Breakthrough Brands 2021:
Identifying the Next Generation of Icons
To celebrate the 4th edition of our Breakthrough Brands report, we’re looking back and celebrating some of the alumni that have seen explosive growth since being featured in our reports. What they all have in common—they’ve continued to show leadership in their industries, as evidenced by their business results, customer innovations, and their ability to make iconic moves.
Some have gone through major brand identity refreshes or rebrands to signal their arrival into the mass market. Earlier this year, we saw the rebrands of two of our alumni; Transferwise and StockX. Transferwise rebranded as Wise to signal its expanded product offerings and explosive revenue growth (70% in the last year). StockX updated its visual identity, adding pastel colors and a new symbol to be more inviting and inclusive towards women. (It must’ve worked—the company continues to attract net-new customers, with a 90% increase in unique visitors in the past year.)
Robinhood, a 2016 alum, was thrust into the spotlight due to the retail trading boom of 2020, and is looking to IPO this year. Speaking of IPOs, we’d be remiss not to mention Snowflake, which had the largest software IPO in history. The company is currently valued at $60.86 billion—a 4247% growth from its $1.4 billion valuation in our 2020 report.
Others have been acquired at record-breaking circumstances, including Slack, who was recently acquired by Salesforce for $27.7 billion (the most expensive acquisition in Salesforce history), and Mirror, who was bought by Lululemon for $500 million, the first acquisition in the company’s 20-year history.
Beyond pure financial success, we saw alumni continue to reset customer expectations in their categories and beyond. Glossier changed our concept of the “makeup store;” Casper became a leading brand in the “sleep as luxury” trend, fueling a plethora of copycats; and Peloton continued to build their community into a social network in its own right.
We will continue to proudly track the trajectories of all our finalists, in an effort to identify the next generation of icons.