Discover startup ideas by looking at features of big companies

This week it dawned on me that many startups, and specifically B2B SaaS startups, seem to often replicate a feature from larger established businesses.

It makes sense. It’s a way for smaller companies to be able to use the same tools to compete with the incumbents.

A social proof widget like

Many are familiar with the social proof widgets from sites like telling you to “Be quick, because 26 other people are looking at this hotel!” or the slightly less anxiety-inducing “This room was last booked 10 minutes ago by someone from Sweden.”.

If you’re also some kind of booking platform, there’s a startup which does exactly this. It allows you to put a popup widget on your site with these kinds of social proof messages to increase conversion:

Ship products at the same speed and cost as Amazon

Shippo built an API that makes shipping cheap and easy for e-commerce stores. They make shipping cheap by aggregating the shipping volume of our customers and thus get steep discounts from the carriers, which they can pass on to the stores. At 70% off retail prices.

They provide one API to connect online stores to all relevant carriers. The algorithm optimizes package allocation across all available shipping providers.

In short: they give mid-sized e-commerce stores the features needed to compete with the likes of Amazon.

World‑class custom packaging like premium e-commerce brands

Lumi helps e-commerce brands produce memorable and sustainable packaging through their simple online platform and worldwide network of factories.

Thousands of digital-native brands rely on Lumi to supply unique, sustainable, cost-effective unboxing experiences using our wide array of boxes, mailers, tape and paper products. The global network of factories allows them to produce and ship goods at competitive prices across a wide variety of manufacturing techniques.

With Lumi, smaller e-commerce companies can compete on a packaging level with the larger established brands.

Be on the lookout

These are just a couple of examples from the top of my head. I’m sure there are many more. The next time you’re browsing Amazon, or booking something at Airbnb– pay good attention and you just might find your next startup idea right there!

By Joshua Schoenaker

I’m a designer and entrepreneur. Currently working on — Chat API with pre-built UI and notifications included.