Growth, Innovation + Investing
from A Round to Apple Inc.

We’ve been delivering authoritative market analysis and perspectives, week-in and week-out for more than a decade. Sign up so we can update you with new releases of A2Apple and our other daily and weekly publications — sent straight to your email.

And make sure to keep a close eye on our research and commentary arm, GSV Tomorrow, where you’ll find original GSV insights, plus curated content revolving around our key Growth Themes. Just complete this form and they’re yours to use and share.

GSV's weekly perspective on Growth, Innovation + Investing...
from A Round to Apple Inc.
General Commentary
March 4, 2018

The Stars of Tomorrow

Save to PDF

Market Snapshot

Indices Week YTD

Everyday in America, 1,100 new businesses are formed. But everyday in America, 1,100 businesses fail. There’s only a 20% chance that a company survives beyond three years.

Last year, venture capitalists invested in over 3,000 companies. But only 64 venture backed companies went public.

Entrepreneurs are 70% more likely to have a heart attack, twice as likely to get divorced, and three times more likely to go bankrupt. So, what kind of nut would start a business?

Despite the odds (and doubts), for generations we have consistently seen revolutionary founders defy gravity time and time again to create some of the World’s most dynamic companies. Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything” before he invented the lightbulb and founded GE. Fred Smith took his company’s motto to heart — “whatever it takes” — and kept FedEx afloat at a blackjack table. Airbnb’s founders sold thematic cereal boxes at presidential campaign conventions (“Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains”) to raise initial capital for the company. And Jack Ma failed the Chinese college entrance exam three times and had a job application rejected by 90 companies (including KFC) before he founded Alibaba.

The businesses that generate the most spectacular returns are small companies that become big companies. At GSV, our objective is to identify and invest in the Stars of Tomorrow — the fastest growing, most innovative companies in the world.

As such, every year we identify 250 private companies that are poised to become the next generation of game-changing businesses. We call this group the Global Silicon Valley Pioneer 250.

How do we construct the list?

Our top-down perspective focuses on the intersection of Megatrends (technological, economic, and social forces that disrupt the status quo) across growth sectors of the economy to identify game-changing businesses with innovative technologies and services.

Additionally, we put a weighting on the caliber of a company’s investor group, Board representation, and the sector it is operating in. The process is definitely both art and science, but we attempt to be as systematic and consistent with our analysis as we can.


We’re looking for large, open-ended growth opportunities as well as individual companies that possess the critical elements necessary to capture meaningful market share in these opportunities.

GSV’s bottom-up analysis is centered on the Four Ps — People, Product, Potential, and Predictability — an objective framework to assess a company’s potential to realize sustained long-term growth resulting from market Megatrends.

Great investors and companies are systematic and strategic in how they prioritize and create advantages in the market. We make the Pioneer 250 list available for public feedback, input, and introductions — it is a key part of how GSV systematically and strategically identifies the Stars of Tomorrow.


  • Accolade provides consumer healthcare information services and operates platform for large self-insured employers and organizations.
  • Accompany’s platform helps professionals curate and manage their networks by managing inputs to provide real-time insights on existing relationships.
  • Actifio provides of data management services intended to help businesses manage, access and protect data.
  • Adaptive Insights is an on-demand business performance management software designed to offer cloud business and financial analytics services for companies.
  • Addepar is a data-driven investment management platform designed to automate and streamline performance reporting, communication, and other manual investment processes.
  • AdRoll is an online marketing platform that lets brands create personalized advertisement campaigns.
  • Affirmed Networks provides virtualized network and mobile network infrastructure services.
  • AirMap is an airspace management platform for drones that aims to create an interconnected drone ecosystem to provide data and tools to the drone industry.
  • Algolia provides a hosted search API that allows any developer to build a search engine for their app or website, delivering highly relevant results at lightning-fast speed.
  • AlienVault provides a platform with built-in security controls for organizations to address their compliance and threat management needs.
  • Amplitude provides a mobile and Web-based analytics platform designed to track user behavior.
  • Andela identifies high-potential developers on the African continent, shapes them into world-class technical leaders, and pairs them with companies as full-time, distributed team members.
  • Anki is an entertainment robotics company dedicated to bringing artificial intelligence and robotics to our everyday lives.
  • Anomali is a threat intelligence platform designed to help organizations find and respond to cyber threats.
  • App Annie is a business intelligence company that produces business intelligence tools and market reports for the apps and digital goods industry.
  • Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams improve communication, organization and collaboration.
  • Aspiration is creating a digital investment firm focused on providing transparency and trust.
  • Auth0 is a cloud based Identity-as-a-Service platform designed manage identities and authentication into cloud platforms.
  • Ayasdi provides big data analytics technology to organizations looking to analyze high-dimensional, high volume data sets.
  • Barefoot Networks provides of Internet connectivity products for networking companies.
  • Betterment is an automated investing service that provides optimized investment returns for individual, IRA, Roth IRA & rollover 401(k) accounts.
  • Big Switch Networks provides Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and bare metal solutions inspired by hyper-scale design.
  • Bigbasket is India’s largest online food and grocery store that delivers straight to homes.
  • BigCommerce develops a suite of e-commerce software to help businesses customize sites, manage shipping, payments and list products.
  • BirchBox provides a monthly subscription of personalized hair, skincare and makeup samples with relevant content.
  • BitPay is blockchain payments technology platform designed for secure bitcoin payment acceptance, savings and spending.
  • Blend’s technology empowers top mortgage lenders to be more efficient, compliant, and borrower-friendly.
  • BloomReach develops a cloud marketing platform analyzing big data to help clients surface relevant content through search engines.
  • Blue Jeans Network maintains a cloud-based video collaboration service that enables video conferencing using practically any device.
  • Bolt Threads is a biotechnology company that engineers the next generation of high-performance fashion fibers.
  • Boxed is a bulk-shopping platform that delivers home goods and groceries to consumers in bulk.
  • Branch Metrics builds deep linking technology for mobile app developers to gain and retain users.
  • Bright Health delivers a smarter, more connected healthcare experience that reshapes how people and physicians achieve better health together.
  • Bromium develops software with micro-virtualization and hardware-based security solutions for enterprise desktops.
  • Byju’s, India’s largest education technology company, helps students enjoy what they learn and be their very own personal mentor.
  • Cadre is a technology-driven real estate investing platform that provides access to institutional quality real estate opportunities.
  • Canary makes people safer and more connected to their homes with their eponymous first product — an affordable, easy to set up and smart security solution available to everyone, whether they rent or own.
  • Carta is cap table management platform designed to consolidate private company ownership onto one common electronic registry.
  • Casper is disrupting the sleep industry by merging meticulous design and engineering with a direct-to-consumer business model.
  • Catalant is an online talent network that matches enterprises with talent and knowledge for on-demand business needs.
  • Centrify is an identity and access management platform intended to secure enterprise identities against cyberthreats.
  • Chain is a blockchain company that digitizes financial systems and develops bitcoin applications to securely issue, transact and store financial assets.
  • ChargePoint operates the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, with more than 28,000 spots to plug in and charge.
  • Checkr seeks to automate the process of professional background checks by providing either online access or an API that returns automatically generated background checks.
  • CipherCloud is cloud information protection platform designed to overcome risks to data privacy, residency, security, and regulatory compliance.
  • Circle is a consumer finance company focused on transforming the world economy with secure, simple, and less costly technology for storing and using money.
  • CircleCIs continuous integration and delivery platform makes it easy for teams of all sizes to rapidly build and release quality software at scale.
  • CircleUp is an online marketplace for investing equity into innovative, early-stage consumer product and retail companies.
  • ClassDojo is a classroom communication app that makes it easy for teachers, parents, and students to share what’s happening at school.
  • ClassPass is a monthly subscription service providing access to the world’s largest network of boutique fitness studios and gyms.
  • ClearStory Data’s solution offers a new way for business users to easily discover, analyze and consume data at scale from corporate, web and premium data sources for combined and up-to-date insights.
  • CloudHealth is an IT service management for the cloud, enabling policy driven cost, utilization, performance and security optimization and governance.
  • Clutter is an on-demand self-storage services company intended to help customers store their physical belongings.
  • Code42 manages and protects digital content with easy-to-use software and high-performance hardware storage.
  • Cohesity is a hyperconverged data platform designed to consolidate and manage secondary data at web scale.
  • Collective Health is the world’s first cloud-based employer self-insurance platform that connects and administers the entire benefits ecosystem.
  • Color Genomics offers a saliva test kit for women that checks for variants in 19 genes known to be correlated with a higher risk of breast or ovarian cancer, including mutations in the BRCA1 gene.
  • Confluent provides a data streaming platform designed to help other companies get easy access to enterprise data as real-time streams.
  • Conviva builds and deploys artificially intelligent video measurement and analytics architecture for the next generation of TV.
  • Convoy is an on-demand shipment service designed to connect trucking companies with freight shippers.
  • CoreOS is a cybersecurity platform intended to improve the security and reliability of the internet.
  • Couchbase is the developer of the Couchbase Server, an open-source, NoSQL, document-oriented database optimized for interactive applications.
  • Course Hero is a digital learning platform helping students learn and succeed with supplemental study materials, tutoring, and flashcards.
  • Coursera is an education company partnering with universities and organizations worldwide to offer massive open online courses.
  • CreativeLive is the world’s largest live streaming education website, allowing anyone to take free live online classes taught by the world’s most inspiring instructors.
  • Cumulus Networks, a software company, designs and sells Linux operating systems for networking hardware.
  • Darktrace is a global machine learning company for cyber defense designed to detect and respond to previously unidentified threats.
  • Databricks develops an unified analytics platform designed to make big data simple.
  • Datadog is a monitoring service that helps software developers and web operators understand and turn their IT data into actionable insight.
  • Dataminr is a revolutionary data aggregation and dissemination service which has built a global sensor network.
  • DataStax provides an open source distributed database management platform designed to power data management for cloud applications.
  • DeepMap provides HD maps and real-time localization as a service for autonomous vehicles.
  • Degreed is an education technology company that is engaged in enabling and recognizing all forms of academic, professional and lifelong learning.
  • Dialpad is communications for the modern workplace that is integrated with Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work
  • DigitalOcean is simplifying the cloud by providing an infrastructure experience that developers love.
  • Discord develops a voice communications application designed to offer all-in-one voice and text chat for gamers.
  • Distil Networks is the global leader in Bot detection and mitigation focused on stopping automated attacks to make the web more secure.
  • Doctolib is a French online and mobile booking platform that helps users to find and a specialist doctor nearby and make an appointment.
  • Doctor On Demand is a mobile app providing fast and easy access to some of the best doctors, psychologists, and other healthcare providers.
  • Drawbridge offers an advertising platform that specializes in using machine learning to match individuals across connected devices in order to serve more relevant ads across devices.
  • creates AI software for autonomous vehicles using deep learning.
  • Dstillery is a digital intelligence platform designed to offer internet advertising services.
  • Duetto provides a suite of revenue-management software for hotels and restaurants.
  • Duolingo is a free online language learning service with more than 80 million students around the world, which makes them the biggest mobile language learning application in the world.
  • is a digital currency platform that offers full stack software and hardware for bitcoin micro-payments, enabling users and senders to earn digital money on any device, in any country, with no need for a bank account.
  • eero is the world’s first WiFi system and works together to form a mesh network that blankets your home in super-fast and reliable WiFi.
  • Elastic takes data from any source and search, and analyze and visualize it in real time.
  • Endgame is delivering the next generation of Security Intelligence & Analytics (SIA) and provides clarity to digital domain and supports data analysis.
  • Enjoy revolutionizes the way people buy and enjoy the world’s best technology by providing high-touch personal service to help people make the most of their important purchases.
  • Exabeam is an analytics-led advanced security intelligence platform that helps detect, analyze and respond to modern cyber threats.
  • Farmers Business Network connects farmers to share knowledge and gain trusted insights about their farms, inputs, and practices.
  • Farmers Edge provides advanced agronomic solutions to drive farming profitability with a proven track record in precision agriculture.
  • Farmlogs is a digital farm management platform can detect yield threats and access field-specific data to enable farmers to forecast and measure farm profits, track expenses and manage risk.
  • Fetch Robotocs develops mobile robots designed to improve warehousing and intralogistic operations.
  • FiveStars is an online customer loyalty network for small and medium businesses in North America.
  • Flexport is a platform for global trade which makes it easy for businesses to move products by air, land, and sea around the world.
  • Flipboard is a mobile social magazine platform designed to collect and share news articles from various news sources.
  • ForgeRock develops commercial open source identity and access management products for internet of things, customer, cloud, mobile, and enterprise environments.
  • Front redefines work communication with the first shared inbox for teams and unifies email, customer communication channels, and apps in one platform.
  • Funding Circle is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that allows investors to lend money directly to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Fuze is a cloud-based unified communications platform designed to simplify business voice communications and flexible video conferencing.
  • Gainsight provides a customer success management platform designed to empower the customer success movement to drive revenue and increase retention.
  • General Assembly is creating a global community of individuals empowered to pursue work they love by offering courses on the most relevant courses of the 21st century.
  • Getaround is a peer-to-peer, car-sharing marketplace that enables car owners to rent out their cars on an on-demand basis.
  • Gigster provides software development and design on-demand and is the fastest and easiest way to build custom software solutions.
  • Gladly is a SaaS based communication platform designed to simplify customer service across calls, social media and emails.
  • Glint is an employee engagement platform designed to measure and improve employee retention rates that helps enterprises to improve and facilitate an ongoing cycle of feedback amongst employees.
  • Glossier is a beauty company creating modern luxury products for women.
  • Grammarly is an AI-powered communication assistant that helps correct grammar and typos in word processing.
  • Greenhouse is a recruiting optimization platform to help companies build and scale their recruiting processes.
  • Guardant Health is committed to positively and significantly impacting patient health through technology breakthroughs in oncology.
  • Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) provides a cloud-based payroll, benefits, and human resource management solution
  • HackerOne offers a platform that promotes a positive disclosure experience in pursuit of its mission of securing all things, with Hacks and Companies working together for the benefit of all.
  • HackerRank is a technology company that focuses on competitive programming challenges for both consumers and businesses.
  • Handshake connects college students and young alumni to a comprehensive national network built on a mobile infrastructure.
  • Handy is an app through which users can book cleaners, plumbers, handymen, and other household service providers.
  • HashiCorp enables organizations to provision, secure, and run any infrastructure for any application.
  • Health IQ is a health knowledge measurement application that aims to improve health literacy globally.
  • HireVue provides a digital interviewing platform in which candidates for jobs interact with an application instead of a live person and respond to preprogrammed questions with their webcams.
  • HomeLight is an online marketplace designed to connect home sellers with real estate agents.
  • Honor provides personalized home care for people who want to continue to live in the homes they love—safely and happily—as they age.
  • Hotel Urbano Brazil’s largest travel website where users can browse and book hotels, cruises, travel packages and rental cars.
  • HotelTonight is booking platform created to make last minute online bookings for hotels.
  • Hyperloop Technologies is developing the technology and hardware to make a Hyperloop transportation system a reality.
  • Imgur is an image sharing platform designed to organize and showcase the popular visual stories.
  • Impossible Foods is developing a new generation of meats and cheeses made entirely from plants.
  • Indiegogo is a global crowdfunding platform designed to generate pre-sales and collect feedback from early adopters for short-term fundraising campaigns for specific projects.
  • Instart Logic accelerates cloud application delivery for the world’s most performance-obsessed organizations.
  • Intercom provides a personal messaging service for Internet businesses and their customers and provides a single, integrated platform for the whole company to use for support, marketing, product, and sales communication.
  • Ionic Security, a data security platform, provides access control, intellectual property monitoring, data encryption, and policy management.
  • Iora Health is a private healthcare company help patients manage their health and navigate the healthcare system.
  • iZettle, a mobile payments company, offers small businesses with portable point-of-sale solutions and free sales overview tools.
  • Justworks is an online platform that handles the payroll and payments procedure, benefits facilities, and compliance issues of its users.
  • Kahuna develops a mobile analytics platform designed to empower businesses to grow and thrive in the mobile era.
  • Kenshoo combines natural language search, graphical user interfaces, and secure cloud computing to create a new class of analytics tools for financial markets.
  • Landing.AI helps manufacturing and other enterprises transform for the age of artificial intelligence.
  • Leanplum is the leader in mobile marketing automation, driving app engagement and results by optimizing both the app UX and messaging.
  • Leap Motion develops 3D motion control software and hardware designed to remove the barriers between people and technology.
  • Lemonade is a technology-first and legacy-free insurance carrier, offering a product that is instantaneous, un-conflicted and downright delightful.
  • LendingHome is an online mortgage marketplace intended to revolutionize the world of mortgages for home-buyers, real estate professionals and investors.
  • LendUp provides technology-enabled loans and credit cards to the people with low credit scores and volatile incomes.
  • Lever is a modern, collaborative recruiting platform that powers a more human approach to hiring.
  • Life360 is a location and communication smartphone application intended to keep millions of families and close friends connected.
  • Light develops a multi-lens and multi-sensor camera that is eventually planned for embedding in smartphones and mobile devices.
  • LimeBike is a technology-enabled dockless bike sharing service making urban travel more convenient, efficient, and cost-effective.
  • Livongo Health is diabetes management platform that reinvents the way chronic conditions are managed by blending the power of technology, real-time information and human support.
  • Lob provides an automated mail-delivery infrastructure platform designed to streamline business mail delivery.
  • Looker is a software company employing business intelligence to make data accessible to organizations and data analysts.
  • ManoMano is a European online DIY and gardening e-commerce platform.
  • Mapbox is a web and mobile based location data platform designed to bring location-based experiences to life.
  • MapR provides a converged data platform designed to offer real-time database capabilities.
  • Matterport provides end-to-end virtual media solutions and makes it incredibly easy for anyone to create a realistic 3D model of the world around them that they can engage with and share over the Internet.
  • Medium is a simple self-publishing and blogging platform, which enables users to easily write, edit, and collaborate.
  • MemSQL is a real-time analytics platform helping companies to query big data quickly and adapt to changing business conditions.
  • Mesosphere helps organize the machines in a datacenter or cloud as if they were one big computer.
  • Metromile is a variably-priced, pay-per-mile car insurance provider that charges customers for the actual miles they drive.
  • Minerva School’s programs are designed to focus on student learning and success to develop intellect across multiple disciplines, critical life skills, professional capabilities and key aspects of the personal character.
  • Minted is an online platform for independent artists and designers and provides an online store that prints and sells designs.
  • Mixpanel is an analytics platform for the mobile and web, supporting businesses to study consumer behavior.
  • Motif is an online broker that offers thematic investing services to its users.
  • Namely is a HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform that allows users to manage all of their HR data in one place.
  • NerdWallet gives consumers and small businesses clarity around financial decisions.
  • NextVR is a technology company that captures and delivers live and on-demand virtual reality experiences.
  • Nubank is a technology-driven financial services startup that developed a platinum Master Card credit service managed by using a mobile phone.
  • Omanda Health is a digital therapeutics program based on diabetes prevention program clinical trials designed to pioneer digital behavior change.
  • One Medical Group is committed to making health care personal, accessible, and affordable.
  • Onshape is an online SaaS provider that is applying cloud, web and mobile technologies to CAD (computer-aided design).
  • OpenGov provides cloud-based financial data visualization and analysis software for local governments.
  • Optimizely is an experience optimization platform enabling A/B and multivariate testing for users to enhance their websites & mobile apps.
  • Orbital Insight is a Geospatial Big Data company leveraging the rapidly growing availability of satellite, UAV, and other geospatial data sources.
  • OYO Rooms is India’s largest network of hotels offering standardized stay experiences at an unmatched price and driven through technology
  • Patreon is a platform that allows content creators to set up pages for their work and get support from their fans.
  • Percolate provides a content creation platform designed to offer global marketing visibility, collaboration and governance.
  • Personal Capital is an online investment advisory platform that provides its clients with electronically facilitated wealth management services, objective advice, and strategies.
  • Philz Coffee is a leading third wave coffee shop chain with locations primarily in the Bay Area.
  • PillPack is an online pharmacy offering a modern technology-based system that helps people take timely medication.
  • Pindrop Security provides anti-fraud authentication technology solutions for financial institutions’ call centers.
  • PlanGrid is a cloud-based app that allows users to store blueprints and construction documents on iPad and iPhone.
  • Plenty is an agriculture technology company that develops plant sciences for crops to flourish in a pesticide- and GMO-free environment.
  • PolicyBazaar is India’s biggest online insurance comparison platform.
  • Porch allows users connect and review local home improvement contractors and browse photos of home improvement projects.
  • Poshmark is the largest social marketplace for fashion where anyone can buy, sell and share their style with others.
  • Postmates has developed logistics software that dispatches and guides couriers through major metropolitan areas to deliver local goods.
  • Pressed Juicery is a wellness company that provides cold-pressed beverages and freezes.
  • Procore is a cloud-based construction management software application built for the construction industry professionals.
  • Prosper is a marketplace lending platform designed to facilitate peer to peer lending.
  • Qadium is a global Internet-sensing platform designed to create and organize knowledge about the world’s devices.
  • Qubole delivers a Self-Service Platform for Big Data Analytics built on Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Oracle Clouds.
  • Qumulo is a startup company developing simple, scalable, and efficient enterprise data storage systems.
  • Radius is a prediction marketing software intended to find, target, and understand consumers prospects.
  • Rainforest’s platform is designed to offer agile testing and development services for web and mobile apps.
  • Raise is a gift card marketplace where users can sell or buy gift cards online at a discount.
  • Reflektive is a performance management platform that offers an innovative, employee-centric suite dedicated to talent development and employee success.
  • Remitly is a mobile payments service that enables users to make person-to-person international money transfers from the United States.
  • RenRenChe is a Chinese online peer-to-peer platform intended to purchase and sell used cars.
  • Rent the Runway is an on-demand provider for luxury clothes and accessories.
  • Rigetti Computing is a full-stack quantum computing company that designs and manufacture superconducting quantum integrated circuits.
  • Ripcord builds technology that utilizes sophisticated automation and software to scan, index and categorize paper records, making them searchable on the cloud and integrated into existing enterprise systems.
  • Ripple is an Internet protocol that interconnects the world’s financial systems to enable the real-time, secure transfer of funds in any currency.
  • Rokid is Chinese robotics company that makes an AI voice assistant and smart home devices designed to improve the field of robot research.
  • Roofstock is an online marketplace designed to buy and sell tenant-occupied rental property.
  • Rover operates a pet-sitter network developed to connect pet owners with dog walkers and sitters.
  • Sailthru’s platform offers automated personalized email marketing services.
  • Samsara disrupts the traditional sensor model with an integrated, software-centric solution.
  • Segment is a single hub for customer data that allows businesses to customer data in one place and send it anywhere.
  • Shape Security is a startup that has created advanced technology to defend websites against attacks from malware, botnets, and scripts.
  • Shapeways is the world’s leading 3D printing service, marketplace and community enabling anyone to bring amazing products to life.
  • Shared X is an impact company that buys mid-sized farms in developing countries, grows high-value specialty crops, and catalyzes shared prosperity in the local community.
  • Shiftgig connects businesses with the on-demand workforce through an industry-leading mobile platform.
  • Shyp is a packing and shipping services platform for consumers and small businesses.
  • Sift Science offers large-scale machine-learning technology services that help e-commerce businesses detect and fight fraud.
  • Simplisafe is a suite of home security products designed to help people live safely without introducing any complexity, hassle or annoyance into their lives.
  • Sisense offers business analytics software that covers the full scope of data analysis, from data preparation to visualization – without the need to invest in additional tools or manpower.
  • Smule is a Chinese social music application designed to connect the world through music.
  • SnapLogic is an integration platform allowing companies to connect any number of applications in the cloud.
  • Soylent is a food supplement that can be personalized for different body types and customized based on the individual’s taste.
  • Spiceworks is the professional network for the IT industry, allowing technology brands to connect with buyers, conduct market research, advertise, and sell to IT professionals.
  • Stack Exchange provides an online network of community-driven question and answer sites primarily for programmers and software developers.
  • Sumo Logic is a cloud-based log management and analytic service that leverages machine-generated big data to deliver real-time IT insights.
  • Sweetgreen is a casual restaurant chain that serves simple, seasonal, healthy salads and grain bowls made in-house from scratch, using whole produce delivered that morning.
  • Swiggy offers a curated takeout delivery service targeting young professionals that uses its own delivery fleet, powered by a routing algorithm, to maximize speed and efficiency.
  • Talkspace is an online therapy platform intended to eliminate the stigmas associated with mental illness and make therapy more available.
  • 10x Genomics develops a genomics platform designed to revolutionize DNA sequencing technology.
  • ThoughtSpot is an AI-powered relational search engine designed to analyze company data.
  • thredUP is a fashion resale website for consumers to buy and sell secondhand clothing online.
  • Thrive Global is a consumer wellness platform intended to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering sustainable, science-based services to enhance well-being, performance, purpose and create a healthier relationship with technology.
  • Tradeshift’s flexible business commerce platform redefines how buyers and suppliers work together in the procure-to-pay industry.
  • Trifacta is big-data startup that builds tools to help businesses structure and analyze data that gets generated in their networks through customer interactions and other actions
  • Truecaller is a mobile app that lets you see who’s calling and block unwanted calls.
  • Turo is an online car-rental marketplace designed to let users rent a car from local car owners.
  • Udemy provides a marketplace for online learning that makes content from experts available to anyone, anywhere.
  • Upstart is an online lending platform that uses data to bring together high potential borrowers and investors.
  • Upwork is a provider of freelancing services intended to help independent professionals in finding their perfect projects.
  • Varsity Tutors is a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
  • Vicarious is an artificial intelligence company that uses the computational principles of the brain to develop general intelligence for robots.
  • Victorious enables, manages and finances a digital platform that powers superfan apps for the world’s biggest creators.
  • Vidyard is a video marketing platform enabling customers to derive information on viewer-behavior for marketing automation systems and CRM.
  • Vroom is an online used-car marketplace designed to offer an online direct car retailer.
  • VSCO provides a collection of digital film-emulation tools designed to give digital photos the tone and color balance of earlier film-based photography.
  • Wag is a mobile dog walking application that helps dog owners find trusted, certified dog walkers instantly.
  • Wealthfront is the largest and fastest-growing automated investment service whose service provides sophisticated investment management at affordable prices.
  • Welltok’s CaféWell Health Optimization Platform provides consumers with personalized guidance and incentives to optimize their health.
  • Wonder Workshop provides a platform that makes programming fun and accessible for children while they play and is designed to spark creativity with kids of all ages and inspire lifelong learning.
  • WorldRemit is a money transfer service that helps migrants send money to their loved ones all over the world.
  • Zenreach is a marketing platform designed to provide CRM and marketing automation services for offline businesses.
  • ZestFinance uses machine learning algorithms to revolutionize how credit decisions are made to provide fair and transparent credit to everyone.
  • Zipline is a drone delivery startup that has developed a “drone port” system that’s designed to get emergency supplies quickly to areas where the roads are hard to negotiate.
  • ZipRecruiter is an online employment marketplace, connecting millions of employers and job seekers through mobile and email services.
  • Zuora provides subscription billing as well as recurring revenue, payments, and billing solutions.
  • Zymergen uses a combination of robots and proprietary software to build and test thousands of new strains of DNA at a time

Source: GSV Asset Management

Disclosure: GSV owns shares in Course Hero, Coursera, Dataminr, Enjoy, General Assembly, Rover



Silicon Valley has become synonymous with big ideas, start-ups, and inventing the future. But today, the magic of Silicon Valley has gone viral, and it’s gone global. From Austin to Boston and Chicago to Sao Paulo — from Shanghai to Mumbai to Dubai, a Global Silicon Valley is emerging.


Source: GSV Asset Management

Today, most Pioneer 250 members (130 companies) reside in the Bay Area. New York City is the second largest cluster with 27 companies. But we expect to find much broader geographic dispersion in the coming years.

Top VC Backers

Pioneer 250 companies have been backed by a range of leading VCs, led by Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), which counts 50 companies on the list. Second-place GV (Google Ventures) and third-place Kleiner Perkins (KPCB) have backed 39 and 35 companies respectively.


Source: GSV Asset Management


Equity funding raised across the Pioneer 250 ranges from less than $15 million to $550 million (Guardant Health). Nearly 60% of the companies have raised between $50 million and $150 million, and 31% have raised over 150 million. By investment stage, 21% of companies are Series B, 34% are Series C, and 41% are Series D and beyond.



Source: GSV Asset Management

Year Founded, Employees

Over 40% of Pioneer 250 companies were founded between 2012 and 2015 (110). Just two companies were launched in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The median age is six-years-old.

The Median Age of Pioneer 250 Companies is Seven-Years-Old

Source: GSV Asset Management

Nearly 70% of Pioneer 250 companies have 100 or more employees. Just 23 have 50 or less. The median headcount is 176.

The Median Employee Count of Pioneer 250 Companies is 176

Source: GSV Asset Management, Pitchbook, LinkedIn

Notable Graduates

There were 20 “graduates” from the 2017 Pioneer 250 list. 14 companies exited as Unicorns, 5 exited via M&A, and one company went public.

Companies that Have “Graduated” from 2017 List via IPO, M&A, or Valuation Surpassing $1 Billion

Source: Company Disclosures, GSV Asset Management

The lone IPO was Stitch Fix, which listed November 2017. GSV Capital portfolio company JAMF Software left the list following an acquisition by Vista Equity Partners in October.

Three companies that graduated from the list are based in China. The youngest graduate overall is Beijing-based Mobike, which gained Unicorn status following a $600 million financing led by Tencent in June. Beijing’s VIPKID became the first female-led and founded Unicorn in Global Education Technology following a August financing led by Sequoia Capital and Tencent. The video social network got acquired by Toutiao for $1 billion in November. 


by Luben Pampoulov

Fit, Strong, Powerful

Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog is one of the most inspiring books for entrepreneurs. The book tells the early days of the creation of Nike, and the incredible struggles its management had to go through for nearly two decades. Its ultimate success was driven by passion, dedication, persistence, and belief.

When creating Nike, Phil Knight’s bet was that jogging will become a big thing in society. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, casual running was as rare as computers, and back then, you were considered a fool when jogging on the streets.

But Knight’s vision was right, and casual running exploded in popularity over the coming decades. Today, nearly one in three Americans goes running at least once a year, and an estimated 58 million have a gym membership — or about one in four adults in the 15-64 age group. And that number is growing by 2.5% annually.

The overall Fitness category is an emerging trend, and even more-so given the modern work environment — which is sitting in-front of screens. Accordingly, we focus on identifying key companies that will shape and lead the future of this theme we call “Mind, Body, Soul.” Two of our favorite companies at the center of that theme are SoulCycle and Peloton.

Founded in 2006 by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, SoulCycle offers a window into the power of Mind, Body, Soul. But the lessons from the company’s success are more basic…and perhaps more instructive.

There is nothing about what SoulCycle does that can be patented. The casual observer might even mistake it for a “spinning class.”

But when you study SoulCycle, you realize that its monster success derives from doing a hundred little things better than anybody else. The bikes are specially designed for SoulCycle to develop your “core.” The program emphasizes every muscle in your body so that after 45 minutes you are wiped. The instructors are trained to be both inspirational and aspirational. The music is perfectly choreographed. Despite the heavy sweat, SoulCycle studios sparkle and smell fresh.

First and most importantly, SoulCycle is about being part of a community that wants to be healthier, happier and make more of an impact in the world. As Rudyard Kipling observed in his poem, The Law of the Jungle, the power of the experience is in the power of the “Pack.” The spinning, push-ups, dancing, stretching and dumbbells work that all take place on a bike are physical activities that are complimented by the spiritual and mental activities facilitated by the highly-trained instructors.

While SoulCycle had filed for an IPO in 2015, its management later decided to sell the business to Equinox.

Peloton, on the other hand, might soon be going public. It is rumored that the NY-based startup will file for an IPO sometime soon. Its latest funding round valued Peloton at $1.3 billion, and its investors include KPCB, Fidelity, Tiger Global, Wellington, GGV, True Ventures, and NBC Universal.

While it’s similar to SoulCycle, it has a different business model; Peloton sells stationary bikes, at $2,000 a piece, and has an on-demand subscription model at $40/month. Upon purchase, the company delivers the bike directly to your home and helps you with the set up. During workout, it lets you stream videos from a catalogue of 7K on-demand classes and live sessions. Currently, Peloton streams 12 hours of live TV per day. Besides selling its bikes online, Peloton also has high-end retail stores in 25 mall locations across the US.

Peloton Retail — Sales per SQFT

Source: John Foley presentation on Peloton, Sep 2017

Its Founder and CEO John Foley is a serial entrepreneur, previously spending six years in manufacturing leadership at Mars Inc. He also served as a president at Barnes & Noble, was the co-founder and CEO of, the CEO of and an early leader of

In a recent presentation, John Foley disclosed some impressive stats about the company: the 2017 revenue was on pace to hit $340 million, up from $170 million in 2016 and $60 million in 2015. Peloton’s monthly subscription retention rate is at an impressive 99%, and its Net Promoter Score is at 91, only second to Tesla among big global brands.

We are bullish on the overall “Mind, Body, Soul” trend, and specifically so on leaders like SoulCycle and Peloton. 

Pioneer Notes

by Li Jiang

Hardware is Hot

Amazon’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Ring last week set off alarms for founders and investors.

Amazon had previously unsuccessfully pursued August Home for $100 million in mid 2016. They must have figured, why don’t we just buy its competitor and add a 0 to the purchase price. While it was absolutely an eye-popping headline, the strategic value to Amazon is much greater in order to get into people’s front door.

Ring literally serves as a gateway product that creates synergy for a vast number of Amazon initiative. Sure there’s the core business of being able to deliver products right into your house. But now customers should no longer have to pay for the $3/month video recording service from Ring, because it’ll should just be part of your Amazon Prime membership. Delivery from Whole Foods just became that much more convenient.

Alexa just added a few more friends around the house to talk to as well. And let’s just say it’s also not an accident that ADT’s stock was down nearly 5% on Tuesday when the deal was announced — they will need to think twice before they send their lawsuit to Ring’s new address.

Side note: for skeptics who frown at the thought of letting strangers into our homes for delivery, please google “Brian Chesky” and get back to me with a $30 billion check.

Expect more acquisition to take place in the hardware and connect home space. For startups, selling hardware itself is a difficult long-term business, making the need to integrate into a larger platform a necessity sooner or later. For large corporations, these acquisitions represent a healthy dose of talent, customer footprint, and add to a more integrated strategy.

Expect the AAA — Amazon, Alphabet, Apple — of connected home to continue to ramp up investment in this area. What’s at stake is not just a suite of products, but access to a consumer’s most intimate space.

Now that the front door has been entered, expect more activity in the kitchen (see: Nomiku) and other places throughout the home.

Venture funding for IOT startups in the US hit an all time high in 2017. This week’s Ring acquisition is a “shot in the arm” that should see more attention and capital flooding into the sector in 2018. Happy hunting!

Market Update

Week ending

World Indices

U.S. Indices Snapshot

Valuation P/E Est. P/E/G Price/Sales