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early 5.5 million businesses were launched in the United States last year, making 2023 the highest year on record for new startups, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics. With the many elements involved in building a successful startup—from obtaining critical seed funding to scaling at a manageable pace—founders may not initially focus on things like team building, company culture and employee benefits. But they should. Considerable research shows that businesses that prioritize employee happiness have workers who are more engaged and productive. And the companies on this year’s list of America’s Best Startup Employers have figured this out.

To create the list, Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to identify 3,000 privately-held companies headquartered in the U.S. that employ more than 50 people and were founded between 2014 and 2021. (Each startup must also have been started from scratch, as opposed to being a spinoff of a larger corporation.) Then, the companies were evaluated on three primary criteria: company reputation, employee satisfaction and growth.

To assess employer reputation, Statista reviewed articles, blogs and social media posts about each employer, searching for specific phrases such as “corporate culture” and “employee engagement.” Text analysis was used to categorize those phrases as positive, negative or neutral. Statista evaluated employee satisfaction through online reviews, employee retention rates, and company policies relating to topics such as diversity and inclusion, parental leave, and workplace flexibility. Growth was assessed by examining the organizations’ website traffic, job openings, and head counts over a two-year period.

Ultimately, millions of data points were used to determine the company scores, and the 500 startups with the highest scores made our final ranking of America’s Best Startup Employers 2024 (see below).

As with all Forbes lists, companies do not pay any fee to be considered. For questions about this list, please contact listdesk [at] Forbes.com.

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