2016 has not being a very great year for startups. There were very little venture-backed startup IPOs. Twilio raised $150million in its IPO. 2016 also recorded fewer startup funding. In selecting my favorite startups of the year, household names like Uber were not included. Also, brands which are controlled, developed or wholly owned by parent companies were not taken into consideration. Artisto, a video editor with art filters and moving effects is owned by Russian tech company Mail.ru, thus, getting excluded in this list.

So in no particular order, here is a list of my favorite emerging startups of 2016 which will soon become household names:

  1. VizEat: Founded in January, 2014, VizEat runs a social dining platform. The startup helps tourists to dine in a local’s home. As a traveler or tourist, dining in a local’s home or eating home-made food gives you a true experience of the locality you find yourself instead of eating in a sophisticated tourists’ restaurant. You may not experience the whole culture and story of a community if you do not have a taste of their food. The sharing economy has birthed great unicorn startups like Uber and Airbnb. VizEat seeks to disrupt the restaurant industry as well as the tourism industry. Instead of having food delivered to you in a click of a button, VizEat gets you to the home and table of the cook and you could probably develop relationships with them than to dine alone as a stranger. The startup has raised an estimated $5.55million.
  2. Prisma: The Moscow-based startup uses Artificial Intelligence to transform your photos into the works of art. Prisma is well on its way to become the startup that gets Instagram out of business. It utilizes the styles of legendary artists like Edward Munch, Pablo Picasso and Van Gogh. This startup is great for all nature-lovers, transforming phenomenon scenarios to look like paintings, not in a blur and dull way but in an attractive manner, as though it was painted or drawn. Founded in 2016, Prisma Labs has offline photo effects and the app has being downloaded 52million times with over 4million active users per day. Prisma Labs is planning to launch a video version before the end of the year.
  3. The Storefront: The startup recently announced its merger with “Oui Open” a few days ago making them even stronger than they have ever being. Storefront has raised an estimated $8.9million in total equity funding led by Spark Capital. The Storefront is an online marketplace for short-term rental of pop-up retail spaces. Storefront helps brands, designers and artists find and rent temporary retail spaces with a provision of insurance for both parties. “Oui Open” also operates pop up shops, galleries, showrooms, boutiques, spaces among others. This startup is disrupting retail in a unique way. Don’t be surprised if Amazon makes them an acquisition offer so they can stay in business.
  4. Cheddar: Facebook is making live-streaming a household model, and Cheddar is taking advantage of the live-streaming era. Described by Wall Street Journal as the Cnbc for millennials, Cheddar streams business videos targeted towards millennials. The online video news network has raised an estimated $13million in funding. The company even made a live broadcast from the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. Founded in 2016, the startup is now behind a paywall and charges $6.99 per month. Cheddar’s videos are powered by Vimeo which is now owned by InterActive Corporation (IAC).

Published by Mawunyo Adjei