2022 is finally drawing to a close. This year is probably one of the worse years we’ve seen in decades. In the last 12 months, we saw the worst inflation in 40 years, economic downturn, global uncertainties, recession, and war. We also saw the collapse of crypto exchanges. We also witnessed hundreds of thousands of tech layoffs as tech companies saw $7.4 trillion wiped off their market capitalization.
The perfect storm in the industry also caused investors to pull back their investments in tech ventures, causing cash-hungry startups to experience greater pain. For the first time in three years, funding for startups also dropped and many tech startups were forced to let go of some of their staff to stay afloat while others have frozen hiring in preparation for the worsening economy in 2023. However, despite all the gloom and doom, somehow some tech startups have not only succeeded against the odds but have also thrived.
In this piece, we look at the top ten tech startups of 2022. The list includes some of the startups we’ve covered in the past. While we all know that it is difficult to determine the top startups of any specific year without access to current information, our list is based on data from several reliable sources including AngelList (now known as WellFound), Crunchbase, CB Insights, LinkedIn, and Tracxn, among others.
The data measures different elements of startup growth including annual recurring revenue (ARR) or monthly recurring revenue (MRR), the number of active users, lifetime value, customer acquisition cost (CAC), activation rates, and retention rate, among others. On top of it all, we also think some of the best ways to predict a company’s growth are through users’/customers’ growth and new hiring to support the growing demand for its product and service. With that, we would like to wrap up this year with a list of the top 10 startups of 2022.
Top Startups of 2022
What They Do: Discord is a social messaging platform best known for its free service that lets gamers communicate by video, voice, and text in interest-based chat rooms. (It’s not just for gaming!). The platform became very popular over the year as people who were stuck at home during the pandemic turned to Discord for study groups, dance classes, book clubs, and other virtual gatherings. The discord platform also includes an invite-only place with plenty of room to talk. We covered the startup last year after it raised $500 million in new funding round five months after walking away from $10 billion sale talks with Microsoft. Discord platform now has over 150 million active users. Discord currently has a total of 650 employees.
Headquarters: San Francisco
Founders: Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy
Year Founded: 2012
Total Funding: To date, Discord has raised a total of over $995 million in funding.
Quote: “What would a game-changing communication app look like using modern tech?” Citron said. “The response is off the charts. Now that we’ve got some organic word-of-mouth growth, we feel comfortable to start talking about what we’ve been doing. We think the potential is really big.”
What They Do: Novo is a fintech startup and provider of new banking services for small and medium businesses. Novo’s banking platform gives business owners the technology they need while getting partner banks the customers they want. Backed by a network of FDIC-insured community bank partners, Novo has been able to leverage the abilities of a nationally chartered and regulated bank while building proprietary technology to create the bank account modern businesses need.
Headquarters: New York
Founders: Michael Rangel and Tyler McIntyre
Year Founded: 2016
Total Funding: Novo has raised a total of $170.5 million in funding at a $700 million valuation. Their latest funding was raised on Nov 22, 2022, from a Series B round.
Quote: “At Novo, we are truly reshaping the relationship between small business owners and their checking accounts. Today, the vast majority of small business owners see their checking account as a safe holding place for their money — one that often comes with clunky user interfaces and countless fees.”
What They Do: Linktree is a Melbourne, Australia-based tech startup that connects audiences to a user’s entire online ecosystem. The startup provides an organized marketing platform for brands, publishers, and influencers. Since its launch six years ago, Linktree has achieved widespread adoption and exponential growth, exceeding 8 million global users, 28,000+ sign-ups per day, and over half a billion visitors to Linktrees in September alone. We covered Linktree back in 2020 after it raised $10.7 million in its first external funding round to empower billions of creators and brands. The round was led by Insight Partners, an investor in Shopify, and AirTree Ventures, an early investor in Canva.
Linktree is also used by major brands including brands like Red Bull and HBO. Its software is also used by celebrities like Selena Gomez and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the solopreneurs and small business owners shaping today’s world of work.
Headquarters: Melbourne, Australia
Founders: Alex Zaccaria, Anthony Zaccaria, and Nick Humphreys
Year Founded: 2016
Total Funding: Linktree has raised a total of $165.7 million in funding. Its last fundraise was on Mar 16, 2022, from a Series C round.
Quote: “For us it’s a no-brainer. Trees are the earth’s vacuum – they remove up to 150kg of carbon dioxide from the air a year. That’s something we know is critical in controlling climate change and making Earth a safer place to live,” Creative director Nicky Humphreys said.
What They Do: Brex is a San Francisco-based tech startup that helps businesses of all sizes (from recently incorporated to later-stage companies) to instantly get a credit card that has 20x higher limits, completely automates expense management, kills receipt tracking and magically integrates with their accounting systems. It provides finance options, corporate credit cards, and cash management accounts to businesses.
Brex started out catering to startups and small businesses by providing founders access to corporate credit cards without a personal guarantee or deposit. But it evolved its business model to serve as a “financial operating system” for larger companies after investing big in software. Brex currently has over 1,300 employees.
Headquarters: San Francisco.
Founders: Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi
Year Founded: 2017
Total Funding: Brex has raised a total of $1.5 billion in 12 funding rounds and a post-money valuation in the range of over $10 billion as of Jan 11, 2022, according to PrivCo.
Quote: “We started Brex to provide a superior corporate card to startup founders failed by legacy products,” said Henrique Dubugras, co-founder and CEO of Brex.
What They Do: Seamless.AI helps sales professionals match with potential customers using an artificial intelligence software. Over 300,000 companies, including Amazon, Oracle, and Wells Fargo, use Seamless’ sales automation platform to connect with target markets, acquire new clients and grow their businesses.
Seamless’ platform also allows businesses to produce contact and company information from multiple sources which include social media, news, telephone, email, web, company pitches, common connections, products, competitors, SEC filings, inbound links, and job postings
Seamless was founded by Brandon Bornancin and a group of award-winning entrepreneurs with a mission to help every professional globally create new relationships and opportunities, faster than ever before using the power of artificial intelligence. Seamless currently has over 420 employees
Headquarters: Columbus, Ohia
Founders: Brandon Bornancin
Year Founded: 2015
Total Funding: Seamless.AI has raised a total funding of $4.39M over 4 rounds. Seamless’ latest fundraise was Seed funding in April 2020 for $2.39 million.
Quote: “We were able to have zero layoffs, zero salary decreases. We tripled the team, gave bonuses and raises. It was all from using our software to sell, and because people needed help to connect to people remotely.”
What They Do: SoundHound is a voice artificial intelligence platform founded in 2005 by a group of Stanford graduates to help businesses integrate conversational voice assistants into their products. The startup offers its conversational intelligence AI platform in 25 languages to enable developers and business owners to maintain control over their brand image from anywhere using voice-enabled AI. We covered SoundHound back in 2021 when the company went public via a $2 billion SPAC deal.
SoundHound also enables people to interact with the things around them in the same way people interact with each other: by speaking naturally to mobile phones, cars, TVs, music speakers, and every other part of the emerging ‘connected’ world. Its products are used by some Fortune 500 companies including Hyundai Motor Co., Mercedes-Benz, Mastercard, and Snap. In recent months, the company faced some headwinds due to challenging marketing conditions and was forced to lay off 10% of its total workforce.
Headquarters: Santa Clara, California
Founders: Keyvan Mohajer (CEO), Majid Emami, and James Hom
Year Founded: 2015
Total Funding: Post-IPO Equity, $326 Million.
Quote: “Voice-enabled AI and conversational interfaces represent the next major focus in human-computing interaction that will impact every business in the years to come,” said Keyvan Mohajer, co-founder and CEO of SoundHound Inc.”
What They Do: Gong provides a sales conversation intelligence platform created to improve calls and demos for sales teams. The pandemic period was a difficult time for most companies as global sales teams switched to remote work and field sales teams were forced to work from him. That was the moment Gong stepped in to help businesses remotely boost their sales and navigate the ever-challenging business environment with its AI-powered sales conversation intelligence platform.
Gong sales platform is cloud-based and utilizes artificial intelligence automatically to record, transcribe, and analyzes every sales conversation and call and also analyzes conversations from audio sources and web-conferencing platforms such as Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Zoom, and then links the results to CRM systems, enabling organizations to save time, increase win rates, improve strategic decision-making, and increase revenue. Gong recently launched Gong Forecast — the first product of its kind to build realistic revenue forecasts that are based on real-time customer interactions. Gong has grown exponentially since its inception seven years ago. The startup currently has 1,100 employees.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Founders: Amit Bendov (CEO) and Eilon Reshef
Year Founded: 2015
Total Funding: Gong has raised a total of $583M in funding over 8 rounds. Its latest funding was raised in July 2022 from a Secondary Market round. We covered Gong two years ago after it scored $200 million in Series D funding at a $2.2 billion valuation. The startup is now valued at more than $7.25 billion.
Quote: “We made a bold prediction in 2016 that Gong’s technology would become the most significant innovation for sales since the invention of CRM,” said Gong CEO and Co-founder, Amit Bendov. “The market has proven that prediction was correct. With global sales teams switching to remote work and field sales teams grounded for the foreseeable future, we are seeing substantial demand for Gong’s solution even in a challenging business environment. There is a new way to win in sales and the best sales teams are turning to Gong’s Revenue Intelligence Platform to guide them down that path.”
What They Do: ClickUp is a productivity app that helps users plan, track, manage, and collaborate on tasks in one place so they don’t have to juggle between apps. ClickUp App has features like goal setting, calendars, to-do lists, and even an inbox for coworkers to be productive together without the need for multiple apps.
Since the introduction of personal computers in the early 80s, productivity software has changed the way we work and made tasks easier for office workers. Productivity software is often used for producing information (such as documents, presentations, worksheets, databases, charts, graphs, digital paintings, electronic music, and digital videos.)
However, productivity software is broken. We’re now at a point where a single organization uses at least half a dozen productivity software. There are just too many tools to keep track of, too many things in entirely separate ecosystems. With a plethora of productivity software or apps, users are now faced with the challenges of sharing data across these tools. We’ve reached the point of what some experts called application sprawl.
ClickUp’s app replaces all the apps for tasks, docs, spreadsheets, goal tracking, email, and more, together in one place. ClickUp is the only productivity platform that replaces all other workplace apps across an organization.
Its platform is now used by over 250,000 teams worldwide including teams within Google, Uber, Nike, and Netflix. Its customers range from the San Diego Padres baseball team to big corporations like IBM. ClickUp’s success has also caught investors’ attention with many high-profile VC firms ready to pour millions into the company.
Headquarters: San Diego, California
Founders: Zeb Evans (CEO) and Alex Yurkowski
Year Founded: 2017
Total Funding: ClickUp has raised a total of $537.5 million in funding over 5 rounds. Its latest funding was raised in October 2021 when the startup joined the unicorn club after it raised $400 million at a $4 billion valuation.
Quote: “ClickUp’s sole purpose has always been to make the world more productive. Time is our most valuable resource and we are committed to giving people more time to focus on what matters most to them,” ClickUp CEO Zeb Evans said. “We believe software should make people more productive and efficient. I’m thrilled about our next chapter and accelerating the innovations that deliver on this promise to our customers.”
What They Do: Chainalysis provides blockchain data and analysis and a litany of resources to government agencies, banks, and businesses to help identify and eliminate hacked or stolen funds. As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, so are the threats faced by financial institutions and investors, and governments around the world. As such, government agencies are prioritizing threats like ransomware that abuse it, and cryptocurrency exchanges are seeking a competitive edge.
That’s why Chainalysis, a blockchain startup known for building trust in the cryptocurrency industry is helping government agencies, and private sector businesses across the world to detect and prevent cryptocurrency crime and money laundering. . Chainalysis also offers activity monitoring reports and diligence tools, which allow analysts to estimate criminal revenues and emerging threats.
Since its inception eight years ago, Chainlysis has expanded its footprint in regions such as Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company is also planning to expand its presence in South America as part of its effort to increase its global reach.
Headquarters: New York
Founders: Michael Gronager (CEO), Jan Moller, and Jonathan Levin
Year Founded: 2014
Total Funding: Chainalysis has raised a total of $536.6M in funding over 10 rounds. Its latest funding was in May 2021 when it raised $170 million at an $8.6 billion valuation. Investors include Benchmark, Accel, Addition, Dragoneer, Durable Capital Partners, and others.
Quote: “The future of finance and national security will be based on blockchain data-driven decisions,” said Michael Gronager, Co-founder and CEO, Chainalysis. “We’ve harnessed the transparency of blockchains to provide actionable insights into markets, threats, and business opportunities.”
What They Do: Availity offers free access to real-time information and instant responses for healthcare professionals. It’s the nation’s largest real-time health information network and facilitates billions of clinical, administrative, and financial transactions annually with a network of more than 2 million providers and thousands of health plans across the country.
Availity works to solve communication challenges in healthcare by creating a richer, more transparent exchange of information among health plans, providers, and technology partners. The startup optimizes the flow of information between healthcare providers, health plans, and other healthcare stakeholders through an Internet-based exchange. Availity was recently named one of the top digital companies in healthcare by CB Insights, a market analyst firm that provides market intelligence on private companies and market activities.
In August, Availity acquired clinical data interoperability startup Diameter Health to integrate Diameter Health’s complementary Upcycling Data™ technology into its existing clinical data gateway capabilities, further positioning Availity to deliver one of the strongest integrated clinical and claims data network and interoperability platforms in healthcare.
Headquarters: Jacksonville, Florida
Founders: Russ Thomas
Year Founded: 2001
Total Funding: Availity has raised a total of $200 million in funding over 2 rounds. Its latest funding was raised in July 2021 from a Secondary Market round.
Quote: “The goal is to build out a data acquisition and interoperability platform to help clients reduce administrative burden, boost revenue and drive quality improvements,” Availity’s CEO said.