80 Up-and-Coming Startups to Watch

These local innovators come from California, Colorado, New York and more. Read on to see what these businesses are up to.

Written by Cassidy Ritter
Published on Jan. 26, 2022
80 Up-and-Coming Startups to Watch

Sure, the latest initiatives from the TeslasApples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the big guns aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector. 

In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In launched The Future 5 across eight major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read on below to see who made the cut as ones to watch.

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Blended Sense co-founders Albert Baez and Abigail Rose Baez. | Photo: Blended Sense


In the Lone Star state, big names like Oracle and Tesla often dominate the news. While these companies help Austin rise as a leader in the tech world, they also inspire entrepreneurs to launch their own businesses.

Several Austin entrepreneurs and startups featured in Built In’s inaugural Future 5 are doing just that by mixing up the beauty, e-learning, professional services, fitness and teletherapy industries. In Q4, we featured five more Austin-based startups innovating everything from investing in short-term rentals to helping food companies become more sustainable and healthier. 

One local startup featured in 2021 aims to help businesses create digital content to showcase their brand. Blended Sense uses an algorithm to pair talented photographers, videographers and other creatives with small businesses in their area that are looking for new content. Founded in 2019, Blended Sense currently serves Texas, New York City and New Jersey.

Up-and-coming Austin startups

  • Airheart (Traveltech)
  • Andes STR (Proptech)
  • Blended Sense (Professional Services)
  • Clusiv (E-Learning)
  • Expressable (Teletherapy)
  • Fundr (Fintech)
  • Journey Foods (SaaS)
  • Kanthaka (Fitness)
  • Remane (Beauty)
  • Tend (Fintech)


Cheft co-founder
Cheft co-founder and CEO Joshua Schneider. | Photo: Cheft


Over the past few years, Boston has attracted numerous healthtech startups ranging from national names like Care.com and Sophia Genetics to more local brands such as Whoop and Sonde Health. But the city’s tech footprint spans far beyond healthtech.

In the inaugural Built In Boston Future 5, we featured startups in fintech, HR tech, greentech and cannatech, and in Q4, we featured several companies and entrepreneurs that were forced to pivot due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joshua Schneider and Jeff Israel, for example, planned to launch a platform to book private chefs for events in April of 2020. When the pandemic hit and in-person gatherings were limited, the co-founders of Cheft leaned into virtual cooking classes taught by a network of professional chefs. The startup, now on its third iteration, is geared toward team building offering corporations live, virtual events and on-demand content.

Up-and-coming Boston startups

  • Ajuma (Fintech)
  • Cheft (Event Tech)
  • Dispense (Cannatech)
  • FiVana (Fintech)
  • humanID (Privacy Tech)
  • Moonbeam (Entertainment Tech)
  • Smart Startup HR (HR Tech)
  • Taxie (Greentech)
  • Troav (Delivery Tech)
  • Zip Run (Cannatech)


cravosity team
Cravosity CEO and founder Malvi Hemani (middle) with her team. | Photo: Cravosity


The Windy City is a large economic hub drawing in thousands of visitors each year. It is also a breeding ground for businesses of all sizes ranging from tech unicorns with name recognition like ActiveCampaign to foodtech startups like Cravosity.

Cravosity is an app that makes planning dinner with friends easier. The platform allows user to input their availability, price limit and meal preferences and Cravosity generates a list of restaurants and shares it with the group. The app can also make reservations on users’ behalf.

This is just one of several up-and-coming startups featured among the Built In Chicago Future 5. Read more about these companies here and here.

Up-and-coming Chicago startups

  • Blaze Global (Edtech)
  • Chaos (Mobile)
  • Cravosity (Foodtech)
  • Lava (Social Media)
  • Nande (Travel)
  • PechaKucha (Events)
  • Sanarai (Healthtech)
  • StoryBolt (HR Tech)
  • Thoughtful Automation (Software)
  • Visual Feeder (Marketing Tech)


beermkr team
BEERMKR co-founders Brett Vegas, Matthew Goff and Aaron Walls with their kids. | Photo: BEERMKR


The Centennial State is quickly becoming one of the nation’s top tech hubs. Although businesses like Google and Facebook have regional offices in Colorado, there are plenty of startups innovating the local tech scene, including one near and dear to many Coloradans’ hearts — the beer industry.

BEERMKR, which was featured among Built In Colorado’s Future 5 in Q4 of 2021, is a countertop brewing machine that can brew a 12-pack of beer in just one week.

Other local startups making the Future 5 list are shaking things up in agriculture tech, logistics, warehouse management, social media, healthcare, pet health and more.

Up-and-coming Colorado startups

  • AgriWebb (AgTech)
  • BEERMKR (Homebrewing)
  • CarePenguin (Consumer Tech)
  • ClueJay (Pet Healthtech)
  • Fulfilld (Warehouse Management)
  • Happy Hamper (Laundry Service)
  • Onward Delivery (Logistics)
  • Serenity Engage (Healthtech)
  • Urban Sky (Aerial Imaging)
  • Zealous (Digital Media)



Los Angeles

As social media giants like Snap call LA home, smaller startups are also fighting for the spotlight. CLLCTV, a social platform for Gen Z creators, is one doing just that.

CLLCTV, one of the Built In LA Future 5 honorees in 2021, offers a no-code platform that lets creators organize their portfolios and connect with one another. The company’s goal, according to founder and CEO Kelsey Davis, is to “make the gig economy accessible to all creators, regardless of resources, location, background and connections.”

Other startups focusing on e-commerce, agritech and fintech are making notable moves, too. These companies and more can be found in Built In LA’s Future 5 features here and here.

Up-and-coming LA startups

  • BayaniPay (Fintech)
  • CLLCTVE (Social Media)
  • Fanimal (Events)
  • Future Acres (Agritech)
  • Givingli (E-Commerce)
  • Grin Gaming (Gaming)
  • Lolly (Social Media)
  • Nēdl (Social Media)
  • Sugar (Proptech)
  • Vendorflow (Logistics)


Realworld founder
Realworld founder Genevieve Ryan Bellaire. | Photo: Realworld

New York City

The Big Apple is home to countless large and notable tech companies, but what sometimes goes unnoticed is the city’s active startup scene. So, Built In NYC selected 10 up-and-coming startups to feature in Q3 and Q4 of 2021 — one of which was Realworld.

After graduating with her MBA, Genevieve Ryan Bellaire found herself relying on Google to answer questions about how to find an apartment, manage finances and much more. She needed a platform to navigate adulthood so she founded Realworld.

Today, the platform offers a holistic approach to what Bellaire calls the “adulthood industry.” It teaches young adults and new college graduates about various life skills not often taught in school.

Up-and-coming NYC startups

  • BoldVoice (Edtech)
  • Brij (Data Technology)
  • DOMI (Delivery Tech)
  • GettinLocal (Travel Tech)
  • Health in Her HUE (Healthtech)
  • LifterRun (Fitness Tech)
  • Oova (Healthtech)
  • Realworld (Edtech)
  • So Synced (Social Media)
  • TravSolo (Travel Tech)


Dutch Founder
Dutch founder and CEO Joe Spector. | Photo: Dutch

San Francisco

Change-makers are abundant in San Francisco and the Bay Area has been the center of innovation for years. The city has also become a magnet for startups and entrepreneurs looking to spread their wings.

Dutch, for example, was created by former Hims co-founder Joe Spector. The platform connects pet parents with veterinarians to create customized and actionable health care plans for their furry friends. And the best part is prescription medications are delivered to your doorstep.

This company is one of several up-and-coming startups Built In San Francisco featured in 2021. Catch up on these local innovators by looking back at our Q3 and Q4 features.

Up-and-coming San Francisco startups

  • Aerial (Greentech)
  • Ditto (SaaS)
  • Dutch (Telehealth)
  • Forward Kitchens (Foodtech)
  • Hello Divorce (SaaS)
  • Landed (HR Tech)
  • MiSalud (Healthtech)
  • Oath Care (Healthtech)
  • Sanas (SaaS)
  • Tulip (Healthtech)


Makara co-founders
Makara co-founders Jesse Proudman and Sadie Raney. | Photo: Makara


From global giants like Amazon and Microsoft to Zillow and Redfin, Seattle is home to a variety of tech companies. But its footprint spans beyond the big wigs. 

In the inaugural Future 5 cohort, Built In Seattle highlighted innovators in healthtech, e-commerce and fintech. In Q4 of 2021, edtech, software and social media startups took the lead.

One featured company, Makara, even tackled the crypto space. Co-founded by Jesse Proudman and Sadie Raney, Makara uses algorithms to advise people when buying cryptocurrency. It’s also the first company of its kind to be registered by the SEC.

Up-and-coming Seattle startups

  • Adyn (Healthtech)
  • The Ally League (E-Commerce)
  • Brite (Edtech)
  • joe (Fintech)
  • LitPic (Social Media)
  • Makara (Fintech)
  • Mindbase (Healthtech)
  • Senior Place (Software)
  • Symbolic Frameworks (Software)
  • Yoodli (Software)
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