47 enterprise startups to bet your career on in 2020

top enterprise startups bet career 2x1

  • Business Insider analyzed recent startup coverage and data from venture capital database PitchBook to compile a list of enterprise startups we believe are headed for success.
  • We’ve defined an enterprise startup as a private, independent company serving the $4 trillion a year business-to-business technology market.
  • We collected a broad combination of attributes to support why we think the startup is promising, including valuations, funding, founding teams, and the product or service it offers.
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As 2019 rolls to a close and 2020 is upon us, it’s the time of year for reflections and resolutions.

If your musings are making you consider a career change by taking a job at an enterprise startup, with the promises of riches that its stock could one day bring, we have your back.

At Business Insider, we cover a lot of startups all year long, talking to everyone from founders to employees to investors to market researchers. Every year, we review through our coverage of startups that made waves during the year and analyze data from other sources such as PitchBook, the deal-tracking database. From this, we choose our slate of startups that we believe are headed for success.

The following list is specific to enterprise startups — the companies serving the $4 trillion a year business-to-business (b2b) technology market. We’ve defined a startup as any independent company that hasn’t yet gone public.

We look at a broad combination of attributes including the experience of the founding teams; its angel investors and VCs; valuations, recent and total funding (as reported by PitchBook) and, of course, the product or service the startup is offering. 

Additional reporting by Benjamin Pimentel and Bani Sapra.

Anyscale: Powering the future of AI

City: Berkeley, CA

Year founded: 2019

Total funding: $20.6 million

Valuation: N/A

What it does: Anyscale maintains the open source project Ray, which helps developers approach distributed computing — the field for running large-scale applications run across multiple servers or computing devices.

Why it’s a good bet: Anyscale just launched this year, but its founding team is comprised of Berkeley researchers, and it’s backed by legendary firm Andreessen Horowitz. Distributed computing will also be on the rise thanks to the industry-wide boom in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Running larger, more complicated applications means they may need the power of multiple computer systems. This month, it closed $20.6 million in new funding.

Galileo: Providing the building blocks for fintech

City: Salt Lake City, UT

Year founded: 2000

Total funding: $77.75 million

Valuation: N/A

What it does: Galileo offers an online service that allows gives companies in the payments and fintech worlds access to the APIs, or application program interfaces, that give them the building blocks to create their own banks or stock trading systems.

Why it’s a good bet: Galileo’s financial APIs are powering big names in fintech like Robinhood and Chime. The company has a history of being profitable, but just took its first round of venture investment, $77 million, in October to fund growth. Among its angel investors is one of most successful entrepreneurs in the Salt Lake region — Ryan Smith, founder and CEO of Qualtrics.

Snyk: Security for open source code

City: London, England

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $103.62 million

Valuation: N/A

What it does: Snyk, whose name stands for “so now you know” and is pronounced “sneak,” develops security tools for open source software — the free code that developers use to build, run and support their applications. These tools find, fix, and monitor vulnerabilities to help keep it safe from hackers and other bad actors.

Why it’s a good bet: Companies are increasingly relying on open source code to run and build apps, but updating and securing them can be a lot of work. Snyk helps developers find and fix security flaws and keep hackers out. It just closed $70 million in new funding this September, with backers including Accel, GV (formerly Google Ventures), 

Pensando Systems: Superstar engineers take on the next big thing

City: San Jose, CA

Total funding: $278 million

Year founded: 2017

Valuation: N/A

What it does: Pensando has created a custom chip on a card that it says can plug into any computer server. The chip speeds up the processing of what’s known as “edge services” which is the big trend coming after cloud computing. The “edge” is anything that requires a ton of processing on the device, like self-driving cars.

Why it’s a good bet:

Pensando Systems is the new startup from the star engineers that built many of Cisco’s most successful products when John Chambers was CEO and quit shortly after he left. It came out of stealth earlier this year.

Chambers, now a VC, is an investor along with a who’s who in enterprise tech like Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Oracle as well as VCs like Lightspeed. 

Metabase: Community-built analytics software

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2014

Total funding: $21.05 million

Valuation: $29.05 million

What it does: Metabase develops open source analytics and business intelligence software to help companies analyze data and observe trends. It also provides services to customers like hosting, support, and assistance.

Why it’s a good bet: New Enterprise Associates investors noticed how fast the Metabase open source project was growing, and soon enough, they wanted in and invested $8 million. Indeed, nowadays companies have a higher demand for data analytics and business intelligence. This year, the industry saw Salesforce acquire Tableau and Google Cloud acquire Looker. 

Gem: Building relationships with job candidates

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $10.95 million

Valuation: $33.33 million

What it does: Gem creates recruiting software that helps companies find top talent and create lists of people to reach out to. It also aims to help companies build relationships with these people by following up and keeping in touch with them. 

Why it’s a good bet: Founded by former Dropbox and Facebook engineers and backed by Accel, it’s solving a problem that LinkedIn and Workday haven’t quite figured out: building relationships and keeping in touch with possible new hires. As tech employees are in high demand, its software can help businesses streamline the hiring process.  It closed $9 million in March.

SentiLink: Busting synthetic fraud

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $15.12 million

Valuation: $40.12 million

What it does: This cybersecurity and privacy company helps customers detect and block synthetic fraud, which is when identities are completely made up to apply for bank accounts, credit cards, or other financial services.

Why it’s a good bet: Synthetic fraud is costly. For example, in 2016, a fraudster fabricated over 7,000 identities and caused more than $200 million in losses. That big problem could be an opportunity for customers to turn to SentiLink. Also, this startup is backed by investors like Andreessen Horowitz and announced $14 million in new funding this March.

Transposit: Helping developers connect apps together

City: Palo Alto, CA

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $15.4 million

Valuation: $45 million

What it does: Transposit makes it easy for developers build apps by managing and weaving together application programming interfaces, or APIs, which allow different software and services to “talk” to each other.

Why it’s a good bet: The DevOps (a combination of “development” and “operations”) market is booming, and Transposit is riding that wave. Developers are increasingly relying on APIs when they build apps, whether it’s using Facebook for login or Dropbox for cloud storage, or any number of other uses. Transposit aims to solve a headache for developers by making it easier for them to use these APIs. In March, it announced the raising of $12 million.

Catalyst: Software for making customers happy

City: New York City, NY

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $20.4 million

Valuation: $50 million

What it does: Catalyst develops a platform that helps companies track and manage the feedback they get from their own customers, which in turn can help them improve their own products.

Why it’s a good bet: Backed by Accel, Catalyst is taking on companies like Salesforce and Gainsight. Catalyst CEO and co-founder Edward Chiu says its software just takes minutes to set up and is focused on being easy to use, the better to help users learn from their own customers. In July, Catalyst announced a $15 million funding round.

Nyansa: Stopping suspicious network activity

City: Palo Alto, CA

Year founded: 2013

Total funding: $26.5 million

Valuation: $65 million

What it does: Nyansa develops software to analyze and resolve any issues on the network. It helps secure companies’ networks and keep it safe from attacks and suspicious activity.

Why it’s a good bet: Founded by computer network veterans and backed by investors like Intel Capital, Nyansa is helping companies stay safe with its cybersecurity software. Earlier this year, it launched an analytics and security platform for connected devices – which is crucial as more companies use devices like security cameras, factory sensors and other smart gadgetry that are connected to the network and potentially vulnerable to attacks.

RapidAPI: Helping developers use over 10,000 APIs

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $38.29 million

Valuation: $80 million

What it does: RapidAPI creates software tools to help developers connect with and manage application programming interfaces, or APIs, which allow different software and services to “talk” to each other. 

Why it’s a good bet: It’s backed by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, as well as Andreessen Horowitz. And since APIs are increasingly crucial in app design, this DevOps startup can solve a real headache for developers. RapidAPI says it now has over a million developers and 10,000 public APIs on the platform, and just this year, it raised $25 million.

Productiv: Analytics guru targets CIOs

City: Palo Alto, CA

Year founded: 2019

Total funding: $28 million

Valuation: $100 million

What it does: An analytics platform for CIOs that offers insights into how employees are using enterprise software and applications.

Why it’s a good bet: The product came out of stealth earlier this year, and helps meet the need of top-level executives to know which software their employees are using, and the ways in which they’re collaborating. Productiv CEO and cofounder Jody Shapiro previously headed Google Analytics Premium, the enterprise version of Google Analytics.

Algorithmia: AI products and algorithms for data science

City: Seattle, WA

Year founded: 2013

Total funding: $38.08 million

Valuation: $100 million

What it does: Algorithmia creates artificial intelligence products and algorithms for companies to use to quickly tackle tough data science problems in their own software.

Why it’s a good bet: Algorithmia had a big year in 2019, raising $25 million and hiring Atlassian’s former engineering head, Ken Toole, as vice president of platform engineering. Algorithmia’s marketplace is used by more than 100,000 developers, according to the startup, and its advised by board member Anna Patterson of Google’s AI fund Gradient Ventures.

Tidelift: A marketplace for open source developers

City: Boston, MA

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $40 million

Valuation: $102.5 million

What it does: Tidelift creates a marketplace where developers can buy and sell services for maintaining and securing open source software projects. 

Why it’s a good bet: Right now, one of the big looming question in the tech industry is how to make money out of free, open source software. Tidelift’s answer: A marketplace where users of open source software can pay developers for their services in managing and maintaining the code. It was founded by former employees of Red Hat, the open source giant that IBM acquired for $34 billion. In January, Tidelift announced that it raised $25 million.

Armory: Building for a popular DevOps project started by Netflix

City: San Mateo, CA

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $42.12 million

Valuation: $110.02 million

What it does: Armory develops software that helps developers test and release applications to the cloud faster and more often. It builds commercial features for the popular open source project Spinnaker, which was started by Netflix and Google engineers.

Why it’s a good bet: Spinnaker is one of the next big things to watch in software, and developers are making big bets on startups that focus on it. That’s because as more software moves to the cloud, businesses need to update their applications faster and more often. The DevOps software Armory is no exception, and in August, it announced that it had recieved a new investment of $28 million.

Gremlin: Breaking things on purpose to strengthen them

City: San Jose, CA

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $26.75 million

Valuation: $143 million

What it does: Gremlin develops tools for chaos engineering — a technique pioneered at Netflix, where you purposely inject failures into computer systems and software to identify and fix vulnerabilities before things actually go wrong in real life.

Why it’s a good bet: Founded by former Netflix and Amazon engineers, Gremlin’s tools can help customers guard against outages by using chaos engineering-inspired tools to help spot vulnerabilities before they turn into real problems. It’s backed by investors like Redpoint Ventures.

 

Scalyr: A one-stop shop for monitoring and troubleshooting issues

City: San Mateo, CA

Year founded: 2011

Total funding: $34.07 million

Valuation: $155.5 million

What it does: Scalyr helps companies monitor their servers and search analyze their logs in real-time. This helps developers with spotting exactly where across their infrastructure an application’s performance is slowing down — and in helping solve outages and other problems wherever they occur.

Why it’s a good bet: It was founded by Steve Newman, who previously started Writely, the startup that Google acquired and turned into the original Google Docs. Now, Scalyr headed by former Cisco executive Christine Heckart. It’s a company in the DevOps field, a market for helping writing developers deliver more and better software that’s heating up fast.

Clumio: A smart way to back up enterprise data

City: Santa Clara, CA

Year founded: 2017

Total funding: $185.4 million

Valuation: $785 million

What it does: Clumio offers a cloud service that lets enterprises automaticaly back up their company’s data, which can otherwise be an expensive and complicated process.

Why it’s a good bet: Clumio was founded by Poojan Kumar, a star engineer in the enterprise storage world, known for creating Oracle’s multi-billion Exadata storage product line before launching a startup called PernixData, ultimately bought by Nutanix.

Clumio made waves in 2019 by raising a whopping $135 million in Series C just three months after the product launched, backed by Index Ventures and Altimeter Capital. Very few other enterprise startups have raised so much money, so fast.

IonQ: building the computers of the future

City: College Park, MD

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $77.1 million

Valuation: $185.1 million

What it does: IonQ develops quantum computers, which have special properties that allow them to potentially be exponentially more powerful than the most powerful supercomputers today. It uses a unique technique of ion trapping to build these computers, hence the name.

Why it’s a good bet: IonQ was is now led as CEO by Peter Chapman, former director of engineering at Amazon Prime. Recently, it partnered with Amazon for its new cloud quantum computing service. Quantum computing is an exciting new field for supercomputing, with applications in industries as far afield as drug discovery, cryptography, and financial services.

Amazon, IBM, Google, Microsoft, and Intel are all jumping onboard the quantum computing train. Experts and investors have high hopes for the field, even though it will take at least five to ten years for quantum computers to come to the market in a meaningful way.

Front: A unified inbox for teams

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2013

Total funding: $79.37 million

Valuation: $200 million

What it does: Front creates an inbox that centralize’s an entire team’s communications in one place, putting emails, Slack messages, Twitter DMs, and other communications all in one place. It also has features for employees to have discussions, make comments, collaborate, and chat. 

Why it’s a good bet: Backed by investors like Sequoia Capital and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, Front has over 4,500 customers. Last year, it made its first acquisition in the form of Meetingbird. In March, Front hired Jenny Decker from Atlassian as its first CFO to help the company scale and grow. 

Sentry: Monitoring crashes in real-time

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2008

Total funding: $67 million

Valuation: $260 million

What it does: Sentry builds a crash reporting tool and helps developers fix issues in software, showing what’s going wrong in real-time so they can solve problems and guard against them ever happening again. 

Why it’s a good bet: Backed by New Enterprise Associates and Accel, Sentry started as an open source project and quickly spread in popularity. Now, it’s widely used by companies all over Silicon Valley and beyond, with the company expanding to a cloud-hosted service that makes it easier to access. In September, it announced a $40 million funding round.

Mattermost: Privacy-focused work chat

City: Palo Alto, CA

Year founded: 2011

Total funding: $73.62 million

Valuation: $310 million

What it does: Mattermost creates a secure messaging and collaboration platform for chatting at work. Because the software itself is open source, users can see exactly how it is secured, making it a good fit for companies that care about data privacy. 

Why it’s a good bet: The app messaging and collaboration market is huge, as employees increasingly work remotely or need ways to quickly communicate with each other. It’s taking on Slack and Microsoft Teams, but specifically designed to address increasing concerns from customers about data privacy It has already won over customers like Uber, Samsung, the US Federal Reserve System, and NASA, and in June, it announced a new $50 million round.

CircleCI: Helping developers release code faster and more often

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2011

Total funding: $112.5 million

Valuation: $331.25 million

What it does: CircleCI builds software that helps developers automatically build, test, and update code for web and mobile applications faster and more often. It can help to quickly detect and fix bugs before the code is released to customers. 

Why it’s a good bet: Investors are betting big on startups focused on so-called continuous integration and continous delivery (CI/CD) – essentially, software that helps developers release code faster and more often. It’s also becoming a huge market, as the market for CD tools is expected to grow to $3.85 billion by 2023. In the past year, CircleCI opened new international offices and raised $56 million.

HackerOne: Bug bounties for ethical hackers

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2012

Total funding: $110.4 million

Valuation: $331.4 million

What it does: HackerOne is one of the top places for so-called ethical hackers to get paid bug bounties for finding security vulnerabilities or other flaws in software.

Why it’s a good bet: Companies like Nintendo, Starbucks, and Uber as rely on freelance bug hunters from HackerOne to keep customers safe. The startup is growing so fast that it this year added Hilarie Koplow-McAdams, venture partner at New Enterprise Associates, to its board of directors.

Moveworks: Automating technical support

City: Mountain View, CA

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $108.15 million

Valuation: $390 million

What it does: Moveworks uses AI and natural language processing to help businesses process tech support requests and issues faster. 

Why it’s a good bet: Moveworks has caught the attention of some of Silicon Valley’s most prestigous investors. Just seven months after raising $30 million, Moveworks has raised another $75 million from investors like Kleiner Perkins and ICONIQ.

Amperity: Using AI to help you know your customers

City: Seattle, WA

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $87 million

Valuation: $450 million

What it does: Amperity is a customer data platform that uses artificial intelligence to help users know who their customers are and make business decisions based on that data.

Why it’s a good bet: Amperity is taking on giants including Salesforce and Oracle in the emerging customer data platform space – and it’s gaining traction with big brands like Starbucks and Gap. The Seattle-based startup raised $50 million this summer from investors including Goldman Sachs.

DriveNets: A new way to build fast computer networks

City: Ra’anana, Israel

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $117 million

Valuation: $464.3 million

What it does: DriveNets offers technology for super-fast computer networks. Notably, it focuses on the software, while giving away its hardware designs for free.

Why it’s a good bet: DriveNets CEO Ido Susan sold his first company to Cisco for $475 million when he was 26. Now he’s raised $117 million from a who’s who of US angel investors to take on Cisco and change the way computer networks are built.

His angel investors include Steve Luczo, former CEO and current chairman of Seagate, former CEO of Palo Alto Networks Mark McLaughlin, and John Thompson, chairman at Microsoft.

Clari: A smart way to analyze sales data

City: Sunnyvale, CA

Year founded: 2012

Total funding: $121 million

Valuation: $460 million

What it does: Clari uses AI to analyze sales and marketing data to help close new deals and analyze customer satisfaction.

Why it’s a good bet: Clari has been attracting some large impressive customers, including big corporations like Adobe and Lenovo, which caused VCs to come out of the woodwork to buy in. The company raised a $60 million round this year led by Saphire Ventures, the VC firm spun out of SAP.

Expanse: Cybersecurity software that monitors the entire public internet

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2012

Total funding: $104.3 million

Valuation: $500 million

What it does: Expanse helps customers detect attacks and risky behavior by monitoring the public internet, looking for customer devices that might be leaking information that could be picked up on by bad guys.

Why it’s a good bet: Arianna Huffington and Peter Thiel have backed this hot cybersecurity startup, which this year raised $70 million. Expanse was identified by one of its investors as a cybersecurity startup to watch in 2019. Expanse is doing well. We think of them as an Internet-wide port scanner. They can scan the entire web,” the investor said.

 

Workato: Helps app talk to each other and automate tasks

City: Mountain View, CA

Year founded: 2013

Total funding: $111.2 million

Valuation: $500 million

What it does: Workato creates integration software to securely connect applications and automate the repetitive tasks of moving information from one piece of software to another.

Why it’s a good bet: The startup’s software is used by customers including Slack and Broadcom. Its approach is becoming more important as businesses use an increasing number of applications — and puts Workato up against competitors like MuleSoft, which Salesforce acquired in 2018 for $6.5 billion. The growing need is what recently helped Workato secure $70 million in funding.

Yellowbrick Data: Data warehousing that takes on Amazon and Oracle

City: Palo Alto, CA

Year founded: 2014

Total funding: $214.5 million

Valuation: $540 million

What it does: Yellowbrick Data is a data warehousing startup that intends to help customers figure out how to better analyze their data and make their software smarter.

Why it’s a good bet: Yellowbrick Data competes against data warehouse giants including Amazon and Oracle, but analysts say Yellowbrick’s warehouse might have an edge over competitors because it delivers high performance for a lower price and is more flexible. The startup raised $81 million this year.

Collibra: Data governance with a focus on privacy and automation

City: Brussels, Belgium and New York City, NY

Year founded: 2008

Total funding: $234.6 million

Valuation: $650 million

What it does: The Belgian-founded startup builds a data governance platform that helps companies manage data and make sure they’re complying with relevant policies and regulations.

Why it’s a good bet: Collibra, which competes with the likes of IBM and Informatica, raised $100 million this year, making it Belgium’s first “unicorn” startup with a valuation over $1 billion. The startup plans to focus on data privacy and automation as the new GDPR rules sweep across Europe and data privacy becomes a greater priority in the US. 

Bright Machines: Automating factory machines and robots

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2018

Total funding: $229 million

Valuation: $679 million

What it does: The startup develops software to power automated factory machines and industrial robots.

Why it’s a good bet: Bright Machines is only a year old, but as of this summer, it had already booked $100 million in revenue with customers including automotive, consumer and electronics companies and launched two generations of products.

Highspot: Using AI to help salespeople close more deals

City: Seattle, WA

Year founded: 2012

Total funding: $212.2 million

Valuation: $790 million

What it does: Highspot uses machine learning to help salespeople land and retain customers by organizing and recommending the types of sales content, such as brochures or case studies, most likely to help them win a deal.

Why it’s on the list: Run by one of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s former lieutenants, Highspot just raised $75 million from investors including Microsoft rival Salesforce. Highspot is in the midst of a big hiring push and has landed big customers including Red Hat, SAP Concur, and Twitter. The startup now has 375 employees and plans to grow to 700 employees by the end of 2020.

Notion: All-in-one office productivity

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2012

Total funding: $18.7 million

Valuation: $800 million

What it does: Offers a “workspace” app that helps teams with documents, wikis, a database, to-do lists, and other productivity tools.

Why it’s a good bet: Notion is a buzzy enterprise startup in large part because, until recently, it chose to run its profitable business without major VC investment, despite being bombarded by would-be investors.

Earlier this year it chose to raise $10 million from three angel investors at an eye-popping $800 million valuation. Those angels are Daniel Gross (former partner at Y Combinator), Lachy Groom (Head of Stripe Issuing), and Elad Gil (cofounder of Color Genomics, formerly of Twitter and a very active angel investor).

Scale AI: Training computers to see and converse

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2016

Total funding: $123.12 million

Valuation: $1 billion 

What it does: Scale AI is teaching machines to “talk” and “see” by using new advances in machine learning.

Why it’s a good bet:Computer vision and natural language processing are two of the hottest areas in the AI industry. Scale AI is helping with the hardest part: training the computers. It offers software that takes a first look at any data, and then passes it off to thousands of human contract workers that can verify and assist in making sure the model is accurate.

Scale AI has customers like Waymo and Uber, and its 22-year-old founder CEO, Alexandr Wang, is a prominent figure in the industry. In its three years, Scale AI has raised $123 million and the company is already a tech unicorn.

Outreach: Sales automation using artificial intelligence

City: Seattle, WA

Year founded: 2014

Total funding: $239 million

Valuation: $1.1 billion

What it does: Outreach is a sales automation startup that helps salespeople engage with customers more effectively by using artificial intelligence to help them determine the best action to take with prospective customers.

Why it’s a good bet: Once on the verge of bankruptcy, the Seattle startup founded by a former Amazon Web Services and Microsoft executive is now worth more than $1 billion. Outreach this year raised a $114 million round and is used by companies including Adobe and Tableau.

Icertis: Cloud-based contract management

City: Bellevue, WA

Year founded: 2009

Total funding: $211.5 million

Valuation: $1.15 billion

What it does: Icertis builds a platform to help customers manage contracts in the cloud, which its leaders say increases a company’s capacity for contracts, ensures those contracts comply with regulations and policies and reduces costs.

Why it’s a good bet: Icertis is the cloud-based software large companies including Microsoft use to manage their contracts. The startup’s valuation surpassed $1 billion this year when it raised $115 million, as it takes on competitors such as DocuSign-owned SpringCM. 

Auth0: Billion-dollar cybersecurity software startup

City: Bellevue, WA

Year founded: 2013

Total funding: $213.5 million

Valuation: $1.16 billion

What it does: Auth0 is a cybersecurity software startup that manages user authentication and secures the login pages for large consumer and enterprise businesses.

Why it’s a good bet: Cofounded and run by a 12-year veteran of Microsoft, Auth0 raised $103 million and doubled its valuation this year. The company was included in Forbes’ recent Cloud 100 list of hot cloud companies, and accounting firm Deloitte determined it was among the fastest-growing technology companies in the country.

Asana: Productivity startup on the verge of going public

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2008

Total funding: $231.5 million

Valuation: $1.5 billion

What it does: Asana offers productivity software designed to help employees organize, track, and manage their work.

Why it’s a good bet: Led by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Asana is reportedly planning to go public in 2020 by way of a possible direct listing. The company earlier this year announced it has crossed $100 million in annual recurring revenue, thanks to a revenue surge of some 90%.

 

ThoughtSpot: Helping big companies visualize their data

City: Sunnyvale, CA

Year founded: 2012

Total funding: $557.5 million

Valuation: $1.95 billion

What it does: ThoughtSpot offers businesses a way to visually analyze their data in order to make critical decisions faster.

Why it’s a good bet: ThoughtSpot’s AI-powered tool is taking on Salesforce-owned Tableau. The products is in use by the likes of Walmart, Hulu, and Daimler – helping the company raise $248 million this year from investors including Lightspeed Ventures and Sapphire Ventures. ThoughtSpot also has partnerships with Google, Snowflake and Dell.

 

Rubrik: AI-focused data management

City: Palo Alto, CA

Year founded: 2014

Total funding: $553 million

Valuation: $3.3 billion

What it does: Rubrik is a data management platform that aims to make it easier for companies to automatically organize their data and send it up to public clouds like Amazon Web Services for safekeeping.

Why it’s a good bet: Rubrik started providing basic backup and recovery services for data, but now it’s all about artificial intelligence and the company raised $261 million this year in a round led by Bain Capital Ventures to support that endeavor. CEO Bipul Sinha recently said he wants to eventually take the company public. Microsoft Chairman John W. Thompson and former Cisco CEO John Chambers serve on the company’s board.

Gusto: HR software for small businesses

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2011

Total funding: $521.25 million

Valuation: $3.8 billion

What it does: HR and payroll management cloud software for small businesses.

Why it’s a good bet: Gusto has been a VC darling as it establishes itself as a leader in the crowded but lucrative HR software world, and now claims more than 100,000 customers. Earlier this year, it raised a monster $200 million round, doubling its valuation to $3.8 billion.

The company is also known for its charismatic CEO Josh Reeves and its generous employee benefits. Startup watchers believe Gusto is bound to go public sooner rather than later.

TripActions: Rewarding employees for making better travel choices

City: Palo Alto, CA

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $482.10 million

Valuation: $4 billion

What it does: TripActions provides online corporate travel planning and support services — and, as a trademark feature, offers workers an Amazon gift card or other compensation if they save the company money by booking cheaper hotels.

Why it’s a good bet: TripActions has made a name for itself in helping workers save their employers’ money on travel budgets. It claims to manage over $1 billion worth of travel bookings a year for its customers and counts Business Insider as a customer, too.

Last summer, VCs poured a cool $250 million in, led by Andreessen Horowitz, valuing the five-year old company at $4 billion.

Databricks: Using AI to help customers keep their data in order

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2013

Total funding: $897.4 million

Valuation: $6.2 billion

What it does: Databricks is a cloud-based data analytics platform that uses artificial intelligence to help companies solve problems like analyzing massive data sets.

Why it’s a good bet: The buzzy AI analytics platform backed by leading VCs like Andreessen Horowitz and Microsoft just got another major $400 million funding boost and named a high-profile CFO, in what appears to be a strong signal that it’s contemplating an IPO. The company now has more than 800 employees and more than 5,000 customers, including Comcast, Shell, Expedia and Bechtel.

 

Samsara: Bringing the Internet of Things to big industry

City: San Francisco, CA

Year founded: 2015

Total funding: $530 million

Valuation: $6.3 billion

What it does: Offers sensors and a cloud service for industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications, helping to connect internet-connected machinery and gadgetry.

Why it’s a good bet: The industrial IOT era is upon us. That’s where everyday physical items, from trucks to warehouse pallets, get sensors and can be tracked and managed via apps. Five-year-old Samsara is one of the companies leading the way.

In the past year, Samsara grew its revenue at a 200% rate, more than doubled its customer base, and expanded into 10 new countries, it said.  In September, it raised a fresh $300 million from investors like Andreessen Horowitz that valued the company at $6.3 billion, it said.

Automation Anywhere: Software bots to do menial tasks

City: San Jose, CA

Year founded: 2003

Total funding: $840 million

Valuation: $6.8 billion

What it does: Its product performs “robotic process automation,” which is the use of AI bots that handle tedious, repeatable tasks previously done by humans.

Why it’s a good bet: Automation Anywhere raised $290 million from investors in a round led by Salesforce Ventures, boosting the startup’s valuation to $6.8 billion.

It grew at 100% this year, its CEO told Business Insider — although he declined to tell us what the actual revenue number was. Customers include the world’s top companies in healthcare, tech, financial services, and telecommunications. 

 



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