1. Vulcun: Fantasy leagues for e-sports pro video games
Company name: Vulcun
Funding: $13.3 million
What it does: Vulcun is a fantasy league for e-sports (a.k.a. pro video games).
Reason: “If you are not a teenager, you may not have heard of ‘e-sports,’ meaning competitive multiplayer video gaming where teams compete against each other for prizes,” says Hilaly.
“But it’s become a phenomenon: More people watch the finals of tournaments for League of Legends or Counter-Strike, than any sporting event other than the Super Bowl,” he says. “Vulcun is capitalizing on this trend by enabling e-sports participants to trade skins (digital goods).”
2. Confluent: A new leader among open-source software companies
Company name: Confluent
Funding: $30.9 million
What it does: Confluent offers a commercial version of an open-source project called Kafka, a computer “messaging” system that handles bits of data computers send to one another.
Reason: “Ask any developer, and they will wax lyrical about Kafka, the open-source distributed messaging system,” Hilaly says. “The team behind Kafka left LinkedIn and created Confluent, an open core company built around Kafka which, along with others like Docker and MongoDB, are becoming the leaders among a new generation of open-source companies.”
“The team invented Kafka, the leading streaming data platform and is commercializing it for the enterprise,” adds Janmohamed.
3. VarageSale: A virtual garage sale with your neighbors
Company name: VarageSale
Funding: $68 million
What it does: Take eBay and make it local. That’s what VarageSale does: It let’s people buy, sell, and connect with others in their neighborhoods.
Reason: “VarageSale unlocks local person-to-person transactions so anyone can buy and sell low-cost items without friction,” Schreier says. “VarageSale’s app is fun, fast, and engaging. And most of all, VarageSale’s trusted community approach makes it the safest place to buy, sell, and be together on the internet.”
4. Branch Metrics: Bringing the Web to mobile apps
Company name: Branch Metrics
Funding: $18.05 million
What it does: Allows mobile apps to add hyperlinks inside their apps.
Reason: “Branch is quickly becoming the backbone of the mobile ecosystem and has become fundamental to the growth of many of our mobile startups,” Schreier says.
5. Namely: Easy-to-use HR software
Company name: Namely
Funding: $77.8 million
What it does: All-in-one human resources software for payroll and benefits.
Reason: “People software (payroll, benefits, and talent management) has been a necessary evil for far too long,” Grady says. “With Namely, it’s a competitive weapon.”
Customers praise it for being easy to use, he adds.
6. Datadog: "It’s like crack for developers"
Company name: Datadog
Funding: $53.4 million
What it does: Lets developers and IT pros watch and monitor all of their apps and data across all of their cloud services at once.
Reasons: “It’s like crack for developers,” Grady says.
“It’s changing the way enterprises monitor their cloud infrastructure,” says Puttagunta. “The company has signed some of the biggest up-and-coming companies, such as Airbnb and Zendesk, as well as established enterprises like HP.”
Feinstein adds, “Infrastructure and application monitoring in the cloud. Great visualizations and integrations with hundreds of services. Growing like a weed.”
7. EverString: Finding sales leads with big data
Company name: EverString
Funding: $78.7 million
What it does: Uses big data to help companies find sales prospects.
Reason: EverString is a “SaaS [cloud computing] company at the forefront of bringing data science to B2B selling, resulting in dramatic increases in sales efficiency and performance,” says Nieh.
EverString, he adds, is growing “rapidly” and has a “stellar team led by Vincent Yang, a product visionary in this space, and with some of the brightest minds in data science.”
8. Juicero: The future of juice
Company name: Juicero
Funding: $90 million
What it does: Juicero isn’t even out of stealth yet and the whole Valley is buzzing about it. It’s going to bring people the freshest juice they’ve ever tasted.
Reason: “Juicero is looking to be the Keurig of fresh juice,” says Nieh. “Massive market waiting to be disrupted.”
9. Highfive: Videoconferencing made cheap and easy
Company name: Highfive
Funding: $45.4 million
What it does: Corporate videoconferencing.
Reason: “Incredible founding team from Google that builds the world’s easiest to use and most affordable videoconferencing system for the mobile and cloud era,” Janmohamed says.
Highfive CEO and co-founder Shan Sinha previously co-founded DocVerse, bought byGoogle for $25 million in 2010. He then ran Google’s product management for Google Apps Enterprise.
10. Mic Networks: CNN for Millennials
Company name: Mic Networks
Funding: $32 million
What it does: News site geared to Millennials.
Reason: Mic is “CNN for Millennials,” says Liew. “A mission-driven company, focused on real news, meeting Millennials where they are, in their feeds and on their phones.”
“It has 20 million ComScore uniques, scored an interview with Potus, co-hosted the Democratic presidential debate, hired the exec editor of NPR news as exec editor–pretty remarkable for such a young company,” he adds.
Mic was founded in 2011.
11. Laurel and Wolf: Online interior design
Company name: Laurel and Wolf
Funding: $25.5 million
What it does: Finds an interior designer online.
Reason: “Marketplace for interior design, extraordinary CEO, and finding a clever way to attack furniture e-commerce at scale,” says Liew.
12. Segment: Fast-growing analytics company
Company name: Segment
Funding: $44.6 million
What it does: Segment is a single place that collects all customer data, which can then be used by many other apps, such as analytics, marketing automation, and databases.
Reason: “Segment is one of Accel’s fastest-growing SaaS companies,” says Natarajan. “It has quietly built a tremendous reputation, powering analytics for a number of the Valley’s fastest-growing companies.”
“Single API that collects customer data and pipes it to any analytics tool,” says Feinstein. “Seeing rapid adoption from the developer community.”
13. Looker: Self-service big data for business people
Company name: Looker
Funding: $48 million
What it does: Looker offers self-service big-data analytics software that makes it easy for data scientists to let business people ask questions and do research.
Reason: “Looker sits at the intersection of traditional B.I./visualization and more powerful analytics tools like Birst, Tableau, and others,” says Natarajan.
“It’s fast becoming one of the most beloved services in the ‘data toolkits’ of Silicon Valley companies,” he says. “The B.I./analytics market is massive, and they are quickly stealing share.”
14. InVision: Where designers collaborate to build apps
Company name: InVision
Funding: $79.1 million
What it does: InVision allows programmers and designers to build interactive realistic web and mobile app mockups and prototypes.
Reason: “InVision is a design collaboration platform for product teams and powers designers at Uber, Twitter, Evernote, and many others,” Natarajan says. “It has quickly become of the de facto design and collaboration tools in Silicon Valley and beyond.”
He describes it as the “fourth leg of the stool (Atlassian-Slack-GitHub-Invision) for how teams function.”
15. Mapbox: Design and publish beautiful maps
Company name: Mapbox
Funding: $62.6 million
What it does: Mapbox is a mapping platform that lets developers add maps to their apps. It’s not just competing with Google Maps, but also with enterprise incumbents like GIS mapping company ESRI.
Reason: “Mapping is one of the most important apps on mobile,” says Natarajan. “Mapbox offers an open-source, high-performance stack of tools for developers to integrate map-based experiences into apps. Importantly, developers aren’t beholden to Google or Apple and can leverage the Open Streetmap community for free data.”
Companies from Foursquare to Pinterest are using Mapbox, the company says.
16. Origami Logic: Organizing a deluge of marketing automation info
Company name: Origami Logic
Funding: $49.3 million
What it does: Origami organizes a deluge of marketing data to show how all marketing efforts perform on a daily basis.
Reason: “It’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to answer the simple question, ‘What happened today?’ let alone take action as a result of it,” says Flomenberg.
“Customers like Visa, Cisco, Intel, JCPenney, Omni Hotels, and Pernod Ricard are already getting value out of Origami Logic,” he adds. “Expect to see it make a big push into the mainstream market next year.”
17. Databricks: The inventors and keepers of Spark
Company name: Databricks
Funding: $47 million
What it does: Databricks provides commercial support for a popular big-data open-source project called Apache Spark. Spark crunches through vast amounts of data very fast.
Reason: “Databricks is the driving force behind Apache Spark, an easy-to-use open-source data-processing engine,” says Flomenberg. “Spark promises to democratize data analytics and make it easier for companies to build their own data-driven apps.”
18. Zoomdata: Turn data into charts no matter where it’s stored
Company name: Zoomdata
Funding: $22.2 million
What it does: Companies have collected vast amounts of data stored in low-cost systems like Hadoop or open-source databases. Zoomdata lets them easily turn that data into charts, graphs, and answers.
Reason: “With Zoomdata’s Visual Analytics Platform, users can now visualize billions of records in real time and query across multiple sources,” says Flomenberg.
And it can work with data that’s stored in the cloud and in the data center, he says.
19. Visier: Bringing big data to human resources
Company name: Visier
Funding: $46.5 million
What it does: Analyzes HR data to help companies assess their human resources efforts.
Reason: “Visier focuses on actionable analytics on our most precious resources, our employees,” Flomenberg says. “HR data is gold that virtually no one is mining. Visier is helping to change that.”
20. UserTesting: Have real users tell you what they think about your app
Company name: UserTesting
Funding: $48.5 million
What it does: UserTesting provides crowdsourcing usability testing of apps.
Reason: “UserTesting provides qualitative feedback from real people at a cost-effective price point, with lightning-fast speed,” says Fuller. “The feedback is crucial in helping companies understand what they can be doing better to offer the best experience possible.”
This is taken and amended from: 53 Startups That Will Take Off in 2016, According to Silicon Valley’s Top Venture Capitalists
transcribed from what are the best startup to work at in 2016