There’s no shortage of innovative and impressive startups in Silicon Valley.
But which are the coolest?
Pulled from our recently published Silicon Valley 100 list, meet the coolest startups in Silicon Valley.
All the companies on this list are private tech companies that have raised venture capital funding.
CEO Gagan Biyani's mission is for Sprig to become 'the easiest way to eat healthy in the world.' Former Google head chef Nate Keller leads the in-house kitchen staff that prepares each meal delivered by Sprig, the on-demand fresh-food delivery service that launched in November 2013. It offers three meal options daily and aims to deliver the food in 15 minutes.
In April, the company raised $US45 million in funding, which spurred its expansion to Chicago from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Tri Tran and Conrad Chu wanted to provide the convenience of a professional chef without the high cost, and in 2011 Munchery was born. The company is similar to Seamless, except your food is made by Munchery's chefs instead of being outsourced to restaurants. Each time you order a meal on Munchery, the company makes an equivalent donation to a charity in your town.
Munchery made headlines in April when it raised a $US28 million Series B round. More recently, Sherpa Ventures, a prominent venture-capital firm, announced it was making its 'biggest bet since Uber' by endorsing Munchery. At the end of May, the company announced its Series C round of $US85 million co-led by Menlo Ventures and Sherpa. Munchery has raised $US117.2 million, including contributions from celebrities such as Jared Leto and Edward Norton.
McKinnon is a Valley A-lister, a former star Salesforce engineer who launched his own company in 2009 without CEO and friend Benioff's blessing. His company has seen massive growth: By September 2014 it had raised $US155 million from top VCs. Okta is now valued at about $US600 million and is expected to go public by 2016.
McKinnon said there's tremendous value in working for a rapidly growing, successful company before pursuing other endeavours. He called his time at Salesforce a 'gift' that taught him what it means to win.
Founder, VP of product strategy, MuleSoft
MuleSoft is, to some, the definition of disruption. Two of its biggest legacy rivals, Tibco and Informatica, left the public markets in leveraged buyouts in 2014 and early 2015, which left room for founder Ross Mason to grow MuleSoft like crazy.
MuleSoft solves the hard problem of integrating cloud applications, especially with a company's existing apps. In 2014 it raised $US50 million at an $US800 million valuation, and just this past May MuleSoft raised a new $US128 million investment at a $US1.5 billion valuation. It seems it could be heading toward an IPO.
Cofounder, CEO, Yo
Yo is the almost stupidly simple communication tool that briefly took the tech world by storm in 2014. The one-word correspondence app started out as a side project for Arbel, but it went viral and last year was valued at about $US10 million.
Arbel is planning on bringing Yo back withYo 2.0, which will include your location, a photo, or just the good old original 'yo.'
Founder, CEO, The League
Bradford's app The League is like a curated Tinder for elites, and it raised $US2.1 million in seed funding earlier this year to play matchmaker to the most successful and ambitious singles. The League launched in San Francisco at the beginning of 2015 andjust opened up to the New York market as well, where a targeted group of 2,500 users were allowed to sign up.
The goal, Bradford says, is to make more power couples, and help people date 'intelligently.' She's now eyeing London.
Cofounders, Campus Job
Founded by former Googler Liz Wessel,Campus Job is a marketplace for college kids looking for internships and jobs. About 90% of the positions offered on Campus Job are paid, and the startup sees 10,000 new college-aged users signing up weekly.
Campus Job was born out of a campus-rep company that Wessel had started with a fellow student at Penn; it's an alternative to a college career service center and Symplicity, a job board employers have to pay for postings on. It recently went through the startup accelerator Y Combinator and raised over $US9 million in May, bringing its total funding to $US10.3 million.
Aarthi Ramamurthy is the founder of Y Combinator-backed Lumoid, a try-before-you-buy gadget marketplace that lets people test-drive electronics before they buy them. It allows potential consumers try out the expensive products they're thinking of buying -- like the Apple Watch, which users can rent for between $US45 and $US55 (and usually retails for $US349 and up).
Ramamurthy spent six years at Microsoft working on its popular Visual Studio software-development tool and on Xbox Live, and also cofounded a bra-fitting company called True&Co.
Vogt, a Y Combinator alum, created driverless-car company Cruise not to manufacture driverless cars but to enable any car to become a driverless car. 'We're trying to reuse as many concepts and behaviours as you already have in your car, such as a single button to control the cruise control,' says Vogt. 'Whatever speed you're going becomes the target speed.'
So far Cruise has raised one undisclosed seed amount, back in January 2015. The Cruise system costs $US10,000 and can be installed in a few hours.
Jason Johnson and designer Yves Behar (known for designing the Jawbone UP fitness band) are out to take 'the internet of things' by storm with a new app called August, which aims to make the house key obsolete.Using a lock, along with an app and Bluetooth, August can unlock your home and generate temporary keys that would allow plumbers, cleaners, or houseguests inside at specified times.
Johnson and Behar's product went on sale in the fall of 2014 and just raised a new $US38 million round led by Bessemer Venture Partners to produce August en masse.
Rubin is the cofounder of Illumio, the buzzed-about startup that raised $US42.5 million from investors at hugely successful companies like Salesforce and Yahoo before it even came out of stealth mode. The company offers Adaptive Security Platform -- a cutting-edge security software designed for the cloud.
In April, Business Insider reported Illumio to be worth $US1 billion, a stunning number for a company that's six months old. Rubin has also been a seed investor in Powermat and Tory Burch for more than 10 years.
ZenPayroll CEO Josh Reeves believes it's easier than ever to be an entrepreneur. Whether or not that's true, it certainly seems easy for Reeves, whose payroll-processing startup raised a $US60 million series B round, led by Google Capital, in April.
The recently revealed laundry list of angel investors includes celebs like Ashton Kutcher and Jared Leto, former head of the US Small Business Administration Karen Mills, and a list of famed startup CEOs from Evernote, Eventbrite, Stripe, Constant Contact, SurveyMonkey, WordPress, and Instagram. Founders from PayPal, Yahoo, Reddit, Nest, Twitter, HubSpot, and Mint also contributed.
Founder, CTO, Docker
Docker is one of the most buzzed about things on the internet, and for good reason. The open-source software, developed by CTO Solomon Hykes, gives developers the tools to build and distribute apps so that they work across multiple platforms. This technology is revolutionising how companies view and build applications, and companies such as Yelp and eBay are adopting Docker at a fast pace.
In total, it has raised $US150 million through three rounds of funding, with investors including Insight Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and AME Cloud Ventures.
Founder, CEO, Juicero
The juicing fad isn't over yet. Secretive startup Juicero -- which raised $US120 million earlier this year -- is on a mission to completely reinvent the way we consume fresh fruits and veggies. Though the company has remained tight-lipped about their process, sources told Business Insider earlier this year that Juicero is creating an appliance similar to a Keurig that will juice freshly picked fruits and veggies without creating waste.
And founder Doug Evans knows a thing or two about juice. He's the former CEO of Organic Avenue, a popular health-food chain in New York.
Founder, CEO, Brit + Co.
Touted at the 'Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley,' Brit Morin specialises in the intersection of tech and DIY -- and it's lucrative. Morin launched Brit+Co, a lifestyle website that features crafts, fashion, and decor, in 2011, and so far it's raised $US27.6 million in funding from investors including Oak Capital, Intel Capital, and Marissa Mayer.
Before diving into her own site, Morin grew her love for the tech world as an employee at Apple and Google, where she worked on iTunes and Google Maps, respectively.
Cofounder and CEO; cofounder,Coinbase
Despite slumping bitcoin prices, Coinbase, a digital wallet used to buy and manage the digital currency, is on the rise. The startup raised a $US75 million round in January -- a record-breaking amount for a bitcoin company at the time. Investors include the New York Stock Exchange, Andreessen Horowitz, and banks USAA and BBVA, and the round supposedly puts Coinbase's value at $US400 million.
Cofounders, 21 Inc.
Enigmatic startup 21 Inc. wants to bring bitcoin to the mainstream through an embeddable chip for phones that will allow users to 'mine' Bitcoin in the background. Though the company only recently announced its master plan, they have been building capital for some time. In March, it raised $US116 million in venture funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Yuan Capital, and RRE Ventures.
21 recently shook up its management as well: Cofounder Balaji Srinivasan, who is also a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, is taking over as CEO, and Matthew Pauker, the current CEO, is replacing Srinivasan as chairman.
Cofounders, Luxe Valet
Luxe Valet wants to take the hassle out of parking. The app, which calls someone to park your car for you with just a click, is picking up steam, even against competition from similar on-demand valet companies. It raised $US20 million in a Series A funding round in February, and is continuing to expand into new markets.
The idea was born after cofounder Curtis Lee and his wife spent 30 minutes searching for a parking space in San Francisco one night, nearly missing their dinner reservations. 'Circling is not good for anybody,' he told Forbes.
Anyone who's ever had to lug a package to the post office knows how annoying it can be. But with Shyp, all that hassle goes away. The startup is reinventing the shipping process; instead of schlepping your boxes to UPS,Shyp picks them up for a $US5 flat fee plus shipping.
Shyp raised $US50 million in a Series B round of funding earlier this year, with investors including SherpaVentures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In the past year, the company has increased its number of shipments by nearly 500% and continues to grow.
It's never been easier to share live video with your friends and followers. Just open Meerkat, click 'stream,' and share whatever you're doing with friends. The popular live-streaming app, which launched in March, raised $US18.2 million in funding and has nearly 2 million users.
However, Meerkat is facing fierce competition from Twitter's Periscope, another live-streaming app. Despite Perisciope's advanced features, like the ability to replay videos, Meerkat cofounder Ben Rubin is confident there's space for both to thrive. When he found out Twitter was launching its competition, he says 'it was Saturday -- all the team went back to the office to get ready to dive in.'
Robinhood, a sleek mobile-brokerage app, is making it possible for anyone to invest, not just Wall Streeters. Unlike rival investment apps E-Trade and Schwab, which charge $US7 to $US10 per trade, Robinhood is free to use. In May, it raised $US50 million in a funding round led by NEA. Previous investors include big-name VCs and celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto.
Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt created the app to 'democratize access to the financial markets.' And good news for their mission: It's now available for anyone to use.
Founder, Product Hunt
For tech enthusiasts, Product Hunt is a daily addiction. The community review site constantly surfaces new products, and many consider it a direct competitor to blogs like TechCrunch. Last October, the site raised $US6.1 million in a Series A round of financing from investors including Andreessen Horowitz.
Founder Ryan Hoover commands a ton of power in the tech world for becoming the face of the site. He's been known to flood Twitter with conversations about new products, consistently engaging people with the site.
Recently, Product Hunt also began branching out from tech; it launched Snoop Dogg's new album in May, and many speculate it will continue to feature nontech products.
DoorDash, a startup that delivers food from local restaurants, raised $US40 million in March from a round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Unlike other meal-delivery services, DoorDash provides its own drivers, which makes it possible to order from restaurants that aren't available on places like GrubHub.
The company is about more than just meal delivery. It places a heavy emphasis on the logistics side of things, and hopes to create an infrastructure that can be used to deliver anything.
Founder, CEO, Domo
Earlier this year, data-management startup Domo announced a $US200 million Series D round of financing led by BlackRock that brought its total funding up to $US450 million. It's now valued at about $US2 billion.
Founder Josh James held Domo in stealth mode for nearly five years to keep the competition at bay while he built a platform for collecting and visualising business data, making it easy for executives to skim and understand. Though Domo has only 1,000 customers compared to competitor Tableau Software's 23,000, he said that Domo 'makes a higher average revenue per customer than Tableau does' during Re/code's Code/Enterprise: San Francisco event.
Often dubbed 'Uber for groceries,' Instacart eliminates the need to ever set food in a grocery store. For $US3.99 plus your bill, the service will deliver your full load of groceries, hand-picked by a personal shopper at local stores like Whole Foods and Costco.
The startup is valued at $US2 billion, notably bringing in a $US220 million round of fundingin December, following a $US44 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz in June. And it's still on the rise: Instacart is in 15 cities and plans to continue growing in those places while expanding to others.
Cofounder, CEO; cofounder, Vessel
Vessel is a new video-subscription service that lets users watch short-form videos, like music videos or TV segments, 72 hours early for $US2.99 a month. The company raised a boatload of cash before it even launched and a $US57.5 million Series B round in April led by Institutional Venture Partners. The young startup has raised $US132.5 million total.
Vessel launched in March with over 135 YouTubers on board. Formerly the CEO of Hulu, Vessel cofounder Jason Kilar is no stranger to video-streaming services, and he plans to take the Hulu Plus model and optimise it for a younger, mobile audience.
Cloudera, a software company that launched in 2008 and aims to help businesses make sense of huge data sets, raised $US900 million in funding last March. Investors include Intel, Google Ventures, and MSD Capital. They also raised an undisclosed amount in another round later that year.
The company continues to grow, raking in over $US100 million in revenue last year, and some analysts believe it could be worth almost $US5 billion by the end of 2015. The startup even recruited Google exec Daniel Sturman to join as their vice president of engineering.
It was a huge year for Lyft: It raised two major rounds of funding -- $US530 million in March and another $US150 million from Carl Icahn in May -- rebranded with a more sophisticated look, and announced huge growth for the company. And in March, the ride-hailing service reached a $US2.5 billionvaluation, making it one of Silicon Valley's growing number of unicorns.
Though the startup still faces seriouscompetition from Uber, it continues to prove itself a worthy opponent.
Nextdoor connects users with those who live close to them, creating a forum for discussing everything from neighbourhood crime to the best places to eat. Though others, including Foursquare and AOL, have had mixed luck with the neighbourhood-centric concept, founder Nirav Tolia believes Nextdoor's focus on small communities will make it an effective way to connect people. In the long term, the app also hopes to find a way to monetise the user recommendations.
Cofounder, CEO, Nutanix
Enterprise virtualization and storage company Nutanix became of the first enterprise unicorns of 2014, with a valuation of $US2 billion. The company raised over $US141 million in 2014, and $US312 million to datefrom investors including Lightspeed Venture partners, Blumberg Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Goldman Sachs.
Nutanix has become so emblematic of successful enterprise hardware companies that, in Silicon Valley, other startups dream of becoming 'the Nutanix of' their markets. Nutanix also has plans to take down incumbent VMware. The two companies are intensely competitive.
CEO Chris Wanstrath is a self-taught coder who dropped out of college to pursue a career in software development. An active profile on GitHub -- his software-development tool that allows users to collaborate -- has become a popular destination for Valley programmers to work and get hired.
In mid-June, Bloomberg Business reported that GitHub was raising a $US200 million round at a valuation of about $US2 billion. GitHub has not put out a statement, but rumours suggest that the round is being led by Andreessen Horowitz, the same firm that led GitHub's first funding round back in 2012 when it raised $US100 million.
In September, Apple announced partnerships with a number of retailers and payments companies for its Apple Pay service. Among them was Stripe, a five-year-old mobile-payments startup.
With at least $US1.5 billion each, Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia, and Brian Chesky are some of the world's youngest billionaires. The home-sharing site raised $US475 million in Series D funding last year and it is now raising at a rumoured $US24 billion valuation. It's available in 34,000 cities and been used by more than 30 million guests.
Pinterest, an online scrap-booking site that lets users organise photo pins onto different boards, is now worth $US11 billion after raising a $US367 million round of funding in March, followed by another $US186 million in May. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity Investments, and Bessemer Venture Partners.
The site continues to grow and adapt its business model, most recently releasing new options for advertisers. Instead of just choosing to pay for views or clicks on promoted pins, advertisers can choose to pay with a cost-per-engagement model or cost-per-action model. Pinterest just lost its head of partnerships however, Joanne Bradford. The rumour is Pinterest wasn't generating as much revenue as it should have.
Uber, which turned five this year, is the most valuable private tech company in the world. The ride-hailing company, which has raised $US5.9 billion at a $US41 billion valuation, could soon be worth as much as $US50 billion with a new cash infusion.
Uber operates in 311 cities and 58 countries. While the company is working to overcome regulatory hurdles, Uber has its sights set on plans bigger than just chauffeured transportation. The company has rolled out features like UberEATS and UberRush to test out logistics and delivery services. In May, Uber poached 40 Carnegie Mellon robotics researchersfor its own Pittsburgh-based labs. Presumably, this will allow Uber to create self-driving cars.
Founder, CEO, chairman, Theranos
When she was a sophomore at Stanford in 2003, Elizabeth Holmes founded healthcare-technology company Theranos (a few months later, she dropped out to focus on the company). Today, she's America's youngest female billionaire with a net worth of $US4.6 billion.
Theranos is a $US9 billion biotech company that has a new approach to blood testing. Its goal is to make clinical testing cheaper and faster. Theranos wants to conduct blood tests for health issues through a single finger stick rather than by having to draw vials of blood in a doctor's office. Theranos has drawn scepticism from the scientific community in part because Theranos is cagey about how its tests actually work. But for now, Holmes is on top of the world. Today, her blood tests are used in places like Walgreens.
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