Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2023


There are more than 50,000 venture-backed startups in the U.S., and only the tiniest fraction will ever reach a $1 billion valuation. Here are the 25 we think most likely to succeed.

Reporters: Isabel Bekele, Jeremy Bogaisky, Elisabeth Brier, Bob Ivry, Katie Jennings, Maggie McGrath and Lauren Orsin

Photos of AJ Piplica, Andrew Lau, Praveen Penmetsa and Colleen Cutcliffe by Chris Chrisman for Forbes

Time to polish the crystal ball. There are more than 50,000 venture-backed startups in the U.S., and only the tiniest fraction of them will ever reach a billion-dollar valuation. For the ninth year in a row, Forbes has teamed with TrueBridge Capital Partners to search for the 25 most likely to pass that mark. Our track record is superb: Of the list’s 200 alumni, 120 have become unicorns, including DoorDash, Benchling, Duolingo and Rippling; another 27 were acquired, while three went public for less than $1 billion. Only five imploded or shut down, although at least 21 of our alumni that previously surpassed $1 billion are now worth less than that. Given banking troubles, layoffs, skittish investors and compressed valuations, it has been a tough year to pick winners. But from more than 200 nominations, we think these 25, presented in alphabetical order, have the best chance of becoming stars.




Founders: Alexandra Buttke, Gary Pignata, Angelo Stracquatanio (CEO)

Equity raised: $207 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $25 million

Lead investors: Alkeon Capital, Iconiq, Insight Partners, Pritzker Group, Silverton Partners

Manufacturing drugs is tough enough without a firm grip on the process. That’s what Apprentice’s software was designed to provide. Stracquatanio, 37, and his cofounders launched the Jersey City, New Jersey–based company in 2014, and it took off during the pandemic as the importance of speeding up vaccine making became clear. Customers include pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb, genome engineering firm Synthego and companies Stracquatanio can’t name due to privacy concerns. “We work so hard for the patient,” he says, “but the patient will never know us.”

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Founders: Sarah Hardy, Laura Modi (CEO)

Equity Raised: $142 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $84 million

Lead investors: Park West Asset Management, PowerPlant Partners, VMG Partners

Last year’s nationwide shortage of powdered baby formula gave newcomer Bobbie, founded in 2018 by moms Modi, 38, and Hardy, 43, a chance to nibble a little market share away from dominant multinationals Abbott Nutrition, Reckitt Benckiser and Nestlé. Bobbie (named for how Modi’s daughter pronounced the word bottle) took a novel approach, opting to supply formula only to existing customers. The strategy strengthened brand loyalty, and the company expects $165 million in revenue in 2023. (For more, see “Startup Bobbie Proves There’s Profit In Baby Formula Despite The Dominance Of Industry Giants.”)




Founders: Luis Basagoiti, Miguel Fernandez (CEO), Przemek Gotfryd, Ignacio Moreno

Equity Raised: $110 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $30 million

Lead investors: 01 Advisors, Bling Capital, SciFiVC, QED

For software startups that for whatever reason are looking for alternatives to venture funding, Capchase is here. Fernandez, 32, an immigrant from Spain, says the New York-based company has funneled more than $2 billion to over 4,000 businesses. That includes over $100 million in financing to female- and minority-owned startups over the past two years.




Founders: Cobi Blumenfeld-Gantz (CEO), Corey Metzman, Vivek Ramaswamy

Equity Raised: $61 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $15 million

Lead investors: Addition, Maverick Ventures, Narya, Susa Ventures

Seniors facing the maddening morass of Medicare plans have a wingman in Chapter, founded in 2020 and run by Palantir veteran Blumenfeld-Gantz, 33. Chapter takes an approach reminiscent of a matchmaker—it searches its own giant database of all available health-coverage options and comes up with the best fit for each customer. Even better, Chapter-employed cupids don’t work on commission. They receive the same compensation regardless of which plan gets the thumbs-up.




Founder: Barney Hussey-Yeo (CEO)

Equity Raised: $137 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $31 million

Lead investors: Balderton Capital, EQT Ventures, LocalGlobe, Sofina

Cleo employs a staff of ten comedians to help sprinkle spoonfuls of sugar on the sometimes bitter medicine of personal financial planning. Five million Americans, median age 25, use the chatbot to help track their spending, build credit, plan savings—and uncover whatever humor might be hiding in the sobering truth of their student-loan debt.




Founders: Karim Butt, Danielle Cohen-Shohet (CEO)

Equity Raised: $70 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $40 million

Lead investors: Bessemer Venture Partners, L Catterton, Imaginary Ventures

When it comes to the job of trimming the mind-numbing tasks that bedevil mom-and-pop hair salons, makeup artists and spas, Cohen-Shohet nailed it. GlossGenius, started in 2015, handles scheduling, accounting and making sure there’s always enough inventory of essentials like shampoo. It’s automation to dye for.

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Founders: Gabriel Pereyra (CEO), Winston Weinberg

Equity Raised: $26 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $0

Lead investors: OpenAI Startup Fund, Sequoia

Harvey’s business model, minus the legalese: Let AI do what humans find boring AF. In Harvey’s case, that would be legal scutwork, like regulatory filings, and first drafts handled by junior attorneys. It was only last summer that former securities attorney Weinberg teamed up with Pereyra, a DeepMind and Meta alum, to launch Harvey, and already it boasts five major customers, including accounting giant PwC and global law firm Allen & Overy. The deals totaled more than $5 million in annual recurring revenue at mid-2023.




Founders: Glenn Case, AJ Piplica (CEO), Skyler Shuford, Mike Smayda

Equity Raised: $119 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $10 million

Lead investors: Sam Altman, Canaan Partners, Khosla Ventures

New York to Paris in 90 minutes. What a beautiful world that would be. Hermeus aims to make it real. The Atlanta-based startup wants to build a hypersonic airliner capable of carrying 20 passengers at five times the speed of sound, or 3,800 miles per hour. By comparison, the Concorde was a shambling galoot that traveled less than half that fast. Is the Hermeus plan hyperambitious? Sure. But the company gets to hone the technology partly on the Pentagon’s dime, with a $30 million investment from the Air Force. First, it’ll develop a smaller hypersonic drone called Quarterhouse, slated to take wing next year. A larger second drone, Darkhorse, is expected to follow in 2026. Both will be powered from takeoff by an off-the-shelf fighter jet engine expected to propel the aircraft to near Mach 3, fast enough to ignite a ramjet, which has no moving parts and depends on forward motion to compress the air needed to burn fuel efficiently. The technology has been in development for decades and is considered relatively mature. Says AJ Piplica, 35: “This is an engineering challenge, not a science challenge.” Progress, however, also moves like a shambling galoot. Don’t expect commercial flights until the mid-2030s at the earliest.

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Hex Technologies

Founders: Caitlin Colgrove, Barry McCardel (CEO), Glen Takahashi

Equity Raised: $96 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $6 million

Lead investors: Amplify Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint, Sequoia

Hex takes data, such as that about consumer behavior, does an abracadabra and turns it into interactive charts, tables and maps that can be shared without screenshots. The company, led by McCardel, a 34-year-old Palantir and PwC alum, operates on a freemium model, reeling in new customers by offering free services and charging enterprise users, including SeatGeek and Brex, $75 per member per month.

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Founders: Josh Curl, Kashish Gupta (co-CEO), Tejas Manohar (co-CEO)

Equity Raised: $92 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $10 million

Lead investors: Afore Capital, Amplify Partners, Bain Capital, Iconiq, YCombinator

When big brands moved their sales online during the Covid-19 lockdowns, they realized they had piles of consumer data without a way to squeeze any juicy marketing insights out of them. That’s where Hightouch comes in. Founded by Forbes Under 30 alumni Curl, Gupta and Manohar, Hightouch syncs the consumer info generated by clients such as Warner Music, PetSmart and to tools from Salesforce and Facebook Ads. That benefits customers in two ways: It speeds their marketing operations and targets their pitches more precisely.




Founders: Phil Braden, David Gourley, Andrew Lau (CEO)

Equity Raised: $117 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $13 million

Lead investors: Accel, Insight Partners, Tiger Global Management, Wing Partners

Jellyfish CEO Andrew Lau, 46, and cofounders David Gourley, 49, and Phil Braden, 51, met more than two decades ago at Endeca, an e-commerce search engine acquired by Oracle in 2011 for more than $1 billion. In 2017, while they were brainstorming startup ideas over coffee, Lau recalls Braden asking, “Which of us is going to do the engineering thing this time?” The answer from all three: not me. The lighthearted moment became the basis of their startup. They knew engineering was hard and made harder by business-side colleagues who chronically misunderstood the process. With Boston-based Jellyfish, the trio hope to build for engineers what Salesforce created for salespeople, using data to answer questions like which projects are taking the most time, how many work hours are spent fixing bugs and the location of bottlenecks in code reviews. Clients include Priceline, PagerDuty and Indeed. “Engineering is a very strategic, expensive department, and there’s very little insight into what’s happening,” Lau says.

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Founders: Mark Daughters, Adam Pettit (CEO), Wesley Pettit

Equity Raised: $188 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $19 million

Lead investors: Addition, Felicis, First Round Capital, Greycroft, Tiger Global Management

Reports that Apple products have taken over the corporate world are only slightly exaggerated. Adam Pettit, 34, and his cofounders figured they’d hop on the bandwagon and make it easier for companies to secure and manage their fleets of iMacs, MacBooks and iPhones. Kandji’s signature product, used by customers that include software firm Sisense and games publisher Tilting Point, makes the process simple by doing everything in the cloud.




Founders: Daniel Rasmuson, Brian Rieger, Manu Sharma (CEO)

Equity Raised: $189 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $20 million

Lead investors: Andreessen Horowitz, B Capital Group, First Round Capital, Gradient Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, SoftBank

Anyone who has ever said, “You gotta see this meme!” and then spent an awkward amount of time trying to find it can relate: The right bits of data—especially the huge amounts essential to developing artificial intelligence—are worth nothing if you don’t know where they are. Standardizing and labeling data and eliminating bottlenecks are what Labelbox is all about. Sharma, a 32-year-old immigrant from India, launched the business in 2018. Today, customers including OpenAI, Procter & Gamble and Google rely on Labelbox’s data management software to help build AI applications.

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Loop Returns

Founders: Kyle Hency, Steve Kemper, Corbett Morgan, Chris Pinchot, Jonathan Poma (CEO), Brandon Schmidt, Dustin Tevis, Dave Wardell

Equity Raised: $110 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $22 million

Lead investors: CRV, FirstMark Capital

We all know the type of shopper who buys the same piece of clothing in two sizes and three different colors and returns all but one. Retailers hate that. But with 16.5% of online purchases making the round trip zto the seller, merchants are forced to deal with the hassle and expense. Poma, 38, launched Columbus, Ohio–based Loop Returns in 2017 to help small businesses that have Shopify storefronts. Its software not only manages returns but nudges customers toward options such as exchanges or store credit, which can transform a pain in the neck into dollars in the pocket. After signing with Loop, sweatpants retailer Aviator Nation lowered its refund rate by 11% and made an average $10.51 “upsell” on each return.

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Founders: Matthew Vega-Sanz (CEO), Michael Vega-Sanz

Equity Raised: $40 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $20 million

Lead investors: Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures

The Vega-Sanz twins, 27, grew up on a small farm in southeastern Florida and launched their first startup, a car-rental app for college students, in their Babson College dorm room. After Covid-19 travel restrictions put an end to that, they pivo-ted to Lula, which sells auto insurance on a per-use basis, deploying custom technology to assess risk. Its target market includes car-sharing hosts on vehicle-renting sites such as Turo and Getaround. Last year’s $20 million in revenue came less than three years after the brothers found themselves $2,000 in the hole—a turnaround Matthew Vega-Sanz describes as “crazy.”

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Founder: Derek Lo (CEO)

Equity Raised: $85 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $13 million

Lead investors: GV, Sequoia Capital, Spark Capital

Lo, 28, created Medallion in March 2020 to automate the dullest of health care administrative gruntwork, such as verifying medical licenses and enrolling doctors in insurance networks. Medallion now has more than 300 customers, inclu-ding Oak Street Health and VillageMD, but with 6,000-plus hospitals across the United States, the potential market is vast. “We really are at just the tip of the iceberg,” Lo says.

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Founders: Gil Feig (CEO), Shensi Ding

Equity Raised: $75 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $8 million

Lead investors: Accel, Addition, NEA

Before founding Merge in 2020, Feig and Ding, 30-year-old best friends, interviewed more than 100 companies about their challenges around application programming interface integrations. They offered a solution: a unified API that can connect hundreds of different tools in one hub. Some of those early interviewees were skeptical, Feig says, but today the company’s corporate customers include Calendly and Gong.



Monarch Tractor

Founders: Carlo Mondavi, Zachary Omohundro, Praveen Penmetsa (CEO), Mark Schwager

Equity Raised: $116 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $22 million

Lead investors: Astanor Ventures, Musashi Seimitsu Industry

Monarch makes autonomous electric tractors designed to lower the cost of farming, while also making it more sustainable. Cofounders Penmetsa, Schwager and Omohundro previously worked on autonomous vehicles and other engineering problems, while Mondavi, the company’s chief farming officer, is a fourth-generation winemaker. (For more, see “How Three Car Guys And A Winemaker Want To Save America’s Farms With Tractorbots.”)



Pendulum Therapeutics

Founders: Jim Bullard, Colleen Cutcliffe (CEO), John Eid

Equity Raised: $116 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $11 million

Lead investors: Meritech Capital, Sequoia Capital, True Ventures

In 2007, Colleen Cutcliffe’s daughter was born prematurely and spent the first month of her life in the intensive care unit taking antibiotics. As she grew, she experienced metabolic issues and food sensitivities, and Cutcliffe, a biochemistry and molecular biology Ph.D., discovered that many babies given antibiotics are more susceptible to chronic lifelong problems that include asthma, ADHD, diabetes and celiac disease. That’s because antibiotics can lay waste to the “good” bacteria living in our gut. The experience inspired Cutcliffe, 46, to start Pendulum Therapeutics in 2012. Eight years later, the San Francisco based startup published a clinical study showing the success of its flagship glucose-control pro­biotic in mana­ging Type 2 diabetes. Since then, Pendulum has rolled out additional products to promote gut health. Launching a microbiome startup wasn’t easy. Cutcliffe recalls “getting rejected up and down Silicon Valley” before the Mayo Clinic wrote the company a $300,000 convertible note in 2014. Today, in addition to its VC backers, Pendulum has signed Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, who has diabetes, as an angel investor and chief communications officer. (For more, see “This Scientist Thinks You Should Pay $215 A Month For ‘Good’ Bacteria To Help Control Your Diabetes.”)

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Founders: Sid Gupta (CEO), Sourabh Mahajan, Zunu Mittal

Equity Raised: $141 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $140 million

Lead investors: 8VC, Basis Set Ventures, Founders Fund, Insight Partners, Wellington Management

No stores? No warehouses? No problem. Because Quince sells directly from manufacturers, it can offer discounts such as cashmere sweaters for $50 and washable silk dresses for $60. Gupta, 43, cut his teeth in private equity, then bought and ran a high-end chain of candy stores called Lolli & Pops.




Founders: Aditya Goel, Soups Ranjan (CEO), Zahid Shaikh

Equity Raised: $75 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $10 million

Lead investors: Andreessen Horowitz, XYZ

Sardine has nothing to do with the fish and everything to do with the fishy. Its software sniffs out financial fraudsters, 90% of whom have already passed the banking industry’s “Know Your Customer” compliance process, according to Ranjan, 43, whose previous stops were heading off financial crime at neobank Revolut and stewarding data at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. Sardine focuses on payment flow and transaction monitoring, and most of its early customers were in crypto, including FTX, the Sam Bankman-Fried fiasco. Ranjan notes that his startup now works mostly with, shall we say, more traditional fintechs. “If you can solve for fraud in crypto,” he says, “you can solve for it anywhere.”



Founders: Max Blumenfeld, Naftali Harris (CEO)

Equity Raised: $84 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $25 million

Lead investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Craft Ventures

In their relentless campaign to stay ahead of the cops, criminals have come up with something called synthetic identity fraud: They take a single piece of personal data and build an entire financial profile from it. Harris and Blumenfeld, both 31, were working as data scientists at buy-now, pay-later app Affirm when they stumbled across a dozen cases of this crafty form of wrecking people’s lives as far back as 2016. The duo started San Francisco–based Senti-Link the next year, using machine learning, informed by human insights, to prevent theft for banks, lenders and others. It has since expanded beyond synthetic identity fraud to other kinds of fraud, including old-fashioned identity theft. (For more, see “Inside The Rise Of A Fintech Using AI And Human Insight To Fight Fraud.”)

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Silo Technologies

Founders: Ashton Braun (CEO), Antonio Bustamante

Equity Raised: $72 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $10 million

Lead investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Haystack, Initialized Capital, Koch Disruptive Technologies, Tribe Capital

In the olden days—say, five years ago—farmers who had big lots of cucumbers or strawberries to sell would email or text potential buyers, then sit around and wait for a response. That’s fine if you’re selling hypersonic aircraft or B2B software, but it’s the road to ruin when your products can quickly start to smell. Braun, 33, trained Silo’s software with data from truckloads of those texts and emails, then automated the buying process. Silo has recently added more tools for growers, including banking, aided by the hiring of Amazon’s former head of lending.

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Vannevar Labs

Founders: Brett Granberg (CEO), Nini Moorhead

Equity Raised: $91 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $11 million

Lead investors: Costanoa Ventures, Felicis Ventures, General Catalyst, Point72

We’re on a need-to-know basis when it comes to Vannevar Labs’ flagship software, Decrypt, which the Pentagon uses to help spies identify threats from America’s enemies. The Air Force, for example, relies on it to analyze technical documents about Russia’s antiaircraft systems. Granberg, 32, who previously invested in startups for the VC arm of the CIA, and Moorhead, 34, a former counterterrorism intelligence officer, make frequent visits to U.S. military bases to consult on software upgrades. “We have the tools to defer the next conflict,” Granberg says.

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Founders: Nick Macario (CEO), Viv Rajkumar

Equity Raised: $47 million

Estimated 2022 revenue: $6 million

Lead investors: Jack and Sam Altman, Craft Ventures

Verifying the credentials of medical professionals is work still mostly performed by human beings, employed by hospitals and health networks, who enter data by hand. Macario, a 39-year-old serial entrepreneur, cofounded Verifiable in 2020 on the idea that machines can perform this essential but tedious task faster and more accurately than people can. He may have a point. Some customers have seen turnaround times drop by more than 70%, according to Macario. The Austin, Texas–based company’s clients now include some 400,000 health care providers.

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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