10 Strange, Yet Successful, Startups

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In the world of startups, success can come from the most unexpected places. While many entrepreneurs strive to create the next big thing in technology, finance, or healthcare, others have found their niche in the unconventional, the bizarre, and the downright weird. These startups have managed to capture the attention of consumers and investors alike by offering products and services that are truly one-of-a-kind.

From sending potatoes through the mail to creating immersive slime experiences, these quirky companies have proven that there’s a market for just about anything. These are the top strange, yet successful startups to watch. 

Top Weird, But Successful, Companies to Watch

In this article, we’ll explore some of the weirdest yet most successful startups out there. These companies have defied expectations and carved out their own paths to success, showing that sometimes, thinking outside the box can lead to big rewards. Get ready to discover the strange, the surprising, and the utterly fascinating world of unusual startups that have made it big.

Disclaimer: With so many exciting startups launching and growing worldwide, we aren’t able to cover them all. Furthermore, the startups that are listed below are not officially ranked and are listed in no particular order.

1. Rent the Chicken

  • Location: Freeport, Pennsylvania 
  • Funding: Undisclosed

Founded in 2014 by Jenn and Phil Tompkins in Freeport, Pennsylvania, Rent The Chicken is a unique startup that offers a creative solution for people who want to experience raising backyard chickens without the long-term commitment. The company rents out everything needed to temporarily care for chickens, including a portable coop, two to four egg-laying hens, food, and other necessary supplies. This service allows customers to enjoy fresh eggs and the experience of keeping chickens for a set period, typically between four and six months, without the responsibilities of full-time chicken ownership.

2. Louped (Formerly I Do Now I Don’t)

Louped, formerly known as I Do Now I Don’t, is an online marketplace that specializes in buying and selling pre-owned engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry. The company, founded by Josh Opperman in 2007, aims to provide a safe and transparent platform for individuals looking to sell their unwanted jewelry, often due to broken engagements or divorces, while also offering buyers the opportunity to purchase high-quality, authenticated jewelry at a fraction of retail prices.

3. Potato Parcel

  • Location: Denton, Texas
  • Funding: Shark Tank, $50,000

A previous guest on TV show Shark Tank, Potato Parcel is a quirky startup that allows customers to send personalized messages on potatoes through the mail. Founded in 2015 by Alex Craig, the company offers a unique way to send a greeting or message by inscribing it on a potato and mailing it to the recipient. 

Customers can choose from a variety of potato sizes and even add optional extras like glitter or a burlap sack. The unconventional nature of the service has garnered significant media attention and attracted a diverse customer base looking for a memorable and lighthearted way to communicate with friends, family, or even celebrities.

4. Pipedream

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Funding: Series Unknown, $24.1 Million 

Pipedream aims to revolutionize the way goods are transported by creating a network of underground pipelines for delivering parcels and cargo. The company’s goal is to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions by shifting delivery traffic from roads to underground pipes, providing a more efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional transportation methods.

The startup plans to build a network of small-diameter pipelines that will transport standardized capsules carrying parcels and other goods. These capsules will be propelled through the pipes using linear induction motors and will be automatically routed to their destinations using a system of switches and junctions.

5. what3words

Disruptive startup what3words is an innovative addressing system that has divided the entire world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares, assigning each square a unique combination of three words. This approach provides a simple and memorable way to identify and share precise locations, even in areas without formal addresses or well-defined street names. 

By using a combination of three words, such as “///filled.count.soap,” users can easily communicate exact locations, making navigation and location-sharing more efficient and accessible. The company, founded in 2013 by Chris Sheldrick, Jack Waley-Cohen, Mohan Ganesalingam and Michael Dent, has gained significant traction, with its system being adopted by numerous businesses, organizations, and individuals worldwide.

6. Pashion Footwear

  • Location: San Luis Obispo, California
  • Funding: Seed, $4.2 Million 

Pashion Footwear is an innovative startup that has created a unique line of convertible shoes designed to transition seamlessly from heels to flats. Founded in 2016 by Haley Pavone, the company’s mission is to empower women by providing them with fashionable and functional footwear that adapts to their busy lifestyles. Pashion’s patented technology allows wearers to easily detach the heel portion of the shoe, transforming it into a comfortable flat within seconds.

7. JoinMyWedding

  • Location: Brisbane, Australia
  • Funding: Series Unknown, $50,000 

JoinMyWedding is a unique startup that connects engaged couples with travelers who are willing to pay to attend their weddings as guests. Founded by Orsi Parkanyi, Marti Matecsa, and Pallavi Savant, the platform allows couples to offset some of their wedding costs by offering an unforgettable cultural experience to adventurous travelers seeking authentic, immersive experiences.

8. Spud Pickles

  • Location: Riverton, Utah
  • Funding: None 

Now closed, Spud Pickles was a mobile app development startup that gained recognition for creating the popular smartphone application called Ghost Radar. Released in 2009, Ghost Radar is a unique app designed to detect and track paranormal activity using the device’s sensors. 

The app claims to identify electromagnetic fields, vibrations, and other anomalies that may indicate the presence of ghosts or spirits. While the scientific validity of the app’s ghost-detecting capabilities is debatable, Ghost Radar has gained a significant following among paranormal enthusiasts and curious users looking for a thrilling and entertaining experience.

9. Ship Snow, Yo

The magic of winter never has to leave your house when you buy your own snow that can be shipped to you using Ship Snow, Yo. Founded in 2015 by Kyle and Jessica Waring, the company specializes in shipping natural Boston snow including an entire snowman kit. Snow can be delivered anywhere in the United States with different snow amounts available for purchase.

10. Sloomoo Institute

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Funding: Series A, $5.8 Million 

Sloomoo Institute is an experiential art startup that focuses on the therapeutic and sensory properties of slime. Founded by Karen Robinovitz, Sara Schiller, and Toni Ko in 2019, Sloomoo offers immersive, multi-sensory experiences designed to promote relaxation, creativity, and self-expression through interaction with slime. 

The company’s flagship location in New York City features a variety of interactive installations, including a DIY slime bar, a lake of slime, and a glow-in-the-dark cove. Visitors can engage with different textures, colors, and scents of slime, which is said to have stress-relieving and mood-enhancing benefits. Since their inception, the company has also begun selling hand-crafted, artisanal slime through their ecommerce store.