The Lead List: 14 High-Growth Companies to Sell to in January

The Lead List is a monthly series that analyzes key buy signals from companies on the Crunchbase Emerging Unicorn Board with fresh funding to help you fill your pipeline with new opportunities.


With 2023 in full swing, a question still remains: Will the global market fall into recession?   

Some economists say a recession is avoidable this year, while others aren’t so optimistic. With uncertainty looming, more companies will likely take an “expect the worst, hope for the best” approach to their businesses. Instead of growth at all costs, companies will probably continue to tighten budgets, with every dollar used to grow responsibly to stave off the impact of a potential recession. For salespeople to be successful in the current economic climate, targeting companies that have buying power will be the most effective way to close deals this year. Not only do they have the capital to withstand the ebb and flow of the market, they’re in a better position to drive growth.

In this edition of The Lead List, we’ll look at several companies that raised new funding in December and inched closer to becoming unicorns — what we call “emerging unicorns.”

Why emerging unicorns should be on your radar: Emerging unicorns are fast-growing private companies valued between $500 million and $1 billion. Why should these companies matter to you? These not-yet unicorns (unicorns are private companies valued at $1 billion or above) represent a sweet spot for salespeople. They’re established, cash-rich, growing and solving a business problem that could make them the next billion-dollar unicorn.


1. Mews

Mews

Crunchbase Rank: 24
Post-Money Valuation: $865 million

Headquartered in London, Mews is a cloud-based hotel property management system that helps simplify hotel operations. With $185 million in the bank from its recent Series C round led by Goldman Sachs and Kinnevik, the company has raised north of $232 million over six rounds.

Why Mews should be on your radar: With countries loosening travel restrictions, the travel industry is poised for a big 2023. “The travel industry is just going gangbusters,” said Erin Florio, executive editor of Condé Nast Traveler, in this CNBC article

With an increase in travel comes a greater demand for hotels. Mews has a compelling offering for hotel companies as they look to manage guest numbers they likely haven’t seen since pre-pandemic.

2. Money View

Money View

Crunchbase Rank: 62
Post-Money Valuation: $900 million

Headquartered in Bengaluru, India, Money View provides a credit platform that offers loans and financial management tools. With $75 million raised in its Series E led by Apis Partners, the company has now raised $183.7 million over six rounds.

Why Money View should be on your radar: Venture funding to financial services companies headquartered in India has grown by a whopping 113% year over year — from $3.6 billion in 2021 to $13 billion in 2022, per Crunchbase data. 

According to a report by Bain, “[India] Consumption is expected to grow from $1.8–$1.9 trillion in FY21 to about $3 trillion by FY26 due to increased demand from an added 4 million affluent and 33 million mass affluent households.” What this translates to is a growing need for financial tools, like Money View, to help households achieve economic growth.

3. Redaptive

Redaptive

Crunchbase Rank: 90
Post-Money Valuation: $900 million

Headquartered in San Francisco, Redaptive is an efficiency-as-a-service provider that funds and installs energy-saving and energy-generating equipment. The company has raised a total of $391.5 million over four rounds, with its most recent venture round led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bringing in $200 million.

Why Redaptive should be on your radar: Redaptive works with businesses to better conserve energy. As businesses implement plans to reduce their carbon footprint to meet state and country goals, Redaptive is in a position to capitalize on a greater need for tools that help companies monitor their energy usage.

4. Runway

Runway

Crunchbase Rank: 205
Post-Money Valuation: $500 million

Headquartered in New York, Runway is a next-generation video editing solution powered by machine learning. The company has raised $95.5 million in funding over five rounds with the latest round, a $50 million Series C, led by Felicis Ventures.

Why Runway should be on your radar: The recent public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT coupled with AI reemerging as a hot topic of conversation positions companies like Runway to capitalize on the attention from venture capitalists. The AI industry alone is set to reach nearly $126 billion by 2025 according to Statista, with 2,971 companies raising a combined $37.8 billion in funding in 2022 according to Crunchbase data.

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5. LanzaTech

LanzaTech

Crunchbase Rank: 276
Post-Money Valuation: $950M

Headquartered in Skokie, Illinois, LanzaTech’s carbon recycling technology turns pollution into valuable raw material commodities. In a recent edition of The Lead List, LanzaTech had one of the largest funding rounds in October — $500 million. The company is back on the list with an additional $31 million in the form of a grant from the UK government.

Why LanzaTech should be on your radar: Investments in climate tech companies are rising. With venture capitalists taking a keen interest in environmental, social and corporate governance, this may be what LanzaTech needs to spark follow-on rounds to accelerate its growth.

6. BetterPlace

BetterPlace

Crunchbase Rank: 637
Post-Money Valuation: $601M

Headquartered in Bengaluru, India, BetterPlace provides businesses with contractor workforce management, including onboarding, training and background checks. The company recently raised a 3.4 billion rupees ($41 million) Series C, led by Jungle Ventures, bringing its total funding to $91.2 million over six rounds.

Why BetterPlace should be on your radar: According to Upwork, freelancers contributed $1.35 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2022, up $50 billion from 2021. As market conditions remain in flux, companies will likely turn to contractors and freelancers for strategic projects to keep costs low. The management of this external workforce is where BetterPlace is uniquely positioned to capitalize on to drive growth in its business.

7. Shiftup

Shiftup

Crunchbase Rank: 698
Post-Money Valuation: $772M

Headquartered in Seocho, South Korea, Shiftup is a game design and development studio. The company’s most recent private equity raise, led by Tencent, brings its total funding to $26.4 million over four rounds.

Why Shiftup should be on your radar: Revenue for the entertainment and media industry grew by 10.4% in 2021, according to PWC

  • The gaming sector is forecasted to reach $323.5 billion in revenue in 2026; 
  • VR is the fastest growing segment in E&M; and
  • The metaverse has the potential to reach $5 trillion in value by 2030.

The E&M industry is packed with opportunity, especially in gaming. As a game design and development studio, Shiftup is in a solid position to grow its business as investors pour more money into this fast-growing sector.

8. Bespin Global

Bespin Global

Crunchbase Rank: 728
Post-Money Valuation: $600M

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, Bespin Global helps companies migrate to the cloud through a combination of consulting, managed services and solutions. Its latest round, a $60 million Series D led by e&, brings its total funding to $253.5 million over six rounds.

Why Bespin Global should be on your radar: In a report by Flexera, 37% of enterprises spend north of $12 million on cloud technology annually. At 53%, SMBs spend more than $1.2 million, which is up 38% year over year. Cloud technology has become an important part of how companies operate and there’s no sign of this changing any time soon. 

For Bespin Global, the fact that cloud adoption is accelerating is good news for business. It’s entering 2023 with the wind at its back and new capital that will help it navigate market pitfalls that may arise in the new year.

9. Smule

Smule

Crunchbase Rank: 1,052
Post-Money Valuation: $604M

Headquartered in San Francisco, Smule develops music-making apps that connect people online. The company has raised a total of $190.7 million in funding over 13 rounds with its most recent venture round fetching the company $14.2 million in new capital.

Why Smule should be on your radar: Social media remains an important part of society’s fabric. Whether it’s dancing on TikTok or posting a photo on Instagram, people crave connection – even if it’s through a screen. When you combine this with people’s love for karaoke, you get a 4.5/5-star app that has over 150,000 reviews on Apple’s App Store

With new capital and a happy user base, Smule is poised for continued growth.

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10. Jupiter

Jupiter

Crunchbase Rank: 1,359
Post-Money Valuation: $711M

Headquartered in Mumbai, India, Jupiter is a digital banking app that offers smart insights based on spending and provides features to make sense of an individual’s finances. The company recently raised 250 million rupees ($3 million) in debt, led by Alteria Capital. To date, Jupiter has raised a total of $158 million over five rounds.

Why Jupiter should be on your radar: Jupiter is in a similar position as Money View. There’s a lot of opportunity in India as the country’s economic growth continues to trend upward due to a growing middle class and rapid urbanization. With an increase in spending, consumers will inevitably turn to financial tools like Jupiter to help them track their expenses.

11. Curve

Curve

Crunchbase Rank: 2,666
Post-Money Valuation: $850M

Headquartered in London, Curve is a banking platform that consolidates cards and accounts into one smart card and app. Its latest $1 billion in debt financing, led by Credit Suisse, means the company has now raised over $1.2 billion in seven rounds.

Why Curve should be on your radar: Despite quarter-over-quarter drops in funding for financial services companies, the industry still remains one of the largest recipients of venture dollars according to Crunchbase News. In addition to raising a substantial amount of capital, Curve has added key members to its leadership team. In July 2022, Eyal Galinawas appointed chief product officer. In 2021, the company added former Amazon executive, Eric Molitor, to its team as chief technology officer. The expertise these two bring to the table indicates technology being a likely focus area in which the company will make strategic investments to drive growth in 2023.

12. DeHatt

DeHaat

Crunchbase Rank: 2,680
Post-Money Valuation: $700M

Headquartered in Patna City, India, DeHaat is an agritech startup that offers technology solutions to improve supply chain and production efficiency in farming. With its latest $60 million Series E led by Sofina and Temasek Holdings, ​​the company has raised a total of $254.3 million in funding over eight rounds.

Why DeHaat should be on your radar: As Jason Williamson shared in an article on Crunchbase News, “The essential equipment of the modern farmer is rapidly expanding beyond traditional implements like tillers, plows and tractors.” This expansion is due to advances in technology, such as AI and drones. At a time when climate change is impacting food production, agritech startups building solutions to combat these challenges will be in high demand.

13. Exeger

Exeger

Crunchbase Rank: 2,822
Post-Money Valuation: $878M

Headquartered in Stockholm, Exeger develops and commercializes new materials that enhance the efficiency of solar cells. With 400 million Swedish kronor ($37.9 million) raised in its recent Series B, the company has raised $168.6 million over 10 rounds. AMF, Stena Sessan, SEB, Neudi & Co and Santhe Dahl Invest  participated in the latest round.

Why Exeger should be on your radar: “As countries aim to reach ambitious decarbonization targets, renewable energy — led by wind and solar — is poised to become the backbone of the world’s power supply,” according to McKinsey. For these ambitious targets to be reached, innovative technologies that efficiently harness energy in a sustainable way are needed. This opens the door for Exeger to grow its business by partnering with companies across the globe to deploy its solar cell technology.

14. ShopBack

ShopBack

Crunchbase Rank: 5,336
Post-Money Valuation: $900M

Headquartered in Singapore, ShopBack is an e-commerce loyalty platform that offers users cashback services and other rewards for online stores. The company is back with an additional $40 million from Westpac to tack on to its Series F.

Why ShopBack should be on your radar: In a previous edition of The Lead List, ShopBack was featured for raising $80 million in October in a Series F round led by 65 Equity Partners. This was on top of Asia Partners Fund Management’s initial $80 million investment in the company in June. With an additional $40 million in the bank, the company boosts its total funding to $355 million across nine rounds. With $200 million raised in 2022 alone and key additions to its leadership team – Chief Technology Officer San Wai Oo, and General Manager of Financial Services Hamish Moline – ShopBack is headed into the new year in a strong position to drive growth.

Methodology

This edition of The Lead List includes companies on Crunchbase’s Emerging Unicorn Board that raised new funding throughout December. The companies are ordered based on their Crunchbase rank score (a proprietary, dynamic ranking that uses intelligent algorithms to score and rank companies) as of January 3, 2023. An entity’s Crunchbase rank is fluid and subject to rise and fall over time due to time-sensitive events such as product launches, funding events and leadership changes, so the current rank score may not reflect the listed rank scores.

The Emerging Unicorn Board is updated whenever a new company reaches a specific valuation range (between $500 million and less than $1 billion). Once a company reaches a valuation of $1 billion, it is classified as a “unicorn” and added to The Crunchbase Unicorn Board. Companies that exit through a public listing or acquisition are removed from the Emerging Unicorn Board and the Crunchbase Unicorn Board. If you have any questions about companies on the board or this list, please contact us at support@crunchbase.com.

  • Originally published January 20, 2023, updated January 30, 2023