The most exciting entrepreneurs don’t just make money. They provoke competitors and disrupt industries, too. From a racy online clothier to a controversial TV service, here are five companies that got our attention in 2012–and face a pivotal year in 2013.
Jack Dorsey Square
When it debuted, Square’s sleek plastic credit card swiper drew jealous looks to any iPhone it was attached to. Now Jack Dorsey has bet again that style wins mobile payments customers. In October the company followed a $200 million venture round by acquiring New York design firm 80/20, which specializes in slick user interfaces. Earlier, it partnered with coffee chain Starbucks, further upping the brand’s profile.
Chet Kanojia Aereo
In the battle over television distribution, Chet Kanojia continues to defy the major broadcasters–and prevail. In a 2012 lawsuit, networks ABC, CBS, NBC, and others alleged that Aereo’s novel method of beaming broadcast TV signals over the Internet infringed on their copyrights. So far the courts have sided with the New York-based start-up. In February, Aereo secured $20.5 million in venture funding. Stay tuned.