Ryan Zagata, pictured, got the idea to start a bike company after seeing utilitarian bikes in Vietnam stacked 15-feet high with hay.
A former software salesman, Zagata commissioned a local manufacturer to make a prototype of his own design. He then took it around to 70 bike shops in New York City, asking for input. The result is the $579 Brooklyn Cruiser -- a design that was recently chosen for inclusion New York's Museum of Modern Art store.
The first bike went on sale in August 2011. Over the last 12 months, Zagata said his sales have tripled expectations. In 2013, the company is projected to surpass $1 million in revenue.