30 of New York’s finest start-ups to watch in 2017

14 Apr 2017

The city that never sleeps. Image: Christian Reimer/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Start spreading the news, these tech start-ups are the hottest tickets to emerge from New York City.

Regarded as one of the biggest and most exciting cities to visit in the world, and often referred to as the ‘City of Dreams’, New York City has paved the path for more than 100 of the newest and brightest start-up companies.

As we all know, the city is one of the world’s greatest landmarks. Whenever we sit back and watch those classic movies set in the Big Apple, all we long to do is stroll around those dreamy Manhattan streets ourselves, have a picnic in Central Park, shop until we drop on Fifth Avenue or gaze out over the city from the stunning observatories on top of the Empire State Building.

Silicon Republic CEO and Inspirefest founder Ann O’Dea will visit New York shortly (Thursday 27 April) for the latest in her series of Salon events, so we decided to check out the city’s start-up scene. In recent months, the Inspirefest team also travelled to London, Paris and Munich, to spread the message of innovation and diversity and tell others what to expect at Inspirefest in Dublin this July.

The Salon will take place at White and Williams in New York’s Times Square Tower. Guest speakers include O’Dea; Kelly Hoey, entrepreneur, investor and author of Build Your Dream Network; Domhnaill Hernon, Bell Labs; and Susan O’Brien, Smigin founder, all whom will feature at Inspirefest 2017.

Looking to start up your very own company or simply inspecting the start-up scene as a potential investor? Look no further – New York is the place for you. Over the course of the last few years, the city has made a name for itself in terms of sizzling new start-ups such as WeWork and Betterment, and many others you will discover below.

As for active investors around the New York area looking for the best start-up ideas, Fred Wilson and the team at Union Square Ventures grant new and upcoming entrepreneurs hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to help start up their businesses and inventions. The likes of Rick Webb and Mike Yavonditte are also great New York-based angel investors to get in touch with when it comes down to funding.

New York is proving to be a vital scene for Irish tech founders such as Oisin Hanrahan, founder of Handy, and Pat Phelan, who two years ago sold his Cork-founded start-up Trustev to TransUnion for $44m.

In recent weeks, Bank of Ireland became the first Irish bank to establish a NYC incubator to support Irish start-ups entering the US market, including  DeposifyPulsate and Axonista.

Not only that, but the managing director at New York start-up accelerator Techstars Connection is none other than Irish entrepreneur Eamonn Carey.

So, without further ado, these are the 30 hottest tech start-ups to watch in New York in 2017.


The loathed expense report may be a thing of the past thanks to New York start-up Abacus. Abacus is an intuitive way for you to reimburse your team, reconcile corporate cards and implement your expense policy. Founded by Omar Qari, Ted Power and Josh Halickman, the company has raised $3.5m to date from investors including Slack, Bessemer Venture Partners and General Catalyst.

Adore Me

Adore Me is a disruptive e-commerce lingerie start-up ranked number nine on Crain’s 2016 Fast50 list of the fastest-growing companies. Founded by Gary Bravard and Morgan Hermand-Waiche, the New York company boasts an online footprint of almost 1.2m Facebook followers and it has raised $11.5m from various venture capitalists and private investors, including SOSV, White Star Capital and Redhills Ventures.


Andela is tackling the tech industry’s diversity problem head-on by placing untapped tech talent from the continent of Africa in full-time jobs in US tech companies. Founded by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Christina Sass, Ian Carnevale and Jeremy Johnson, Andela raised $24m last year in a round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative fund, set up by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr Priscilla Chan.


Backtrace is a debugging platform that improves software reliability, quality and support. Founded in 2014 by Abel Mathew and Samy Bahra, the company’s novel technology captures faults with unprecedented speed and attention to detail. Backtrace has so far raised $6.1m in investment, including a $5m Series A in December.

Bark & Co

Bark & Co is part of a growing subscription industry, with its take on the theme – BarkBox – providing toys and treats for pooches. The bits and pieces that work best can then be reordered from the shop. Just two years after setting up, employment at Bark & Co is set to hit 250 by the end of 2017.


Fintech player Bread is an alternative lending platform that gives e-commerce companies the ability to enable customers to pay for their purchases over time. Founded by Daniel Simon and Josh Abramowitz, Bread pays merchants up-front and helps them boost sales. In 2015, the company raised $14.3m in a single round led by Bessemer Venture Partners involving 10 investors.


30 of New York’s finest start-ups to watch in 2017

Image: Casper

Taking this year’s SXSW by storm, mattress company Casper has been valued at $550m by some, just three years after it was created. Offering trials as long as 100 nights for mattresses, sheets and pillows, the company’s success is in part down to its modern marketing techniques, using social media and pop-up projects to get its name out there.


Using visual recognition in image and video content, Clarifai is an AI firm making waves in the technology industry. Founded by company CEO Matthew Zeiler in 2013, Clarifai’s USP is its machine learning tool, winning the top five places in image classification at the ImageNet project within a few months of its formation.


Cheddar is one of the growing number of companies attempting to make sense of the modern media landscape, providing a live and on-demand video news network. Cheddar was set up by Jon Steinberg, former president of BuzzFeed and CEO of Daily Mail US. Focusing plenty of its work on the New York Stock Exchange, some of Cheddar’s better-known coverage includes that of Snap’s recent IPO.


Common is a novel twist on the Airbnb model revolutionising the short-term rental market. Subscribers have access to private bedrooms throughout the network of ‘common’ homes. Members can move about houses, with WiFi, laundry, cleaning and furnishing provided. The company was founded by CEO Brad Hargreaves.

Crisis Text Line

With millennials appearing to prefer texting to phone conversations, a service such as Crisis Text Line that offers emotional support through text messages seems like a no-brainer. Founded in 2012 by Nancy Lublin, the start-up uses data science and AI to determine who needs a counsellor’s help the most. It has so far raised more than $30m .

In March, the organisation partnered with Facebook to offer its service through Messenger to aid suicide prevention.

Electric AI

Founded by Ryan Denehy as recently as September 2016, Electric AI is an intelligent chat platform that allows SMEs to get IT support directly through popular productivity apps such as Slack.

Speaking last November after raising $2m, Denehy said that the service will save offices significant amounts of time typically spent wasted responding to IT issues.

“I believe this will transform the $180bn IT support industry,” he said.


Founded by Elisa Cimetta, Sarindr Bhumiratana and Nina Tandon in 2013, EpiBone is a bone reconstruction start-up that wants to enable patients to ‘grow their own bone’.

Using advanced scanners, EpiBone finds the bone’s defects and generates tissue using the patient’s own stem cells, which are then grafted onto the bone.

With investors including Silicon Valley stalwart Peter Thiel, co-founder Tandon was recently included in Wired’s Smart List of the tech world’s rising stars.


Beauty is in the eye of the investor, particularly when it comes to Glossier.

Founded in 2014 by Emily Weiss, the cosmetics company exploded on social media and has since raised close to $35m in funding, including $24m announced last November.

Signs of its success can be seen with its recent move into the glamorous One Soho Square building in New York City, creating 282 jobs.


Founded by Emery Wells and John Traver in 2014, Frame.io is a collaborative platform for video creators to bypass the need for third-party cloud services to store large files.

Having recently launched the second iteration of its collaboration tool, Frame.io has raised more than $12m, $10m of which included investors from Hollywood such as Kevin Spacey and Jared Leto.

It currently has clients in the form of tech giants such as Snap, PayPal and Facebook.


Founded in 2013, goTenna is a Brooklyn-based start-up that designs technologies to allow off-grid communications.

The technology enables users to send messages and share locations from remote parts of the world, even when they don’t have service.

Spurred on by founders Jorge and Daniela Perdomo, goTenna raised $7.5m in Series A funding in March 2016.


Happify was founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneurs Tomer Ben-Kiki, Ofer Leidner, and Andy Parsons.

The company provides an app that uses gaming technologies to measure and improve the user’s happiness based on psychological and scientific methods.

Since Happify was founded, it has raised more than $16.5m in six rounds of funding.


Peter Brodsky, HyperScience founder

Peter Brodsky, HyperScience co-founder (right) speaking at FirstMark’s Data Driven NYC event in 2016. Image: Data Driven NYC/YouTube

HyperScience is an artificial intelligence (AI) company specialising in the automation of office work.

Its AI solutions automate back-office paperwork and other menial tasks.

HyperScience was founded in 2013 by Peter Brodsky, Vladimir Tzankov and Krasimir Marinov, and has raised a total of almost $19m in funding, with the most recent round in December 2016.


IrisVR is instant virtual reality (VR) for the building industry.

Founded in 2014, IrisVR works with 3D software to give architects a true sense of depth and space before anything has been built, with a true to-scale experience.

The company was founded by Nate Beatty and Shane Scranton, and has received almost $10m in funding.


Founded in 2014 by women, for women, Lola is an organic feminine care product line.

It offers a customisable subscription service that delivers tampons, pads and liners made of 100pc organic cotton right to your door.

So far, Lola has received more than $11m in funding, most of which came from Series A funding in December 2016. The company was founded by Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman.


Emerging from NYC start-up studio Expa in 2015, Kit is a social community that enables users to discover various products for a certain activity, helpfully grouped together into kits. Founded by Camille Hearst and Naveen Selvadurai, Kit recently raised $2.5m in a 2016 funding round from investors including Expa, Ellen Pao and Black Angel Tech Fund.


Capitalising on the burgeoning industry of virtual reality, Littlstar is passionate about 360-degree video, immersive experiences and all things VR. The company was founded in 2013 by Tony Mugavero, Matt Collado and Dominic Giglio. Working with renowned media companies such as Disney and Universal, Littlstar’s worldwide network can be accessed on desktop, via mobile app and through Apple TV and Android TV.


Founded by Katherine Ryder, Maven is an online clinic that promotes women’s health and wellness, offering prescription services and video appointments. It provides a healthcare platform for college students and also assists businesses with its maternity benefits programme. In 2015, it launched a telemedicine app after receiving $2.2m in seed funding.

Modern Meadow

Headquartered in Brooklyn, Modern Meadow envisions a “future where animal products are animal-free”. Founded by Karoly Jakab, Gabor Forgacs, Francoise Marga and Andras Forgacs, the company aims to revolutionise the production of leather with biofabrication, reducing the slaughter of animals and benefiting the environment in the process. Modern Meadow raised $40m in a Series B funding round last summer.


A global platform for women to engage and share stories with one another, Mogul is used in 196 countries. As well as its NYC HQ, Mogul has offices in Paris and San Francisco. In 2014, CEO and founder Tiffany Pham was named as one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women Under 30 in Tech.


QC: Testing some robots before they get shipped out!

A post shared by Opentrons (@opentronslab) on

In labs the world over, pipetting can be a real pain in the thumb, so why not let robots handle this repetitive and tedious work? That’s what the Opentrons OT-One robot does, at a starting cost of $3,000. Happy customers of this Brooklyn-based start-up include the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic and French biotech start-up Glowee.

Founded in 2013, Opentrons is still at the early stages of funding, securing some as-yet-undisclosed seed investment last month.


Sure, wearable tech is smart, but can it be stylish? That’s the question Ringly hopes to answer with its range of activity-tracking jewellery. Ringly’s $165 rings and bracelets feature stand-out stones and all the tech needed to track users’ activity and send smartphone notifications via vibrations and subtle lights.

Since it was founded by Christina d’Avignon and Logan Munro in 2013, Ringly has raised $6.8m, with investors including Andreessen Horowitz and PCH International.


Sourcepoint is on the way to realising its goal of becoming the “Spotify for digital content”, following a $16m Series B funding round in January that included Spotify backers Northzone, placing general partner (and Spotify board member) Pär-Jörgen Pärson on its board.

Founded in 2015, Sourcepoint’s tools help publishers to detect ad-blocking software and engage with their audience to encourage alternative content compensation models, such as subscriptions or one-off payments.


Founded in 2012 by Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, theSkimm “makes it easier to be smarter” by delivering the top news stories of the day direct to users’ inboxes. Dubbed ‘The Daily Skimm’, the morning email promises users “all the news and info you need to start your day”.

To date, theSkimm has attracted millions of subscribers, more than $16m in funding, and celebrity endorsements from Lena Dunham, Trevor Noah and mega-influencer Oprah Winfrey.

Thrive Global

Thrive Global is the latest media venture from The Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington. The wellness-focused platform launched in November 2016 and expansion into new regions such as Italy and India is already underway, backed by $7m in Series A funding.

As well as sharing content aimed at changing the way we work and live, Thrive Global promotes self-assessment and self-improvement through online courses, apps and podcasts.

This article was compiled by the Siliconrepublic.com team with additional reporting by Laura-Louise Slattery.

The city that never sleeps. Image: Christian Reimer/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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