company established in 2009, Venmo began when two friends decided to make an app that would assuage the headache of settling debts (bets?) made to each other while apart. Since then, Venmo has disrupted the way we interact with money — and with our friends. The social aspect of the platform has made payment between individuals seamless and social instead of the nuisance it once was.

 

09 // Thinx

In an industry that hadn’t seen innovation since the 1940s, Thinx disrupted the feminine hygiene product space big time with their menstrual underwear. Not only did they disrupt their industry, they disrupted the advertising industry along with it and developed a reputation for controversial but eye-catching ads. The company made over $50 million in 2018 alone.

 

10 // Dollar Shave Club

Frustrated with the cost of razorblades, Dollar Shave Club founders started a company that would disrupt the shaving industry and give Gillette a run for its money. They also disrupted the “pink tax” women so often pay and priced their razors at the same cost for both men and women. Unilever took notice, and in 2016 purchased the company for $1B cash.

 

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