The Silicon Valley startup ecosystem has spawned innovative startups in the past that went on to become billion-dollar companies dominating their industries. This trend does not seem to be letting up. While other tech hubs are indeed starting to produce game-changing startups – Atlassian, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, is one notable example here, the onus remains on Silicon Valley. Here, we highlight the top startups in Silicon Valley. Some of the metrics we use are funding, revenue, innovation, and growth rate.
Top 2019 Startups
As of 2018, Uber has received close to $24 billion in funding. The ride-hailing company has managed to weather bad publicity to continue its stellar run as one of the most profitable and valuable companies in the world. Founded a decade ago, Uber is currently valued at $72 billion, is available in 65 countries and has recorded over five billion rides.
Another Silicon Valley unicorn, Airbnb is currently valued at $29.3 billion. While this valuation is impressive, what is even more impressive is how ubiquitous the platform has become. Currently, there are over five million Airbnb listings globally, spanning over 81,000 cities in 191 countries. The company is also growing at a steady clip, adding 62.5% more guests over the last year alone.
Launched in 2010, Stripe has quietly grown its market share in the payment processing and integration space to achieve a valuation of $9.2 billion. Counting dozens of Fortune 500 companies as customers, including Lyft, Target, Salesforce, and Under Armor, Stripe is on a mission to “increase the GDP of the internet” by building economic infrastructure for businesses of every size.
Currently valued at $12.3 billion, the Internet’s pinboard continues to surprise both investors and pundits as it plans for a likely 2019 IPO. While other social networks like Twitter and Snap are experiencing user growth slowdowns, Pinterest’s user base topped 250 million in 2018, having grown by 50 million in the preceding year. 80% of these new users were from outside the United States, demonstrating significant international growth and appeal.
Uber for groceries, Instacart has carved a niche for itself right beside mom and pop groceries that dominate neighborhoods across the country. With a current valuation of $7.6 billion, Instacart, which serves 500,000 customers and has revenues of $2 billion, is currently on a collision course with the Amazon + Wholefoods juggernaut, something CEO and founder Apoorva Mehta feels will only work to their advantage.
As of May 2018, Slack had eight million users with slightly over three million paying to use the paid version of the service. Founded in 2009 by Stewart Butterfield and Cal Henderson as an in-game communication tool for a game they were building, today, Slack Technologies, valued at slightly over $7 billion, has become a ubiquitous communications channel in companies around the world. The Slack platform supports dozens of integrations and bots, growing from a simple IM tool to a powerful unified communications and collaboration platform.
The Bitcoin hype may have died down, but cryptocurrencies are still a hot topic. Coinbase is a crypto-exchange that facilitates the exchange of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash with fiat currencies in about 32 countries. Valued at $8 billion and counting Y Combinator and Union Square Ventures as investors, the crypto-startup is banking on the future of cryptocurrencies.
Logistics and supply chain startup Flexport broke into the startup scene offering digitization solutions for freight forwarders to help them track packages, ship faster and work through inter-border tariffs. With a global headcount of slightly over 1100, the 6-year old company has grown 15,911% between 2014 and 2017, riding on the back of a resurgent logistics and supply chain industry.
Ranked 19 in the 2018 Inc 5000 ranking, Calm is a wellness startup tapping into the $3 trillion wellness industry. Offering wellness tools and content that encourage meditation, sleep, mindfulness and mental wellness, the startup, founded in 2012, was named Apple’s App of the Year for 2017. Calm has raised $116 million to date on a valuation of $250 million.
Enterprise cloud is a huge market and Mesosphere, a software startup that has grown 7,507% between 2014 and 2017, knows this. Servicing massive companies like Netflix, Verizon, Uber and Yelp, the cloud infrastructure startup powers artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle and IoT applications.
Partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and top-flight universities like Stanford and Harvard, the life sciences startup, founded by scientists, is rethinking microbial genomic testing. Utilizing machine learning, AI and advanced statistical methods, the startup, which has experienced a three-year growth of 5,423%, is betting on both consumer-facing and doctor-facing microbiome testing.
While most companies are still experimenting with the blockchain, Ripple, an internet money transfer fintech startup, says it isn’t. By capitalizing on the security and infallibility of the blockchain, Ripple has shortened the time it takes to transfer money between banks across borders from days to mere seconds. The company currently works with massive financial institutions such as Standard Chartered, Santander and American Express.
AI is fast becoming a mission-critical tool for most large organizations. Building AI infrastructure, however, is a major challenge for most. Enter Noodle.ai, an AI startup that is building Enterprise AI-as-a-Service. By allowing enterprises to plug in their applications into ready-made AI infrastructure, Noddle.ai is helping speed up the time-to-market of real-world applications. Noodle.ai recently raised $35 million in a funding round led by Dell Technologies Capital and TPG Growth.
There’s a lot of hype around the IoT but Samsara, an IoT startup targeting the shipping industry, isn’t part of it. The startup, which offers sensors to shippers that track everything from real-time location to humidity, temperature, and even driver alertness is building a new world of sensor-enabled commerce. The company was founded in 2015 and has raised $230 million in venture capital to date.
Credit cards may not be going anywhere anytime soon but Affirm wants to offer a better alternative. The lending startup offers online and in-store credit at checkout, which customers can pay off gradually with no hidden fees. Partnered with over 1500 merchants, Affirm wants to be the go-to credit option for anyone buying online or offline. Affirm has raised $720 million to date on a current valuation of about $2 billion.
The Next Startup Cycle
This list mixes up unicorns, more-established startups, and up-and-coming startups. What is common among them, besides being headquartered in Silicon Valley, is their use of digital technology to rethink traditional ways of doing things.
However, as digital technologies continue to advance and disruption accelerates, expect this list to change dramatically over the coming years as some of these companies grow into massive enterprises while others get swallowed up through mergers and acquisitions, and yet others close shop to pave the way for the next wave of disruptive Silicon Valley startups.
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Top Startups from Previous Years:
- LitBit – cloud or mobile, LitBit is a new operating system to connect users with the IoT, in entirety and perpetuity.
- Skycatch – this app turns a customer’s drone camera into the ability to print 3D aerial photos.
- Countable – This politically charged startup turns CSPAN into Ellen. It makes even the most challenging bills that users are curious about fun, and easy to read.
- CrowdPAC – maybe because the past year was electorally charged, this app makes it easy to find others in your area with similar views, for example: to protest/rally.
- HandUp – this charitable giving startup allows donors to give directly to targeted causes, even ones that may not have a website or be geographically inconvenient for donors.
- Kiva – Kiva, another crowdfunding site, but directed at entrepreneurs, allows “investors” to donate to impoverished areas, and see a profit if the project is a success.
- Samasource – for those looking to outsource project management, guilt-free, Samasource handles training and supplies for impoverished but eager PMs across the world.
- Bayes Impact – We couldn’t say it any better than this non-profit does on their website: “We are a group of idealists who dedicate our lives to build operational solutions to social problems by building software for governments and nonprofit organizations.”
- One Degree – If you have your hands full with the kids, this non-profit startup makes it a cinch to find all of the family resources one might need in the Silicon Valley area.
- Watsi – Watsi is a charitable health services sight where donors can fund treatments and surgeries for those in need, regardless of location.
- Exygy – This startup of developers lend their expertise to help that tech development, the kind not available in public schools, is available to solving problems for those with a passion to help their communities.
- Honor – This startup connects qualified caregivers with jobs helping the disabled and elderly while earning a living wage.
- Gusto – Especially helpful for small to medium-sized business, Gusto streamlines the HR process, with incredibly intuitive software design.
- Checkr – Covering 13 different business sectors, Checkr provides the most comprehensive, industry-specific background checks with a rapid turnaround for employers.
- AltSchool – This startup is taking the educational industry by storm, combining the latest technology and educational approaches to learning, now operating in four major US cities.
- Brigade – nicknamed by some as the “Tinder of political interests” Brigade works as a social network for voters that are particularly involved in politics, and looking for others, too.
- After School – perhaps the first app to be banned from the Apple Store (but, now they’re back), this incredibly popular app among teens allows for anonymous communication with friends.
- 21 – taking the crypto-currency industry by storm, 21 essentially turns a computer into a bitcoin cash register, connected to other 21 users, and at no initial cost.
- Eero – Eero is one of those startups that makes you say to yourself “Why didn’t I think of that?” Wi-fi dead spots throughout the home, office, etc. are a thing of the past for Eero customers.
- Gigster – Gigster is a new platform to hire freelancers and developers for your company. Want to make a startup but don’t know where to start? You can hire Gigster for all of your startup needs.
- Eaze – This startup couldn’t have come out of anywhere but Silicon Valley. Eaze is a medical marijuana delivery service for residents of states where marijuana is legal or states where medical marijuana is legal.
- Postmates – Now operating in over 40 major US cities, postmates guarantees to deliver practically anything from lunch orders to spare tires to your location within an hour.
- Nima – For anyone with celiac disease, or those that just plainly want to avoid wheat gluten, this startup developed a portable gluten sensor for those dining out.
- Shift – Shift seeks to transform how recently used and new cars are bought and sold. They bring the car to you with an expert to answer questions, offer the user a test drive, and have already expanded to six US regions.
- Operator – a new, personalized way to shop online, users have a personal curator to help them put together new and unique products, and with taste.
- CircleUp – Another crowdsourcing platform, but with a twist. CircleUp is designed for the “elite” investors, connecting them with the most “innovative” consumer goods ideas.