5 Startups To Watch In 2018

A unique idea. Forward-thinking leadership and employees. Financial backing. Strategic business and marketing plans. Opportune timing. These elements, and so much more, go into the makings of a startup success story. Yet the cold, hard truth is this: Nine out of 10 startups fail anyway.

5 Startups To Watch In 2018

by Giselle Abramovich

Posted on 12-09-2017

A unique idea. Forward-thinking leadership and employees. Financial backing. Strategic business and marketing plans. Opportune timing.

These elements, and so much more, go into the makings of a startup success story.

Yet the cold, hard truth is this: Seventy-five percent of venture-backed startups fail anyway. One common reason why? Their ideas simply don’t fit a market need.

That makes us all the more intrigued by the remaining 25% that are defeating the odds. So CMO.com editors scoured the web to research startups that have received venture-based funding. Following are five that have caught our attention because not only are they innovative ideas, but they also serve an important need in their respective markets.


Motiv was launched in 2013 by Michael and Eric Straser, Curt von Badinsnki, and Peter Twiss. The company makes a fitness ring that monitors heart rate and even serves as a sleep tracker. Its battery lasts for three days and is waterproof.

But what really sets the Motiv ring apart is its memory capacity. The ring can be separated from a phone for up to five days and still store all activity data. Motiv’s on a mission to make simple devices to help business keep living better.

The company currently has $16.3 million in funding from Granite Ventures, Soda Rock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and others.


In an age where media has become the news, Civil is intent on creating a blockchain-based marketplace for journalism. The idea is that “newsmakers” (aka journalists) could use the marketplaces to distribute high-standard, accurate, and trustworthy news content. “Citizens” (aka readers) are asked to purchase “CVL tokens” to sponsor the content they’ve found useful. That, in turn, is how the writers get paid.

“Citizens and journalists form communities around a shared purpose and set of standards, financially support factual reporting and investigative work, and substantially limit misinformation through effective collaborative-editing methods,” the company explained in a Medium article earlier this year. Civil calls its platform a form of “decentralized journalism.”

In October the company announced $5 million in funding from blockchain development firm ConsenSys. The platform, set to launch in 2018, represents a new model for journalism and content distribution.

3. HealthJoy

Health-care costs are on the rise for both insurance plan members and the companies that provide insurance to their employees. Launched in 2014, Chicago-based HealthJoy is employing chatbots to decrease these costs.

Studies show that the high costs are often the result of employees not fully understanding their insurance plans. “[Companies] need to provide advocates and other services that are always available to help,” said HealthJoy CEO and co-founder, in a July article in Entrepreneur. “Joy’s main job is to route people to higher quality, less expensive care.”

The app uses chatbot technology, dubbed “Joy,” to answer health- and insurance-related questions, such as “How do I quickly recover from a sinus infection?” or “Is Dr. Smith in-network? Employees also can use the Joy chatbot interface to call a doctor’s office to book appointments.

The company currently has had two rounds of funding, totaling $6 million, with $3 million from GoHealth in March 2016 and another $3 million from Chicago Ventures in August 2017.

“When we started HealthJoy in 2014, we were frustrated by the complexity of health care and the lack of solutions that could provide helpful, personalized guidance,” the company states on its website.

4. Flexe

In May, Bloomberg.com called Seattle startup Flexe the “Airbnb of warehouses.” Flexe scours the continent to find unused warehouses for e-commerce merchants. The warehouse marketplace currently lists 750 warehouses in over 45 markets across North America. That’s equivalent to 25 million square feet of storage–roughly 25% of what Amazon has. The company also expects to add approximately 10 million square feet in 2018.

Per the company’s website: “We connect organizations that need warehousing space to organizations with extra space. Our platform transforms how logistics and supply chain professionals manage growth, inventory peaks, returns and new market entry by creating warehouse networks that scale as necessary.”

In May the company announced plans to offer next-day delivery for online retailers, a move targeting companies that can’t afford an Amazon-style distribution network.

Flexe currently has 20.8 million in funding; lead investors include Redpoint and Fritz Lanman.

5. Eight TV

Eight TV is an app for those who dream of becoming the next Michelle Phan or Rachel Levin. Users set up their own “show” and then grab a product (just about anything with a bar code) to scan into the video “episode.” Then they hit record and can tell the world why the product is so awesome. A link to shop the product on Amazon appears mid-video.

While the beauty industry has traditionally relied on celebrity endorsements, studies show that consumers are more trusting of peer-to-peer reviews. “We’re focused on regular people where they can pick up the phone and say what they think,” said Leon Crutchley, co-founder of Eight TV, in an interview with Mashable earlier this month.

Eight TV episodes don’t have fancy lighting or backgrounds because they are created by everyday people. Shows can be easily broadcasted to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Additionally, every video review can make money for the creator, providing he or she adds an Amazon affiliate code into the settings. The platform also allows video reviewers to get personal with their audiences and answer questions via video Q&A.

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