- LinkedIn has unveiled its 2018 list of the 50 top U.S. startups, which analyzes young companies who are "reaching [an] escape velocity." LinkedIn looked at companies that are privately held, capped at seven years old and with a minimum of 50 employees, then used LinkedIn data to rank those companies based on employee growth, jobseeker interest, member engagement with the company and how well the startups attract top talent.
- Lyft topped the list at No. 1 due to its expanding valuation and control over the ride-share market. "Lyft never gloated over the stumbles of its scandal-plagued rival, Uber. Instead, it seized the chance to grow," wrote LinkedIn Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth.
- Other significant transportation and tech startups made the list, including machine learning company Noodle.ai (4); scooter-share company Bird (5); autonomous vehicle (AV) startup Argo AI (17); blockchain incubator ConsenSys (26); and autonomous vehicle startup Drive.ai (35).
In his announcement post, Roth explained the value of effective startups, noting they "can scramble industries, alter how we work and live, and shift talent flows around the world." And while Lyft just barely fits into LinkedIn's definition of a "startup" at more than six years old, there's little surprise that it takes the crown as this year's top startup, considering its impact on the ride-share industry.
LinkedIn says Lyft now controls 35% of the U.S. ride-sharing market, up from 20% in 2016, and it has raised $4.3 billion in capital (current valuation is $15.1 billion) to date. The company also made many headlines in the shared mobility space this year, such as when it announced an AV partner in March and acquired Motivate in July, among other strategic decisions.
Arguably even more impressive, however, is Bird's ability to claim the No. 5 spot on the list after barely a year into operation. As indicated by some pushback from cities in which the scooter company operates, it has certainly scrambled the mobility industry and is currently valued at $2 billion with nearly 400 global employees.
Considering the evaluation of employee growth, interest and engagement, the abundance of transportation and tech startups on the list indicate those industries are where talent and economic opportunity lies. To become startup hubs, cities must make themselves accommodating to those industries and work with leading companies, like Lyft, to assure the needs of growing businesses are met with support and collaboration.