14 Early Stage Bay Area Startups Poised for Hyper Growth

Early stage startups provide a one-of-a-kind career jolt you can’t find anywhere else. When you join a seed startup or an early stage company preparing to raise its Series A round, you’re signing up for an exhilarating (and potentially highly stressful) ride. Joining an early stage startup is a huge gamble, with only 31% of seed startups moving on to raise a Series A, per recent Mattermark analysis. But it’s a bet that offers incredible payoffs according to CultureAmp —most notably more equity, an emphasis on innovation and scrappiness, and steep (but not impossible) learning curves.

Here are 14 early stage Bay Area startups poised for hyper growth, or even possibly unicorn status. To figure out what startups should be on this list, we pulled Mattermark Growth Scores for all startups in the Bay Area with fewer than 40 employees and less than $10 million raised. They’re listed here in descending order by Growth Score:


uploadvr sf office
Just another day at work at the UploadVR office.

Mattermark Growth Score: 1193
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $1.3 million
Employee count: 34

“Dedicated to accelerating the success of the virtual reality industry,” per their mission statement, UploadVR is a network connecting people with virtual reality education, virtual reality news, virtual reality jobs, and virtual reality events (including a robust Meetup program). Of note: Tech evangelist and prolific blogger Richard Scoble is UploadVR’s Entrepreneur in Residence.

Current openings: None. Follow UploadVR on Twitter to be notified if/when they post new positions.


Mattermark Growth Score: 862
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $2.5 million
Employee count: 24

Zero is an emerging player in payments technologies, offering innovative consumer products like a carbon debit card (currently in beta). Zero’s founding team comes from Zynga, Shift, Postmates, and Apple.

Current openings: Product Designer, Customer Experience Manager, Product Manager (Tech), Product Manager (Banking)

Cloud Academy

Mattermark Growth Score: 714
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $125,000
Employee count: 40

Cloud Academy is a cloud computing education company offering skills assessment, new weekly cloud computing courses, AWS certification training, and an engaged community of IT professionals learning together.

Current openings: Head of Product, Technical Recruiter, Visual Designer, DevOps Engineer, Full-Stack Developer, Senior Python Developer; Lead Cloud Engineer, Research, and Trainer; Front-End Developer, Product Designer Lead


An example of Simbi's playful, mission-driven marketing.
An example of Simbi’s playful, mission-driven marketing.

Mattermark Growth Score: 692
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $1.2 million
Employee count: 18

Simbi (YC S16), an online freelance services marketplace, is shorthand for “The Symbiotic Economy,” a new economy with its own currency (simbi, which when written in all lowercase refers to the credits earned and paid on the site) and driven by a core set of values. Bonus coolness points: Simbi has a female founder and CEO (KJ Erickson, who has graduate degrees from both Stanford and Oxford, and has been named a “Person You Should Know” by CNN).

Current openings: Director of Community

Tubi TV

Mattermark Growth Score: 643
Funding stage: Series B
Total funding: $10 million
Employee count: 35

Tubi TV is an ad-supported TV streaming service well-funded by major Hollywood movie studios, including MGM, Paramount, and Lionsgate. With over 200 content partners, including Starz and The Outdoor Channel, Tubi TV is the fastest-growing legal site for watching movies and television across multiple platforms, including Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Samsung, iOS, Android, and more. Plus, they have what is perhaps the best tagline in the history of streaming startups: “Now playing, no paying.”

Current openings: iOS Engineer, Data Engineer, Ad Operations Manager, Senior Front-End/Devices Engineer


Mattermark Growth Score: 642
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $2 million
Employee count: 13

clearbit's mission district office
Clearbit’s Mission District HQ.

Clearbit is a technology company focused on making corporate APIs interesting, useful, and accessible. With just a handful of people, Clearbit’s team is already processing millions of API calls every day at their Mission District HQ.

Current openings: Lead Designer, Software Engineer (mainly working with Ruby/Sinatra/Sequel/Postgres stack), Account Executive


Mattermark Growth Score: 640
Funding stage: Series A
Total funding: $125,000
Employee count: 34

Pipefy, founded as part of the 500 Startups summer 2015 batch, is a tool for managing workflow and tracking task completion with 60k+ users, according to metrics listed on their website. Pipefy’s investors include Angellist, Trinity Ventures, angel investor Judy Yang, and growth god Brian Balfour.

Current openings: None


Mattermark Growth Score: 637
Funding stage: Series A
Total funding: $7.4 million
Employee count: 17

BTCJam is a bitcoin lending service garnering major attention from both investors and media, having been named one of the Sand Hill 25 Bitcoin Innovative Disruptors as well as one of Business Insider’s 25 Most Exciting Bitcoin Startups.

Current openings: None


truebill san francisco office

Mattermark Growth Score: 570
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $1.8 million
Employee count: 41

Truebill is a tool for managing online subscriptions. Unable to find an answer to the simple question “What am I subscribed to that’s charging me every month?”, Truebill’s founders discovered a market opportunity — and started the company with a prototype at Y Combinator’s Winter 2016 batch.

Current openings: Senior Software Engineer


Mattermark Growth Score: 565
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $1.3 million
Employee count: 49

VIDA is an e-commerce platform for connecting designers directly with consumers. According to a TechCrunch story published around VIDA’s 2014 launch, “With VIDA, the idea is to use technology to provide a way for designers, artists and other creatives from around the world to make a viable living through their work.”

Current openings: Full Stack QA Engineer, Junior Full Stack Developer, Production Manager, Marketing Manager, Graphic Designer, Product Development & Partnership Operations


onboardiq founders

Mattermark Growth Score: 555
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $1.8 million per Mattermark, $3.3 million per Crunchbase
Employee count: 12

Launched at Y Combinator’s Summer 2015 batch, OnboardIQ is an automated onboarding tool for hiring and managing freelance workers. OnboardIQ’s seed and angel investors include SoftTechVC (with Andy McLoughlin joining the board), Slow Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann, Dropbox Head of Product Ilya Fushman, and all four founders at Caviar, among others.

Current openings: Product Manager, Backend Engineer (Rails), Client Success Specialist, Sales Development Representative


Mattermark Growth Score: 532
Funding stage: Series A (public)
Total funding: $4.3 million
Employee count: 41

massroots stock price

With more than 900,000 users, MassRoots is the latest weed startup to make a grab at the high-growth marijuana market. An emerging social platform for sharing cannabis content, reading latest news, and following dispensaries, MassRoots wants to beat out Leafly and Eaze as the Yelp for weed. Bonus cool points: MassRoots is the first marijuana technology company to go public, and lists their current stock price and all SEC filings right on their homepage.

Current openings: Senior UX Designer, Account Executive, Senior Marketing Manager, User Acquisition Manager, Senior Growth Manager


Mattermark Growth Score: 487
Funding stage: Pre Series A
Total funding: $2.7 million
Employee count: 16

A community-driven marketplace for local experiences, Verlocal connects people with local classes, events, homemade products, and services, everything from guided San Francisco Food Safaris to free improv classes.

Current openings: Software Engineer, iOS App Developer, Business Development Associate, Independent Sales Representative, Customer Success Associate


Mattermark Growth Score: 445
Funding stage: Series B
Total funding: $32 million
Employee count: 30

An Iterable engineer at work.

Flush with new $23 million Series B financing (and arguably graduating out of “early stage” into “high growth stage”), Iterable is an extremely well-funded growth marketing and user engagement platform. And the founding team knows or thing or two about user growth, having built the systems that powered Twitter’s massive early growth. According to CEO Justin Zhu’s Medium post, the company’s focus  leading into 2017 will be on delivering an enterprise-grade platform, doubling down on email and mobile capabilities, and increasing investment in marketing channels and customer success.

Current openings: Backend Software Engineer, Front-End Software Engineer, Infrastructure and DevOps Engineer, Machine Learning Engineer, Mobile Software Engineer, Content Marketing Manager, VP of Engineer, Technical Recruiter, Sales Development Manager, Product Manager (and more!)

About the Author

Whitney Ricketts

Whitney is Hired's Director of Content Marketing. Prior to joining Hired, Whit ran growth at NeonMob, communications at CreativeLive, and reality TV gossip reporting for Wetpaint.