2016 Wealthfront Career-Launching Companies List

Editor’s note: Check out our 2021 Career-Launching Companies List.

Today we are pleased to present our fourth annual list of US mid-sized technology companies with momentum. We publish this list because we believe these companies are the ideal places for young people to start their careers. Most Wealthfront clients are in their 20s and 30s, and their financial success will primarily come from success in their professional careers. Nothing early in your career is more important than achieving success — and nothing signals success more than working for a successful company (for a complete explanation of this logic please see the post that accompanied our original list: 48 Hot Tech Companies To Build A Career).

To qualify for our list a company must currently have revenues between $20 million and $300 million and be on a trajectory to grow at a rate in excess of 50% over at least the next four years. We built our list by surveying the partners of the following 16 venture capital firms: Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, DAG Ventures, Dragoneer, Greylock Partners, Index Ventures, Lightspeed, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Matrix Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital, the Social + Capital Partnership, Spark Capital and TCV. Download the full list here.

Changes Since Last Year

This year’s list includes 136 companies, up 30 from last year’s 106. We added 59 companies, which is 50% higher than our previous record. We dropped 29 which includes eight companies that have filed to go or went public, four that were acquired, 10 that grew beyond the $300 million revenue cap and seven that experienced growth that was too slow to continue to qualify:

Companies not in the running for Wealthfront 2016 career-launcher list

I am especially struck by the dearth of IPOs, the number of new additions and the number of private companies that have grown too big for our list. For all those people who think there’s a bubble going on, I invite you to tell me another time in history when so many compelling technology companies have been created.

We had a ton of interesting businesses in the late 1990s, but few had the revenue momentum of the companies listed today. Back then, we never would have seen 11 rapidly growing private companies with revenues in excess of $300 million.

I’m actually a little worried that some of these companies are waiting too long to go public. By the time some of them are ready, their growth rates will have declined. As we explained in a previous post, the public markets are not kind to companies that have declining growth rates.

Other Fun Facts

As usual the majority (57%) of the companies are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The majority of the Bay Area companies (60%) are still located in San Francisco rather than Silicon Valley, although surprisingly the percentage is down from a peak of 70% last year.


New York and Boston are distant competitors to the Bay Area when it comes to hosting companies that are likely to become very large, although both New York and Boston slightly gained share. Utah was the notable rising star, growing from 1 to 5 companies.

Enterprise companies held steady at 60% of the companies, up slightly from 59% the year before. Interestingly 56% of the companies that went public or grew too big for our list were enterprise focused companies. This data is in contrast with the popularly held view that consumer companies have the opportunity to build much greater ultimate value.

Once again only five of the Bay Area consumer-focused companies are not headquartered in San Francisco. People who want to work on the Peninsula may need to look for slightly earlier stage companies. Interestingly only three hardware companies are left on the list and only one is based in the bay area. This is amazing when you consider that semiconductor and hardware companies created Silicon Valley.

Your Career Matters to Your Financial Future

Many people ask us why a financial advisor would publish a list like this. Our answer is your career decisions will likely have a much bigger impact on your ultimate net worth than your investment decisions.

We hope you find the 2016 list helpful. While it is always possible that we may have missed a few companies, we believe this list is an excellent start for professionals looking for differentiated success in their careers.



The information contained on the page and in the accompanying list and linked eBook is provided for general informational purposes, and should not be construed as investment advice. Wealthfront makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this page or in the accompanying eBook or list. Nothing on this page or in the accompanying eBook or list should be construed as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any security. Financial advisory services are only provided to investors who become Wealthfront clients. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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About the author(s)

Andy Rachleff is Wealthfront's co-founder and Executive Chairman. He serves as a member of the board of trustees and chairman of the endowment investment committee for University of Pennsylvania and as a member of the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses on technology entrepreneurship. Prior to Wealthfront, Andy co-founded and was general partner of Benchmark Capital, where he was responsible for investing in a number of successful companies including Equinix, Juniper Networks, and Opsware. He also spent ten years as a general partner with Merrill, Pickard, Anderson & Eyre (MPAE). Andy earned his BS from University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. View all posts by Andy Rachleff