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Millennial Movers and Shakers: 9 Businesses Built by Gen Y for Gen Y

Peter Daisyme
Peter Daisyme

Also known as Millennials, those within Gen Y, ages 20 to early 30s, have certain expectations about what they want from their jobs, working relationships and products and services.

Many from this generation are now building their own businesses so they can have exactly what they want—and there are extraordinary benefits emerging in terms solving existing business issues.

At the forefront of the disruption movement and collaboration economy, Gen Y has delivered these businesses with enthusiasm, optimism, social responsibility and a whole lot of innovative thinking

1. Lyft

As part of the collaborative economy, Gen Y founders wanted to create a solution for getting rides with others for short and long trips while sharing the cost of that transportation. It has filled a gap in terms of the lack of quality public transportation in many areas as well as offered a way to reduce reliance on vehicle ownership. Gen Y users appreciate the convenience, value and social responsibility that Lyft offers.


Image via Mosaic

2. Mosaic

In focusing on making the world a better place and helping more people benefit from clean energy—who also felt they wanted to do their share but lacked the funds to do so, the Gen Y team behind Mosaic wanted to find a solution that would allow more people to take advantage of clean energy rather than relying on traditional energy products. The team behind Mosaic built software that connects investors that believe in clean energy to borrowers that can be assisted by a marketplace-lending platform.

3. Spanx

As a self-made billionaire, Sara Blakely may rest just outside of the Gen Y age range but still completely qualifies based on her drive, philosophy and ability to serve the Gen Y demographic. She and her team very much share the mentality of the Gen Y entrepreneur, working on their terms and not seeking validation from others.

Understanding that the Gen Y consumer has continually changing tastes and needs, the Spanx now offers more than 200 products to address all of those needs, and they will keep innovating and pivoting when needed, like all millennials try to.

hostwind screenshot

Image via Hostwinds

4. Hostwinds

In wanting to create a new standard in web hosting service that is based on the premise that good quality service and support does not have to cost a premium. After all, the Y Generation believes that you do not have to spend as much to get something great, so the team behind Hostwinds set out to prove that this is the case with webhosting.

4. PandaDoc

Millenials tend to prefer working on their own terms as freelancers or small business owners, PandaDoc wanted to have a way to effectively create numerous types of documents, sales collateral and contracts, but still look completely professional. Being able to send these documents on the “fly” and not be concerned with the printing and scanning of documents just to exchange signatures—was also a need that the Gen Y team behind PandaDoc identified.

As such, PandaDoc has been able to deliver a paperless solution for a digitally-driven generation of workers that prefers to be greener, work faster and more efficient, and deliver documents wherever they are located at the moment.

5. Square

Gen Y does not see their business as existing in one fixed place; if anything, it is them—which means it is traveling with them—and they never know when there may be an opportunity to sell something. They do not want the point-of-sale (POS) systems or ridiculous payment fees of credit card processing companies like those from past generations.

sqaure up POS system screenshot

Image via Square

The Gen Y team behind Square gets this freeing mindset and offers a way to be mobile and flexible in receiving payments and generating online invoices so even the smallest Gen Y business can accept credit cards and offer multiple payment options to their Gen Y customer base that expects these options.

6. Mashable

When they could not find the information they wanted about how to help build businesses their way and build them for the new generation of entrepreneurs, the Gen Y team behind Mashable decided to just create their own website and blog to generate that information for themselves and others like them. The old generation of media coverage did not speak to them or their peers, so it was time to develop a new type of media and use an online network to disseminate the needed information to those hungry for this type of information.

7. Due

The Gen Y worker does not necessarily always work local and on-site but they prefer to be mobile and dig into projects often farther afield, opting to partner with clients in the far corners of the globe. There is no room for paper or even email invoices that take too many resources for the trouble.

They work on shorter pay cycles and look to maintain a steady cash flow as part of the outsource economy. To help them out, companies like have developed a free alternative way to send professional invoices and speed online payments for work. Led by a Gen Y team, understands the speed and efficiency a Gen Y worker wants to get the payment process done while still making it easy and convenient for the Gen Y employer that hired that freelancer.

Related Article: Reinstating Boundaries: The Agile Workplace


The Gen Y team behind realized that the collaborative economy does serve a greater purpose of uniting many people to do good things as well as create real social and economic change. screenshot

Image via

The team also realized that they could use the very platforms that their peers prefer to use for interaction, information and collaboration, illustrating how fundraising and charity work can be recreated for the next generation.

9. Samasource

Working on a similar philosophy of creating organizations that focus on the greater good and improving the lives of others, the social responsibility that the Y Generation has is elevated in Samasource. The organization is tackling global unemployment and creating solutions that all the traditional means have not been able to accomplish.

By connecting people to jobs online who previously had no way of accessing those opportunities and providing job training while also helping companies find good workers to address microwork projects and gaps in certain work functions, the Gen Y team behind Samasource shows how its new way of thinking and working is transforming lives. It is also helping those with traditional viewpoints on the workforce see how employment and other things can and should be done differently nowadays.

This is just a small sampling of the literally hundreds of businesses now operating and those in early stages that are designed for a new generation that looks at doing more with less, making the world a better place, working collaboratively and structuring work within personal time as the norm.

Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Peter Daisyme
Peter Daisyme Member
Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.