Good news for San Franciscans: With the influx of startups right in the heart of the city, there will be shorter commutes and more opportunities than ever to get in on the ground floor of something great. From financial planning gone mobile to making transportation easier (and more cost effective), San Francisco startups are garnering well-earned media attention and have even more in store for the second half of 2014. Here are a few top startups to keep an eye on this year.
1. Level Money: Founded by the former manager of Visa’s global emerging products, this startup is all about making it simpler for you to budget on mobile platforms. It’s kind of like Mint, but more user friendly, and the target demographic is younger folks. In 2013, Level Money raised $5 million in a Series A round under the tutelage of Kleiner Perkins. Some impressive names are already backing this money-savvy startup, such as former CEO of Citigroup Sandy Well.
2. Lyft: Need a “lyft?” This ridesharing app targets urban dwellers. What started as a donation-based approach has led to set payment categories. Technically, it wasn’t legal to charge for ridesharing/carpooling in the state of California, but when the Public Utilities Commission made ridesharing legal in September 2013, that gave Lyft everything necessary to transition to a full-fledged and profitable startup. It’s now expanded to Oakland, Los Angeles and even Malibu.
3. Circa: This app is revolutionizing how news is delivered in a mobile-ready era. Offering a bite-sized paragraph or photo, only the most critical news information is listed first and readers can opt for more content, including text, maps, photos and recommended related content. There is an opt in to a notification system for breaking news, too. This San Francisco startup has already raised nearly $2.5 million in seed funds alone from names such as David Karp, Quotidian Ventures and Lerer Ventures.
Related: 4 Hot Tech Startups to Watch in 2014
4. Elepath: Focused on web-product development, the startup’s new content management system (Exposure) displays photos in clean, simple layouts. This allows for rolling, pictured storytelling. VentureBeat named Elepath the "Best Design Service of 2013." Currently, Elepath, which was built on the shoulders of just seven people, is reaching out for seed funding and plans for explosive growth in 2014.
5. Imgur: No, that’s not a typo, it’s the name of an image service startup that came to fruition via Reddit (a beloved but controversial community-news website). While its roots were modest, it’s become a full-blown startup in its own right. Imgur is actually more used than Reddit and has spawned its own community made up solely of image sharers (or “Imgurians” as they prefer to be called). Just last week, the startup accepted a $40 million injection from Andreessen Horowitz.
These are just a smattering of the startups calling San Francisco home and an inkling of what kind of competition Silicon Valley is facing. A metro made up of creative, young and innovative individuals with strong tech leanings can only mean good things for entrepreneurs and consumers alike. There’s no telling what might come out of San Francisco next.