July 18, 2024


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LinkedIn’s Top Startups of 2021 spotlights the enterprise data stack

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Startups are capitalizing on the growing gaps across enterprise data stacks as the stresses of keeping customers loyal, keeping infrastructure secure, and keeping virtual teams collaborative force rapid change throughout the industry. Sixty percent of LinkedIn’s Top Startups of 2021 see enterprises as the key to the future.

Four of the top 10 startups of 2021 focus on improving the future of enterprise work, including Gong (No. 2), Attentive (No. 7), Outreach (No. 9), and MikMak (No. 10). Startups concentrating on improving the way enterprises work include GitLab (No. 20); Scale AI (No. 29); task management platform ClickUp (No. 42); email platform provider Superhuman (No. 44); and SaaS startup Innovaccer (No. 46), who is creating unified health care data. LinkedIn says nearly all honorees are hiring now, and more than half of the available jobs are for remote roles. Among the top 50 startups, Attentive is a pacesetter in remote hiring. Throughout the past 18 months, its remote-first team has grown 375% from 200 employees to more than 950.

Cybersecurity startups show momentum

Four of the top-ranked startups are concentrating on security and cybersecurity. OneTrust (No. 49) and Rubrik (No. 40) are two startups worth watching as the companies’ pace and scale of innovation define the markets in which they compete. OneTrust has raised a total of $920 million in funding at a $5.3 billion valuation from Insight Partners, Coatue, TCV, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and Franklin Templeton. Rubrik is a leader in Zero Trust Data Management, one of the fastest-growing and most in-demand areas of enterprise cybersecurity. In August 2021, Microsoft announced it had invested in Rubrik to provide Microsoft Azure Cloud accounts with new applications and services to defend against ransomware attacks. Microsoft and Rubrik currently share 2,000 customers.

Samsara (No. 15) is a leader in industrial IoT whose portfolio of internet of things (IoT) solutions combines hardware, software, and cloud technology to bring real-time visibility, analytics, and AI to its operations. The company currently has 20,000 customers across multiple industries. Samsara is also known for its AI-enabled security enterprise that provides 24/7 real-time monitoring, visibility, and control of construction sites and industry-leading vehicle telematics. Verkada (No. 16) is a cloud-managed enterprise building security leader whose platform provides real-time video data streams integrated into enterprise cybersecurity systems. Verkada’s APIs give customers the flexibility of integrating with Okta, Splunk, and PagerDuty systems. APIs also provide integration that enables critical notifications into customers’ SIEM platform of choice.

LinkedIn’s top 10 startups of 2021

The methodology for selecting the top LinkedIn startups of 2021 is based on employment growth, engagement with the company and its employees, job interest, and the ability to attract talent from companies on LinkedIn’s 2021 Top Companies list. LinkedIn analyzed startups’ activity between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 using its internal methodology. A company must be independent and privately held, be no more than seven years old, have at least 50 employees, be headquartered in the U.S., and have a minimum of 15% employee growth over the yearlong period. LinkedIn’s top 10 startup analysis is fueled by exclusive company data mapping of the professional landscape carried out by LinkedIn’s Global News team.

Presented below are LinkedIn’s top 10 startups of 2021:

  1. Better.com – Focusing on the need for accessible home ownership, Better.com funds over $4 billion in mortgages a month. After the company hired hospitality workers who were laid off in 2020, it plans to hire at least 2,000 Google Career Certificate graduates over the next three years.
  2. Gong – Newcomer Gong helps businesses make the most of its sales pipeline and maximize customer retention. More than 2,000 innovative companies like Paychex, PayPal, HubSpot, LinkedIn, MuleSoft, Shopify, Slack, SproutSocial, Twilio, and Zillow trust Gong to power customer interactions and relationships. Gong recently announced that no employees need to be physically present in the office until August 2022 and that it will have both full-time remote and hybrid roles from now on.
  3. Glossier – The direct-to-consumer beauty company returns after making the 2019 list. Following an $80 million funding round in July, the company plans to return to physical retail globally this year while keeping employees healthy with programs like “mental escape days.”
  4. Discord – Making its debut on this year’s list, Discord morphed from a gaming chat app to mainstream with more than 150 million monthly users. The company is currently focused on hiring for software development roles to join its “location-agnostic” company.
  5. Brex – Climbing from No. 14 on last year’s list, the remote-first, all-in-one finance platform for businesses raised more than $940 million in venture capital and has grown to 600+ employees with small office hubs in San Francisco, New York, and Salt Lake City.
  6. Clubhouse – Another newcomer to the list, the audio-based social app lets people flow freely through chat rooms with podcast-style conversations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.
  7. Attentive – Moving up one spot from last year, the text-based marketing solutions firm announced a series E investment in March 2021 backed by leading venture firms. Attentive has more than 70 open remote positions on LinkedIn today and is one of the fast-growing startups in terms of headcount among this year’s top 50.
  8. Youth to the People – The cosmetics startup, also new to this year’s list, creates consciously sourced skincare products with vegan and nutrient-dense premium superfood blends.
  9. Outreach – Making its second appearance in the top 10, the sales engagement platform manages business interactions across email, voice, and social, leveraging machine learning to increase productivity and generate sales opportunities.
  10. MikMak – New to this year’s list, the ecommerce acceleration platform helps multi-channel brands with direct-to-consumer marketing. It works with top brands like Calvin Klein, L’Oréal, Hershey’s, and Colgate.

Enterprise-focused startups will scale up with remote work

The majority of open positions across LinkedIn’s top 50 startups of 2021 are virtual. Attracting the right talent at the right time is essential for the companies to scale. These rising star companies don’t have time to waste debating whether someone will work virtually or in an office. Given the pace many companies are hiring at today, these top 50 startups moved past the remote versus in-office debate more than a year ago. Remote work teams are proving they can deliver results. Closing the gaps in enterprise data stacks by solving customer loyalty, cybersecurity, and team collaboration problems requires nothing less.


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