Start-Ups Turn Giants' Problems Into Profits

If smart business is seeing an opportunity and seizing it, then it's easy to understand how you can turns other companies' problems into your profits.

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We're not talking about being the crack public relations-lawyer team that does damage control for a consumer company or a recycling operation that removes cardboard and plastic for Big Box stores.

We're talking everyday operational problems or issues that emerge and need to be addressed and solved quickly.

That's for the nimble and the quick, aka start-ups, and there's opportunity in many huge sectors.


Problem: Missed residential package delivery.

Solution: Private lockers in public spaces.

It’s a problem everyone can relate to. You’re expecting a package, but you aren’t home to meet the delivery person. So either your package gets dumped outside your door — exposing it to would-be thieves, the weather, or even pesky cardboard chewing animals. You don't like it, and UPS and FedEx probably don't either.

A couple of aggressive startups are trying to change this. They’re teaming up with online retailers to have your purchases sent to secure “lockers” at nearby grocery stores, such as 7-11.

As shoppers check out, they can use Kinek's technology to ship their purchases to some 1,000 locations in the U.S. for pick-up later.

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Could this actually lead to the “holy grail” of e-commerce — same day delivery? That would sure make the day of management at Staples, Bed, Bath & Beyond Toys R Us, Safeway and any number of other retailers.

What about Amazon? The online giant has launched its own locker system; customers in cities such as New York, Seattle, and London have the option of shipping their goods to Amazon lockers located at participating local businesses (Amazon pays them a fee to house the units.)

Health Care

Sometimes, all you need to do is take a look around you, and an emerging consumer need is staring you in the face. What's more, there's nothing quite like reinvention in a high-tech world.

Problem: Increased hearing loss among the smartphone generation.

Solution: Startups who are tapping into this growing demand with cheaper, fashionable digital hearing aids.

Audicus founder and CEO Patrick Freuler is trying to capitalize on America’s growing hearing loss problem with fashionable and inexpensive hearing aids.

“With this massively growing market that we are seeing both from the younger generations, as well as older population segments, we are positioning hearing aids in the realm of accessory instead of old school medical device,” says Audicus founder Patrick Freuler.

Some 36 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss and that number is growing as more people increase their smart phone and portable music device usage.