5 Cool Founders Building Category Killer Companies

We predict a startup revolution is underway. It will be led by a new breed of category killing founders with disruptive ideas and radical iteration.

Prev1 of 2Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

We predict a startup revolution is underway.

It will be led by a new breed of category killing founders with disruptive ideas and radical iteration. A new breed of tech-infused category leaders are poised to exert critical pressure within their industries. For larger companies that can react quickly enough, this upheaval is survivable.

But we’re betting on founders that can attain their new status by becoming more popular than the competition and here are five of them to watch:

Managing ad campaigns across multiple social networks.

Company: Adaptly
Co-Founder: Nikhil Sethi, @nsethi
Location: New York, New York

What We Do:

Adaptly is changing the way brands increase engagement on social networks by helping them harness the unique value of each social network. It offers one consolidated platform to complete a social media ad buy across multiple social networks including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon and more. Adaptly recently introduced Momentum, a new measurement tool to help brands evaluate how different marketing initiatives impact their overall brand performance across paid, earned and owned social media.

About Nikhil Sethi

As an electrical engineering major at Northwestern, Nikhil was fond of distribution and understanding how you can make things move faster, physically (trains, rockets) as well as digitally (content, media).

After being an intern at HBO in the Emerging Technologies and Research group, it became apparent that the social world online was fragmenting extremely quickly. Because neither Nikhil nor his co-founder, Garrett Ullom, had any previous experience in the advertising world, and realizing that social advertising was a disruptive shift in the traditional media buying model, they took a stab at it and built an end to end engine to allow customers to seamlessly engage with media across social.

After college, both founders moved to Philadelphia to attend DreamIt Ventures incubator program, which allowed them to focus for three months on execution. From there they raised a seed round and migrated to New York, the center of the ad world.


We pay your bill now. You pay us back later.

Company: BillFloat
Co-Founder: Ryan Gilbert, @rgoffice
Location: San Francisco, California

What We Do:

BillFloat offers consumers more time to pay their bills on time to help avoid late fees, overdraft charges, service termination and high cost loans. Billers including utility providers, cable companies, wireless carriers, insurers and e-tailers accelerate their cash flow through BillFloat’s easy to implement and secure system. The service is available on billers, websites and through financial services partners, including prepaid and debit card issuers, payroll services, walk-in payment centers, and billfloat.com.

About Ryan Gilbert:

Prior to launching BillFloat, Ryan was an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Venrock, a leading venture capital firm, where he focused on financial services opportunities. Previously, Ryan co-founded and served as chief executive officer of real estate payments company PropertyBridge, that was acquired by MoneyGram International in 2007. He also brings strategic experience from Wells Fargo Payment Services and Andersen Consulting to BillFloat.

Ryan has been a frequent speaker at financial industry conferences and forums … He is an active investor and advisor to innovative early stage payments companies including Eventbrite and Square. Ryan is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice law in the United Kingdom and South Africa. He is active in civic affairs in Piedmont, California and serves on the city’s Municipal Tax Review Committee and Capital Improvement Project Review Committee.

Ryan earned his Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.


Personal bra fitting online.

Company: True&Co
CEO, Co-Founder: Michelle Lam, @trueandcompany
Location: San Francisco, California

What We Do:

True&Co is changing the way women shop online. We redesigned the art of bra shopping, one of the most unpleasant shopping experiences we have personally endured. Instead, we created a proprietary way to fit women online in 2 minutes with no measuring tape. Every woman then experiences an entirely different and personalized lingerie shop that’s fun, fashionable and yes, truly intimate. Shop from your personal bra shop. Try 5 bra styles at home.

About Michelle Lam

Michelle Lam is CEO of True&Co and an experienced investor and operator, from Bain Capital Ventures, RentTheRunway, Microsoft, BCG and PwC. She started her career in sales – “would you like fries with that?” – at her local McDonald’s.

Prev1 of 2Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.


In this article