Apple is no longer on the top 10 list
Fast Company released the 2019 version of its annual ranking of the businesses making the most profound impact on both industry and culture. Here is the top 10 list of the most innovative companies of 2019 with short descriptions of each by Fast Company:
1. Meituan Dianping – for pioneering transactional super apps.
In the first half of 2018, Meituan Dianping — a Chinese tech platform that expedites the booking and delivery of services such as food, hotel stays, and movie tickets — facilitated 27.7 billion transactions (worth $33.8 billion) for more than 350 million people in 2,800 cities. That’s 1,783 Meituan-enabled services every second of every day, with each customer using it an average of three times a week.
Last year, Apple took the top spot of the ranking. Now the tech company is ranked 17th.
2. Grab – for leveraging transportation as the platform to create a super app for Southeast Asia.
In Southeast Asia, Grab, the Singapore-based ride-hailing company, forced Uber out of the region in 2018 and acquired its local operations. A few months later, it expanded its app to offer its 130 million users not only food delivery and travel booking, but also financial and other services. These efforts helped Grab hit $1 billion in revenue in 2018 and attract more than $3 billion in fresh funding to expand. Later this year, it’ll add healthcare services from Ping An, the Chinese digital health giant.
By the way, Grab has just became per-friendly.
3. NBA – for giving every fan a courtside seat.
In an age of distraction, the NBA holds people’s attention. Last year, the league broke attendance records for the fourth straight season; its streaming service grew subscribers by 63%; and total revenue increased 25%. One reason: the year-old NBA 2K League, the first extension of pro sports into esports, which has 21 teams and games that stream on Twitch.
4. The Walt Disney Company – for diving into the stream
Plenty of venerable media empires aspire to be players in the streaming wars. None is better positioned than Disney, which retooled its organization to deliver its own video services rather than license content to Netflix.
5. Stitch Fix – for fixing retail one data point at a time
Stitch Fix is an e-commerce company whose users receive boxes, or “Fixes,” of clothing, shoes, and accessories based on their personal style and clothing preferences. This online personal styling service combines Netflix-style algorithms with human intuition and curation provided by more than 3,000 stylists who fine-tune each Fix.
6. Sweetgreen – for flaunting its roots
With 91 restaurants in eight states and a network of 150 farmers across the country, Sweetgreen has created a fast-casual, farm-to-table empire that’s poised to expand by (at least) another 15 outposts this year.
7. Apeel Sciences – for keeping it fresh
It’s edible, tasteless, and can double (or triple) the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Following six years of R&D, last May, Apeel Sciences debuted its Edipeel plant-based coating on avocados at more than 250 grocery chains, including Kroger and Costco. The technology, which slows water loss and oxidation, has already led to savings: Midwest grocer Harps reduced its avocado waste by 60%.
8. Square – for providing a more elegant way to pay
Nine years after launching its credit-card-reading dongle for smartphones, Square continues to find ways to make payments less painful. In October, the company introduced Square Terminal: a single-screen card-reading device (picture a smartphone resting on an angled white base) that offers wireless connectivity, a touch screen, and receipt-printing capability.
9. Oatly – for rising to the top
One of the buzziest food products of 2018? A milk alternative made of pulverized oats. Founded in 1994, Swedish company Oatly was the first manufacturer to commercialize oat milk, but it was only after launching in the U.S. in 2016 that the product became a sensation, at one point last year selling for $200 per case online.
10. Twitch – for live-streaming the revolution
Twitch is the video service owned by Amazon. Once the domain of video-game aficionados, Twitch is now pulling in mainstream viewers with its vision for the future of live TV. Last fall, it reworked its IRL channel to promote subcategories for cooking, fitness, and talk shows.