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Top Startups of 2022 💎
AI, Sustainability, SaaS
Welcome back to Top Startups, where we focus on places with high career and equity upside. Even with the holidays and hiring freeze, there are many startups that are still actively hiring.
This week is special: it’s the 2022 year-end review! These top 5 startups all raised from Tier 1 investors, and are growing quickly in spite of a slow economy.
Synthesia | AI SaaS | 💸 $50M Series B from Kleiner Perkins | 100 employees
What they do: Generate polished training and marketing videos in minutes
What I like: 2022 was the year OpenAI took the world by storm; while lots of new AI darlings will go to zero, the most promising survivors will be the ones that focus on nailing an expensive workflow, ideally with quirks that can’t be perfectly solved by general models. Synthesia is a shining example of this: grew customer base 2.5X since it was featured here 5 months ago; their demo is sublime
Watershed | Sustainability | 💸 $70M Series B from Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins | 60 employees
What they do: Help companies reduce carbon footprint in weeks, not years
What I like: You can question how much of this “net zero” talk is virtue-signaling, but you can’t deny the value of giving companies out-of-the-box solutions to measure and reduce emissions, including for their supply chains. They’ve converted customers like Stripe, Airbnb and Walmart with software designed to be sticky, making for a very durable business
Disco | E-Commerce | 💸 $20M Series A from Bessemer, Shopify | 30 employees
What they do: Help independent brands reach more customers at lower cost
What I like: Apple blocking 3rd party cookies has triggered many second-order effects, including the skyrocketing value of something like Disco: helping a network of independent brands cross-sell and partner more effectively. If Shopify is arming the rebels against Amazon, Disco is helping said rebels grow faster, making for a meaningful and lucrative business
Skio | SaaS | 💸 $7.4M Seed from YC | 30 employees
What they do: Help brands on Shopify sell subscriptions
What I like: The Shopify ecosystem is teeming with business opportunities: brands are highly willing to spend money to save time, they also tend to not be code-savvy, so they are down to pay for even small customizations. Skio is a perfect example of what happens when you inject new energy into this space: they’re doing millions in ARR in < 2 years of launch; unlocked PMF but still early enough for huge upside, AKA sweet point for joining
Greylock | Consumer, Enterprise, AI, Crypto | 💸 $500M Seed fund
What they do: They’ve worked with Figma, Abnormal Security, Instabase, and many other $B+ companies starting in their earliest days
What I like: Not only do they have a strong track record of incubating hits, they also have a stellar portfolio with early gems — the key ingredient for massive career and equity upside
🍾 One last thing: new year = new opportunities to renegotiate or move onto greener pastures. If this is on your mind, you’ll want to check out my Negotiation Playbook: scripts, strategies and questions that are proven to work.
So far, it’s helped people negotiate an extra $3M+!
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Happy holidays, and see you in the new year! ✌️