New York City might not have the entrepreneurial pedigree of Silicon Valley, but it has startups for days. Not only does the Big Apple host  more companies on the Inc. 5000 than any other city--it has 213, compared with 120 from runner-up Los Angeles--it has attracted tech giants like Amazon and Google, which are making long-term investments in the region. What's more, there are more venture capital dollars rushing to support the city's thriving startup ecosystem than ever before.

Here, and in alphabetical order, are the top 10 startups to watch in NYC.

1. Bowery

Soil is for worms. Instead of dirt, the indoor farming startup, founded by Irving Fain, David Golden, and Brian Falther, relies on a proprietary software dubbed BoweryOS to deliver nutrients via a hydroponic system. It also maximizes space by vertically stacking crops. Last year, organic fresh produce accounted for 90 percent of all organic food sales, which hit $45.2 billion in the U.S. according to the Organic Trade Association. Bowery is banking on even more growth; the startup, which has raised $27.5 million to date, is already selling its products in Whole Foods and other retailers.

2. Burrow

Buying a couch is the worst--and Stephen Kuhl and Kabeer Chopra know it firsthand. The Burrow founders bonded over awful couch-buying experiences while studying for their MBAs at Wharton in 2015. Their subsequent sofa-in-a-box company aims to add a little more ease to the process. With nearly $20 million in VC backing, the startup recently launched its first brick-and-mortar showroom in Manhattan's posh SoHo neighborhood, where you can burrow into a sofa and enjoy a book, movie, or TV show.

3. Lemonade

Founded in 2015 by two tech veterans, Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, Lemonade is looking to redefine how you think about renter's and home insurance. Its business model is simple: People pay a monthly premium and Lemonade takes a 20 percent cut to cover its costs. The remaining money is used to pay out claims, and whatever is not used is donated to charity at the end of the year, which the co-founders hope will deter fraudulent claims. In 2018, Lemonade gave back $162,135--triple the $53,174 it donated a year before. The company has grown to 100 employees, signed up more than 250,000 customers, and made more than $10 million in revenue this year, according to the company. In October, it announced it's teaming up with WeWork to provide renter's insurance for its WeLive locations.

4. Maven

Katherine Ryder, founder and CEO of virtual health clinic Maven, is a "force of nature" says Nancy Brown, partner at Oak HC/FT and an investor in Maven. Ryder's company has so far raised more than $42 million in venture capital to help women (men are also eligible) connect with health care professionals from doctors and nutritionists to mental health specialists. Since it was founded in 2014, Maven has helped more than 150,000 people get access to care across 166 countries. Ryder closed her most recent funding round in September to double down on Maven's Family Benefits plan, which includes shipping breast milk and back-to-work coaching for new mothers.

5. Mented Cosmetics

Co-founders Kristen Jones "KJ" Miller and Amanda Johnson noticed a startling lack of makeup made for darker skin tones. The 32-year-old Harvard graduates set out to create their own product line, which they launched using $15,000 of combined savings in February 2017. Mented Cosmetics has since raised $4 million in venture capital--and has just four full-time employees. It offers a range of nude lipsticks, nail polishes, and an eye shadow palette--which the company says has already sold out three times since its launch eight months ago. 

6. Overtime

The digital media startup is building a platform for "the next generation of [sports] fans," according to co-founder Dan Porter. Overtime, and its trove of sports videos geared toward Gen-Z and Millennials, gets about 35 million unique visitors per month and reaches almost half a billion in video views, says Porter. He and co-founder Zachary Weiner rely on a network of 250 creators who capture footage using the company's custom technology. The co-founders have raised more than $11 million from the likes of Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant and VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. 

7. Paladin

Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday are hoping to build a better bridge between lawyers and pro bono opportunities. Their software-as-a-service business, Paladin, connects lawyers--on the basis of their expertise and interests--to a pro bono case database sourced from different partners. In August, it secured a partnership with Dentons, one of the world's largest law firms. The co-founders have raised nearly $2 million from investors including Mark Cuban and Arlan Hamilton's Backstage Capital since they founded the company in 2016.

8. Petal

No credit history? No problem. Using a person's monthly income and paid bills to assess his or her eligibility, Petal gives people with less desirable credit circumstances a shot at getting a card. The startup, co-founded in 2015 by Jason Gross, Andrew Endicott, David Ehrich, and Jack Arenas, launched its no fee, low interest Visa credit card with a limit of up to $10,000 in October. With more than $50 million in funding, it expects to issue 25,000 cards or more in the next six months. 

9. Pymetrics

Frida Polli can determine if you're a perfect fit for a job well before even you can tell. Her company, Pymetrics, uses neuroscience and artificial intelligence to create games that identify and measure specific traits in candidates and match them to jobs that fit their skills. The company, which was co-founded with Julie Yoo in 2013, has already landed some big-name clients, including consumer goods giant Unilever and Elon Musk's Tesla. It closed a $40 million Series B round in September, bringing its total funding to $58 million. In 2018, it also opened offices in Singapore and Sydney to expand its services to the Asia-Pacific region.


Andrew and Amy Ingram have arranged more than 100,000 meetings in a 12-month period, a feat that may be unattainable for any sensible human. Amy and Andrew, however, are not human--a secret revealed in their initials. The Ingram siblings are A.I. assistants created by Dennis Mortensen, Matt Casey, Alex Poon, and Marcos Jimenez Belenguer. Their company,, wants to help alleviate your scheduling headaches. The four-year-old startup kept its A.I. tool in a closed beta until last year, and now it works with businesses like VMware. On October 10, the company dropped its monthly price to $8 from $29 for individual plans and to $12 from $39 for its team plans. To date, it has raised $40 million in venture capital and has 130 employees.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized Julie Yoo's role at Pymetrics. She left the company in 2017.

Published on: Nov 20, 2018