Every year, thousands of new companies pin their hopes on becoming the next big success story. Most will not achieve the lofty heights of, say, Google or Facebook, but a few will certainly blossom into industry leaders. With innovative products, efficient operations and strong leadership, they are the companies that will help shape the future.

Here are ten startups on the radar for 2017.

1. CastBox  

CastBox wants to become the “YouTube of audio.” The company makes a podcast player that also helps users discover new podcasts. Founder Xiaoyu Wang says her goal is make finding key sections of audio on the web as easy as finding key pieces of text. So far, CastBox has raised $16 million in funding as it plans to launch an audio search feature that processes natural language.

2. Slack

An internal messaging platform, Slack has more than 6 million users. Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield launched the company in 2013, and it was recently valued at $5 billion. Slack allows company employees to communicate in one place, whether they are working from their office computers or tablets while on the road.

3. DigitalOcean

DigitalOcean is a cloud-based host that was founded in 2011 by Ben and Moisey Uretsky. The company has undergone an incredible amount of growth over the past six years. DigitalOcean was named to the Forbes 2017 Cloud 100 list, which are the top 100 private cloud companies in the world. It now serves more than 50,000 companies.

4. eShares 

eShares aims to be a platform that provides privately held companies with their equity needs. Its business serves firms like Slack, Funding Circle and Flexport by helping them keep track of their shares with its management software. Founded in 2014, eShares recently raised $42 million in Series C funding. With a subscription business model, it works with about 6,000 companies. Its next step is to work with companies in their initial public offering processes.

5. Mixpanel

Mixpanel helps companies understand how their customers behave while on their websites or mobile apps by providing A/B testing tools. The startup wants to give clients the ability to look deeper than just page views and instead see the entire path of their customers. Founded in 2009, Mixpanel is now approaching a billion-dollar valuation.

6. Acorns

Acorns want to make saving and investing as simple as possible for the average consumer. After connecting users' debit and credit cards, the app gives them the ability round up all purchases to the nearest dollar. The extra amount is then swept into a diversified investment portfolio. The company was founded in 2012 and is valued at more than $1 billion. It has some 1 million micro-accounts.

7. Shyp

Shyp, which was founded in 2013 by Jack Smith, Joshua Scott and Kevin Gibbon, is attempting to take all the stress out of shipping packages. The company will pick up a customer's items wherever they want, pack them for them, and then ship them for the cheapest price possible. Shyp is currently operational San Francisco. The company said it wants to prove its business model there before expanding.

8. Petuum

Petuum aims to help remedy the shortage of machine learning operators with software to facilitate machine learning development. Founded in 2016, the company recently raised $93 million in Series B funding. Petuum says that capital infusion makes it one of the highest-funded early-stage startups working in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

9. ClassDojo

ClassDojo is a communication platform that helps connect teachers, students and parents. Its platform allows teachers to encourage students while engaging with parents about their children's progress in the classroom. ClassDojo is currently being used in 90 percent of the classrooms in the U.S. Founded in 2011 by Liam Don and Sam Chaudhary, the company has expanded to more than 180 countries.

10. Instacart

Instacart, founded in 2012, is a same-day grocery delivery service. Customer can place an order either online or from their smartphones, and then have it delivered within an hour. The company raised $400 million in funding earlier this year and is now valued at about $3.4 billion.

The Bottom Line

Not all startups will become successful. But the companies listed here all have great ideas and experienced leadership, and have received significant investments for their futures, giving have a distinct leg up over their competition.

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