Oakland's great. If you're reading this article you're probably already interested in the tech scene in Oakland, CA. Maybe you've founded your own startup, work in tech or are looking to break into the tech industry. Maybe you'd just like to figure what the Oakland startups are. What are they working on? What do they do? Finding that straightforward information can be a pain, if not impossible for someone without a Crunchbase Premium account. I've lived in Oakland for a few years and like to keep tabs on which startups are popping up.
At Employbl we've begun focusing on filtering our company data based on the company headquarters location. We have some data on satellite locations, for instance Google and Facebook both have San Francisco offices but their main headquarters are down in the South Bay. For the purposes of this article that we're primarily focused on where the startup's headquarters is. Naturally the first city I wanted to examine is right where I live in Oakland.
Doing a web search for "startups in oakland" or "tech companies in oakland" or "software companies in oakland" will net you incomplete, out of date and/or irrelevant results. Sure you'll see a link to Crunchbase, which if you pay them money will give a CSV export of the data you want. Maybe that's the solution, paying for it. Unfortunately this can be a hard sell to job seekers and community organizers who arguably need the information the most. Other results show "startups" founded 20 years ago and listicles of companies the author found in the few hours they took to write the article six months ago.
Web search is built around advertising. The more you search the more you sell. In recent years three companies in the United States have developed the concept of a Knowledge Graph. Google, Microsoft and a Series A startup called Diffbot have built knowledge graphs of information available on the public web. The public web is information available to anyone browsing the internet that they can see without having to login anywhere. Robots roam the internet harvesting data from websites. Google has Googlebots, Facebook has Facebook bots and Diffbot has Diffbots. These are robots that roam the internet and harvest data from the "open web" -- an important concept worth fighting for, if you ask me.
Using publicly available information from the open web companies can create knowledge graphs about people, organizations, topics, products and places. Google uses their knowledge graph to display information based on the user's query. DuckDuckGo uses Diffbot and I'm sure a ton of their own information to render the above results about Katy Perry. Knowledge Graphs are very powerful but underutilized on today's web.
Full Dataset of Oakland Startups and Software Companies
At Employbl we've partnered with Diffbot to display firmographic data from the open web. That's a fancy way of saying we display data about companies. Based on data from the Knowledge Graph we can infer company headquarters location, amount fundraised, revenue numbers and even article sentiment. To keep it simple though we queried for a list of startup companies in Oakland.
The full list is available as a Company Collection on Employbl. To view the full list, login to your dashboard (it's free), select "Company Collections" from the right hand menu and select the collection of "Tech Companies and Startups in Oakland".
You can also access the data in CSV format here. If you ever have other questions or want to pull other information about companies don't be shy, send me a message! My email is connor at employbl dot com or you can DM me on Twitter @connor11528.
Staff Picks: Oakland Startups 🚀
Having access to this full dataset brought up some interesting questions. How should we define startup? Back in 2012 Paul Graham wrote a widely read article that a startup = growth. In this outlook the singular defining attribute of startups is their growth trajectory and potential to Get Big Fast. A business like a barber shop is protected and defined by it's location. An internet search engine is open to competition from anywhere but can sell to anyone, regardless of location. When looking for startups I mostly targeted companies that have been founded within the past few years and raised serious Venture Capital / Angel money. Here are my top picks of startups in Oakland to know about:
- Year Founded: 2020
- Number of Employees: 10 - 50
- Amount Raised: $26 million
- What They Do: During the pandemic the Nearby team created a site called Keep Oakland Alive that allowed locals to shop from local businesses online. The premise of the company is that people like to shop and buy from their local communities, but they like to do it online and local businesses can be hard to find.
- Official Description: Nearby is a computer software company that helps businesses and companies to connect with nearby customers. The company helps businesses put their inventory online, and adds their store to the marketplace for their town.
- Year Founded: 2020
- Number of Employees: 2 - 10
- Amount Raised: $10 million
- What They Do: Moonshot Brands recently completed the Y Combinator program and buys profitable e-commerce companies. With pending antitrust cases against Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google there's going to be new opportunities for brands to rise and sell online. Moonshot Brands could ride that wave.
- Official Description: Moonshot Brands acquires, operates, and grows e-commerce businesses.
- Year Founded: 2021
- Number of Employees: 2 - 10
- Amount Raised: $0 / Unknown
- What They Do: Felt is in "stealth mode" right now, but the co-founders Ranjan and Can have an awesome Substack publication. I highly recommend their piece DoorDash and Pizza Arbitrage 🍕. Plus the current placeholder website is hilarious, so they make my pick!
- Official Description: Felt is building a new collaborative experience in an under-explored creative medium.
- Year Founded: 2016
- Number of Employees: 20 - 50
- Amount Raised: $10 million
- What They Do: Binti is a mission driven company building tools for social workers. They don't appear to be non-profit but clearly are passionate about helping people and building a better world. They're a bit more established than some of my other picks and are hiring for more roles.
- Official Description: Binti is building software to alleviate the shortage of foster parents and find the best family for every child.
- Year Founded: 2012
- Number of Employees: 200 - 500
- Amount Raised: $163 million
- What They Do: Honestly not even sure but have you heard of "Big Data"? Ya it's that lol. Fivetran allows companies to gain insights from their data, even if that data is coming from lots of different sources. They're a Series C company, so firmly in the "later stage startup" territory.
- Official Description: Stream data into your warehouse for advanced analytics. Fivetran was built for analysts to access to all their business data. Sign up today for a free trial.
- Year Founded: 2014
- Number of Employees: 100 - 500
- Amount Raised: $130 million
- What They Do: Tool for software developers that allows them to test features and turn them on and off. I think about it like Feature Flags as a Service (FFAS - just making this acronym up completely right now).
- Official Description: LaunchDarkly is a Feature Management Platform that serves over 100 billion feature flags daily to help software teams build better software, faster.
The End (for now)
That's all folks. There are a ton more awesome startups, tech and software companies with physical presences in Oakland. Pandora and Marqeta come to mind as you can see their names on giant buildings in The Town. Login or create a free account to get started playing with all of the data. There are nearly 200 companies on our list! What other cities are you interested in exploring? What tools would be helpful for finding your next job? What skills could you learn to make yourself more employable? Curious minds want to know. Hit me up on the twitters.