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March 16, 2015

Advice to Grads: Join A Winning Startup

Around this time of year, many students are focused on finding a job in Startup Land and building their careers. If you have your own idea and no one can talk you out of it, that's awesome. But for most undergraduates and graduate students, they have no idea how to get plugged in to the startup community.  I gave some advice in my post, Seeking a Job in Startup Land, but I didn't give specific pointers to companies who I think are emerging winners and thus good places to begin your startup career.

For many years, I have been keeping an updated list of interesting, scaling start ups (private or recently public) to share with the students in my HBS class to point them in the direction of good, fast growing companies worth exploring.  I recently learned that Andy Rachleff at Stanford does the same, although it is lighter on East Coast companies.  Now that graduation season is coming, I thought I would "open source" and share my current list, organized by geography.  Note that this is my own imperfect point of view with imperfect data (full disclosure: Flybridge portfolio companies are hyperlinked).  Feedback welcome! 


  • Private: Acquia, Actifio, AdAgility, Affirmed Networks, Airbo, Anaqua, Applause, BevSpot, Bit9, BitSight, Cloudlock, DataXu, Digital Lumens, Draft Kings, Drifft, Drizly, Dyn, Ellevation, Evertrue, Fiksu, Globoforce, HourlyNerd, Iora Health, Jana, Jibo, Kyruus, Localytics, Nasuni, OpenBay, Panorama Education, PeerTransfer, Promoboxx, Rapid7, RunKeeper, Savingstar, Sonos, Thinking Phones, Valore Books, Veracode, VMTurbo, Zerto
  • Public: Akamai, Care.com, Demandware, EMC, EnerNOC, Hubspot, iRobot, Kayak/Priceline, Trip Advisor, Wayfair
  • Private: 1st Dibs, Alfred, Appnexus, BetterCloud, Betterment, Birchbox, Bloomberg, Blue Apron, BuzzFeed, Carnival Mobile, CB Insights, ClassPass, Codecademy, Contently, DataDog, DataMinr, Etsy, Fan Duel, General Assembly, Gilt, Handy, Harry's, Integral Ad Science, Jet.com, Kickstarter, Knewton, LearnVest, Manicube, MediaMath, MongoDB, Newscred, Oscar Health, Outbrain, Payoneer, Quirky, Rent the Runway, Sailthru, Shapeways, Spotify, Sprinklr, Stack Exchange, tracx, Vaultive, Warby Parker, WeWork, Yext, ZocDoc
  • Public: OnDeck, Shutterstock
  • Private:  Airbnb, Atlassian/HipChat, Automattic, Beepi, BloomReach, Cloudera, Cloudflare, Coinbase, Coupa, Coursera, CreditKarma, DoorDash, DoubleDutch, Dropbox, Eventbrite, Evernote, Fitbit, Flipboard, FundBox, GitHub, GlassDoor, HomeJoy, Houzz, IFTTT, Instacart, Jasper Technologies, Jawbone, JustFab, Lyft, Monetate, Nextdoor, Okta, One Kings Lane, Optimizely, Palantir, Pinterest, Plastiq, Quora, Rubicon Project, Shazam, Slack, Slice, SpaceX, Square, StitchFix, Stripe, Survey Monkey, Thumbtack, Turn, Twilio, Uber, Wanelo, WealthFront, Zenefits, Zumper
  • Public: Box, FireEye, Horton Works, Lending Club, LinkedIn, New Relic, Palo Alto Networks, ServiceNow, Splunk, Tableau, Twitter, Workday, Yelp, Zendesk
Israeli (often with HQ in the US - either BOS, NY or SF)
  • Private:  BillGuard, Fiverr, Forter, Freightos, Hola, IronSource, Kaltura, Kaminario, Magisto, ObserveIT, Outbrain, Riskified, SundaySky, Taboola, tracx, Wochit, Wibbitz
  • Public: CyberArk, Mobileye
  • London:  Bla bla car, CityMapper, Duedil, FarFetch, Funding Circle, GoCardless, King, Purple Bricks, Shazam, TransferWise, Vouched For
  • LA: Cornerstone on Demand, OpenX, Rubicon Project, SnapChat, TrueCar, Zefr, ZestFinance
  • SEA:  Avalara, Julep, Juno, Koru, Peach, Porch, Pro, Refin, Zulilly.
  • CO: LogRhythm, Rally, Sympoz, Webroot
  • UT:  AtTask, Domo, Health Catalyst, Hirevue, Inside Sales, Instructure, Plurasight, Qualtrics
  • CHI:  AvantCredit, BucketFeet, Fooda, Narrative Sciences, Raise, SpotHero,  SproutSocial
  • DC: 2U, Cvent, Opower, Optoro, Sonatype, Vox Media, WeddingWire
  • Other: Kabbage (ATL), Open English (MIA), Yik Yak (ATL)


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