For the sixth year in a row, Forbes has teamed up with TrueBridge Capital Partners to search the country for the 25 fastest-growing venture-backed startups most likely to reach a $1 billion valuation. TrueBridge asked 300 venture capital firms to nominate the companies they thought were most likely to become unicorns, while Forbes reached out directly to more than 100 startups. Then came the deeper look, as we analyzed finances for roughly 140 of them and interviewed founders. This list represents the 25, in alphabetical order, that we think have the best shot of reaching the billion-dollar mark.
Equity Raised: $114 mil Estimated 2019 revenue: $21 mil
Lead investors: Alkeon, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, Menlo Ventures, Thrive Capital, Y Combinator
Wickramasekara was an undergrad at MIT when he came up with the idea for a cloud-based Crispr design tool to help scientists. Eight years later, Regeneron, Gilead and hundreds of other companies use its collaborative R&D software. As many customers rush to come up with vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, Benchling is on call as needed—but has stopped pushing software updates to those whose projects require total lockdown.
Founders: Nick Galbreath, Zane Lackey, Andrew Peterson (CEO)
Equity Raised: $62 mil Estimated 2019 revenue: $30 mil
Lead investors: CRV, Harrison Metal, Index Ventures, Lead Edge Capital, OATV
Founders Peterson, Galbreath and Lackey met as developers at Etsy, where they designed cybersecurity for the site’s e-commerce operations. In the process, they realized that they were at the forefront of a real security need. In 2014, they founded Los Angeles-based Signal Sciences, which protects companies’ Web apps from cyberattacks. Demand is booming as work that used to happen on intranets now happens over the open web as employees work from home. CEO Peterson, 36, expects the remote-work trend to accelerate in the future.
Founders: Clint Berry, Brandon Rodman (CEO), Jared Rodman
Equity Raised: $152 mil Estimated 2019 revenue: $50 mil
Lead investors: A.Capital Ventures, Catalyst Investors, Crosslink Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Tiger Global Management
Back in 2008, Brandon Rodman started his first company, Recall Solutions, to help dentists schedule appointments over the phone. He soon realized that texting could be more efficient. “The phone is still super important, [but] nobody has made it more powerful,” says Rodman, 39. In 2011, Rodman took that idea to start Lehi, Utah-based Weave. He focused on dentists at first, then added optometrists, clinics, veterinarians and other professionals, the majority of whom pay $595 per month for its products, including VoIP phones, pay terminals and two-way texting. With the coronavirus pushing businesses to rethink operations, Weave has added a “curbside waiting room” that lets patients text when they’ve arrived and businesses respond when they’re ready.
Founders: Nicolas Dessaigne, Julien Lemoine; CEO: Bernadette Nixon
Equity Raised: $184 mil Estimated 2019 revenue: $50 mil
Lead investors: Accel, Alven, SaaStr Fund, Salesforce Ventures
Looking for an online class on Coursera’s website, or checking NPR for your favorite radio show? You may not know it, but you’ll be using Algolia’s software. Those companies and the likes of Twitch, Under Armour and Slack are among 9,000 businesses that rely on Algolia to power the search boxes on their sites and, in turn, increase online engagement and revenue. Visitors make 3 billion searches a day with the San Francisco-based firm’s help. Now the startup is also offering to automatically personalize websites for each visitor and provide analytics on what happens after a search, like whether it leads to a purchase. “The bar of expectations of a great experience is set by Google, Netflix and Facebook, and it’s only getting higher,” says cofounder Dessaigne, 43. “99.9% of companies can’t bridge that gap between what they could do internally and expectations of their users. That’s where we fit in.”