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Eight Innovative Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2022

In any given year, innovative entrepreneurs introduce some amazing ideas and concepts in the business world. And for 2021, this was certainly the case, with a number of businessmen and businesswomen pursuing their passions through their own companies. As a result, their entrepreneurial achievements have been well recognized. Their ideas covered the gamut, ranging from human resources software to the latest in CBD offerings. It almost seems like the pandemic served as a catalyst for some of the most interesting concepts to date. With this in mind, the following provides a list of some of the most successful entrepreneurs to watch in 2022.

  • Sarah Hawley, CEO and founder, Growmotely

With a background in workforce staffing, it’s perhaps not surprising that Hawley is doing well these days. But her real talents among innovative entrepreneurs involved anticipating the boom of workers preferring remote work even before the pandemic. Without question, COVID-19 accelerated this the work-from-home trend. (Read more about the trend in this story breaking down Bold Business’ survey on the topic!) But Hawley’s foresight in launching Growmotely placed her in the perfect position to excel. Her reliable remote-hiring software has earned her a place among this year’s most successful entrepreneurs.

“I’ve known since just a few months into the pandemic that (largely) we wouldn’t be going back to the office. It’s clear now, and it’s far and away being driven by individuals. The companies who focus on attracting aligned people, and embracing a culture of trust and empowerment through remote work are the ones who’ll come out ahead… This is a unique opportunity during our lifetime to redefine the relationship with work into something positive and integrated.” – Sarah Hawley

  • Yousef Abuzuaiter, CEO and founder, OhFresh Brands

Increasingly, individuals all over the world are recognizing a need for healthier and more nutritious foods. Obesity and its complications remain major health concerns in many societies. And these conditions increased the risk of COVID-19 complications as well. Understanding this, some innovative entrepreneurs are tackling the issue from a business perspective. Abuzuaiter and his brother thus founded OhFresh Brands, a healthy beverage and snack manufacturer, importer, and distributor. Their goal is to eliminate scarcity of healthy foods in all communities. Their vision and ability to scale thus far is what makes Yousef and his brother some of the most successful entrepreneurs today.

  • Rhonda Swan, CEO and founder, Unstoppable Branding Agency

To be one of the most successful entrepreneurs, it doesn’t hurt to have a decade of unique experience. Swan has just that, with over 10 years as a PR and marketing specialist for Fortune 100 companies. Leveraging her knowledge and skills prompted her to found Unstoppable Branding Agency, where she shares her expertise with clients. And those clients now include CEOs, authors, world-renowned speakers, and of course other innovative entrepreneurs. By any account, the success of her company has been quite impressive in its popularity and attention.

  • Greg McKee, CEO, Tryp Therapeutics

This past year, a number of companies have begun exploring the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic compounds. The use of psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, has even got the attention of the NIH and major universities as of late. In this regard, McKee and his company, Tryp Therapeutics, are on the cutting edge of this industry. Not only has McKee been one of the most successful entrepreneurs leading other biotech firms. But now, he anticipates adding to his resume through psychedelic pharmaceuticals. In addition, McKee is showing why he’s one of the most innovative entrepreneurs today with his use of smart digital therapeutics. His company is combining smart technologies with psychedelics in hopes of optimizing its success.

  • Mark Leong, CEO and co-founder, Farmz Asia

Not only is Leong a well-recognized microbiologist and international food and nutritional guru. He is also one of the most innovative entrepreneurs around. Leong’s vision is to help empower others through food safety and nutritional guidance. In the process, he plans to support those specifically who are suffering from conditions like obesity, cancer, and diabetes. Though only launched five years prior, Farmz Asia is already a multi-million-dollar organization in Asia. His Revival Method represents a 23-day program to help anyone turn their life around. His vision and strides made this year is why he’s listed among this year’s most successful entrepreneurs.

  • Ingrid Arna, CEO and founder, Ingrid Arna Co.

Arna decided to leave her corporate job in New York to launch her own company that seeks to empower women. Her skills as one of the most successful entrepreneurs since centers on her expertise as an online brand strategist. Using these talents, she helps other women earn seven-figure salaries through effective online business techniques. And her company’s growth shows how her ideas place her among the most innovative entrepreneurs. In fact, her coaching expertise has now resulted in a multi-million-dollar operation.

  • Chad Agate, Chief Technology Officer, Namaste Technologies

If you’ve not heard of Agate, he has been noted among the most successful entrepreneurs in Canada. He essentially revamped the CBD and hemp markets in the country, and he is expanding that with Namaste Technologies. As CTO of the company, he leverages his vast knowledge and leadership experience with past technical teams at Namaste. The company is also branching out to not only provide quality hemp and CBD products but also education and expertise. In essence, he helps others make wise choices about the products they cultivate and how they approach it. He is among a group of innovative entrepreneurs leading the way in this area.

“I love the passion of building teams and harnessing the ability of individuals to come together and identify innovative solutions for unmet needs while making a meaningful social impact in our world.  We have launched Spinach Pay, a fintech company focused on building innovative solutions in payment processing, to go after what we believe will be a large and growing payments market around U.S. cannabis.”

  • Sarah Beyahte Sandnes, Co-founder and CTO, SafetyWing

Even before the pandemic, Internet connectivity and travel options created a boom in digital nomads. But for some, such as those involved in freelancing, it became difficult to secure benefits without significant costs and hassles. Enter Sarah Beyahte Sanders, one of the most innovative entrepreneurs with a background in software engineering. She launched SafetyWing in 2018, which is a company offering global insurance products to digital nomads and remote workers. With the subsequent pandemic and shift in work settings, SafetyWing has done remarkably well. In fact, the company is completely disrupting the insurance industry and causing competitors to rethink their strategies. Given her company’s potential in the coming years, she too is recognized as one of the most successful entrepreneurs of 2021.


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Tracking Air Pollution in the Palm of Your Hand

According to the World Health Organization, approximately seven million people die each year due to air pollution. More than four million suffer from diseases like asthma and lung cancer as within clean air limits set by the WHO. Based on these statistics, it’s understandable why air quality monitoring is important. It also justifies the need for air pollution tracker solutions to assess whether current efforts are making a difference. This is not only important on a global scale, but it’s also helpful on an individual basis. If we hope to change trends for the better, every effort must be made to reduce air pollution. And some businesses are joining in the fight by leveraging new technologies to provide such insights.

Recently, weather forecasting giant AccuWeather made a move to purchase a company called Plume Labs. For a few years, AccuWeather had been using Plume Lab’s air pollution tracker and API to supplement its services. But apparently the benefits were so noteworthy, that they decided bringing the French startup into the fold was worthwhile. Given Plume Lab’s products, as well as the need for air quality monitoring, this is not that surprising. But the company’s plans for the future might just well be. With climate change looming, AccuWeather appreciates the value that Plume Labs offers. This can also be said for the many clients Plume Labs already enjoys throughout the world.

“Seven years ago, David Lissmyr and I launched Plume Labs to make air quality information accessible to everyone. Since then, our work has helped galvanize the fight for clean air by making the health impact of climate change personal.” – Romain Lacombe, Cofounder and CEO, Plume Labs

Making Air Quality Monitoring Personal

Plume Labs was originally founded in 2014, but since then, the company has been quite active. Most notably, it introduced a mobile app that provided users with air quality monitoring. Using aggregate data from multiple locations around the world, Plume Labs was able to show and predict air quality levels. In addition, users could see this data at street level, which made it highly relatable. Those traveling by foot, bicycle or scooter could select routes with the lowest air pollution present. Today, Plume Labs has over 12,000 monitoring stations throughout the world. And as a result, it offers an air pollution tracker that’s accurate in more than 100 cities.

Certainly, the mobile app provided a way for air quality monitoring among urban dwellers. But Plume Labs wanted to make their products even more personal. As a result, they subsequently developed their own wearable air pollution tracker called Flow. Flow made it possible for people to not only see air pollution levels but to act on it as well. In addition to air quality monitoring outdoors, Flow also lets users see air quality inside. This data further lets people make conscious choices about their environments. This may lead some to eliminate some combustible household devices or choose alternate transportation options. This is the type of feedback everyone needs in order to make better choices related to climate change.

(Read more about ten companies tackling the climate change problem in this Bold deep-dive.)

Scaling Air Pollution Tracker Solutions for All

While individual efforts are important, larger scale air quality monitoring offers greater potential for change. After all, industrial sources and automobiles remain the most notable sources of air pollution. In this regard, Plume Labs has also developed solutions to help business partners. This includes an API that companies can be integrated with their products as an air pollution tracker. Rather than reinventing the wheel, Plume Labs made it simple for others to incorporate its system. AccuWeather took this approach initially, which is how it realized how beneficial the API was. Ultimately, this led to AccuWeather’s purchase of the company.

A weird contraption that monitors pollution
Air quality monitoring means safeguard both health and the environment.

The secret behind Plume Labs air pollution tracker involves a machine learning system. The system gathers inputs regarding temperature, wind, humidity and air pressure in various areas. This data is then matched to sensors that detect particulate matter and polluting gases in monitoring stations across the globe. Over time, this has allowed Plume Lab’s model to continually improve and advance. Not only can it now provide real-time air quality monitoring, but it also forecasts it seven days in advance. Plus, their API and Flow tracker also provides data about pollen and ultraviolet ray exposure. Based on the wide array of information it offers, AccuWeather’s interest in the company is obvious.

“Air quality plays an intrinsic role in AccuWeather’s mission of saving lives and helping people prosper, and this acquisition will help us provide users and customers with an even more personalized experience as well as a 360-degree understanding of the impact of weather on their wellness.” – Steven R. Smith, President, AccuWeather

Bigger Plans on the Horizon

Over the last several years, Plume Labs has certainly made an impact on a global scale. The opportunities it provides individuals and partner organizations alike are substantial when it comes to air quality monitoring. But the company, and now AccuWeather, have even grander pursuits in store for the future. Several products are in beta mode currently. For example, one provides route planning for users to help them select fresh-air options. This not only has respiratory benefits but comprehensive health advantages for individuals as well. This is the type of information that can enable everyone to make better choices concerning their health.

The other effort the company is pursuing involves wildfire predictions. While this field of forecasting remains in its infancy, Plume Labs hopes to advance their capacities quickly. If this information proves to be accurate, prevention efforts could be performed to mitigate the impacts of wildfires. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Therefore, investing in these types of efforts using machine learning has definite merit. These are the types of projects that Plume Labs hopes to advance in the near future. And with AccuWeather now as its parent company, it will enjoy the support to pursue them.


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Aviation Update – Flying Taxis Will Be Here Sooner Than You Think

Over the last several years, the transportation sector has been greatly influenced by technological advances. Innovations have pushed electric vehicles into the mainstream, and autonomous cars are being tested in numerous cities throughout the world. But one area where technology looks to be most disruptive involves the aviation sector. For years, there has been quite a buzz about flying taxi models being available soon. Likewise, several flying taxi companies have continued to jockey for position in a highly competitive market. And based on recent advances, it now looks like these transportation options may become a reality within the next two years.

Before flying taxi companies can realize their visions, however, several pieces of the puzzle must be in place. Flying taxi models must be able to perform safely as well as efficiently in order to get FAA approval. This requires different steps based on whether a vehicle is piloted or pilotless. This reality also must have infrastructures such as vertiports where flying taxis can take off and land. And of course, consumers must buy into this new form of transportation based on convenience and cost. Though such barriers pose formidable challenges, progress continues to be made in all these areas. This progress is why many anticipate flying taxis will be in our midst very soon.

Noteworthy Flying Taxi Companies

Several flying taxi companies have emerged with plans for the future. These companies offer a variety of different flying taxi models with different propulsion structures and guidance systems. Some use a tilt-thrust model where electric motors angle themselves to allow flight. Others have multi-rotor systems that are more drone-like in design. And some have a combination of these features, often referred to as a lift-and-cruise approach. In all cases, however, these flying taxi models are referred to as eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and land) vehicles. And more than a dozen exist now.

(Dive deeper into the world of bladeless air taxis in this Bold story.)

One of the best-known flying taxi companies is the California-based startup, Joby Aviation. Its flying taxi recently flew at 205 mph in testing, believed to be the fastest for an eVTOL yet. It has also travelled nearly 155 miles on a single battery charge. Based on these and other accomplishments, the company now expects to introduce its flying taxi models in 2023. And backed by Uber, the company also hopes to leverage the ride-share company’s existing clientele to its advantage.

Joby Aviation is not alone, however. Archer is another California-based startup designing flying taxi models. Lilium and Vertical Aerospace are some based in Europe. Velocopter is another located in Germany that has also made tremendous progress as has Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace. And perhaps the most advanced company, Skydrive, is actively testing flying taxi models in Japan. Its 8-propeller, 8-battery design is compact enough to fit into two car parking spaces. It is also expected to launch publicly in 2023, first appearing in the tourism sector. Without question, competition is fueling the rapid pace of development among these flying taxi companies.

“Our view is that is the big strategic advantage of Wisk, going straight to a self-flying aircraft, building those principles in at every level of the design and development.” – Marc Allen, Chief Strategy Officer, Boeing

Piloted Versus Pilotless Options

Many of the flying taxi companies are starting with plans to have piloted flying taxi models. This approach is reasonable from several perspectives. For one, a piloted flying taxi will be more likely to be accepted by consumers as being safe. The same is likely true in pursuing FAA licensing and permitting as well. But some companies are choosing to design self-flying cars from the very beginning. Their pilotless flying taxi models have the advantage of being designed for autonomous function in every aspect. While this might take longer to reach the market, its long-term perspective may offer competitive benefits.

A flying taxi skipping over ground traffic
Flying taxi companies are on the cusp of taking the next step to deployment–will you ride in a flying taxi?

One of these autonomous flying taxi models is called Wisk Aero. This flying taxi represents a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk, with Kitty Hawk originating out of Google. Recently, Boeing sunk another $450 million into the Wisk Aero project with a recommitment to focus on autonomous function. Currently, it looks like Wisk Aero could be the first autonomous eVTOL to receive certification. And based on current progress, industry experts predict it could be traveling the skies by 2028.

“If it’s right downtown opposite the train station, 60 seconds from the city center or your office, it will be used and will become routine.” – Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban-Air Port

Infrastructure Paving the Way

While the technology surrounding flying taxi models is impressive, these eVTOLs will still require a place to land. Because their take off and landing requires much less space that airplanes, attractive options exist. As noted, Skydrive has designed their eVTOLs to fit within existing parking areas. But air traffic in such locations raise concerns about safety and congestion. As a result, some companies are exploring other types of infrastructures to accommodate flying taxi companies. This too is rapidly advancing at the present time.

One of these types of companies is British startup, Urban-Air Port. Its current plans including constructing more than 200 hubs that will be used by flying taxi companies in the future. In total, they anticipate having vertiports in roughly 65 cities in numerous countries. These not only include the U.S., the U.K. and several in Europe. But is also expects to have several in S. Korea, Australia and Asia as well. The company’s expected timeline for these hubs is about 5 years overall. This will align well with the need for this type of infrastructure if flying taxi models expand as predicted.

Rapid Adoption Will Drive Rapid Growth

Currently, it’s hard to predict exactly when flying taxi models will decorate the skies. Delays in FAA certification and municipal obstacles could result in some delays. But according to most experts, flying taxi companies plan for major launches in 2023 to 2024. In fact, Paris anticipates using flying taxis as part of the 2024 Olympics. And industry projections expect the overall industry to be worth $12.4 billion by 2027. This is a significant increase from the 2020 figure of $6.4 billion. If all goes as planned, however, these look to be the targets those in the industry hope to reach. And so far, things seem to be right on pace.


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