Pegged as "entitled," "lazy" and "narcissistic," millennials (also known as the "the Me Me Me generation") have had their fair share of societal condemnation. It's an ongoing identity crisis, as the Gen-Y kids are also claimed to be open minded and receptive to new ideas. Sift through the millennial generation, and you'll find innovative individuals who open their minds to entrepreneurship and making a difference. It's the marriage of passion and fulfilling a need.
Recurring revenue business Chargify.com grew out of passion for fulfilling a specific need for an online service that provides recurring revenue management. With the help of investors, the grassroots company Grasshopper established the company Chargify (Chargify.com), offering recurring revenue management services that keep merchants' businesses running smoothly. It's anecdotal evidence that a market need and product fit can foster a groundbreaking business. Chargify took investments from Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and a "Shark Tank" investor, but crowdfunding is another solution that can help turn an entrepreneurial vision into a reality.
The following two Kickstarter stories share how inspiration and breaking into an unknown market using talented creativity and forward-thinking innovation can empower others while serving a larger purpose. Not only are these young individuals entrepreneurs, they're changing how society perceives Gen-Y.
Debbie Sterling, GoldieBlox
While studying at Stanford's elite engineering program, Debbie Sterling felt intimidation among fellow students, most of whom were men. The ambitious student not only earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design, she founded GoldieBlox (GoldieBlox.com), a "construction toy and book" series that's designed to inspire a future in mathematics, science and technology for young girls. Globally, male engineers outnumber female engineers by 74 percent, and girls start to lose interest in science before age 10. GoldieBlox strives to level the playing field. It's the female equivalent to Legos and Erector sets.
After an "Idea Brunch," viral video marketing, angel investing, and a $285,000 Kickstarter campaign, GoldieBox was born in 2012. The GoldieBlox series stars Goldie, "the kid inventor who loves to build," describes Sterling's Kickstarter project page. The storybooks, character figurines, and construction sets harness the strong verbal and spacial skills of young girls. By launching GoldieBlox, Sterling empowers girls to dream about a future creating amazing things. She's a leader in "disrupting the pink aisle," a movement that sparks imagination and inspires a future of female engineers.
Along with her leadership, Sterling is an engineer with entrepreneurial flair. Critics disparage her product design studies and infuriate her by saying she neither belongs, nor is good enough. "That's exactly what I'm trying to fight against," exclaims Sterling on the Washington Post. "This elitist, male-dominated world of engineering." Sterling's vision and passion is her fight. Sharing children's stories on concepts about gears, pulleys, circuits, and coding with young girls is what she hopes will make engineering fun and accessible.
Adam Coe, Evil Controllers
Adam Coe discovered an exclusive gaming product for an undiscovered market need. According to its Kickstarter, Coe is the brain behind Evil Controllers, an original video game controller modification company that customizes basic controllers into one-of-a-kind gaming thumbsticks, suitably called Evil Sticks. Expanding upon its highly in-demand product line, Evil Controllers also created a rechargeable, battery-powered controller with a comfortable design and longer charge backed by a $24,624 Kickstarter campaign (that initially had a $15,000 goal).
Coe's future as the genius behind an industry-leading company began eight years ago in his freshman dorm room at the University of Arizona. Coe used his remaining student loan money of $500 to start selling modded controllers on eBay. Visualizing opportunity and taking a risk, Coe dropped out of college to create a brand-new market and follow his dream. Evil Controllers innovates ideas like the Vision Backplate and Evil iD, but the company also custom-creates controllers for gamers with specific needs, such as mobility issues. Personalizing Evil controllers to exceed gaming limitations was inspired by Nomad, a professional gamer who suffers from muscular dystrophy. Because of Nomad, Evil strives to ensure every gamer can have the best gaming experience possible.