Here are the top startups where people want to work in 2020September 25, 2020
- LinkedIn’s list of the Top Startups of 2020 featured young, private companies across industries and geographies, although many of them you might not recognize.
- Last year’s list was loaded with consumer businesses selling everything from shared scooters to suitcases. But in 2020, the year of COVID-19, they were largely replaced by fast-growing startups in enterprise tech, healthcare, and financial services.
- The top startup to work for was Better.com, a new kind of mortgage lender.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
LinkedIn just dropped its annual list of the hottest startups to work for.
The ranking had some of the usual suspects like financial services companies Robinhood and Brex, as well as aging unicorn DoorDash, which is aiming for an initial public offering before the year’s up.
But a majority of the startups listed were ones you probably haven’t heard of, a testament to how the pandemic has rocked businesses in every industry and geography, and buoyed some startups to the top of people’s interests.
In fact, 38 of the 50 startups were newcomers to the list, by Business Insider’s count. That’s up from 29 new companies that squeezed into the ranking in 2019, and on par with 37 newcomers on the list in 2018.
The LinkedIn Top Startups list is a ranking of the young, private companies where job seekers want to work now. It’s based on how LinkedIn’s 171 million US users interact with startups on the site across four criteria: employee growth, job applications initiated on LinkedIn, user engagement with the companies and their employees; and how often people working at the companies on LinkedIn’s Top Companies list move over to these startups, according to their bios. (Top Companies is a list of firms with more than 500 people and uses a different methodology.)
To be eligible for the startups list, companies had to be founded in the last seven years, privately held, and based in the US. The startups had to have at least 50 employees, which means it excludes some smaller, but hotter startups.
There were companies whose products and services are creating the future of work, like Loom’s video messaging recorder and Drift’s conversational chatbot for businesses. The list also included startups that bring career and skills trainings to the internet, such as Chief, Upkey, and A Cloud Guru, as well as human resources startup Lattice.
And many others listed were in the healthcare and biotech industries, the undeniable winners of the pandemic.
For instance, BrightSight sells software that helps drugmakers get experimental treatments and devices approved by regulators and used by everyday people, while Capsule is a digital pharmacy that offers free, same-day delivery.
Better.com is the top startup in 2020
Making its debut on the list at No. 1 was Better.com, a mortgage lender that lets customers complete every step of the mortgage process online. The four-year-old company is seeing demand for its services swell as more people are wanting to take advantage of record-low interest rates and buy homes while their offices remain closed to them.
The startup, which has offices from New York to Irvine, California, to Charlotte, has about doubled its staff to 4,000 since March, LinkedIn says. It expects to add another 7,000 people, mostly salespeople, in the next 12 months.
While it doesn’t appear that employees at top companies are leaping to Better.com, its No. 1 spot on LinkedIn’s startup’s list may be explained by the company’s breakneck hiring spree.
These companies are thinking on their feet
The list also included businesses that pivoted in the midst of a pandemic.
Samsara, a company that sells connected devices, is growing again after it laid off 300 workers, about 18% of its workforce, in May. The startup shifted focus during the pandemic to target customers in “essential businesses,” such as manufacturing, construction, and food and beverage distribution, Business Insider’s Rosalie Chan reports.
Another top startup, Curative, switched from developing tests for sepsis to producing oral fluid tests for COVID-19 testing. It’s currently experimenting with walk-up testing kiosks in Los Angeles that can return results in 24 hours.
Who fell off the list?
The list’s 38 newcomers forced some startups off the ledge. Some of the companies are no longer on the list because they no longer qualify as startups. Financial services company Plaid sold to Visa for a whopping $5.3 billion, and Snowflake and Peloton became publicly traded companies through IPOs.
But entire sectors disappeared from the list for other reasons. The shared scooter industry’s Bird and Lime dropped off, after the two businesses had to temporarily pull their vehicles from the road in the wake of a pandemic. Both laid off employees earlier this year. And retail companies that ship their products directly to consumers, like Glossier, Away, and Allbirds, also fell off the list. Their type of business has seen demand dry up as shoppers spend more conservatively.
And it seems there was room for only one cannabis startup, online-ordering service Dutchie.
It replaced the lone weed business on the list in 2019, which was Dosist, at No. 2. Dosist makes a device for vaporizing marijuana that has been recognized for its innovation by Time Magazine and Fast Company. The Los Angeles startup opened a second retail store just before the pandemic, but the store is now temporarily closed.
Also missing from the list were TripActions, Affirm, Zume, Domio, and Sonder, which all suffered layoffs this year.
Here are the 38 surprise startups that made the list
1. Better (No. 1)
2. Brooklinen (No. 7)
3. Attentive (No. 8)
4. Loom (No. 9)
5. Nuvia (No. 11)
6. Dutchie (No. 12)
7. BrightInsight (No. 13)
8. Capsule (No. 15)
9. ModernHealth (No. 16)
10. Curative (No. 17)
11. Quibi (No. 19)
12. Deliverr (No. 20)
13. Instabase (No. 23)
14. Upkey (No. 24)
15. FIG (No. 25)
16.Unqork (No. 26)
17. A Cloud Guru (No. 28)
18. NTWRK (No. 29)
19. Tula Skincare (No. 30)
20. Guild Education (No. 31)
21. MasterClass (No. 32)
22. FullStory (No. 33)
23. Mindstrong (No. 34)
24. Alyce (No. 35)
25. Chief (No. 36)
26. Trella Health (No. 37)
27. P.volve (No. 38)
28. Ridgeline (No. 39)
29. Carbon Health (No. 40)
30. Seamless.AI (No. 41)
31. Front (No. 42)
32. Hawke Media (No. 43)
33. Sana Benefits (No. 44)
34. Bungalow (No. 45)
35. Sendoso (No. 46)
36. Harness (No. 47)
37. Alto Pharmacy (No. 49)
38. Lattice (No. 50)
Are you a startups insider with insight to share? Contact Melia Russell via email at [email protected] or on encrypted chat app Signal at (603) 913-3085 (no PR inquiries, please). Open DMs on Twitter @meliarobin.