Startupland can be a tricky place to have a solid handle on sometimes, for all the marketing, hustling and image-making that goes on. In a world where funding rounds and valuations are based on the perceived strength of a startup, “Fake it till you make it,” is not an ironic phrase, but a founding motto for some.
And conversely, “Are they for real?” is among the first questions we ask on the editorial side.
So that’s why we at Technical.ly created the realLIST, an annual ranking of the most exciting and most legit young startups in Brooklyn. We’ve been following these companies and we will continue to keep close tabs on them and their progress. And if you have suggestions for next year’s list, we’re all ears!
Not every company we cover was considered for our realLIST. Here are the ground rules we set for the process:
- The startup has been founded no earlier than 2013. That sunset period stems from Technical.ly cofounder Christopher Wink’s 2012 definition of a startup. This sunset period took away some of the largest and best-known Brooklyn tech companies (Etsy, Kickstarter, Livestream, etc.). Everyone already knows they’re real.
- Companies must make the majority of their revenue from a product. That means creative agencies were not eligible (sorry, Huge).
- The startups have not been acquired or otherwise exited.
And so, here is Technical.ly Brooklyn’s 2017 realLIST. Click on each company to read our coverage and get a sense as to why they made it.
(One important caveat about this list: Not making this list does not mean we deem a startup “unreal”! This is just a snapshot of what we’re most excited about right now.)
10. Cresilon (formerly Suneris)
- The Industry City-based company has one of the most compelling products we’ve come across, a gel that can be applied to an open wound to close it up and stop the bleeding. Used primarily on animals now, the possibilities for this company are enormous. With 25 employees (according to LinkedIn) and an office the size of two basketball courts, this company, though young, is real.
- HEVO’s product is a wireless charging port for electronic cars. By eliminating humans having to plug in cars, its stations would eliminate the last link in the chain tethering autonomous cars to people. Instead, they’d be free to pick up and drop off passengers, find the closest HEVO port, charge themselves and keep it movin’.
- A graduate of the respected Blue Ridge Labs incubator, Propel’s primary product, FreshEBT brings SNAP benefits into the digital world, allowing users to access and keep track of their balances on their phones. Last month, the startup won a $100,000 grant from the Future Cities Accelerator.
- KISI makes keys irrelevant. Great for offices and coworking spaces, users can open locked doors by tapping their app rather than carrying a key or a key fob. That’s great, but it’s even better for the managers of office spaces, which no longer have to track down unreturned keys.
6. United Wind
- Based in Dumbo, this clean energy startup got a very real $200 million investment last year, making it one of Brooklyn’s best-funded startups ever.
- The Bushwick-based ConsenSys is the leading blockchain-oriented company in the borough. It’s a bit like a dev shop for apps, but only those which run on the Ethereum blockchain protocol, which, not coincidentally, was co-created by ConsenSys’s founder, Joseph Lubin.
- Agrilyst made a splash this year at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, where its founder, Allison Kopf gave the keynote address and announced she’d received $1 million in seed funding, led by Brooklyn’s own Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. Kopf also won Technical.ly Brooklyn’s Entrepreneur of 2016 honor at last month’s Brooklyn Innovation Awards.
- That Croissant is a really simple idea does not make it any less useful. The app is an all-access pass for coworking spaces. Users are able to pay a monthly rate and use dozens of coworking spaces in several cities. The spaces get paid for the hours the users are there, as well as a primo marketing opportunity for a person in the market for coworking.
- In a world (we know) where 3D printing is struggling as a technology, Voodoo is thriving. Earlier this month, the startup announced the completion of a seed round of funding, a hiring push, plans to build a bigger factory, and their acceptance into Y Combinator. Not bad.
- Common comes out on top not just for the tremendous success it has had in such a short time (it was founded just a year and a half ago) but also because it re-envisions a fundamental part of our society: how we live together. In big cities where housing demand outstrips supply, the coliving company has created value for its residents and making the most of space, with each new project larger than the one before it.
In no particular order.