Breakthrough Brands 2022:

Executive Summary

Another year’s report, another year of volatility: global powers are in flux, market downturns are affecting early-stage funding, and major cultural changes are reshaping the structure of our lives. In fact, our research with Vox Media shows 70% of US adults believe we are living through transformative change unlike anything experienced in history

The reorganization of the status quo began with the pandemic. It made us acutely aware of our interdependencies and vulnerabilities. It made us question old structures and institutions, opening up a willingness to create and accept new systems. In this shakeup, we are seeing Breakthrough Brands pour talent, money, and time into solving the problems of the next decade. Their solutions will define it.

Pioneers are building the infrastructure for Web3, the third evolution of the internet based on blockchain technology. While the blockchain-based cryptocurrency Bitcoin first appeared in 2009, the underlying technology has now come of age. If fully realized, Web3 will be a more decentralized internet that uses token distribution to reward the users who help to create it. This year, we feature brands breaking the barriers to entry for curious consumers (for example, onboarding and wallet integration) or giving eager developers the tools and knowledge to do so. The promise of Web3 is grand—and the ideals driving its growth are even more ambitious.

There is also important groundwork being laid for the real world—the world which we are desperate to save. Unlike its predecessors Green Tech and Clean Tech, Climate Tech has arrived with a name that signals its clarity of purpose: to save us from climate change. This year’s report features brands that are creating frameworks to reliably measure our carbon footprint and eventually achieve standardization. A third of our brands are focused on sustainability at either the consumer, business, or industrial level. 

Finally, we’re not only seeing dramatic changes in the health industry, but a demand for it, too. Our research shows that 83% of US adults believe the industry needs to improve, indicating that it’s time for novel approaches. A new collection of brands are building end-to-end services for patients with specific needs: fertility care, chronic conditions, and LGBTQIA+ care. In the past, we’ve seen the healthcare revolution tackle the complex system and bring holistic, digital-first solutions to market. Though small, these brands are confronting established players from the ground-up, recognizing that healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all model. It is personal and individualized.

Although they span a diverse set of industries, this year’s class of Breakthrough Brands take the long view and tackle the hard problems: they learned from the successes and failures of the last decade and are using those lessons to define the next one.


Breakthrough Brands 2022: Report Download

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