The Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2017


Announcements, News

By Tribeca Venture Partners

Every year for the past three, Forbes has gone looking for 25 young U.S. companies with a strong shot at reaching a valuation of $1 billion or more. Last year’s list included hot companies like the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, online retailer Boxed and innovative home seller OpenDoor. This year, with the help of TrueBridge Capital Partners, we asked venture firms which companies they thought most likely to hit the billion-dollar mark soon. Then we cut that list down to a final 25, evaluating strategies, funding and competitive challenges as well as estimating current revenues.More on our methodology: TrueBridge, a 10-year-old Chapel Hill, NC firm that also collaborates with Forbes on our annual Midas list of the world’s top tech investors, asked 195 venture firms to nominate startups and to encourage their portfolio companies to nominate themselves. It also fielded entries directly, through a link that appeared on its website and on To be considered, firms had to give TrueBridge their revenue numbers, their most recent valuations, a list of investors, data on their customers and an outline of their business model and growth trajectory. There was no fee to apply. TrueBridge examined nearly 100 companies, then passed a list of 40 to the Entrepreneurs team at Forbes. We did further reporting and analysis, researching companies’ track records, evaluating business plans, and talking to founders, investors, customers and competitors. We also gave TrueBridge more than a dozen additional companies to evaluate. The list is confined to U.S. startups. We’ll start fielding nominations for the 2018 list in June.

We like the variety among this year’s picks, from an innovative online bridal registry (Zola) to a company that builds and launches satellites the size of wine bottles (Spire).  Our feature story this year is on Optoro, a company that helps retailers and manufacturers deal with America’s mountain of rejected merchandise.


Founder: David Politis (CEO); Equity raised: $47 million; Estimated 2017 revenue: $21 million; Lead investors: Accel, Flybridge Capital Partners

What it does: Makes software that lets IT departments manage employees’ cloud-based applications. At first, BetterCloud focused only on Google’s productivity suite. But in 2015, CEO Politis decided to blow up the business and start over. Politis rebuilt it to manage any software used in business, from Slack to Zendesk. BetterCloud laid off much of its customer-facing staff and spent $35 million retooling over two years.

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