As members of the PitchBook editorial team, we spend our days writing and reading about VC, PE and M&A. We also inevitably spend some of our time thinking—and talking—about the VC-backed companies we come across. Some startups are confusing, some don't apply to our daily lives, and some are just plain weird. But then there are those private companies that fascinate us, the ones we use, the ones (as consumers) we love.
Several members of our editorial department have contributed to a compilation of our favorite VC-backed businesses. The list below isn't comprehensive—rather, it's a hand-picked selection of top companies, along with information on equity funding and post-money valuations pulled from the PitchBook Platform.
The Honest Company
HQ: Los Angeles | Total funding: $222 million | Valuation: $1.7 billion (August 2015)
As one of the more timeworn members of our editorial team, I don't have a phone chock-full of apps or subscriptions to services ending in "box" or "kit." I do have two young daughters in diapers, however, including one with sensitive skin, so The Honest Company's clean(er) products and delivery service have proven invaluable as a new parent.
—Joshua Mayers, Senior Editor
HQ: San Francisco | Total funding: $127 million | Valuation: $412.7 million (September 2015)
Most of my wardrobe comes from thredUP, a website that sells secondhand clothes at inexpensive prices. I don't want to shell out for investment pieces—but I also don't want to buy fast-fashion clothes. This startup has high-end items; I've bought things from Banana Republic, J. Crew, Theory and other brands like that. Plus, I don't have to go to the mall.
—Kate Rainey, Editor
HQ: Pittsburgh | Total funding: $108 million | Valuation: $700 million (July 2017)
I enjoy using Duolingo because I studied French in college and the company's education app helps me keep my vocab and grammar polished. I like that Duolingo helps you practice speaking, spelling and listening skills with fun, easy exercises that only take a few minutes. It’s a simple way to learn a new language or stay (somewhat) fluent in a language you already know—for free!
—Angela Sams, Copy Editor
HQ: San Francisco | Total funding: $54 million | Valuation: $180 million (January 2017)
I hate shopping but I love clothes, which is why I think Le Tote may have been made for me. The startup sends me four clothing items at a time (and it lets me look at the clothes before they ship so I can replace anything I don't like). I can wear them as if they're rentals, then keep whatever I want and send back the rest. You know what that means: I never have to go shopping. Le Tote, if you're reading, can you send me that navy-and-white striped off-the-shoulder top in my next shipment?
—Dana Olsen, Financial Writer
HQ: New York | Total funding: $23.5 million | Valuation: $65 million (August 2016)
We've all been there. You absolutely need a spirit-animal ring, and you've got $2,400 to spare. You can totally tell your body isn't operating at its ideal energetic frequency—and what better way to fix that than blanketing yourself in stickers? Or perhaps the better solution is to reduce inflammation by arranging to be stung by bees. Either way, in the end, at least you have the ultimate in relaxation to look forward to: meditating over a jar of face cream. No startup can meet such a variety of needs quite as well as Goop. And that's why Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle website is the only VC-backed company I need.
—Kevin Dowd, Associate Editor
HQ: San Francisco | Total funding: $2.6 billion | Valuation: $7.5 billion (May 2017)
I've been a fan of Lyft since the very beginning. Maybe it was because of the startup's pink branding or an animated short film on its website that was so heartwarming I cried. I just got the sense that Lyft was good to its drivers—after all, it has had an in-app tipping feature for a long time now—and the service is great. I still use Lyft all the time... although I am a little disappointed that its drivers no longer have fuzzy pink mustaches affixed to the front of their cars.
—Kate Clark, Financial Writer
HQ: San Francisco | Total funding: estimated $13.4 billion | Valuation: estimated $68 billion (August 2016)
Yes, the company has some deep-rooted cultural problems to fix, but that hasn’t stopped me from using the app. It’s fast, cheap and you can (finally) tip the drivers if you feel so inclined. I love Uber. Sorry, Kate.
—Adam Lewis, Financial Writer
Check out more of our venture capital coverage. And click here to see which of our favorite startups also have celebrity founders.