The Country’s Hottest Startups, According To LinkedIn

There’s no denying startups — and technology companies in general — have elbowed their way into the mind-space of top talent, both within and outside of business school walls. Across the country, hot startups are plucking the very best talent from universities at an increasing rate. But some are doing it better than others. Professional social networking giant LinkedIn dipped into its massive trove of data to rank the country’s most “sought-after” startups — and according to that data, the top startup is San Francisco-based ride-sharing app Lyft.

To qualify for LInkedIn’s list, startups have to be less than seven years old, have more than 50 employees, be privately held, and be based in the U.S. LinkedIn looked at four categories for its methodology: employment growth, “engagement,” job interest, and attraction of top talent. For employment growth, LinkedIn looked at year-over-year head count growth. To qualify, the growth had to be at least 15%. Engagement is both how many non-employees are looking at the company’s page and the pages of employees at the company. Job interest is just what it sounds like: the rate at which people are viewing and applying for open positions. And attraction of top talent looks at how many employees the startups have recruited away from LinkedIn’s Top Companies list — a list that includes companies like Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce, Tesla, and Apple, among others.

According to LinkedIn, Lyft now holds 35% of the ride-share market in the country. It has raised $4.3 billion in venture capital investments, has a current valuation of $15.1 billion, and has more than 3,000 employees. Following Lyft on LinkedIn’s list is Los Angeles-based Halo Top Creamery, an ice cream company founded six years ago by former corporate lawyers that features low-sugar pints of the frozen dessert. Last year Halo Top became the best-selling pint of ice cream in American grocery stores. Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange platform based in San Francisco, is next on the list. According to LinkedIn, the platform currently has more than 20 million accounts — double the amount of Charles Schwab.

Artificial intelligence startup, follows in fourth, and the electric scooter ride-sharing app Bird rounds out the top five.


In terms of location, the San Francisco Bay Area clearly remains the major hub for hot startups by LinkedIn’s metrics. Seven of the top 10 startups call San Francisco or Silicon Valley home. Another two are based in Los Angeles and nearby Venice. Only one startup from the top 10 — Glossier, based in New York City — is from outside California. More than half (26) of the entire list of 50 startups are based in California, and all but three of those are in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The next hotspot for startups is New York, which has 12 startups on the list, and nearby Brooklyn placed one startup on the list.

“Entrepreneurs start with an idea and a belief that their vision can have a massive impact. It doesn’t always work out that way,” LinkedIn Editor in Chief Daniel Roth writes in the report. “But when it does, the effect can be world-changing: A breakthrough startup can scramble industries, alter how we work and live, and shift talent flows around the world. It’s no wonder that we tend to follow the fortunes of these founders and those who choose to work for them so carefully.”


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