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The PrivCo 50: The Fastest Growing Companies of Q1 2021

Companies and Markets

By Basil Hamadeh  |  September 28, 2021

The PrivCo 50 examines the fastest-growing startups in the U.S. In December 2020, we released our first report looking at the top-performing companies during the pandemic (i.e., full-year 2020). In 2021, we go deeper and look at quarterly activity, beginning with this Q1 report. To generate this report, we looked at data from PrivCo and evaluated startups by their employee and revenue growth as well as funding raised in Q1 (i.e., January 1 to March 31, 2021) and ranked them based on the results.

Top Growth Companies of Q1 2021


Source: PrivCo

Key Takeaways

  • Food delivery still dominates. The top-ranking company of Q1 is, not surprisingly, another food company
  • Innovation is making a comeback. While innovation took a backseat in 2020, company growth focused on data management, electric vehicles, and financial services means we are slowly moving out of pandemic mode and back into innovation mode
  • Data is set to dominate 2021 again. The year 2020 was a great year for data management companies such as Snowflake and, which both made massive gains on their initial public offering (IPO) trades
  • Electric vehicles are, well, electric. Electric vehicles (EVs) have enjoyed great success in 2020 whether through funding or going public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and 2021 is no different. EVgo has gone public via SPAC while Lion Electric, Lucid Motors, and Faraday Future are all pending SPAC mergers since making announcements in Q1.
  • Impact of social communities is clear. Q1 was heavily impacted by meme stocks and the effects of social communities like Reddit and Parler platforms that were leveraged to gather and propel a movement, for better or worse

Comparing Q1 2021 to FY 2020

Although most companies that ranked on our 2020 list did not make it on the Q1 2021 list (with the exception of Cockroach Labs), we recognize that many made big moves nonetheless. For example, Hims graduated off the list in a SPAC merger with Oaktree Acquisition Corp., listing under the New York Stock Exchange, while Stripe became the most valuable private startup, knocking SpaceX from its perch after a $600 million funding. Many of the companies are also rumored to be going public in some form this year, including the aforementioned Stripe and the top-performing Instacart. We should also note that the top-ranking company of Q1, Databricks, did appear as one of the top 50 fast-growing companies for Q4 2020.

Growth in 2021

Meanwhile, 2021 has been a stellar year so far for startups. Aside from an overwhelming 2.5x jump in total funding for U.S. startups compared to the previous quarter, noteworthy events such as massive vaccination rollouts and new leaders in government have spurred a newfound optimism. While funding in 2020 seemed to focus heavily on healthcare and essential services such as food delivery and education, it seems that 2021 is promoting innovation again, starting with a push towards electric vehicles and financial tech. Nonetheless, funding in food delivery services and healthcare continues unabated; our habits have permanently shifted due to the pandemic.

Among the funding of the top 50 companies, Q1 was dominated by EV-related businesses at 32.4% (notably Rivian Automotive), followed by food delivery (notably top-performing Gopuff), data management, and fintech-related services.

Q1 2021 Overview

  • Noteworthy News
    • Trading frenzy in “meme stocks” such as GameStop forced Robinhood to raise $3.4 billion to deal with a cash shortage in February 2021
    • The Biden administration took office on January 20, 2021
    • Multiple vaccine rollouts and new stimulus checks created a sense of optimism among consumers, encouraging strong stock market movement and investments, with the unemployment rate declining to 6.0% in March, 1.6 percentage points higher than it was in March 2020.
  • Notable Deals
    • IPOs: Affirm was one of the first venture capital (VC)-backed tech IPOs of 2021, and its positive debut gives “affirmation” to the buy-now, pay-later trend of e-commerce. Bumble's IPO in February saw the youngest female CEO bring her startup public. Coupang’s IPO in March, the Amazon of South Korea, was the largest IPO at the time.
    • Direct Listing: Roblox was one of the most anticipated public debuts for gaming and successfully took the direct listing approach
    • SPACs: 2021 has been called the year of the SPAC because SPACs have broken the already-high record in 2020 in just one quarter. Notable SPACs include office-rental company WeWork, tele-mental health care company Talkspace, EV manufacturer Faraday Future, and online payment startup Payoneer. At the same time, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is cautioning investors about SPAC investments at a time when celebrity endorsements of SPACs are rising.
  • VC Activity
    • Cold storage specialist Lineage Logistics raised $4.7 billion to fuel its expansion at a time when the pandemic has promoted more online shopping and ever-growing needs for temperature-controlled shipping
    • Instacart competitor Gopuff raised a $1.2 billion Round G, roughly five months after its last round of funding
  • Notable Exits
    • A total of 938 funding rounds totaling $67 billion was raised in Q1 at a median of $26 million per funding

This information was originally published by PrivCo.

Disclaimer: This report is intended for general guidance only. It is not intended to be a substitute for detailed research or the exercise of professional judgment. PrivCo shall not be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any organization or person who relies on this information. The data used in this report may be derived from third-party sources and PrivCo does not independently verify, validate, or audit such data. The results from the use of such data are provided on an “as is” basis and PrivCo makes no representations or warranties, express or implied.

This blog post has been written by a third-party contributor and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of FactSet. The information contained in this article is not investment advice. FactSet does not endorse or recommend any investments and assumes no liability for any consequence relating directly or indirectly to any action or inaction taken based on the information contained in this article.


Basil Hamadeh

Chief Executive Officer, PrivCo

Mr. Basil Hamadeh is the Chief Executive Officer at PrivCo, which tracks private company financial information in a proprietary database that is available on the Open:FactSet platform. Prior, he was the founder of AdLarem Fund Management, a buy-to-rent single-family home fund, and spent the majority of his career at Credit Suisse, working in multiple capacities. Mr. Hamadeh earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside.