CNBC is now accepting nominations for the 2024 Disruptor 50 list — our annual look at the most innovative venture-backed companies using breakthrough technology to meet increasing economic and consumer challenges.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 16 at 11:59 pm EST.
All independent, privately-owned companies founded after Jan. 1, 2009, are eligible, and any company founder or executive, investor in the company, or any of their communications representatives can access and submit an application.
The companies named to last year’s Disruptor 50 list continue to face a challenging environment as we head toward 2024, with high interest rates tightening the supply of venture capital and keeping the IPO window mostly closed for venture-backed startups for the second straight year. A notable past Disruptor 50 company that made it to the public market this year, Instacart, has failed to maintain its IPO pricing.
The third quarter was the lowest for venture deals in the last six years, according to PitchBook, with U.S. venture capital fundraising on pace to set a nine-year low in 2023. In addition, the number of “down rounds,” or instances when companies raise funds at a lower valuation compared to a previous round of funding, are at a ten-year high, with more than a quarter of fundraising rounds completed this year happening at a flat or reduced valuation.
Business failures, too, have occurred for formerly high-flying, high-profile backed Disruptor 50 companies, including Convoy and WeWork. But the tighter funding environment doesn’t seem to be stopping entrepreneurs from starting new companies. Business formation is on pace to set a new record in 2023, breaking the mark set in 2021. New business formation surged immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic, and as those businesses begin to mature, we expect to see more of them find their way into the ranks of the Disruptor 50.
This is especially true of companies involved in the booming AI hype cycle sparked by 2023’s top Disruptor 50 company, OpenAI, just over a year ago. New investment in biotech also continues to buck the tighter VC environment.
Nominees will be put through a comprehensive and rigorous process of researching and scoring across a wide range of quantitative and qualitative criteria, including scalability, revenue and user growth, use of breakthrough technology, as well as workforce diversity.
An advisory board made up of leading thinkers in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship will provide weighting for the quantitative criteria, while a team of CNBC editorial staff will read submissions and provide qualitative assessments of every single nominee.
2024 honorees will be notified in April, and the list will be released in May across CNBC’s TV and digital platforms.
Sign up for our weekly, original newsletter that goes beyond the annual Disruptor 50 list, offering a closer look at prior list-making companies and the founders driving innovation.