The Lead List: 7 High-Growth Companies to Sell to in June

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.

After weeks of back and forth, President Biden reached an agreement with Republicans in late May to suspend the debt ceiling until January 2025 — avoiding an economic crisis. Luckily, experts aren’t anticipating the spending cuts will affect the economy too much. But the jury’s still out on whether a recession is on the horizon, meaning many companies are still playing it safe and cutting budgets where possible.

Despite continued uncertainty, not all company growth has ground to a halt; we’ve seen massive funding rounds go to AI startups like Anthropic and OpenAI. Many companies are still growing, and to be successful in this economy your job is to find them. 

The good news is we’ve done the hard work for you by creating The Lead List. In this edition, we’ll look at several companies that raised new funding in May 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. Petal

Crunchbase Rank: 56
Post-Money Valuation: $835M

Petal is a New York City-based fintech that provides technology-enabled credit cards to consumers who are historically underserved by mainstream providers. Petal’s recent $35 million venture round, led by Valar Ventures, brings its total funding to $753 million over 15 rounds.

Why Petal should be on your radar: Petal wants to level the playing field for consumers who could possibly fall out of favor during traditional credit checks. The company uses its own platform for cash flow underwriting, which serves as an alternative to traditional credit scores and makes credit more accessible.

Demand for Petal’s product has been growing — the company added 100,000 cardholders last year, according to TechCrunch. At the time of Petal’s Series D in January 2022, the company said it had 300,000 cardholders, and that it was “doing $20 million to $30 million in annualized revenue.” By year’s end, it was up to $80 million, and it is projected to become profitable in 2024.

2. Redaptive

Crunchbase Rank: 116
Post-Money Valuation: $900M

Headquartered in San Francisco, Redaptive is an energy-as-a-Service provider that funds and installs energy-saving and -generating equipment. Redaptive recently raised $50 million, which was led by Linse Capital and is an extension of its $200 million Series E in December 2022. The company’s total funding raised is now $442 million over six rounds.

Why Redaptive should be on your radar: Redaptive’s programs help many of the world’s influential organizations reduce energy waste, optimize cost, lower carbon emissions and meet their sustainability goals across their entire real estate portfolios. 

Research shows that the building and construction sector accounts for 34% of energy demand and 37% of energy- and process-related CO2 emissions. The EaaS market is growing rapidly due to rising energy costs, and a new partnership with Honeywell has helped to position Redaptive as a leader in the EaaS space.

This is Redaptive’s second time on the Lead List in two months. The company was featured in our April list after it secured an investment from Honeywell in a corporate round.

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3. AMP Robotics

Crunchbase Rank: 249
Post-Money Valuation: $571M

Based in Louisville, Colorado, AMP Robotics creates robotic systems that can automatically sort recyclable material. It recently raised $8 million to top up its Series C, which began in November 2022 with a $91 million investment led by Congruent Ventures and Wellington Management. The company has now raised $175 million over nine rounds.

Why AMP Robotics should be on your radar: According to TechCrunch, AMP’s primary customers are recycling facilities, which use its robotic sorting system to sort, pick and reclaim plastics, cardboard, paper, cans, and other containers and packaging types. AMP claims its sorting system can perform 80 to 120 picks per minute while remaining accurate with respect to what it’s sorting.

The recycling industry is a lucrative one — it contributes nearly $117 billion to the U.S. economy, and the industry processes 130 million metric tons of valuable commodities annually.

AMP Robotics intends to use the new funds to scale operations, including deploying technology solutions to retrofit existing recycling infrastructure and expand new infrastructure based on its application of AI-powered automation.

4. Musicow

Crunchbase Rank: 1,520
Post-Money Valuation: $660M

Musicow is a Seoul-based music copyright trading platform that allows creators to share royalties with fans and investors. It recently raised $46 million in a venture funding round led by Stic Investment, which brings its total amount raised to $140 million over six rounds.

Why Musicow should be on your radar: Musicow is shaking up the way royalties work by paying a lump sum to music creators for claims to request copyright fees. It then splits the claim rights into fractions and puts them up for auction, with half of the gains from the auction deals going to the artists. The investors of the music earn profits from the copyrights — similar to dividends paid to stock investors for shareholding. Individual investors can also trade the ownership of copyright claims via the platform.

According to the Korea Economic Daily, Musicow achieved a ~9% return over the past year; as of February, the company boasted 1.2 million users and cumulative transactions worth 400 billion won. Musicow has also secured about 20,000 music IPs to date.

Its business outlook looks particularly bright, since Korea’s Financial Services Commission is set to legalize all kinds of fractional investments next year. On top of that, Musicow is preparing for an IPO and plans to expand into overseas markets later this year, with the U.S. up first.

5. Instawork

Crunchbase Rank: 2,122
Post-Money Valuation: $560M

Headquartered in San Francisco, Instawork connects businesses with hourly workers near them. With $60 million in the bank from its recent Series D led by TCV, the company has raised north of $148 million over six rounds.

Why Instawork should be on your radar: While more than 25% of hospitality businesses and 33% of light industrial businesses have had to forgo revenue due to lack of staff, Instawork has allowed companies to easily manage their fluctuating staffing requirements while providing hourly workers the ability to choose when, where and how they work the best.

Despite the slowing economy, it’s full speed ahead for Instawork — 2 million workers joined the Instawork app during the past year, and the company is currently helping to staff distribution centers for some of the country’s largest retailers as well as the majority of sports stadiums across the U.S. and Canada.

Instawork will invest some of its new funds in additional AI-driven capabilities to connect its partners with workers who have both the right skills to be successful and who reliably show up on time.

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6. UVeye

Crunchbase Rank: 3,090
Post-Money Valuation: $800M

UVeye is a Teaneck, New Jersey-based company that develops automated inspection systems for vehicles using artificial intelligence and proprietary hardware. UVeye’s $100 million Series D, led by Hanaco Venture Capital, brings its total funding to $196 million over six rounds.

Why UVeye should be on your radar: UVeye’s platform uses a combination of proprietary algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, sensors and more to detect external or mechanical flaws in cars. Essentially, it performs a full physical on your automobile

“Automated inspection of vehicles enabled by advanced computer vision and AI is in its first innings, but will completely transform the auto industry,” said Lior Prosor, a partner at Hanaco VC, in a prepared statement. “As electric and autonomous vehicles become more and more complex and fleets become more difficult to manage, low-cost and high-frequency predictive maintenance will become an essential part of any auto stack.”

The startup will use the new cash to start production of UVeye inspection systems in North America, support further sales growth, and grow its market. CEO and co-founder Amir Hever told TechCrunch that UVeye’s expansion in North America will bring its inspection technology to thousands of dealerships, used-car auctions and fleets within the next three years.

7. Neo Fusion

Crunchbase Rank: 9,947
Post-Money Valuation: $712M

Headquartered in Anhui, China, Neo Fusion is a newly established company that will research and develop technologies that aim to bring controlled fusion for commercial uses globally. It raised $213 million in its recent venture funding round, led by Nio.

Why Neo Fusion should be on your radar: Experts believe that fusion will help the world slash emissions linked to climate change. Unlike the fission reactors used today, fusion can generate power without producing long-lasting radioactive waste.

In recent years, technological advances have brought fusion closer to becoming a reality and sparked investments among companies and governments globally, including the U.S., Japan and China, which want to dominate the next generation of energy technology.

“NIO aims to facilitate the R&D and commercialization of nuclear fusion technology by making a financial investment into this project,” which plans to attract more strategic and financial investors in phases, Nio said in a statement to Reuters.


This edition of The Lead List includes companies on Crunchbase’s Emerging Unicorn Board that raised new funding throughout May. 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 May 30, 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

  • Originally published June 6, 2023