Let me start by making some distinction here. Carefully note the spellings so that you do not get confused. A disrupter, according to the Oxford dictionary, is someone or something that interrupts an event, activity, or process by causing a disturbance or problem. A disruptor is an entity or someone that brings about a new way of doing things that moves away from the usual or expected flow of things. The meanings are something similar but there is a difference. As I discuss some of the biggest disruptors in the world, bear that in mind.

Some More On What Or Who A Disruptor Is

This disruptor term is common nowadays in the field of entrepreneurship. A disruptor business entails products that alter existing markets in most cases even creating new ones. Setting up a disruptor business is somewhat simple, in theory. You just have to look at an existing industry and see where they are lacking – challenges if you will. Come up with a unique solution(s) that are far removed from the traditional approaches. If you manage to do that then you have yourself a disruptor business. I am sure this little bit has given you an idea; let us now look at some of the biggest disruptors in the world.

Instagram (does not sell cameras)

Instagram is the biggest photo and video sharing site. Instagram is valued at over US$100 billion yet it was bought by Facebook for just US$1 billion 8 years ago. Traditionally we used to take physical photos that we could only share physically with our loved ones. The same was for videos too; in fact, capturing and sharing of videos was rare back then. Who would have ever thought it would be possible to easily share photos or videos on a global scale? Now over a billion people use Instagram every month. On any typical day, half a billion people use the Instagram stories feature.

Uber (does not own vehicles)

If we are to use a one-liner then, Uber is the biggest taxi company in the world (yet they do not own a fleet of cars). This would have sounded ludicrous had you said that it could be possible just a few years ago. Uber was founded 11 years ago and last year realized at least US$14 billion in revenue. We have seen lots of fast follower businesses globally based on the Uber model sprouting. Familiar examples are Vaya and Hwindi Taxi. The valuation of Uber stands at over US$70 billion.

Airbnb (does not have own real estate)

Imagine being the biggest provider of accommodation yet you do not own any buildings or houses. Such is the story of Airbnb which was founded in 2008. Airbnb is simply referred to as a vacation rental online marketplace. Apparently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AirBnB has suffered some major setbacks. It had to cancel bookings worth at least US$1 billion in value due to worldwide lockdowns. Airbnb is planning to do its IPO this year if all goes well. Its valuation stands at around US$18 billion – which is, of course, a major plunge from what it used to be. Nevertheless, the Airbnb business model is one to seriously consider. Under normal circumstances, AirBnB can realize huge amounts of revenue – for instance, 3 years ago its annual revenue stood at roughly US$3 billion (it has vast potential to realize more though).

Netflix (no cable, satellite dishes etc)

With Netflix, you can watch movies and television shows online. You can even stream from smart televisions, game consoles, personal computers, and mobile devices. The remarkable thing about Netflix is that they do not own any cables or satellite dishes. Yet despite all that, they are home to some of the most cutting edge television content. Founded in 1997 Netflix realized US$20 billion in revenue last year. We have also gotten to see more like businesses that are premised on the Netflix model being developed globally. You probably have heard of Kwese iflix, that is one familiar example. Netflix has a market cap of just over US$210 billion at the present moment.

Facebook (does not create content)

One of the biggest platforms to find relevant content nowadays is Facebook. It is a global titan when it comes to media providers in the world. Awesome as that they may be, Facebook does not necessarily create content but rather facilitates the creation and propagation of content. Facebook has been in existence for 16 years now. Last year Facebook realized just over US$70 billion in revenue. Its market cap currently stands at roughly US$740 billion.

The major aim of this article was to inspire you to consider being a disruptor. Especially here in Zimbabwe, virtually every industry could do with some disruptor businesses taking root. The examples I have profiled should show you that you can start something seemingly small that blows out into a global success. Just imagine that a business valued at US$1 billion when it was bought managed to grow into a worth of more than US$100 billion in less than a decade. This should inspire you to come up with something.