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Not too long ago, Forbes created their annual Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. It’s sort of a prediction list for companies that’ll soon join the nearly 400 unicorns (worth a billion dollars). It’s not a proverbial, blind prediction list. All of these companies have some early traction. They’re a reflection of what’s working now. Not necessarily a guide to “the future” though.

What’s most fascinating to me is that the list points to some interesting niches which I usually overlook. Here they are:

Data & Insights

Chainalysis – cryptocurrency investigation software that can shine light on how people use bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and more.

Kong – gatekeeper to companies’ APIs and monitors how often they’re used.

D2C E-Commerce

Grove Collaborative – sells eco-friendly home products.

Rothy’s – makes 3D-knitted stylish and comfortable shoes from recycled plastic water bottles.

Education & Creativity

Duolingo – digital language-learning tool.

Figma – moving design online through a browser-based tool where designers can work and collaborate together.

Patreon – membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid.

Enterprise Software

Front – shared corporate email inbox to encourage team collaboration and productivity within organizations.

Lattice – human resources software that uses surveys to shift the focus of performance management from employee evaluation to career development.

Divvy – corporate expense tracking service.

Entertainment

Fubotv – over-the-top internet television service that focuses primarily on channels that distribute live sports.

Fintech

Dave – app tracks expenses and warns when a user’s account is in danger of being overdrawn.

Remitly – helping people in developed nations send money cheaply to relatives in developing countries.

Health

Synthego – offers full stack genome engineering solutions that allow researchers in academia and the private sector to rapidly develop gene-edited products.

Truepill – bringing technology and efficiency to pharmacy.

Infrastructure & Security

Contrast Security – automating software security analysis by monitoring the code within running apps and directly notifying developers of potential vulnerabilities.

Cybereason – a cloud-based cybersecurity platform specializing in continuous monitoring and response to advanced cybersecurity threats.

Proxy – like having a set of keys on your smartphone.

Redis Labs – helps businesses looking to speed up responses on their apps.

SignalFX – monitors cloud infrastructure in real-time.

Verkada – offers big businesses, municipalities, and schools a cloud-based system that combines hardware and software to detect movement and easily store and share surveillance streams.

Supply Chain & Logistics

Faire – taking the risk and hassle out of wholesale purchasing by helping retailers discover and buy new products online.

Fourkites – predictive supply-chain management software helps companies know where their deliveries are, when they’ll arrive and what’s going on along the way.

Next Trucking – moving freight brokerage online.

RigUp – connecting the “hyper fragmented” market of roughnecks, engineers, and business owners that must weigh in on oil rig decisions.

Personally, I was a little saddened to not see any Metaverse companies featured here. The AR/VR buzz has definitely weakened from its peak three years ago. However, the innovation has still been steadily climbing with some very poignant progress in the past year.

  • The inaugural Magic Leap Independent Creators Program was launched to fuel innovation in the AR space. Specifically for the Magic Leap One.
  • Microsoft reinvigorated their HoloLens project with a more directed goal of influencing professional work.
  • Digital Humans are all the rage in marketing.

Overall, I realize that this list isn’t necessarily about predicting the next industry to produce a company at the level of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, or Microsoft.
But I definitely would’ve included at least one Metaverse company. Perhaps one of these: WEVR, Insta360, NextVR, Synthesia, Jaunt, or Vertebrae.

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