Venture capital is the USA’s economic catalyst, with the top VC firms in the USA being the primary force behind the country’s mindblowing entrepreneurial success. With a 20.77 trillion GDP, a highly skilled workforce, and entrepreneurial spirit,  the US has become home to 5 of the top 10 startup hubs in the world, such as The Bay Area, Greater Boston, and New York City

America is the motherland of unicorns. With a growing focus on cutting-edge tech, like AI, renewable energy, and biotechnology, the US boasts half (53%) of all unicorns, with valuations exceeding $100B. Among the largest are OpenAI a — frontrunner in the large language model (LLM) race, and Databricks — the cloud platform that unlocks the power of big data. 

Notably, as of 2023, there are 32 decacorns in the USA, and one of the most well-known is SpaceX, the leader in private space exploration.

The USA is a hotbed of the top global talent. Research institutions like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard promote innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting and educating skilled tech, engineering, and business professionals worldwide. 

The US market is diverse. 13 million women own businesses in the US, which represents 42% of all American businesses. Plus, there are 1.4 million LGBT business owners, and according to projections, it will become even more diverse.

However, unlike many other countries, the US doesn’t have a nationwide sales tax system. There are over 12,000 taxing jurisdictions for sales tax in the USA. Each state has its own sales tax laws—California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84%, while Texas has no corporate income tax but imposes a franchise tax. 

Notably, a competitive 21% corporate tax rate allows American startups to keep more profits for reinvestment.

The USA is a scene for startup events. Over 80% of attendees find valuable connections that lead to new partnerships, funding opportunities, or customer acquisition at networking events like CES, SXSW, and TechCrunch Disrupt.

Most active VC funds in the US

The United States is home to some of the world’s most active venture capital firms, with approximately 2,800 active VCs as of 2024. Among them is Andreessen Horowitz, who has funded many successful technology unicorns, such as Airbnb and Instacart. Greylock Partners has backed well-known startups such as LinkedIn and Dropbox, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has invested in notable companies like Uber and Reddit. Accel Partners has invested in notable names like Slack, Facebook, and Asana. 

US startup ecosystem

The USA is great for starting a business because a lot is going for it. First, the US market is giant and connected, so companies can quickly move resources around where they’re most needed. Second, the US boasts 3 of the world’s top 5 startup havens: Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston. These innovation hubs are teeming with resources and connections, providing a launchpad for over 70% of top US startups to take flight. Silicon Valley remains a powerhouse of groundbreaking ideas. Seven out of the world’s top 10 investors in AI call this region home. So, if cutting-edge ideas are your thing, the US is the place to be. The US startup ecosystem has everything, from access to talents, supportive networks, infrastructure and VC funding trends in the US.

Most notable startups in the US

While established tech giants like Google and Amazon continue to dominate, a new wave of venture capital in the USA is propelling innovative startups across the USA, with approximately 77,927 startups in the United States​. Here’s a glimpse at some of the most notable VC-backed companies in the US, categorized by their focus area:

  • Fintech remains a hotbed of innovation. Stripe, a secure and user-friendly platform, is revolutionizing online payments for Internet businesses. Robinhood is democratizing investing with its commission-free stock trading app. 
  • Beauty and Wellness startup scene thrives on fresh ideas and solutions. Tonal brings a revolutionary twist to home gyms by merging innovative equipment with AI-powered training. Backed by $450M Series E funding, Tonal is poised to redefine home fitness experiences.
  • The healthcare sector is undergoing a digital revolution. Ro, a telehealth company, offers convenient and personalized healthcare services online. Meanwhile, Tempus leverages AI and machine learning to transform cancer treatment by analyzing patient data and recommending tailored therapies.
  • E-commerce is fast-tracked with innovative services. Instacart delivers groceries and everyday essentials directly to customers’ doorstep, eliminating the need for trips to the store. DoorDash connects people with their favorite restaurants, offering a convenient way to enjoy delicious meals without leaving home. Warby Parker disrupts the eyewear industry by directly providing stylish and affordable prescription glasses and sunglasses to consumers through their user-friendly online platform.
  • In the education sector, Chegg empowers students by providing affordable textbook rentals and access to online tutoring for academic success.

Startup accelerators in the US

With 2.79K accelerators and a portfolio of 28.7K companies, the United States is the epicenter of startup activity worldwide. Here is the outlook of the major ones.

On the East Coast, consider applying to MassChallenge, the largest startup accelerator in Boston. Their four-month program provides access to a network of mentors and investors without taking any equity from participating startups. If you’re in the Midwest, Iowa Startup Accelerator offers a 14-week intensive program focused on diverse industries and provides mentorship, investment, and networking opportunities. Heading south, ATDC is a leading Atlanta startup accelerator that supports technology startups through incubation, acceleration, and education. A major startup accelerator in NYC is ERA NYC, which provides a four-month mentorship,  funding, and networking program.

Looking West? Y Combinator is the most renowned startup accelerator in the Bay Area and worldwide. It has a competitive application process and is known for producing successful startups like Dropbox and Airbnb. Boomtown Accelerators is a 12-week Colorado startup accelerator for tech startups that offers mentorship, funding, and global network access.

Beyond accelerators, incubators can also be great launchpads. Capital Factory, the go-to Austin startup incubator, and coworking space provide funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities. CoMotion Labs, a Seattle startup incubator affiliated with the University of Washington, provides mentorship and startup resources. In Dallas, Tech Wildcatters offers funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Finally, don’t forget about angel investors! Triangle Angel Partners is a well-known angel investor in North Carolina. It invests in early-stage companies and provides mentorship and resources.

Angel investors in the US

Besides VC accelerators and incubators, a significant portion of investment in the US comes from angel investors. Typically, startups can leverage from $25,000 to $100,000 per deal from angel investor opportunities, which is a win-win model that helps to share business expertise, get mentorship, and receive funding in the early stages.Thus, only in 2021 were 363,460 active angel investors with $29.1 billion in angel investments. Among the most notable are Marc Andreessen, co-author of Mosaic;  Ron Conway, founder of AngelList and founding partner at SV Angel VC firm; and Mark Cuban, an angel investor,  TV personality, and the founder of Dust and Xpire.

Recent venture capital exits US

Despite the recent dry exit environment in Q1’24, there are still proven exceptions, like social media giant Reddit’s $6.4B IPO on the NYSE or biotech’s Seatle-based ProfoundBio, which raised $1.8B in M&A. Notably, the cybersecurity sector showed promises with Palo Alto-based Rubrik, with $5.6B in IPO and total funding raised  $550M.

Since traditional ways for startups to exit, like IPO or M&A, haven’t been as hot lately, there’s been a rise in the secondary market, like the NASDAQ.

Strategic guidance to navigate your journey to the largest VC firms in the US

US VCs have a wide range of investment priorities and factors affecting their decision whether to invest or not. While some value capital efficiency, others focus more on high-growth potential. If you want to experience all the benefits of the US VC landscape, then check out how to craft a business plan with sustainable growth and a pitch deck with a compelling story about your solution/product. For every question and concern — contact our Waveup team for expert guidance.

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Hey there! I'm Anastasiia, a Content Writer at Waveup. With my marketing expertise and storytelling magic, I turn complex data and industry insights into your startup playbook, making the business world a breeze for you! At Waveup, I work with brilliant folks who make insights a never-ending flow. So, join, read, and enjoy!