Unlocking growth when you are being disrupted

Unlocking growth when you are being disrupted

In this blog we showcase examples of three once-startups that disrupted their industries.

Gavin Jones
0 min read
June 12, 2023

Over the last 5 years we have seen market shift after market shift but one thing that has been consistent is the power startups play in both disrupting the market but continuing to grow and develop during uncertain times. 

To stay ahead of the competition, successful startups continuously innovate and adapt to changing market needs through an iterative approach to problem-solving. Here we explore how Monzo, Netflix, and PayPal disrupted their industries and evolved to become established businesses with an ever-growing market share.

First up:


Digital First

Monzo disrupted the banking industry with its digital-first, app-based service, offering transparency on fees and real-time balance updates in a clear user-friendly way. This innovative approach challenged traditional banks and attracted tech-savvy customers.

Money tools

Monzo started adding new budgeting tools, from round-ups on transactions allowing customers to auto save money into pots, to enabling customers to tag their purchases with specific categories making it much easier for them to understand and manage their spending.

Catching up with traditional banking

In order to increase market penetration with the more traditional banking customer, Monzo started to expand its offering past basic current accounts. They introduced more traditional services such as savings accounts, loans, and insurance products.



Netflix emerged as a disruptor by introducing an online DVD rental service with a subscription model, eliminating late fees, offering a vast selection of movies and TV shows, and improving customer experience with personalised recommendations. This innovative approach revolutionised the home entertainment industry and led to the decline of traditional video rental stores. 

Shift to instant satisfaction

Netflix went on to do what Blockbuster had failed to, they continued to listen to their users and adapted their business for the modern age. They added a digital streaming service which they eventually split into 2 offerings; Netlix for streaming and Qwickster for DVDs.


To maintain a competitive edge, Netflix expanded again to cater to diverse audiences globally through the production of original content, some of which includes interactive storytelling. These ongoing innovations and user-centric strategies have established Netflix as a dominant player in the entertainment industry today.


Online Payments

Early online payment providers required users to fill out a lot of information to make payments. Paypal streamlined this allowing users to make payments using their email.


It was difficult for Paypal to build trust with their user base. They tackled this by implementing encryption, fraud detection and better protection policies. They also partnered with companies that already had existing clout with customers.

Utilising an existing market

A year after launch Paypal’s founders saw the potential its platform could have with eBay sellers. eBay saw the potential PayPal had as a better payment solution than its own (Billpoint) and partnered with them to make payments better for its customers. Two years later eBay Acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.

Mass Market

Paypal has built on its brand as a trusted payment provider and started to offer Peer to Peer transactions. Allowing friends to send money to each other to split bills or pay them back. This has also opened the door to the platform being used for other marketplace base transactions, think Facebook or Gumtree, expanding on from the eBay focused model.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of how businesses have adapted to meet the needs of their ever growing and changing market. How do you go about making sure you don't fall behind? How do you be a problem crunching, market munching machine? 

Don’t lose the fight, create a start-up mentality!

All of these businesses were able to adapt, shift, change and develop into new and improved products/businesses. In the case of PayPal and Monzo, they have managed this in heavily regulated traditional industries. So how can you do the same?

Create an innovation team

Create a dedicated innovation team whose primary responsibility is to identify, develop, and implement innovative ideas. This team should have the autonomy and resources to pursue projects without being bogged down by bureaucracy, whilst also being able to work with team members in the wider organisation. As mentioned in our  “Disrupt or be disrupted, the secret to not falling behind” blog post, the team needs to keep the user at the heart, whether that’s fellow employees of the organisation or its customers. 

Most importantly you have to ensure that senior management and executives champion and support the innovation initiatives. This team should have a culture where it is acceptable to take risks, fail, and learn from those failures. This can help employees feel more comfortable proposing and pursuing innovative ideas without fear of bureaucratic retribution. 

Set a budget each year to fund and test new ideas to show commitment to the team and make sure any new learnings are shared with the wider organisation. 

Hire an innovation team

If an internal initiative isn't possible, you can collaborate with an external partner like us to take a deep dive into your customers needs and understand the big problems that impact your industry. We can then highlight the opportunities for innovation and support you in creating products and services that keep you ahead of the curve.


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