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General Commentary
January 29. 2017

Westward Ho

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Market Snapshot

Indices Week YTD

“The Pioneers get all the arrows… but the ones that survive get all the land!”

— Old Adage

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.


  • 17zuoye is an online study and collaboration platform focused on the China market that lets teachers create, distribute and grade assignments and share students’ performance with parents.
  • 21 Inc is a bitcoin startup that enables its users to build, buy, and sell machine-payable apps with developers all around the world.
  • Addepar connects financial data for wealth management firms in a single, cloud-based respository.
  • Affirm is a financial services company that offers installment loans to consumers at the point of sale.
  • Airware is building the aerial information platform for the rapid development and safe operation of commercial drones, providing hardware, software and cloud services.
  • AlienVault provides a platform with built-in security controls for organizations to address their compliance and threat management needs.
  • AltSchool is an interdisciplinary team of educators, technologists and entrepreneurs building a network of experiential learning schools that prepare students for the changing world.
  • 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.
  • App Annie is a business intelligence company and analyst firm headquartered that produces business intelligence tools and market reports for the apps and digital goods industry.
  • Aquion Energy develops and commercializes cost-effective energy storage solutions that are safe, reliable, and sustainable from nontoxic components as simple as saltwater.
  • 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.
  • Athos offers workout clothing fully integrated with wearable technology and capable of tracking heart rates, breathing levels, and more.
  • August builds products that allow physical environments to seamlessly respond to user behavior. Their flagship product August Smart Lock is a new home access system that allows you to use smartphones in place of traditional keys.
  • Ayasdi provides big data analytics technology to organizations looking to analyze high-dimensional, high volume data sets.
  • Betterment is an automated investing service that provides optimized investment returns for individual, IRA, Roth IRA & rollover 401(k) accounts.
  • BetterWorks is a performance management & goal setting software that helps enterprises achieve excellence.
  • 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.
  • BlackBuck is an online freight-booking service with a marketplace for freight transportation booking, focusing initially on logistics between cities.
  • Blend’s technology empowers top mortgage lenders to be more efficient, compliant, and borrower-friendly.
  • Blockstream is a bitcoin-focused company that works to accelerate innovation in cryptocurrencies, open assets, and smart contracts.
  • 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 engineers the next generation of high-performance fashion fibers.
  • Branch Metrics builds deep linking technology for mobile app developers to gain and retain users.
  • Breather is a mobile app that lets users find and book workspaces on-demand, creating peaceful, practical and beautifully designed private spaces where you can work, meet and relax.
  • 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.
  • Canva is an online design platform that allows users to create professional quality graphics with ready-made templates.
  • Capriza provides mobility solutions for enterprises, enabling developers to create apps for any internal web application or portal.
  • CareCloud offers comprehensive functionality for appointment scheduling, medical billing, reporting and claims processing.
  • Carousell is a simple and easy way to buy and sell with anyone so we can fill their lives with more meaningful things.
  • Casper is disrupting the mattress industry by merging meticulous design and engineering with a direct-to-consumer business model.
  • 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.
  • Circle is a consumer finance company focused on transforming the world economy with secure, simple, and less costly technology for storing and using money.
  • CircleUp is an online marketplace for investing equity into innovative, early-stage consumer product and retail companies.
  • Civitas Learning offers a cloud-based, predictive analytics platform that delivers insights to the frontlines of education.
  • Clarifai provides advanced image recognition systems for customers to detect near-duplicates and visual searches.
  • 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.
  • Clean Power Finance provides a full suite of financing products for the solar and energy efficiency markets.
  • 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.
  • Clever builds the platform for modern learning software after extracting student data from school legacy data systems.
  • Clover Health is a unique health insurance plan focused on driving down costs and producing improved health outcomes.
  • Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet platform where merchants and consumers can transact with digital currency.
  • 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.
  • Common rents entire apartment buildings and then sublets rooms in shared units.
  • CommonBond is an online lending platform that connects borrowers and investors to make education finance better.
  • Compass is a technology-driven real estate platform which combines agents with technology to make the process of buying, selling and renting a home seamless.
  • Couchbase is the developer of Couchbase Server, an open-source, NoSQL, document-oriented database optimized for interactive applications.
  • Counsyl is a health technology company that offers DNA screening for men, women and their children.
  • 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.
  • Dashlane makes identity and payments simple and secure everywhere, with its world-leading password manager and secure digital wallet.
  • Datadog is a monitoring service that helps software developers and web operators understand and turn their IT data into actionable insight.
  • Dialpad is communications for the modern workplace that is integrated with Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work.
  • Digital Asset is a software company that develops distributed ledger technology solutions for the financial services industry.
  • DigitalOcean is simplifying the cloud by providing an infrastructure experience that developers love.
  • DNAnexus accelerates the development and delivery of genomic medicine with a global network for sharing and managing genomic data and tools.
  • DoorDash is an on-demand delivery service that connects customers with local businesses.
  • Douyu is a live gaming and online video platform for live videos of people playing games.
  • 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.
  • DroneDeploy is a smart drone management platform that helps users get tasks done using drones.
  • Duo Security provides cloud-based two-factor authentication to more than 4,000 organizations worldwide, protecting users, data, and applications from breaches, credential theft, and account takeover.
  • Duolingo is a free online language learning service with more than 80 million students around the world, which makes us the biggest mobile language learning application in the world.
  • Earnest is a merit-based lender using data science to create a different approach to personal lending and credit.
  • 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.
  • Ehang is a technology enterprise focused on R&D and production in airplane and aircraft field.
  • 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.
  • EverFi is the education technology innovator that empowers K-12, higher education, and adult learners with the skills needed to be successful in life.
  • 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.
  • ForeScout helps organizations accelerate productivity by allowing users to access corporate network resources.
  • Foursquare is a technology company that uses location intelligence to build meaningful consumer experiences and inform business decisions.
  • Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer support software that enables companies of all sizes to support customers through email, phone calls, and social media.
  • Fundbox helps small business owners overcome occasional short-term cash flow gaps by advancing payments for their outstanding invoices.
  • 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.
  • Genius is an online knowledge project that breaks down information with line-by-line annotations — a crowdsourced archive and tool for interpreting human culture.
  • Ginkgo Bioworks is the organism company that designs custom microbes for customers across multiple markets.
  • Giphy is a search engine for GIFs that intends to be a platform with a host of features targeted at gif artists, enthusiasts, bloggers, and anyone generally looking to discover or create that next big meme.
  • GitLab is the optimized open-source code collaboration platform that allows users to create, review, and deploy code simply and effectively.
  • GoEuro makes it easy to compare and combine air, rail, bus and car for better pricing and easier booking.
  • GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform enabling people to raise money for different life events.
  • Greenhouse is a recruiting optimization platform to help companies build and scale their recruiting processes.
  • Grofers is an on-demand delivery service that connects consumers with local merchants.
  • Guardant Health is committed to positively and significantly impacting patient health through technology breakthroughs in oncology.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Harry’s allows users to buy razors, German engineered blades and shaving creams.
  • Hearsay Social helps financial services teams efficiently and successfully use social media to attract prospects, retain customers, and grow business.
  • Hired is a two-sided marketplace that matches technology talent with the right job opportunities.
  • 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.
  • Honor provides personalized home care for people who want to continue to live in the homes they love—safely and happily—as they age.
  • Hootsuite is the world’s most widely used platform for managing social media.
  • HourlyNerd is an online marketplace that connects business with independent consultants for project-based work at affordable prices.
  • Hyperloop Technologies is developing the technology and hardware to make a Hyperloop transportation system a reality.
  • Impossible Foods is developing a new generation of meats and cheeses made entirely from plants.
  • 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.
  • InVision is the world’s leading design collaboration platform and allows designers to build interactive, high-fidelity, realistic web and mobile mockups and prototypes.
  • 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.
  • JAMF Software develops management solutions and is the world leader in Mac OS X and iOS management.
  • Jaunt develops a technology combining computational photography, statistical algorithms, parallel processing, hardware, and virtual reality.
  • Jibo is the developer of Jibo, the “First Family Robot”, founded by robotics pioneer Cynthia Breazeal.
  • Joya is a mobile video communications company that is responsible for apps that include FlipLip and Cleo, which allow for video sharing functionalities.
  • Juicero has developed the first at-home, cold press juicer and juicing system.
  • Kensho combines natural language search, graphical user interfaces, and secure cloud computing to create a new class of analytics tools for financal markets.
  • Knewton is an adaptive learning company that has developed a platform to personalize educational content.
  • Kymeta is developing antennas for next generation satellite communications for mobile and fixed applications.
  • Leanplum is the leader in mobile marketing automation, driving app engagement and results by optimizing both the app UX and messaging.
  • LegalZoom is the nation’s leading provider of personalized, online legal solutions and legal documents for small businesses and families.
  • Lemonade is a technology-first and legacy-free insurance carrier, offering a product that is instantaneous, un-conflicted and downright delightful.
  • LendUp’s first product is a socially responsible alternative to payday loans.
  • Lever is a modern, collaborative recruiting platform that powers a more human approach to hiring.
  • Lightneer is a learning game studio to creating next generation learning games
  • 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.
  • Looker is a software company employing business intelligence to make data accessible to organizations and data analysts.
  • Luxe is building a logistics platform that will drive the next generation of local real time services, beginning with parking.
  • Lytro develops light field enabled hardware and software to unlock new applications for photography, video, 3D, virtual reality and additional areas
  • Malwarebytes develops anti-malware technologies to detect and remove malicious programs from PCs.
  • 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.
  • Meta offers users a total augmented reality (AR) experience and is designing a future where AR becomes a healthy, vital extension of who we are.
  • Metromile is a variably-priced, pay-per-mile car insurance provider that charges customers for the actual miles they drive.
  • Mixpanel is an analytics platform for the mobile and web, supporting businesses to study consumer behavior.
  • Mobike is a technology-enabled bike sharing service making urban travel more convenient, efficient, and cost-effective.
  • MobiKwik is India’s largest independent mobile payments network that alows users to load money into a digital wallet and make payments at select retailers with the press of a button.
  • Modern Meadow is developing new ways to grow animal products.
  • Munchery has in-house chefs create dishes that get delivered right to your door, ready to heat when you want to eat.
  • is a video social network for creating, sharing and discovering short videos.
  • Namely is a HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform that allows users to manage all of their HR data in one place.
  • Narrative Science is a software technology company that offers an automated narrative generation platform that transforms data into meaningful and insightful narratives for people to read.
  • Navdy created the world’s first augmented driving device for your car that allows users to get directions, receive calls, texts and control music withou picking up their phone/
  • NerdWallet gives consumers and small businesses clarity around all of life’s financial decisions.
  • NewVoiceMedia is a provider of cloud-based contact center solutions.
  • NextVR is a technology company that captures and delivers live and on-demand virtual reality experiences.
  • Ninebot is a Chinese-based robotics engineering company specialized in autopilot and personal transportation.
  • Nubank is a technology-driven financial services startup that developed a platinum Master Card credit service managed by using a mobile phone.
  • nuTonomy is a self-driving car company that focuses on inventing software for self-driving vehicles and autonomous mobile robots.
  • One Medical Group is committed to making health care personal, accessible, and affordable.
  • Onshape is a new venture-backed company that is applying cloud, web and mobile technologies to CAD (computer-aided design).
  • Open English is focused on English language learning for the Latin American & US Hispanic markets.
  • OpenGov provides cloud-based financial data visualization and analysis software for local governments.
  • Operator is an iPhone app that connects you to experts to help find you what you want, when you want.
  • Optimizely is a 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.
  • Outbrain offers content distribution and recommendation for online publishers.
  • OYO Rooms is India’s largest network of hotels offering standardized stay experiences at an unmatched price and driven through technology.
  • OZY Media is an international online magazine that focuses on the “change generation” by delivering content on what is new and next which is delivered to a global audience.
  • Patreon is a platform that allows content creators to set up pages for their work and get support from their fans.
  • Payoneer empowers global commerce by connecting businesses, professionals, countries and currencies with its cross-border payment platform.
  • Peloton offers cloud-based live streaming of instructional cycling exercise content on a multi-touch console equipped with social elements.
  • Personal Capital is an online investment advisory platform that provides its clients with electronically facilitated wealth management services, objective advice, and strategies.
  • 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.
  • Pivot3 develops software that increase scale-out performance to simplify and unify virtual servers, shared storage and networks.
  • Planet collects information about our changing planet via a fleet of compact, highly capable Earth-imaging satellites.
  • PlanGrid is a cloud-based app that allows users to store blueprints and construction documents on iPad and iPhone.
  • Pluralsight focuses on providing high-quality online training for hardcore developers and IT professionals.
  • Postmates has developed logistics software that dispatches and guides couriers through major metropolitan areas to deliver local goods.
  • Procore is a cloud-based construction management software application built for the construction industry professionals.
  • Quantopian is an algorithmic trading platform providing users with tools to learn, create, and trade their algorithmic strategies.
  • Quizlet is an online learning platform that makes simple tools such as flashcards and games to aid learning.
  • Qumulo is a startup company developing simple, scalable, and efficient enterprise data storage systems.
  • Raise is a gift card marketplace where users can sell or buy gift cards online at a discount.
  • Realm, a mobile database, enables users to develop applications that are fast and craft amazing user experiences.
  • Redfin provides a real estate search and brokerage services through a combination of real estate web platforms and access to live agents.
  • Refinery29 is a digital media company providing lifestyle stories, original video programming, and social, shareable content across all platforms.
  • Remind is a web and mobile application that enables teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents.
  • Revinate is an enterprise-grade, cloud-based SaaS platform sold on a monthly subscription basis to hospitality companies.
  • Ring built the Ring Video Doorbell blends convenience, home monitoring, and security all into one sleek, simple to use smart doorbell.
  • Ripple is an Internet protocol that interconnects the world’s financial systems to enable the real-time, secure transfer of funds in any currency.
  • Robinhood is a stock brokerage that allows customers to buy and sell U.S. listed stocks and ETFs with zero commission.
  • Rubrik uses software to make data centers simpler and more efficient to operate.
  • Samsara disrupts the traditional sensor model with an integrated, software-centric solution.
  • Sauce Labs is a cloud-hosted web and mobile application testing company that develops cross-browser software to simplify the test process of agile web application development.
  • Science Exchange is a marketplace for scientific collaboration, where researchers can order experiments from the world’s best labs.
  • Scopely partners and collaborates with elite game developers and global entertainment companies to bring industry leading distribution and monetization technology to free to play games.
  • Scribd is a digital library, featuring e-book subscription services on iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.
  • Segment is a single hub for customer data. Collect your customer data in one place, send it anywhere.
  • SendGrid is a proven cloud-based email delivery platform that successfully delivers over 18B customer engagement emails each month.
  • 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.
  • Shift is an online platform that enables its users to find, compare, and purchase or sell cars.
  • Sift Science offers large-scale machine-learning technology services that help e-commerce businesses detect and fight fraud.
  • Siluria Technologies is a material innovation company developing processes for transforming natural gas into chemicals and fuels.
  • 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.
  • Skyhigh is a cloud access security broker that delivers a control point for cloud services, enabling enterprises to gain visibility into cloud usage and risks, meet compliance requirements, enforce data security policies, and protect against threats.
  • SmartDrive gives fleets and drivers driving performance insight and analysis, helping save fuel, expenses and lives.
  • SnapLogic is an integration platform allowing companies to connect any number of applications in the cloud and on-premise.
  • Snowflake Computing is delivering a data warehouse designed from the ground up for the cloud and for today’s data needs.
  • 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.
  • Spire is a satellite-powered data company that tackles business challenges with data solutions offering monitoring illegal fishing, trade monitoring, maritime domain awareness, insurance, environmental impact, asset tracking, search and rescue, and more.
  • Spredfast gives marketers the solutions needed to manage their brand and connect with consumers in an increasingly social world.
  • Squarespace is a SaaS-based Content Management System (CMS) offering a website builder, blogging platform and hosting service.
  • Stack Exchange provides an online network of community-driven question and answer sites primarily for programmers and software developers.
  • Stitch Fix is a personal styling platform that delivers curated and personalized apparel and accessory items of perfect fit for women.
  • Sumo Logic is a cloud-based log management and analytic service that leverages machine-generrated big data to deliver real-time IT inisghts.
  • 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.
  • Synack is a human-powered security solution offering scalable continuous testing for enterprise applications and networks.
  • Taboola serves over 200 billion recommendations to over 550 million unique visitors every month and connects people with new, undiscovered content.
  • Takealot strives to be the largest, simplest, most customer centric online shopping destination in Africa.
  • Tamr makes data source connectivity and enrichment fast, cost-effective, scalable and accessible to the entire enterprise.
  • Tastemade is an online food network for discovering places to buy food, creating new dishes, and sharing them.
  • TeachersPayTeachers is an open marketplace for teaching resources such as lesson plans, unit plans and novel studies.
  • Tealium is a provider of a tag management system, including analytics, advertising and affiliate enterprise websites.
  • Teespring is a commerce platform that empowers anyone to design and sell products that people love.
  • The Muse career advice site, helping over 50 million people every year find jobs & succeed in their careers.
  • ThousandEyes offers IT teams application-aware network visibility, root-cause analysis, and a data sharing platform for vendors and clients.
  • Thrive Market is an online shopping club on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone.
  • Tilt, a next-generation crowdfunding platform, is the easiest way to collect, fundraise, or pool money securely and effectively online.
  • Toast is a tablet point-of-sale app for restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, and other businesses in the food service and hospitality space.
  • Tokopedia is one of Indonesia’s biggest online marketplace that provides customer to customer retail, enabling individuals and business owners to open and maintain their online stores for free.
  • Tradesy is an e-commerce platform that trades used clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories.
  • Truecaller is a mobile app that let’s you see who’s calling and block unwanted calls.
  • Turbonomic is an intelligent workload management solution providing virtualization management software and data center control.
  • uBiome, Inc. provides a microbiome sequencing service that offers information and tools for users to explore their microbiome.
  • 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 (formerly oDesk) is the world’s largest freelance talent marketplace, connecting businesses with great talent faster than ever.
  • VeloCloud, a cloud networking services company, simplifies branch WAN networking.
  • Vipkid provides one-on-one video teaching sessions for Chinese children between 5 to 12 years old with teachers based in North America.
  • Viptela provides Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology that allows global companies to build cost-effective WANs.
  • Walker & Company Brands makes health and beauty simple for people of color.
  • 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.
  • WeTransfer is a cloud-based file transfer service designed to transmit small to large files.
  • WorldRemit is a money transfer service that helps migrants send money to their loved ones all over the world.
  • builds and maintains an artificial intelligence powered personal assistant that schedules meetings for the business customers
  • xAd uses the context of location to create meaningful mobile advertising experiences.
  • 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



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.

Pioneer 250 Geographic Distribution

Source: GSV Asset Management

*China (4), India (7), SE Asia (3)

Today, most Pioneer 250 members (130 companies) reside in the Bay Area. New York City is the second largest cluster with 39 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 46 companies on the list. Second-place Kleiner Perkins (KPCB) and third-place NEA have backed 34 and 31 companies respectively.

Top VCs Backing Pioneer 250 Companies

Source: GSV Asset Management


Equity funding raised across the Pioneer 250 ranges from $5.5 million (Science Exchange) to $320 million (Affirm). Most companies fall into two brackets — 48% have raised between $50 million and $150 million, and 43% have raised less than $50 million. By investment stage, 64% of companies are Series C or later.

Pioneer 250 by Equity Funding Raised

Source: GSV Asset Management
Pioneer 250 by Investment Stage

Source: GSV Asset Management

Year Founded, Employees

Over 50% of Pioneer 250 companies were founded between 2011 and 2015 (135). Just seven companies were launched in 2015 and only one in 2016. The median age is six-years-old.

Pioneer 250 By Year Founded
The Median Age of Pioneer 250 Companies is Six-Years-Old

Source: GSV Asset Management

Nearly 75% of Pioneer 250 companies have 100 or more employees. Just 17 have 50 or less. The median headcount is 178.

Pioneer 250 By Employee Count
The Median Employee Count of Pioneer 250 Companies is 178

Source: GSV Asset Management, Mattermark, LinkedIn

Notable Graduates

There were 11 “graduates” from the inaugural Pioneer 250 list in 2016. Nine companies exited via M&A, including Dollar Shave Club Club, which was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion, and Quip, which was acquired by Salesforce for $750 million.

Pioneer 250 Graduates
Companies that Have “Graduated” from 2016 List via IPO, M&A, or Valuation Surpassing $1 Billion

Source: GSV Asset Management

The lone IPO was Talend, which listed in July 2016. Go-Jek left the list as it surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark later in the year on a $550 million August financing that marked the company at $1.3 billion. Subsequent to the start of 2017, Trello was acquired by Atlassian for $425 million. It will be recorded as a 2017 graduate.


by Luben Pampoulov

The Greatest

The sports World couldn’t have been happier this past week. Against all odds and against anyones expectation, Federer and Nadal survived some thrilling matches to face up against each other at a Grand Slam final…one more time. The Australian Open 2017 finished with the match everyone had dreamed for, and it ended with Roger winning his record 18th Grand Slam title.

In business like in sports, greatness comes with hard work, determination, incredible ethics, and a vision for excellence. Looking at the most successful companies, that’s exactly what they display. Whether Facebook, Google, Apple, Tencent, Amazon — their internal culture and their company DNA are made up of such qualities.

One company that we believe is on track to become one of the greatest is Spotify. Its management team led by Daniel Ek is exceptional. Its progress and focus have shown how a tiny Stockholm-based startup can go on to disrupt an entire industry that was ruled by the likes of Apple, Sony, and Universal. (Disclosure: GSV owns shares in Spotify)

Spotify is among the top candidates to IPO in 2017. In September 2016, the company reported it had crossed 40 million paying subscribers, an accelerating trend from previously announced numbers. Apple Music meanwhile has seen its growth decelerate, and has not been able to leverage its 900+ million iTunes user base too well. Others including Amazon and Alphabet (via YouTube) have come into the game too, but they have not been able to gain much momentum so far.

Pandora had an attractive music service 10 years ago, but while times changed, Pandora stayed the same — or for that matter, it got worse. Pandora failed to innovate, and got disrupted and outplayed.

Other services like Tidal came into the game from a different angle. When Jay Z bought Tidal for $56 million in 2015, he invited a long list of A-level celebrities to launch their exclusives on Tidal, days before releasing them on other platforms. The problem was Tidal wasn’t and still isn’t a freemium service, which is a big hurdle for many potential users. The other problem is that catching up to Spotify and Apple Music, both with massive user bases, is very hard at this stage.

So in the past 18 months, Tidal was not able to deliver on its goals, based on different reports, its user base has stayed relatively small, and the company has been burning cash while not generating much revenue. Strong growth has been absent…

Somewhat miraculously, in my opinion, Sprint announced it is buying a $200 million stake at a $600 million valuation in Tidal last week. This is obviously a great outcome for Jay Z, but I am not sure what exactly Sprint’s management was thinking… In 2015, Tidal’s revenue was $47 million and its net loss was $28 million, and in 2016, its revenue growth rate was likely in the +50% level, based on different data points and our research. In other words, Tidal’s valuation is now somewhere in the 7-9x P/S level, but the company has been underperforming and burning cash.

Spotify, in its 2015 report, showed it had $2.2 billion in revenue, with a net loss of $190 million. Knowing that paid user growth was very strong in 2016, as was reported by the company in September, we expect Spotify to deliver another year of solid revenue growth in the 50%+ levels. At that rate, it could report 2016 revenue in the $3.2 billion levels. Additionally, one of Spotify’s board members recently announced that the company is on track to become profitable this year.

Adding the data points together, we can expect Spotify to get a premium multiple at its potential IPO, probably a similar multiple to Netflix, and a much better one than its struggling competitor Pandora. At its latest round, Spotify was valued at $8 billion. Assuming our expectations for the 2016 results are accurate, it would imply a 2.5x P/S multiple on the current valuation. Needless to say, there could be significant upside, in our opinion.

We see Spotify as one of the big champions in the music and entertainment space, and we look forward to a potential “Grand Slam” win by the Swedes.

On-demand Entertainment Comps

Source: Public filings; GSV estimates based on public reports

Pioneer Notes

by Li Jiang

10 Most Important People in Artificial Intelligence in 2017

“As soon as it works, no one calls it AI anymore.”
— John McCarthy

John McCarthy coined the term Artificial Intelligence in 1955.

Since then, the AI industry at large has seen dramatic ups and downs — progress and promise mixed with disappointment and disillusion. But now with the convergence of Megatrends on massive data, lightning fast processing speeds, and renewed competitive fever from the American MAFIA (Microsoft, Alphabet, Facebook, IBM, Amazon), AI is poised to cause disruption on a scale that could surpass the Internet itself.

As we prepare for a wave of AI first companies (@sundarpichai) and AI natives (Ryan Hoover), every person in the innovation economy will need to understand how AI will (or will not) change their industry and their lives.

Source: Waitbutwhy

So start following the work done by these 10 industry titans and, as a bonus, 10 rising stars you may not have heard of today, but will soon:

*Part 2: Rising Stars*

These stars will increasingly play a larger role. While you may not have heard some of them before, they will all make meaningful contributions to the field over the coming decade.

Boris Sofman, ANKI (@bsofman)

Combining the power of software and hardware, ANKI is making a new class of intelligent consumer products. First unveiled at the 2010 Apple WWDC, ANKI now has several hit products that integrates complex intelligence in human friendly robotic toys.

ANKI co-founders: Mark Palatucci, Boris Sofman, Hanns Tappeiner.

Bryan Johnson, Kernel (Bryan Johnson)

While many know Bryan from his payment startup Braintree (acquired by Paypal for $800M), his foray into AI is his most daring bet yet. To say that Kernel is ambitious is to say the universe is large. He and his team is attempting to enhance human capacity through direct integration with computing technology.

Carol Reiley, (Carol E. Reiley)

Carol is steering forward the autonomous driving revolution. A long-time leader in robotics, Carol is also the better half of Andrew Ng (see above). Dare I say “First AI Family of the United States”.

Carol Reiley

Charles Jolley, Ozlo (@okito)

Need a new best friend? Look no further than Ozlo. The company is training Ozlo to become a better and better assistant with each conversation and user and to become a meaningful part of our everyday lives.

Matt Zeiler, Clarifai (Matt Zeiler)

For AI to interact with the real-world, it needs to be able to see the world first. That’s where Matt’s company Clarifai comes in. It runs the image and video recognition platform that many AI products will use in the coming years.

Nikhil Budama, Remedy Medical

After graduating from MIT in 2 years, Nikhil and his team is working to make healthcare both more scalable and accessible for everyone while improving the focus and efficiency of doctors. Remy, the company’s product, helps doctors with administrative work and helps patients receives faster, more on-demand care.


Rand Hindi, Snips (Rand Hindi)

After making MIT’s 35 Under 35 list, Rand is off to the races on creating intelligent technology that disappears into the background and simply works. With his all-star team at Snips, they are creating an artificial assistant that is no frills and simply works.

Riva Tez, Permutation Ventures (@rivatez)

A fast talking Brit, Riva is both an AI investor and evangelist, bringing the issues of healthcare and AI into mainstream conversations. Overcoming personal adversities, Riva now wants to change both the AI and venture capital industry.

Shivon Zilis, Bloomberg Beta (Shivon Zilis)

As the curator of the market ecosystem, Shivon put Machine Intelligence literally on the map. Look for Shivon to influence the direction of the AI industry, especially which companies receive the support they need to thrive, over the coming years.

Shivon Zilis

Sinan Ozdemir, Kylie (@Prof_OZ)

A former data professor at Johns Hopkins University, Sinan is now the co-founder of Kylie, an ai that clones employee personalities to automate conversations between a company and its customers. He is also the author of Principles of Data Science.

The Comet Labs TEAM (@CometLabs)

I know this makes 11 on a list of 10, but I just couldn’t write this without a nod to the TEAM at Comet Labs. They are taking a fresh approach to bringing AI and robotics companies to market, combining the best of an early stage fund with an acceleration lab in partnership with some of the largest corporations in the world.

Market Update

Week ending January 29, 2017

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U.S. Indices Snapshot

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