(you can find the 2023 Rocket Ship Startup List here)
As many of you know, each spring I provide a comprehensive list of exciting, fast-growing, rapidly hiring startups that are promising places to start or continue a career in Startupland.
This year has been another boom year for tech startups, to say the least. As a result, it’s been the hardest list ever in my eight years of doing this. Graduating students and mid-career professionals have an abundance of opportunities to launch their careers. Leveraging insider knowledge and input from VC and entrepreneur friends regarding who has real momentum, I mix subjective and objective criteria in assembling the list. The objective criteria include:
- Growth / momentum: typically growing users and/or revenue > 100% year over year
- Fundraising: typically has raised > $40 million in the most recent round, which closed in the last 18 months (note: independent, private companies only! 10% of last year’s list went public and 3% were acquired)
- Scale: typically > 100 employees
- Hiring: typically growing headcount > 50%/year, including a number of entry-level positions that would be a fit for recent college or business school graduates
- Young: founded in 2011 or later
With the help of numerous VC friends in startup hubs throughout Europe, India, Israel, and LatAm, I try to cover international startups each year. Pitchbook is less reliable outside the US and so I am particularly grateful to the dozens of folks who shared their local market insight. I left out China this year. That was a tough decision but because of the government’s anti-tech policies this year, it was hard for me to ascertain winners and losers with confidence.
This year, I include nearly 500 companies: 350 US companies and 140 non-US. As usual, the list is organized by location although I decided to be a bit more expansive in including startups from all over the US instead of just the tech hubs given remote and hybrid work. That said, even in this era, I advise my students to select and commit to a particular geography. Investing and contributing to a community in the long term is valuable for both your career and your life.
For the first time, we included a “diversity and inclusion” tab to the data set to guide prospective job seekers on whether this area is one of strength or weakness for the particular company. We used data from Glassdoor to populate this field (an explanation of the data source can be found here) and then translated that rating into three bands: weak, fair, and strong.
Before listing the companies, I suggest checking out two of my posts where I give more detailed advice on how to select the right company and position yourself to secure a job — a playbook I have seen executed successfully now across my decades as a VC and entrepreneurship professor at HBS working with thousands of young professionals:
As usual, I am sure I have made many mistakes and omissions and so thank you in advance for your feedback. Continued feedback (and lobbying!) definitely make this list better over time. A very special thank you to the talented Priya Bhasin of MIT Sloan whose precision and tenacity made this list what it is.
Without further ado: here is the Airtable link for all 500 companies:
Disclosure: Among the listed companies, the following are Flybridge portfolio companies —BitSight, bloXroute, Bowery, Chief, EmCasa, FalconX, MadeiraMadeira, Splice, Tomorrow.io, and Zubale.