These digital business leaders are taking online innovation to new heights.

Many of today’s most successful tech entrepreneurs are utilizing a socially-conscious approach to creating standardized systems that elevates humanity while also achieving remarkable business success.

Embodying the zeitgeist of our era, such enterprises have paved the way to a new sharing economy that could touch millions with their benefits and have helped to streamline solutions across industry.

Let’s take a look at some of the standardized systems and platforms  that have emerged as new gold standards of tech development and the prescient entrepreneurs behind them.


Nick Yates

Nick Yates


An inspiring example of an industry transformed by progressive change can be seen in the retail world.

Up until the invention of the vending machine, point of sales retail has always been operated manually. And the systems that technology was best suited to enhance were largely confined to the internet, digital e-commerce sphere.

Well, those days are no longer. San Diego-based entrepreneur Nick Yates and his company, Generation Next Franchise Brands (a publicly traded company under the ticker symbol, VEND),  have built a storied career by rolling out projects that automate the real life, point-of-sales retail industry, ushering in a brand new service to global consumers in the form of Unattended Retail.

Yates’ first breakthrough came in the vending space, where he deployed more than 6,000 machines installed nationwide, selling healthy, organic and natural snacks. Yates was the first entrepreneur to change the way kids snacked in schools and workers snacked at the office.

According to Yates, “We did this in an industry that was plagued by junk food, and we did it before the likes of PepsiCo eventually took notice and set their sights on a market we helped create.”

Yates later decided to pivot his company in a new direction.

“We decided we wanted to sell frozen yogurt and ice cream, but there was no way this could be done from any sort of traditional vending machine. So I starting looking into robotics.”

The vending industry had never found a way to sell freshly served ice cream and frozen yogurt fresh to consumers. Yates decided he was going to change that.

“Robots were the only solution. Robots require sophisticated software. I realized early on that I had a lot of learning to do,” Yates said.

“One can imagine the change in mindset – and skillset – in going from mechanical vending machines where your only problem might be a spiral spring not pushing a product far enough to “drop” and reach the chute of the machine; to now to dealing with sophisticated software, firmware, programming, and robotics.

“For me, it was a challenge, a challenge I wanted to conquer where no one else in the industry had been able. It was the only way to solve a problem. There were so many products that traditional vending couldn’t sell.”

But adapt, he did. Yates and his company now have 250 of their Reis & Irvy’s robotic frozen yogurt kiosks deployed around the globe with close to a thousand more hitting the ground this year. The revolutionary vending robots serve six different flavors of frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbets and gelatos with six topping options to customers in less than 60 seconds.

The machines further employ artificial intelligence to determine consumer behavior patterns and optimize functions based on demand and the ability to accept different types of digital currency – from cash, credit card, Apple Pay, Samsung and Google Wallet – to establish a level of user-friendliness in unattended retail that would match or even exceed the quality of service in attended retail.

Through these developments, Yates and Generation Next (VEND) are not just standardizing retail point of sales, they’re set on giving it the same growth potential as digital e-commerce.

It appears to be working, with the company now boasting some 300 franchisees and pre-sales of some $160 million. Yates has provided quite a seminal first case study along this new vector, which – as it’s developed – has the promise to eclipse and replace traditional retail as we know it.


Benjamin Lee

Benjamin Lee


In the digital space, new processes have emerged as industry-recognized gold standards for everything from proving concepts (MVPs), to raising capital, to going to market and finding product-market fit.

One of the most prominent systems that has earned sweeping success across all three fronts (from MVPs, capital raises, and go-to-market strategy) is the Roadmapping by Rootstrap system developed by co-founder and CRO of Rootstrap, Benjamin Lee.

Designed for the purpose of making sure entrepreneurs- especially mobile app developers- were designing products built for real life success, Rootstrap offers an iterative and interactive process between mobile app owners and dedicated teams of strategists, UI/UX designers, software engineers, and actual customers, all collaborating to optimize design and performance.