Rising Star Startups in 2020

Rising Star Startups in 2020
Rising Star Startups in 2020

6 min read
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Nobody can deny that 2020 hasn’t been the easiest year for startups. The effects of Covid-19 on the stock market made even industry giants quake in their boots, let alone fledgling startups who haven’t even secured their first angel investor. Despite this volatile economic climate, some star startups have continued to rise.

With niches like cybersecurity becoming of increasing importance for personal, company and national security, their startup presence has also grown. According to Forbes Magazine, there are nearly 22,000 cybersecurity related startups with 1,653 receiving funding in the last year.

While 2020 hasn’t been a great year for application software companies with an average 4.7% decrease in application software spending from 2019 and on-site software taking an even bigger hit with a 15.2% decrease in spending, the silver lining, however, is that cloud-based software spending is seeing a 6.8% increase as Covid-19 has sent a large portion of the world’s workforce to work remotely, making cloud services in hot demand.

Technology related to the health industry has seen a huge uptick this year as the pandemic forced hospitals and doctor’s offices to adjust their staff numbers and the way they communicate with patients.

Several months into the pandemic, here’s a list of which startup stars have been rising in 2020:

Signal Sciences - Cofounded by Nick Galbreath, Zane Lackey and Andrew Peterson (CEO) who developed the website Etsy’s cybersecurity system, the team decided to start their own company in 2014. Based in Los Angeles, Signal Sciences boasts next-generation Web Application Firewall, Bot, API and ATO protection with 95% of their customers in full blocking mode. Their tool supports over 100 cloud native and datacenter platforms and business is booming now that so many companies have transitioned their offices to remote work, a trend that is expected to increase even after the pandemic is over.

Beyond Identity - This startup, cofounded by Jim Clark and Tom Jermoluk, is famous for its mission: the elimination of passwords. Clark and Jermoluk were both internet pioneers with Clark unleashing the Netscape browser and SSL and Jermoluk offering home broadband access with his @Home Network. Raising $30M of funding in their first round, the team has channeled their shared concern for security of personal information, intellectual property and funds and government data into this joint venture which features X.509-based asymmetric cryptography to secure data and protect from cyberattacks. An adaptive, risk-based authentication allows its clients to reduce operating costs while implementing a totally password-free identity management system, providing a real solution to companies struggling to password protect their data with employees working from remote locations.

ClickUp - This cloud-based project management platform has raised $37.5M in 3 rounds of funding with their last round in June being a Series A round. Their biggest selling point is that they can effectively perform the task of several different apps in one single app. Task management, doc sharing, chatting, goal-setting and other tasks can all be performed on their easy-to-use interface. With over 1,000 integrations and providing an end to separate apps, ClickUp counts among its clients big players such as Google, AirBnb, Nike and Uber. As cloud-based services have seen an increase in demand during Covid-19 and the prediction that remote work may be here to stay, it’s truly possible that their claim “This is the future of work” just might hold water.

Weave - Cofounded by Clint Berry, Brandon Rodman (CEO) and Jared Rodman, this startup once focused on providing a fast and easy way for health professionals to communicate with clients through text. With the Covid-19 pandemic, they expanded their reach to include other businesses who now have the onus of quickly developing remote communication methods and practices. Saving offices time and resources with their reliable two-way texting service that now includes curbside check-in for health services offices, Weave had an estimated $50M in revenue in 2019 and is slated to have an even better 2020.

Trusted Health - Cofounded by Matt Pierce and Lennie Sliwinski, the startup Trusted Health seeks to match nurses in need of a job with hospitals in need of nurses. Addressing some of the main pain points of nurses such as commissioned recruiters who take a cut of their pay and unreliable pay (it helps to mention that Sliwinski’s mother is a nurse so he had firsthand information on how to address his target clients) as well as the difficulties of hospitals to maintain adequate nursing staff in the midst of constant shortages even before Covid-19 came along, the company has exploded since the pandemic hit: “We’ve seen an unprecedented increase in signups and a threefold increase in open roles on our platform.” With an estimated revenue in 2019 of an impressive $28M, it will be interesting to see what numbers they come out of 2020 with.

Blue Ocean Robotics – Founded by Claus Risager, Blue Ocean Robotics, based in Denmark, focuses on developing autonomous robots. Their UVD robot line that kill viruses and bacteria using UV light have been used by hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. With a price tag of €60,000, demand for this model has grown 400% since their initial market launch two years ago, receiving single orders of up to 100 units at a time at the height of the pandemic.

SmartRent – Founded by Lucas Haldeman, CEO, SmartRent offers home technology installation services such as smart locks and smart thermostats. In the Covid-19 era, SmartRent offers property owners the option of smart locks that let prospective renters into their properties to take self-guided tours. Its goal is to install units in 300,000 properties by the end of 2020, a more than threefold increase from its current 90,000 units.


As cloud-based apps and cybersecurity fulfill an important role with the number of remote workers increasing worldwide and with health-related industries experiencing nearly unprecedented demand, the pandemic crisis has bolstered businesses that serve those urgent needs and created an opportunity to better explore how we can use those technologies that are proving to be so vital now to provide high quality, safe and efficient services in the future.