$ 10 million startups that prove you can compete with Google (and win)

Founders are often faced with the question of whether their startup could survive if big tech turned around and released a competing product or service. And, for those entering a market where big tech already resides, it can get worse: the dreaded commentary of why you’d bother trying to even try to compete in a market with familiar names and competition. sitting over millions – or in Google’s case, over a trillion?

What you don’t hear much about is how startups can not only compete successfully – even if, say, Google turns around and walks into the space with its own product or service, but startups can. in fact build on existing big tech products and successfully gain market share and get ahead of Google in the space.

Last year, roughly billions in revenue was generated by these just ten startups that compete with Google and win. This will show that you don’t have to be the first, and even if you are not the last, you don’t have to be afraid to compete with unicorns, but by doing so, your startup could become a unicorn.

Here are 10 startups that are making millions (if not billions) competing with Google:

Waze vs. Google Maps

  • Year of creation: 2007
  • Revenue (2020): $ 37.7 million (sold to Google for $ 1.2 billion)

Waze, the GPS navigation software launched in 2007, two years after Google launched Google Maps, what then seemed like a crazy idea to help give users real-time traffic information based on the comments of others on the road. Today, Waze has more than 110 million monthly active users, which represents an estimated annual revenue of $ 37 million, compared to 154 million Google Maps users. However, in 2013, Google acquired Waze for $ 1.2 billion.

Mixpanel vs Google Analytics

  • Year of creation: 2009
  • Revenue (2020): ~ $ 100 million

Google Analytics came out in 2005, and after that, in 2009, Mixpanel launched its own website analytics platform. Despite releasing a competing product with Google, Mixpanel has managed to grow into a successful business, with around $ 100 million in revenue generated in 2020, nearly half of which comes from well-known large companies such as Uber, Samsung and BMW. .

Skyscanner vs. Google Flights

  • Year of creation: 2001
  • Revenue (2020): $ 321 million

Google entered the travel industry with Google Flights in 2011, a decade after Skyscanner launched in 2001. But just because Google decides to pursue a new market doesn’t mean that existing businesses will be eaten up by the travel giant. technology. Sometimes influence and billions of dollars aren’t enough to bring businesses to a crash in a market when Google comes up ready to compete. Instead, Skyscanner has remained strong with annual revenue of around $ 321 million.

Wix vs. Google Sites

  • Year of creation: 2006
  • Revenue (2020): $ 988.8 million

While Geocities was actually the first website builder, established in 1994, site builders became popular in the 2000s with the release of platforms such as Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify. Google jumped on the site-builder bandwagon more than a decade later in 2018. And while you might think Google would manage to create a superior content management system (CMS), given that its search engine is a fantastic site, Google Sites never really took off. . Now, Wix has over 40% of the site builder market share and Google Sites remains below 1%.

Vonage vs. Google Voice

  • Year of creation: 2001
  • Revenue (2020): $ 1.25 billion

Google entered Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology services in 2009, years after the release of Vonage in 2001. While Google Voice has become a top choice in the VoIP space, given that it s ‘largely a free service, with over 1.4 million users worldwide, Vonage is a leading competitor with 1.1 million users, accounting for $ 1.25 billion in revenue annual. So while Google Voice has gained a large number of users, Vonage is still proving to be very successful.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive

  • Year of creation: 2007
  • Revenue (2020): $ 1.94 billion

In the year since Google’s first cloud storage as a service (PaaS) platform, App Engine, Dropbox launched its own file storage platform. Google’s storage services have since evolved into Google Drive (via G Suite and Google Workspace), which generated $ 2.6 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, Dropbox’s revenue reached nearly $ 2 billion, showing that it is rapidly gaining on Google in terms of revenue and market share. . And unlike Google Drive’s 34% market share which includes internal storage for its own products (i.e. Google Docs), Dropbox has around 21% of the external files market.

Zoom against Google Hangouts

  • Year of creation: 2011
  • Revenue (2020): $ 2.65 billion

Two years after Zoom launched its video conferencing platform in 2011, Google released Google Hangouts, and later in 2017, it developed Google Meet, another video conferencing tool. Despite the tech giant’s efforts to compete, Zoom reached $ 2.65 billion in annual revenue last year and currently holds nearly 50% of the total market share globally, up from less than half. of Zoom’s market share at 22%.

GoDaddy vs. Google Domains

  • Year of foundation: 1997
  • Revenue (2020): $ 3.3 billion

Google Domains started in 2015 and although it has managed to take a market share, it has yet to beat the original domain name registrar, GoDaddy, founded in 1997. There are around 40 million domains registered with GoDaddy, while over at Google Domains there are approximately 5.5 million registered domains. Google Domains now has a 2% market share, while GoDaddy has a 24% market share for its domain name registration services.

PayPal vs. Google Pay

  • Year of foundation: 2000
  • Revenue (2020): $ 21.4 billion

Google’s first stab at P2P payment processing was with Google Wallet, released in 2011 – more than a decade after PayPal. Since then, Google has acquired Android and with it Android Pay, serving as the basis for what has since become Google Pay. Meanwhile, PayPal bought the P2P payment app, Venmo, in 2013 (just three years after it was released by its founders), which now generates annual revenue of $ 450 million. Although Google has launched with its own version, it has not come close to driving PayPal, Venmo or the range of other P2P applications out of business.

Apple iOS vs. Android

  • Year of foundation: 1976
  • Revenue (2020): $ 274 billion

Google acquired Apple’s main competitor iOS, Android in 2005 for $ 50 million. While it’s not clear how much Google has reaped from its purchase of the operating system, we do know that Apple iOS, and more specifically iPhones, continue to dominate the mobile market. In fact, the iOS operating system holds the largest market share with 58%, with Android coming in second with 41% market share.

A winning strategy to compete with Google

Note that no matter how many products, services, and tools Google offers, what remains intact is its search engine, the heart of the $ 1.4 trillion business itself. While others like Bing and Duckduckgo have made it into the space, Google absolutely dominates it. Show that although market and product expansion can increase your total revenue, staying focused on your main product (and its true value) is how you manage to be the leader in a market.

Outside of research, startups still have a lot of room to compete with Google. In other words, Google may want a slice of your pie, but unless you’re looking to be the next best search engine, what Google is doing – or what it might be doing – shouldn’t deter startups. with great ideas and competent teams who can bring their ideas to life.

Startups that successfully compete with Google start with a single product in the early days in order to gain traction and be more competitive and therefore profitable. By being an expert in one area, you can give your startup a head start over its competitors, like Google, and even get yourself a head start. After all, Google has become a jack of all trades, and if your startup can be the master of anything, you have the potential to successfully compete with Google – and giants like it.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.


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