Top 10 Most Influential Projects by Industry

Business Products & Services

TikTok for Business
01
TikTok for Business
Business Products & Services
The world’s favorite video app became a marketer’s dream team when the company launched TikTok for Business in 2020. Driven by the slogan “Don’t make ads, make TikToks,” the suite of solutions offers tools for designing and managing ad campaigns using the global app’s native technology and storytelling techniques to drive engagement among its hundreds of millions of (mostly young) users. TikTok has expanded its interest in sales, partnering with Shopify to integrate links into videos that direct users to buy products from its online merchants.
02
Digitization Sprint
Business Products & Services
Many U.S. small manufacturing businesses are still stuck in analog—even as the rest of the business world races toward digital transformation. Time for a Digitization Sprint: Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba rolled out a program aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers digitize, joining forces with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Navy Yard and B2Btail founder Curt Anderson. Launched in November 2020, courses cover everything from optimizing product listings to going global.
 Tock To Go
03
Tock To Go
Business Products & Services | North America
When restaurant reservation tool Tock saw bookings in Hong Kong suddenly drop to zero as the coronavirus swept across Asia, leaders at the Chicago company knew the same was likely about to happen in the United States. Within weeks, a project team had built Tock To Go, an app enabling kitchens to accept and fulfill carry-out orders—paying only a fraction of the fees charged by delivery services. Tock more than doubled its restaurant customers in 2020, likely saving many of those restaurants from ruin during pandemic shutdowns (and leaving them prepared to take reservations again with Tock’s original software).
04
Stripe Climate
Business Products & Services
Stripe Climate allows the millions of global businesses that use the platform for sales management to automatically divert a percentage of revenue to climate action projects. Before the service launched in October 2020, Stripe vetted a half dozen carbon removal ventures drawing down atmospheric emissions with innovative methods such as direct air capture and kelp forestry. The final choices align partners with the company’s own investment portfolio—making it easy for users to donate a portion of sales. A pop-up lets those companies’ customers know where their money is going.
GitHub Copilot
05
GitHub Copilot
Business Products & Services
Copilot from GitHub, the world’s largest repository of public computer code, uses AI to take some of the coding work out of coding. Programmers can type in a description of the function they want to enable and the program— trained on GitHub’s library of billions of lines of code—suggests a code snippet to get it done. After the product debuted in June, early studies revealed some weaknesses in the suggestions and raised questions about copyrighted code, but some experts see it as next step toward the future of automated programming (and urge users to treat it as the co-pilot, not the only pilot).
06
Black Pound Day
Business Products & Services | Europe
As the world erupted in racial protests following the murder of George Floyd, British hip hop artist Swiss from So Solid Crew started a hashtag to support Black business owners. The goal: help close the racial wealth gap that sees Black households in the U.K. earning one-fifth to one-tenth of white households. #BlackPoundDay encourages people to buy from Black-owned businesses on the first Saturday of every month. To boost interest in the project, Google partnered up with Black Pound Day organizers to offer free online mentoring to registered entrepreneurs and launched an online directory of Black-owned businesses.
United Next
07
United Next
Business Products & Services
After the pandemic nearly grounded air travel, United Airlines made headlines in June when it ordered 270 new Boeing and Airbus planes—the largest single order in the company’s history and the largest new-aircraft order of any airline in the last decade. Combined with past orders, United’s fleet overhaul project will replace more than 200 older planes with 500 new ones, resulting in 11 percent overall improvement in fuel efficiency and up to 20 percent lower carbon emissions per seat. What’s more, to match the updated interiors and increased premium seating of new models, the company plans to retrofit all of its current single-aisle planes (including adding enough overhead storage for all passengers, which will in turn shorten boarding times). Along with a more pleasurable and sustainable flight experience, the project is also expected to create 25,000 union jobs.
08
Addi Brazil Rollout
Business Products & Services | Latin America
Latin America led the world in ecommerce growth in 2020, yet access to credit remains an issue for many. Colombian fintech Addi aims to fix that, with its buy-now-pay-later platform that charges shoppers neither tax nor interest. In March, with the help of US$140 million in funding, the three-year-old fintech completed a project to roll out in the Brazil market, and in the first six months processed more than 20,000 transactions—accounting for more than 50 percent of sales at some partner merchants. A project to develop a mobile app is now in the works, and company execs are eyeing Mexico as the next market.
09
Mercari Shops
Business Products & Services | Asia Pacific
Japan’s largest online secondhand marketplace, Mercari, unveiled a new ecommerce platform that allows any of its 7 million monthly users to open their own online store with a few taps of its smartphone app. Completed in July, the project marks another coup for the small-but-mighty startup: It rolled out its own digital currency in 2019, and also this year partnered with Uber to roll out a logistics fulfillment service called Mercari Local.
10
Dutchie Plus
Business Products & Services | North America
One of the largest and fastest-growing ecommerce solutions in the cannabis industry, Dutchie facilitates sales for more than 5,000 dispensaries across the United States and Canada. That covers 25 percent of all dispensary sales in the region and 10 percent of sales worldwide. In November 2020, the company unveiled Dutchie Plus, enterprise-level software that allows dispensaries to create customized online experiences for their customers, while it handles all the back-end logistics and security.