Top 50 NYC startups to watch in 2016

Taylor Majewski

In 2015, New York City made a name for itself in tech. Startups blossomed among the city’s legacy industries, drawing a steady flow of VC money into growing industries like real estate tech, ad-tech, food-tech and fintech.  

But what does 2016 have in store? Built In NYC has carefully selected 50 young companies (all less than five years old) that we believe will make a big splash over the next 12 months.

 

Skip the gym — spin class is coming to your home. In December, Peloton raised a hefty $75 million round to shake up traditional cycling studios. Peloton customers buy a $1,995 bike equipped with a tablet computer and pay a monthly subscription for streamed exercise classes. 

 

Newsela builds reading comprehension using nonfiction that’s always relevant — daily news. The platform aggregates daily news articles from top national and regional publications and allows students to read them across five different reading levels. Catering to students’ individual learning capabilities, the company encourages readers to engage with news at a specialized reading level and empowers students to change levels as they see fit.

Entering the mobile space: This month, Newsela launched its mobile app, which lets students practice their reading on the go.

 

While it can be difficult to provide your parents or grandparents with personal and comfortable assistance in the comfort of their own home, Hometeam is attempting to solve this problem. The company is taking a new approach to senior home care by using technology to make it easier for families to locate, hire and managed qualified caregivers.

Funding alert: This month, Hometeam announced a $27.5 million Series B financing. The company plans to use the funding to accelerate its medical and technology development as it continues to grow in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.

 

Taking a stab at New York City’s hard-to-crack real estate industry, Compass acts as a comprehensive brokerage service that fuses real estate agents with technology to make buying, selling and renting property a simpler process. Compass offers an alternative to sites like Craigslist, Trulia and Zillow with a much more intuitive platform. As Compass started to expand to cities across the U.S., the company scored a $50 million Series C funding round back in September, landing an $800 million valuation in the process. As such, 2016 may be the year Compass becomes a unicorn.

"Compass Markets": In October, Compass launched the first-ever, real-time market report app to simplify apartment hunting.

 

Founded in 2013, Managed By Q is a modern office cleaning service. The startup’s functionality centers around an iPad, which is installed in a company’s office. The device acts as a central dashboard for all of the office’s maintenance needs, covering everything from cleaning schedules to restocking supplies. In June, the company raised a $15 million Series A and expanded to Los Angeles this past month.

 

Taking on Uber, Yellow Cabs and New York City’s public transportation system, Via allows users to book and share rides at just $5 apiece. Attempting to conquer on-demand transportation on a mass scale, Via is changing the way people are getting around cities by offering an affordable and privatized alternative to public transportation. Via is currently available in New York City and Chicago, and is backed by over $37 million in funding.

 

Splash is making a splash in the world of event planning. The startup helps everyone from casual party throwers to Fortune 500 companies create their own mobile-responsive event websites. Using Splash’s platform, you can sell tickets, collect RSVPs and create email marketing campaigns. After hosting an event with Splash’s help, you’ll also be able to analyze, manage and re-engage your attendees.

 

Back in October, coliving startup, Common, made headlines when it opened up its first communal living space in Brooklyn. The inaugural space (a Crown Heights brownstone) provides 19 renters with a fully furnished residential space, WiFi, free laundry machines, weekly cleaning and a communal ethos. With venture backing in the form of a $7.35 million Series A, Common is poised to shake up city housing options, and may even give coworking giant WeWork something to worry about.

A peek inside Common’s first space: Built In toured Common’s Crown Heights location with founder and CEO, Brad Hargreaves.

 

Siblings Daniela Perdomo and Jorge Perdomo founded goTenna in 2012 to ensure connectivity even in the most remote locations. goTenna is a cognitive digital radio that pairs with your smartphone to let you communicate with other goTenna users when you don’t have service. The company launched a preorder campaign midway through 2014, and the product became available for purchase in November of this year.

CES exposure: The Brooklyn-based startup showcased its product at the consumer electronics convention this month, letting anyone without service at the event easily communicate.

 

In 2012, Namely launched with a mission to streamline HR processes. What makes Namely different from HR powerhouses like Zenefits? The company is solely focused on helping small to midsized companies grow their businesses. Back in July, Namely raised a $45 million Series C in record time, speedily following an $11 million round in March.

 

Gimlet is the go-to narrator on how to start a company. The podcasting network gained a devout following of entrepreneurial types when its now founder and CEO, Alex Blumberg, began to chronicle his efforts as he attempted (and succeeded) to launch Gimlet. The startup’s original podcast, eponymously titled Startup, was the key to Gimlet’s success as listeners repeatedly tuned in to hear about the company’s funding rounds and crowdfunding campaigns.

Scaling the network: In December, Gimlet Media raised a $6 million Series A at a $30 million valuation.

 

If you haven’t scored a ticket to Super Bowl 50, LiveLike VR is your future answer to never missing the big game in-person. LiveLike VR is an immersive virtual reality company that enables broadcasters and sports teams to deliver live sports viewing experiences. As 2016 will be all about virtual reality, LiveLike is an early adopter in VR’s unchartered waters.

 

Button is poised to change how we interact with our smartphones. The company is working to create the plumbing behind mobile deep linking, connecting apps in order for people to complete multiple actions at the tap of a button. The company imagines a mobile experience where you don’t bounce between apps, but where different apps (such as Foursquare and OpenTable) are merged into “super apps.”

The future of apps: Built In spoke with Stephanie Mardell, Director of Recruiting at Button, on the company's vision for the next five years.

 

theSkimm is the millennial woman’s front page. Upon signing up for the company’s daily newsletter, subscribers receive a quippy breakdown of the day’s need-to-know news. The company’s employees do the reading for you and summarize the world’s most essential news with a fresh editorial style. Once you sign up for service, you’ll anxiously wait for theSkimm in your inbox every morning.

 

Fundera is a New York fintech darling, having introduced a transparent and efficient process into the realm of small business loans. The company was founded in 2013 when founder and CEO, Jared Hecht, experienced firsthand how difficult it was to get a loan. Fundera works as an online marketplace for small business loans by matching lenders to borrowers in a Kayak-like experience. Since launching, Fundera has helped facilitate more than $90 million in loans for more than 1,900 customers.

FiDi roots: Fundera’s success in the fintech space is bolstered by its New York location, as many of its loan officers are ex-commercial bankers.

 

New York’s music scene is diverse and ever-changing, drawing a variety of performances into the city on any given night. If you’re a regular concert-goer in New York, then you need to check out Jukely. Jukely is a concert subscription service that gets its members access to unlimited concerts, all for a mere $25 per month.

 

This year, you may have been introduced to Amy Ingram or Andrew Ingram, the virtual assistants that are reshaping the office landscape. X.ai is the startup powering the bots, utilizing artificial intelligence to help professionals seamlessly schedule meetings. The company received a $9.2 million Series A in January 2015, which it has used to scale its business pre-launch. For now, the company remains in closed beta, and has already garnered a huge amount of beta users.

Intelligent agents are on the rise: Built In caught up with x.ai CEO, Dennis Mortensen, to discuss how he came up for the idea back in 2013.

 

PeerIQ is a financial information services company that is creating tools to analyze, access and manage risk in the peer-to-peer lending sector. The company pools detailed loan data to provide authoritative, independent analytics and benchmarks that its clients use to price instruments, value loan portfolios, develop investment views and manage risk.

 

Gleem & Co is a marketplace for buying and selling vintage jewelry. The platform allows shoppers to peruse second-hand treasures, as the first accessible and personable way to buy and sell jewelry. Earlier this month, the startup announced a partnership with e-commerce giant, eBay.

 

Mighty is attempting to disrupt the long, arduous process that accompanies a lawsuit. The plaintiff financing marketplace connects people awaiting legal settlements with the funding they need to pay for medical bills, rent and expenses that have accumulated from their case. Individuals invest in cases they believe in, and receive above market returns accordingly. With a $5.25 million Series A raised back in September and over $1 million invested in plaintiffs, the company is thriving in the legal tech space.

 

Sols are 3D-printed orthotics. Founded in 2013, the company wants to customize orthotics in an affordable and accessible way. The company is currently working with 1,487 doctors and has already shipped 11,233 pairs.

 
 

You can stick Estimote’s tiny beacons in any location or object, such as on a shoe or on a bike, to connect your smartphone to the real world. The startup uses indoor location technology via small, wireless sensors to broadcast radio signals short distances to smartphones and other electronic devices. This month, Estimote raised a $10.7 million Series A financing, which will help the company scale its business into the retail sector.

 

 

 

HR is getting an artificial intelligence boost. Founded in June, Wade and Wendy is building virtual personalities in the realm of recruiting and hiring. The company operates two personalities: Wade acts as a personal adviser throughout your career and Wendy acts as the frontline of a company, vetting candidates as a recruiter would. The young startup raised a $1.5 million seed round in October.

 

It’s no secret that virtual reality is on a fast track to becoming the next big thing, and New York is holding its own in the burgeoning three-dimensional industry. irisVR is a platform that creates virtual walkthroughs for architects, engineers and designers. In attempts to convey how a space feels beyond a 2D model, the company uses VR technology to create true-to-scale renderings. Customers can view these mock-ups using Oculus Rift.

 
 

ClassPass, the fitness startup that allows members to take unlimited classes across different gyms and studios, has had quite the year. Last January, the company raised a $40 million round, which valued the company at more than $200 million. In April, ClassPass also acquired San Francisco-based fitness platform Fitmob.

Google gets on board: In November, ClassPass raised a $30 million financing led by Google Ventures.

 

Boom Fantasy was founded in 2014 by Stephen Murphy and Assaf Einat, both graduates of the Stanford Graduate School of Business with 10 years of experience in casino gaming and technology. The startup is an in-game fantasy sports platform, which pushes real-time questions to competitors.

In the news: Boom Fantasy raised a $1.4 million seed round this month.

 

Coined the “Fitbit for cars,” Dash provides driving feedback in real time. The startup combines a hardware device with a smartphone application to give drivers vehicle diagnostics, directions to cheap gas stations and trip logs. With investments from Dennis Crowley, CEO and cofounder at Foursquare, and Eugene Chung, Director of Film and Media at Oculus VR, Dash is a safe bet in the connected car space.

 

Related: The Coolest Tech Offices in NYC

 

A recent entrant into New York’s booming fashion tech field, Dressometry wants to improve online shopping with machine learning. The platform helps shoppers who know what they want find clothing (specific color, style, fit, etc.). The Brooklyn-based startup has built a proprietary platform that acts as a virtual stylist. 

 

Stacey Ferriera, the 23-year-old author of 2 Billion Under 20, is very familiar with how millennials are breaking down age barriers and changing the world. When writing her book, Ferriera started to realize that young people are increasingly wanting flexibility from work, which led her to her latest venture—Forrge. Forrge provides on-demand staffing for the services and distribution industries, and is poised to disrupt how restaurants and retailers hire staff and schedule shifts.

 

With a $2.2 million seed round on the books, Frame.io wants to help you facilitate video collaboration with your team and clients across one platform. Think email, Dropbox and Vimeo combined into one space. Frame.io’s early adopters include Refinery 29 and BirchBox.

 

Related: NYC Startups with the Best Perks

 

Homepolish is a matchmaker for your home. The company pairs homeowners with top interior designers to make their spaces beautiful. Homepolish offers its clients full service, down to buying furniture and ensuring it gets delivered. The company’s future as a major player in the design market is promising, as Homepolish has become the go-to decorator for New York-based startups. Its impressive roster of clients includes Gilt, BlueApron, theSkimm, Rent the Runway, PureWow, LearnVest, BarkBox, Venmo and Betterment.

 

HungryRoot has many roots in the food industry, from its founding group to its product offerings. The company was founded in 2015 by three foodie entrepreneurs, including former Savored founder, Ben McKean, founder of Long Island Iced Tea brands, Greg Struck, and one of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters," Franklin Becker. HungryRoot came to fruition on the basis that comfort foods are tough to deny. As a result, the startup swaps carbs for veggies in its farm fresh 7-minute meals. In May, Hungryroot raised $2 million in funding from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures and KarpReilly.

 

A healthy lifestyle leads to increased productivity and morale. IncentFit allows employers to reward their employees for any type of fitness, whether it be a gym workout, running outside or doing yoga. This startup is the perfect solution for companies wanting to build a healthy culture within their business.

 

Related: Best Startups to Work for in NYC

 

While the highest-ever Powerball recently had Americans lining up outside of convenience stores with the hopes of netting a quick $1.6 billion prize, buying tickets wasn’t convenient. Jackpocket wants to simplify this process by letting customers buy lottery tickets from their smartphone. The company was founded in 2013 and strives to become the official online lottery retailer for all 50 states.

 

For those of us who chronically misplace our keys, cloud-based locksmith, KeyMe, is creating a long-awaited solution. The company allows users to store, share and duplicate their physical keys using a digital scan that is stored in the cloud. KeyMe recently raised a $20 million Series B, which will exponentially accelerate the company’s growth as it plans to launch self-service digital key copying kiosks nationwide.

 

Give your child a new world of experiences with KidPass, an all-access pass to the best activities in your city. A KidPass membership, which will run you $49 per month, includes 10 activity credits that can be used for activities such as arts and crafts classes, music lessons, ballet lessons, museums, zoos, sports and camps. You will also receive additional perks at kid stores and birthday venues.

 

Overture is making company profiles more dynamic. The startup helps companies create profile videos for their employees in lieu of a standard headshot. The videos are 30 seconds long or less, black and white and are ideal for company websites.

 

Paribus wants to make sure you never overspend on a purchase again. While retailers often guarantee to match the lowest prices on a given item, you don't get that lowest unless you really work for it. Paribus works by scraping your inbox for receipts in order to automatically save you money when your purchases drop in price. The company's motto: "Stores owe you money. We're gonna get it for you."

 

Never miss a pop-up shop again using Republic Spaces, the marketplace for short-term retail. The platform helps retailers rent out their extra space to emerging designers, while simultaneously helping designers find low-cost spaces to sell their products. Bridging the gap between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar shops, Republic Spaces wants to help retailers reach new customers, launch new products, test new markets and sell more products.

 

Today, the process of buying and selling a home is stressful and options are limited. TripleMint is a new kind of real estate brokerage option that combines technology and people to create a more thoughtful experience. TripleMint helps buyers target off-market properties to find their perfect home. For sellers, TripleMint's technology identifies the people most likely to buy their home in order to generate more demand.

 

If you’re over 6 feet tall, you’re going to love RFM. The menswear startup has completely recreated sizing standards for tall and athletic men, who as a collective have traditionally had a hard time finding clothes that fit them. RFM has already seen an overwhelming demand from tall men in tiny clothing around the world, including professional athletes. The company will be partnering with the NFL and NBA athletes in the upcoming months.

 

If you travel a lot for work, chances are your company is going to utilize Rocketrip’s technology in the near future. Inspired in part by a platform that Google internally built to manage travel, Rocketrip helps companies earn 30 percent or more off its employees’ travel expenses. The platform sets real-time budgets for employee travel and rewards employees for spending less than budgeted, with incentives such as keeping half of the savings they generate.

 

While most mainstream messaging apps possess voice messaging features, voice recordings haven’t yet become commonplace among smartphone users. Ex-Spotify engineers Ricardo Vice Santos and Andreas Blixt want to the change that. Roger is a conversation app that connects you to anyone in your phone, regardless of distance or timezone, for free. The walkie-talkie-esque voice messaging app launched in late 2015, and closed a $1 million seed round this month.

 

Slidebean wants you to say goodbye to PowerPoint. Forever. The company helps users make professional slide presentations, even if they don’t have extensive design skills. All you have to do is create content, and Slidebean will create an aesthetically advanced presentation in a click.

 

While 70 percent of entrepreneurs make their business decisions based on the input of their startup peers, Stacklist is capitalizing on this entrepreneurial pattern. The online resource helps startups get their businesses off the ground, compiling stacklists and insights from over 200 entrepreneurs. The platform synthesizes and curates this information from interviews with founders in order to provide recommendations to entrepreneurs based on startup size, stage, experience, industry and other relevant factors.

 


Stringr, an online marketplace for video news footage, is one of the many media startups making waves this year. The company is capitalizing on the rising importance of video footage in the new media landscape by allowing media outlets to buy videos from both professional and amateur videographers.

Funding alert: In December, Stringr raised a $1.5 million seed round.

 

Nicknamed the “Bloomberg of fashion,” StyleSage is a strategic analytics web platform that provides fashion retailers with valuable insights into their local and global markets. The company delivers data that helps brands make decisions regarding merchandising, planning, wholesale and overall market movements. As fashion and big data actually go great together, the company saw a $733K seed round in March.

Related: 20 SaaS companies in NYC you need to know

 

Swipecast was founded in 2014 by Peter Fitzpatrick, who previously founded his own modeling agency, and recognized a need to alleviate the industry’s inefficient structure. The company forgoes the lengthy and expensive process of flying out and hosting models for specific jobs by allowing companies to find, review and hire local models through its digital platform.

Nod from Venmo: Iqram Magdon-Ismail, a founder at Venmo, is working as an advisor to Swipecast.

 


New York City is renowned for its arts and culture scene, and Woofbert VR fits in. The virtual reality startup offers users three-dimensional glimpses into art museums and galleries around the world. Woofbert VR has publicly solidified partnerships with the de Young Museum in San Francisco and the Courtauld Gallery in London, and is currently in dialogue with about 85 other cultural institutions. The company raised a $3 million seed round from family and friends (including an investment from actor Kevin Spacey).

Woofbert VR goes mobile: In November, the startup launched its app on Samsung VR powered by Oculus.

 

ZipDrug wants to make sure you will never be sick, miserable and waiting in a pharmacy for your medication ever again. The startup’s mission is to make it easy for any person to get their medications when and where they want them. While picking up prescriptions can often be a hassle, ZipDrug streamlines the process by allowing patients to place orders on a desktop or mobile device.

 

Best Companies to Work for in NYC

A roundup of the top NYC tech & startup companies hiring right now

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