Best Tech Startups in San Francisco, Ranked

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 12, 2021

When you hear Silicon Valley, you probably think “tech” and “startup." San Francisco has always been the center of all things technology and home to thousands of successful startups over the years. Because there’s a fine line between when a company is still considered a startup and when it’s finally made its mark on the world, you may only know of startups who are now successful enterprises.

DoorDash, Wish, Chime… these companies were all startups that made it big, with early investors reaping the benefits.

If you invest in startups or want to, it’s important to keep your eye out for the next big thing. Check out Benzinga’s list of the Top 10 Best Tech Startups to find startups you should be paying attention to now.

#1. Best Crowdsourcing Startup – Lime, founded 2017

Lime was founded on the idea that “all communities deserve access to smart, affordable mobility.” Lime’s focus is also leaving future generations with a healthier planet than in the present. 

Lime was structured on the premise of crowdsourcing quick, simple and affordable transportation, cutting back on environmental hazards and pollution through the equitable distribution of shared scooters, bikes and transit vehicles across each city. 

To take advantage of all that Lime has to offer, users are prompted to download the Lime app, locate a form of transportation and scan it using a QR code. As each trip comes to an end, users are required to rescan the barcode and leave said transportation behind for the next rider. 

#2. Best Robotics/Autonomous Delivery Startup – Nuro, founded 2016

Specializing in the deployment of autonomous vehicles for last-mile delivery services, Nuro has special permission from the State of California to carry out autonomous deliveries. Nuro is a startup founded by two former engineers from Google who acquired a smaller startup called Ike, an autonomous trucking company. Ike, founded in 2018, began its journey by licensing software from Nuro, one of their stakeholders. Eventually, the 2 startups merged to form Nuro as it is now .Although currently focused on the local delivery segment of business, Ike brought Class 8 semi-truck technologies to the table and will expand Nuro’s offerings across the region. 

Once implemented into Nuro’s current infrastructure,  the company began to travel across the interstate highway system using a “handoff” system for delivery. This is when a human driver will exchange freight loads and then navigate the semi-trucks in and out of facilities.  

Agreements between Ike and transportation companies, such as Ryder System Inc., DHL Supply Chain, NFI Industries and several smaller companies, were reached prior to acquisition and will lead the startup in equipping 1,000 trucks with its newly integrated technologies. These companies will automate their existing trucks through an annual software subscription model. 

#3. Best Shared Mobility Startup – PIX Moving, founded 2014

PIX Moving is a unique startup that strives to “reshape future cities with autonomous mobility” by providing sustainable solutions for city development. They’re known as the world’s first vehicle design and manufacturing system and are powered by both artificial intelligence (AI) and metal 3D printing. 

The company wants to rebuild the modern city using autonomous mobility in the overall design. The goal is to both improve road utilization and to create a better quality of life for those living within.

The company offers 4 main products:

  • PIXBOT - “The World's First Open Source Autonomous Chassis,” reducing the lead time of product development
  • PIXKIT - An open-source, autonomous driving development and education kit for the rapid prototyping of autonomous driving vehicles
  • PIXLOOP - An autonomous, software-defined chassis driving platform for rapid application development and prototyping, "built by engineers for engineers"
  • PIX CITY - A concept in action, realizing integrated application of self-driving technology in scale.; PIX cities are a smart, IoT infrastructure combined with a human-vehicle interaction

PIX Moving offers a one-stop solution that combines a self-driving software and hardware stack, a drive-by-wire chassis, batch customization and 3D printing and manufacturing of vehicles with self-driving software integration. Its open-source capabilities can be used to create autonomous vehicles for sightseeing, shuttling, vending, patrol and deliveries. 

 #4. Best Semiconductor Solutions Startup – Instrumems, founded 2016

According to Instrumems, its “fabless,” high-performance semiconductors were developed using a novel “nanowire” sensing platform, which “enables sensor fusion and high accuracy measurements of flow, temperature, velocity and humidity” in both liquids and gasses. 

They are fast, accurate and low power, reaching frequency responses between 10kHz and 100kHz.

Although tiny, these semiconductors were created using highly sophisticated algorithms and software to create a full, real-time sensing solution for use in just about any medical, IoT or industrial device. As we begin to recreate our global infrastructure, we’re going to need innovative, cutting-edge semiconductors in ways we never have before.

 #5. Best Transport and Logistics Startup –  Flexport, founded 2013

Flexport digitizes freight-forwarding for the world’s leading brands on land, air, rail and in maritime trade. It gives businesses a new way to optimize its supply chain while facilitating the transport and storage of goods across the globe. 

With 24/7 real-time tracking and monitoring of client data, a dedicated team of experts provides each client with valuable insight on their inventory and any bottlenecks they might see in the process. 

About 70% of customers state that the Flexport Platform allows them to become more strategic in their decision-making. They also experience an increase in transparency of the supply chain and heightened control over logistics.

Flexport is said to provide its customers with premium import and export services, relating to shipping, price-matching, tracking and tracing. It also brokers customs deals, reduces uncertainty and provides advisory support during uncertain times. 

#6. Best Cybersecurity Startup – Sumo Logic, founded 2010

Sumo Logic provides businesses with secure, multi-cloud support and real-time visibility across some of the most popular cloud applications on the market. Focused on the security and transparency of operations, Sumo Logic tracks big data, compliance and business intelligence (BI) use cases to help businesses make more solid, informed decisions — especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

Both proactive and predictive, Sumo Logo allows businesses to not only identify issues through machine learning, but it is able to investigate those issues and implement swift mitigation of problems. 

This startup also provides cloud-neutral SIEM tools and solutions for security information and event management (SIEM), lending both freedom and flexibility to the security of your infrastructure.  

#7. Best Ground Travel Rewards Startup – Miles, founded 2016

Miles is an awards program that allows users to earn ground travel "miles'' toward exclusive rewards and offers from some of today's hottest brands. Miles are earned, based on travel, and users earn points, as they walk, bike and ride to everyday destinations.

Within the app, users don't need to log miles, and they don't even need to open the app on a regular basis.

#8. Best Recruitment Startup – GoodTime, founded 2016

GoodTime focuses on delivering the best possible candidate experience, allowing top candidates to automatically schedule an interview and streamline the administrative process. Not only will this remove “unconscious bias” from the hiring process, but it will allow hiring managers to spend more time finding candidates, who truly match the role they are trying to fill. More time will be spent in meaningful discussion, less time spent coordinating meetings and interviews. 

GoodTime integrates into existing applicant tracking systems (ATS), which are notorious for filtering out 80% to 90% of top candidates from the market. Through this integration, talent is better tracked and filtered, keeping them in mind for future positions should they be a better match. 

Using this platform, businesses will also have access to candidate data providing them with more intimate details surrounding the hiring process. An increase in transparency will provide them with everything they need to make more informed hiring decisions. They will more clearly understand where the cycle falls short and what they can do better to minimize high rates of turnover with increased retention. 

#9. Best Pet-Friendly Startup – Fuzzy, founded 2016

Fuzzy is known as "The Pet Parent Company" because it helps pet owners provide better care for their furry friends. Once upon a time, Fuzzy’s roster of quality veterinarians made house calls to pets in need. But, sometimes, even a house call can’t come quick enough. 

When pets are in trouble, time is of the essence, but it’s usually a fairly stressful situation. And, sometimes owners’ emotional reactions can cloud the best decision. Vet visits, especially emergency vet visits, are super expensive as well, even though most of us would spend our last penny to help our pet.

Fuzzy helps eliminate the debilitating cost associated with emergency visits. In fact, its entire staff of veterinarians are available 24/7 for pets in need. The company makes visiting the vet more convenient for both pet patients and their owners. It provides health and wellness support, treatment advice and empowerment in difficult times. 

In addition to its critical televet services, Fuzzy also offers several pet care items, including medications, preventatives and vet-approved subscription boxes. 

Find Out More About Startups

Keeping your eye on notable startups is a great way to stay on top of industry trends, especially in industries you’re looking to invest in.
Learn how to invest in startups to better inform your financial strategy. And, if you’re looking for interesting startups nationwide, check out our other rankings content, like the Best Tech Startups in Detroit, Miami and Chicago.