20 of the world's best start ups

In a fast-moving digital age it can be difficult to draw breath let alone keep an eye on the startups that appear to be trail blazing their way to success.


Dealing with day-to-day issues like cash-flow, means I'm often more absorbed in the here and now - like trying to avoid becoming the next business to hold an actual wake and funeral to commemorate commercial failure - than I am looking at how I can learn from some of the currently most successful startups worldwide.

So the other day, I headed over to Startupranking.com* to check out what the world's got to offer. I'll certainly be interested to keep track of these guys over the coming months and years...

North America

The number 1 spot in the Americas (and in the world) is actually not from the U.S. - despite us boasting most startups at a touch over 8,000 - but our brothers in the north. Canada's Hootsuitegets the gold with their social relationship platform, which allows "businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks."

First place in the U.S. (and runner-up in the world) is Airbnb. Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, Airbnb is a "community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodation around the world."

And there's an honorable mention for Indeed - third in the world and second in the U.S. With offices worldwide and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Indeed is the world's number one job site - with more than 180 million unique visitors every month from over 60 different countries.

Central and South America

You may not readily associate Guatemala with e-commerce, but Duolingo rates 28th in the world and puts some arguably more well-known countries to shame. Co-founded by Luis von Ahn, Dualingo provides users with the opportunity to learn some 20 languages for free in a fun and addictive way.

The top-ranked South American startup is Brazilian. At number 144 in the world, SKOOB is a collaborative social network for readers and writers who discuss and review the books they are reading - creating a virtual bookshelf.


Topping the Asian startup market is Hong Kong's 9GAG - Asia's most successful online platform and social media website, where users can upload and share content.

Coming in at 21 in the worldwide chart, the second-ranked Asian startup comes from Japan. Tabelog is a highly-detailed database of restaurants throughout Japan, with reviews and ratings, pics of the restaurants (often both inside and out) and even menus.

India also deserves a mention. Trailing only the U.S. in registered startup numbers, and given the country's abiding love of tech, it's probably no surprise that the most popular Indian startup is Freshdesk - a customer support software operation. Europe

Would it surprise you to learn that the top-ranked European startup is actually Scandinavian? The Danish Issuu provides the largest collection of free-to-read publications from publishers all over the world.

And it's Italy who grab second spot through Arduino, an electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software designed for interactive projects. You may already be familiar with Prezi. Third in Europe and 13th in the world, the Hungarian startup has a worldwide client base and helps "create more engaging, persuasive, and memorable presentations."

Middle East

Israel takes the top two spots. Heading the pack is Fiverr, a marketplace for digital creative and professional services such as marketing, design and writing from as little as $5. And just behind is Wix, a free publishing platform for website creation.


Nigerian-based Konga takes the plaudits in Africa. One of Nigeria's leading online megastores, the company boasts that it can deliver anything from TVs to cosmetics anywhere in the country within five days. And it's another Nigerian company who next appear - albeit at 236 in the world rankings. IROKOtv is the number one online destination for Nigeria's best-loved movies.


Coming in at number 17 in the world and number one in the continent, Atlassian provides a range of complementary software tools for teams, "from startups to enterprises." Just six below them sit another business-related startup, Big Commerce- an e-commerce platform for fast-growing businesses, with third place going to Canva, who offer "amazingly simple graphic design."

And finally!

They may be at the bottom of startrupanking's radar, but they're fellow business owners who dared to dream... Gabon, the Cayman Islands, Burundi, Kyrgyzstan and Tristan da Cuhna all feature, but my absolute favorite is São Tomé & Príncipe - a tiny island country in Africa - which has two startups in the rankings . To be perfectly honest, I'd never heard of them, but take a bow STP Digital and Serviços Turísticos de São Tomé e Príncipe - long may you shine brightly!

*Rankings correct as at 3rd August 2016

The companies I mention or link to in this post are just examples that I thought you'd find useful - I don't endorse them or their services. I have no affiliation with them and make no representation about their services.