Is there such thing as "The next Silicon Valley?"
Despite the prevalence of emerging startup ecosystems from Singapore to Santiago, and the occasional media article claiming the bubble has burst, entrepreneurs continue to flock here.
Could they procure necessary capital elsewhere? Probably.
Could they find a higher concentration of like-minded, supportive individuals elsewhere? Probably not.
You would be hard-pressed to find as many tech-savvy individuals who are passionate about thinking outside the box, dreaming big and disrupting the status quo as in Northern California. As The Harvard Business Review recently noted, the backbone of Silicon Valley's hard-to-replicate culture is an unusual level of grit:
"What stood out for us in these companies is the day-to-day determination to see something through despite near-constant failure," said HBR contributors Heitor Martins, Yran Bartolomeu Dias and Somesh Khann, after meeting with several leaders in Silicon Valley's tech scene. "We found people at all levels to be especially levelheaded about failure and comfortable with the inherent messiness of experimentation."
In this article, we'll be highlighting six Silicon Valley tech startups who are demonstrating the kind of forward thinking and exponential growth that has made Silicon Valley famous.
The Top Silicon Valley Startups to Watch in 2017
Zipline is a robotics company that builds autonomous drones designed to deliver vaccines, medicine, or blood to clinics located in regions that are difficult to reach. Zipline's drone technology completes deliveries to most international locations within 30 minutes rain or shine, all without a pilot.
Delivery requests are sent by health care workers via text message, and arrive at agreed upon targets by parachute. According to the company's website, more than 2 billion people lack adequate access to essential medical products, such as blood and vaccines, due to challenging terrain, impassable mountains, or washed-out roads.
Since launching in 2011, Zipline has entered into international partnerships with UPS, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, and the Rwandan government. Big-name companies like UPS, Fedex, and Amazon have been experimenting with commercial drone delivery services of their own. Additionally, the Obama administration estimated the drone industry could be worth some $82 billion by 2025.
Founders: Keenan Wyrobek, Keller Rinaudo, Peter Seid, William Hetzler, Phu Nguyen
Total Equity Funding: $41 million from eight rounds
For a complete list of Zipline's investors, click here.
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Discord, a voice-and-text chat app for gamers, has already accrued 25 million users since launching in early 2017. Discord's technology incorporates the best elements of popular messaging apps like Skype, Slack, and IRC into a gamer-friendly platform.
"This program is really what I've been waiting for because it's the best of two worlds. No longer do I have to be in Skype and have someone tell me to 'get on ts.' and then switch apps."
Though the secure chat platform is free to use, Discord plans to release priced customization features in the future. With that said, the best thing about discord is really that it's voice and text features are 100 percent free. Founder Jason Citron and his team are inspired by memories of staying up late playing Warcraft, bonding over The Sims, and getting to know people via gaming.
Judging by the startup's early stats, its users are definitely feeling the love. According to the company's website, around 200 million messages are sent via Discord each day. However, it's worth mentioning that, Discord differs from communication counterparts in a key way: Users must opt-in to engage within chats.
Founder: Jason Citron
Total Equity Funding: $79.3 million from six rounds
For a complete list of Discord's investors, click here.
On its company website, Segment claims it will be "the last integration you ever have to do." The platform seeks to solve an increasingly common problem for sales and marketing departments in the digital era: The reliance upon a dizzying array of data organization tools.
Could Segment be the organizational tool consumer data analysts have been waiting for? As Segment cofounder and CEO Peter Reinhardt told Tech Crunch:
"For the last five years, a lot of investors have been saying that at some point, this industry needs to consolidate — you can’t have more and more email marketing tools. Companies are piecing together these best-in-class tools rather than these broad suites … People like more and more specialized, niche tools for companies of their size or their geography or their industry."
Whether your company uses Stripe, Salesforce, or dozens of other popular applications, Segment can streamline consumer data into one infrastructure. This way, marketers can avoid the tedious task of jumping between multiple applications to piece together an accurate data picture. Since launching in 2011, the company has garnered more than 1,500 clients, including big names like Gap, Fender, and Crate&Barrel.
Founders: Calvin French-Owen, Peter Reinhardt, Ian Storm Taylor, Ilya Volodarsky
Total Equity Funding: $108.72 million from six rounds
For a complete list of Segment's investors, click here.
Element Analytics has created a powerful new platform that helps IT analysts, data scientists, engineers and other analyzers of industrial data, quickly translate time-series data into actionable insights. The technology's unique design puts the user first, thus facilitating the kind of simplified analysis experience that make people say, "Why wasn't it always this easy?"
Element Analytics is focused on delivering advanced predictive capabilities to oil and gas, chemical, utility mining and other asset intensive industries. With Element Analytics, users can proactively strategize before problems occur.
The software has three primary capabilities: Asset Data Modeling, Data Transformation, and Advanced Analytics. Since opening its doors in 2015, Element Analytics' mission, to make industrial data more accessible, has attracted big name players. Both Microsoft and OSIsoft have officially partnered with the organization, suggesting greater innovations are on the horizon for the startup.
Founders: David Mount, Sameer Kalwani
Total Equity Funding: $7 million from two rounds
For a complete list of Element Analytics' investors, click here.
Hate mobile advertising? Kiip is seeking to solve this problem with a platform that allows advertisers to seamlessly integrate relevant content and rewards into mobile apps.
Kiip's mission is centered around "moments marketing," a philosophy that merits introducing customers to rewards during relevant moments. For example, say you have just finished taking a selfie. Kiip's technology can register the photo, and offer a corresponding coupon for some sunglasses, clothing, or beauty products. As cofounder Brian Wong told Tech Crunch:
As reported by Tech Crunch, Kiip's rewards platform is now embedded in 5,000 mobile apps and delivers anywhere from 2 to 3 million rewards a day. Since acquiring contracts with big name companies like Coca-cola, the startup is showing no signs of slowing down.
Founders: Courtney Guertin, Brian Wong
Total Equity Funding: $32.01 million from eight rounds
For a complete list of Kiip's investors, click here.
Octane AI is a chat bot creation platform designed to make bots a more accessible marketing tool for everyone from musicians to teachers to big brands alike. The idea for Octane AI came from the many questions cofounder, and former Chat Bots Magazine creator, Matt Schlicht routinely received from confused business owners wanting to use chat bots.
"You don’t have to be an expert in designing conversation (to use Octane AI). You can have a bot up and running in three to four minutes, not just as a big business but as a mom and pop shop…the 99 percent of people that don’t know how to program."
Despite the sheer number of bot startups on the market, Octane AI appears to be doing something right. After launching its platform in late 2016 — with bots advertising concert tickets, merchandise, and content for the likes of 50 Cent, Aerosmith, KISS, and SPiN — the startup raised $1.5 million in a round led by Phil Libin and General Catalyst Partners.
Keeping its promise to deliver bot making capabilities in 5 minutes or less, the company continues to experiment in its efforts to determine what users really want from bots.
Founders: Matt Schlicht, Leif K-Brooks, Ben Parr
Total Equity Funding: $1.5 million from one round
For a complete list of Octane AI's investors, click here.
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