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Refreshing Changes: Updates on Sodastream and other Most Innovative Alumni

Refreshing Changes: Updates on Sodastream and other Most Innovative Alumni
SodaStream: hopes that its low-cal rebrand will keep the company from losing its fizz. [Photo: courtesy of SodaStream]

SodaStream

When SodaStream appeared on the Most Innovative Companies list in 2013, the DIY carbonator was just reaching America. But with thirst for sugary soft drinks waning, its U.S. revenue has slid by nearly 35%. CEO Daniel Birnbaum announced a rebrand last fall, reformulating more than 100 flavor offerings into low-calorie, all-natural options such as kiwi-pear and cucumber-apple. “It felt like the natural thing to do,” says head of product innovation and design Yaron Kopel.

Milestones: Partnered with Pepsi last fall to offer naturally sweetened drinks; its stock price increased by 15%.
Challenges: Convincing U.S. customers, somehow, that Soda­Stream is not a soda product.
Buzz:

“The shift is going to help us move to the right customer. This is much more our identity. We are not a regular soda company.”
Yaron Kopel, chief of product innovation and design

Nike

Milestones: SNKRS, an app that alerts sneakerheads to new releases, lifted Nike’s stock when it came out in February.
Challenges: Lost three designers to Adidas; filed a $10 million suit alleging that they took trade secrets.
Buzz:

Melody McCloskeyPhoto: Celine Grouard for Fast Company

StyleSeat

Milestones: The plat­form that helps users find hairstylists and beauty professionals reached $1 billion worth of appointments in February. It also launched a mobile app and partnered with L’Oréal.
Challenges: Persuading stylists to sell L’Oréal’s products—many aren’t yet aware of the partnership.
Buzz:

“No one had been thinking about the stylists in the salons in a deep way.”
Melody McCloskey, CEO

Rovio

Milestones: The game developer’s new CEO, Pekka Rantala, hopes to expand Rovio’s fortunes beyond the Angry Birds franchise. Early efforts include a series of pirate-themed novels for young adults.
Challenges: Let go of 16% of its employees last October. New games Angry Birds Go! and Stella POP! aren’t soaring with fans.
Buzz:FCS