With markets down and tech investors skittish, it’s been a challenging year for young, venture-backed startups. These 25 represent the ones we think have the best chance of reaching a billion-dollar valuation.
Aug. 16, 2022
Edited by Amy Feldman
Reporters: Nina Bambysheva, Igor Bosilkovski, Elisabeth Brier, Kenrick Cai and Will Yakowicz
For the eighth year in a row, Forbes teamed up with TrueBridge Capital to search for the country’s 25 venture-backed startups most likely to become unicorns. Our track record has been stellar: Of the 175 companies to make this list over the years, 116 have become unicorns; another 22 were acquired, and nine went public before hitting the mark. Just five imploded or shut down. This year is likely the most challenging yet, with markets down, tech investors skittish and some would-be list members getting cut due to significant layoffs. These 25 companies, in alphabetical order, represent the ones we think have the best chance of becoming future stars.
Founders: Chris Combs, Vishal Sunak (CEO)
Equity raised: $162 million
Estimated 2021 revenue: $11 million
Lead investors: G Squared, Hyperplane, Jump Capital, Sorenson Capital
Sunak, 38, and Combs, 39, founded LinkSquares in 2015 to offer AI-driven software to help businesses manage their contracts. They’d struggled with just that issue after their previous employer was sold, and the company’s new owners sought information about the contracts that had been executed. “Contracts weren’t tracked and all of them were sort of different,” Sunak recalls. “Chris and I cold-emailed hundreds of business general counsels and found the problem wasn’t unique to us. We found contract management in general was a super painful, manual, time-suck of a problem.” Sunak, an engineer by trade, spent a year and a half building the software before signing on his first customer. It’s now used by more than 600 companies including Fitbit, Wayfair and TGI Fridays, which pay between $20,000 and $500,000 for the software.