Even the crumbling venture market, following the peak of 2021, can’t stop resilient and focused founders who set a high standard for entrepreneurship.
Every year we witness startups rise and fall. But there are those who are able to go the distance and survive excruciating trials and tribulations. Let’s pay tribute to these goliaths by playing the “Rocky” theme one more time.
And while you listen, read on to find our list of top startups in 2023 and get inspired! We do not rank these companies and list them in no particular order, based on our personal preference:
Redwood Materials: a circular supply chain for EV
Redwood Materials is a lithium-ion battery recycling startup based in Carson City. By recycling used batteries, they produce resources for consumer electronics and EV manufacturing. Amazon, Panasonic, and Lyft are among Redwood’s major clients.
The team created a closed-loop, domestic supply chain for its partners, providing continuous delivery of sustainable materials.
In 2022 the company recycled enough end-of-life batteries to provide the key ingredients for manufacturing more than 60,000 new electric cars. They’ve already partnered with automobile giants Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Volvo.
During their latest Series D funding in August, the company managed to collect more than $1 billion, which brings their tally up to $2 billion of equity capital.
In addition to that, they’ve also secured a $2 billion conditional low-cost loan from the US Department of Energy in February.
Goldman Sachs Asset Management speaks highly of the startup and they believe Redwood is on its way to becoming the lead supplier of battery materials in the industry. Their Managing Director in Private Equity, Sebastien Gagnon, thinks the company will play a crucial role in the coming global energy transition.
Axiom Space: world’s first commercial space station
Axiom Space is pioneering the global space economy by providing spaceflight services and uniting collaborators in medicine, materials science, and infrastructure to create a new world in low-Earth orbit.
August was quite fruitful for Axiom, as they closed a gigantic $350 million Series C round and secured over $2 billion in customer contracts.
The startup won NASA’s port award giving it exclusive rights to attach a commercial module to the International Space Station, allowing Axiom Space to build on and expand from its foundation.
This endeavor promises to significantly improve the sustainability of human life both on and off our planet as research in a gravityless environment leads to new discoveries in medicine, materials, and manufacturing.
For instance, Axiom Space’s new partner, Boryung, aims to establish a space healthcare ecosystem that supports long-duration human space missions. The startup also secured a $1.26 billion long-term contract from NASA to provide special xEVAS spacesuits for missions to the moon.
Realworld: resources & tools to navigate adult life
Realworld is a friendly mobile app and web platform that allows young people to gradually transition into adult life, by guiding them through various activities such as: filing taxes, acquiring and managing student loans, building credit history, buying a first home, getting a first pet, saving for retirement, etc.
Basically, it's a walkthrough for Generation Z adults to navigate all aspects of life in college, at home, and in the workplace. A personalized step-by-step playbook packed into an easy-to-use app.
The startup concluded an impressive $3.4 million seed round in 2021 but has not yet followed up with new funding.
Genevieve Bellaire, Realworld’s founder shares an interesting story on how they acquired their first 100 customers:
The team did not have to start from scratch as they had an educational course that they sold to college career centers. By converting visitors to try their Realworld adulting resources online they gained their first hundred users. A great strategy to start off the company.
Circles: online group therapy & emotional support
Circles is a friendly and intuitive app that connects users who are going through similar psychological issues into safe and intimate emotional support groups facilitated by professionals (mental health advocates & therapists).
The platform offers support for a large variety of life issues, including everything from parenting to LGBTQIIA+, autism, emotional health, narcissistic relationships, separation or divorce, body image, and sobriety.
Aside from that, Circles also provides personalized content and resources, including self-help exercises, blogs, and webinars.
The startup concluded a recent Series A round in May 2022 where they’ve managed to raise $16.5 million. That’s after a successful seed round of $8 million in 2021. Having raised a total of $24.51 million and continuously improving their users’ experience with the app, Circles is definitely on a winning streak.
In January, Circles was named Best Online Group Therapy provider by Verywell Mind, a leading mental health media outlet.
Julia Childs Heyl, MSW, a psychotherapist who specializes in treating anxiety, depression, and trauma speaks highly of the platform, saying that the mental health services the app offers are truly worth it and would be a great supplement to individual psychotherapy.
The app has a very minimalist design allowing users to easily navigate and find the emotional support groups and resources they need. On sign-up, the platform asks about the user’s concerns and then personalizes content based on that info.
Users can browse currently ongoing support groups related to their interests, and it also provides the opportunity to start their own closed group of peers that meets regularly on a weekly basis.
Circles provides two options to join a meeting: an audio-only discussion and a group chat which can be more satisfying for a person struggling with anxiety, for whom a live chat might be overwhelming.
Overall, the platform is set to revolutionize care for emotional well-being with a business model that combines innovative technology with a personal approach to mental healthcare and support.
Go Global World: investor-startup-advisor matchmaking & funding management
The app streamlines scouting and networking. Startup founders don’t need to make cold pitches anymore as Go Global World connects them with investors who match their criteria and are most likely to be interested in funding.
At the same time, investors are spared from unwanted deal noise and connect only with those they are interested in.
Having just launched in July, the networking startup has already signed up investors from over 80 major VC firms. As of now, over 300 investor-startup matches have been made on the platform. A strong leap from the start!
Recently, Go Global World introduced an advisor role on the platform, providing assistance and mentorship for startups.
The startup also hosts their very own GGW Sharks events (similar to Shark Tank) where founders make 1-minute online pitches to investors. Up to today, 30 GGW Sharks events were hosted with more than 6,000 startups signed up and over 350 investor-startup connections made.
Go Global World is now aiming for a Pre-Seed round of $500K to be concluded. The proceeds will be put toward expanding the team and improving the matchmaking model using analytics data.
We hope these success stories inspire both young and experienced entrepreneurs to continue pushing forward in realizing their dream ventures.
Quick words of advice for founders: don’t listen to the naysayers who seldom see what’s right in front of their faces. And give them a break, they’re only human!
Follow your vision of the big picture and do not stray from your path on the way to innovation. The future world depends on your resilience and determination.