Vote Now for the Worldwide Web Startups of the Year 2021 by@startups
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Vote Now for the Worldwide Web Startups of the Year 2021

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HackerNoon, the technology publishing company, in partnership with Brex, ByBit, and Blockster has launched a startup of the year vote for all 4k cities in the world above 100k population. The voting is now open at, and will last from now until Jan 26, 2022. Nominations are open to the public through September 6, 2021, and each one is reviewed by HackerNoons staff. The winner will be announced at the end of January 20, 2021.

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HackerNoon, the technology publishing company, in partnership with Brex, ByBit, and Blockster has launched a startup of the year vote for all 4k cities in the world above 100k population. The voting is now open at, and will last from now until Jan 26, 2022. The HackerNoon editorial team has curated the first 35k+ startup nominees. Nominations are open to the public through September 6, 2021, and each one is reviewed by the HackerNoon staff.

"It's not easy to build a business," said HackerNoon CEO David Smooke. "More businesses should be celebrated for not only surviving but also thriving through a worldwide pandemic. By bringing together sponsors, awards, and functions to aggregate the will of the people, we hope to accelerate the growth paths for thousands of startups around the world."

This Startup of the Year experience is powered by HackerNoon's custom voting software, which previously powered Noonies 2019, Noonies 2020, and will power Noonies 2021, which is HackerNoon's annual award for rewarding technology leaders worldwide.

Startups of the Year’s headline sponsors are Brex, ByBit, and Blockster, with additional cooperation from freeCodeCamp, LaunchDarkly, Coil, FREEton, Udemy, Udacity, Vercel, and Asia Pacific Transgender Network. For all nominated startups with an American EIN, Brex is offering free $300 on a Brex credit card. For all winners of Central Europe, Vercel is offering a $100 hosting credit. To all winners worldwide, Blockster is offering free ad credits to run advertisements on their platform for 1 month.

“We are proud to support this award and believe in HackerNoon’s overall mission of helping emerging companies build visibility and scale.” –Henrique Dubugras, Co-founder/CEO of Brex

“Bybit is proud to support the ‘Startups of the Year’ initiative. This past year has presented unique challenges to all. And those of us in the crypto world really rose up and met the moment,” said Ben Zhou, co-founder, and CEO of Bybit. “We think it is important to now highlight the exemplary startups and celebrate their achievements, so all of us can learn from them, build a steadier foundation, further enhance resilience, and win over even more brilliant minds to our cause.”

‘The Blockster team – and I personally – are proud to be the general sponsor of the ‘Startups of the Year’ and help make it happen,” said Adam Todd, Founder & CEO at Blockster. “I can’t overestimate how huge this event is for the tech industry. The world of fintech startups is dynamic and ferociously competitive. Every day, we face a number of diverse challenges: technological, organizational, regulatory, and so on. Some shun competition – but it is a blessing for us, as it makes us grow and evolve: as projects and as an industry.”

About the 16 regions of the world:

North and Central America, presented by Brex

Canada and Central America

Central America

One of the unexpected not only survivors but also thrivers in the startup world during the pandemic have been located in Central America. While startups across the world struggled to lend the security of VCs, Central America seemed to have doubled down on decentralization, with Costa Rican Decentral raising a whopping $5 million. With this are raising significant buzz surrounding decentralization, should the rest of the world listen and learn?

Notable startup of the year votes:


Canadian entrepreneurial scene apparently saw a steady growth of new businesses in 2020, both thanks to the pandemic and in spite of it. While a percentage started a new business due to having more free time, the others did so because they had to, having lost their jobs. On the downside, a noticeable result of the pandemic is that it disproportionately affected underrepresented founders, 85% of whom reported losses in revenue, contracts, and cash flow. This makes it even more important to recognize those that have pulled through and kept their business afloat against the odds.

Notable startup of the year votes:

New York

The New York startup scene has shown incredible resilience throughout the pandemic. Innovation and adaptability have always been its staple, and those two features only become more emphasized and more prominent in the previous 15 months. In light of the biggest economic crisis since 2008, many startups not only survived but others also got founded and lived to see a glimpse of the post-pandemic world.

Notable startup of the year votes:


After the 2020 $54 billion budget deficit, California is currently set for a $15 billion tax surplus, and that's undoubtedly thanks to the tech industry. We can attribute it to the continuously soaring stock price of Big Tech like Netflix, Apple, and Facebook. But the story doesn't end there. Who are the companies behind the biggest IPOs of the year? Who are the tenacious teams with significantly less funding who rode the storm and made it through?

Notable startup of the year votes:

Middle US

Pandemic-induced remote work has brought with it some major benefits for both employees and founders. For employees, that was getting to wear sweatpants at all times and cutting out commuting. For founders, the major perk has been leveraging the fact VCs were finally able to tear their eyes away from California and New York and dig deeper to find ideas worth supporting. This allowed them to endure and thrive in what was the most challenging economic period since 2008, changing America's technological landscape. Who are they and what can we learn from their experience?

Notable startup of the year votes:

South America, presented by Bybit

Compared to 2019 $4.9 billion raised in venture capital, Latin America has seen a slight decline in 2020, raising a total of $4.1 billion. Was it an overall good result considering the pandemic? Absolutely. Even more so considering that only 5 years ago that number was a mere $500 million. Still, that region doesn't get nearly the spotlight it deserves, leaving us wondering who are the startups responsible for maintaining the steady success through the pandemic, and how they maintained to do so.

Notable startup of the year votes:

Africa, presented by Bybit

Africa's startup ecosystem took a whooping 29% hit in the decline of venture capital in 2020, compared to 2019. Still, they are expected to close the year with between $2.25 and $2.8 billion raised, either one of which would be a record-breaking success for the continent. This naturally leaves us wondering who are the tenacious teams that only survived the pandemic, but also managed to thrive.

Notable startup of the year votes:

Oceania, presented by Bybit

According to Crunchbase, there are currently 1,801 startups active in Australia alone, and they are predominantly backed by venture capital. Taking into consideration that Oceania felt a 25% plunge in funding in only the first three months of the pandemic, any startup standing and thriving through the pandemic most definitely deserves recognition.

Notable startup of the year votes:


East Asia

East Asia has been a beacon of uniqueness when it comes to its startup scene. And South Korea, in particular, seems to be having a breakthrough year despite the global pandemic, with Sendbird raising $100 million in series C funding and becoming South Korea's 12th Unicorn. But what are the other uncrowned jewels of East Asia?

Notable startup of the year votes:

South Asia

If the Indian startup scene only maintained its course through the pandemic, it would be considered a success. The pandemic wasn't the least bit gentle on the entire South Asia region. However, what they did instead was raised 70% of the amount raised in the entire 2020 in the first four months of 2021.

Who are the startup teams behind $7.8 billion raised and how did they pull it off?

Notable startup of the year votes:

South East Asia

The startup scene of South Asia managed to stay on course despite the pandemic, at least when it comes to raising funds. The entire region closed the year with the amount of $8.2 billion raised, with Indonesia leading the way responsible for 70% of the amount. The emerging hero of the region though seems to be Vietnam, marking a $400 million increase in total funds raised (makes sense - considering their government's strict covid restrictions). Who are these new risers? How did they do it?

Notable startup of the year votes:

Middle East Asia

Out of 50 most-funded Middle-eastern startups, 33 are based in UAE, making it the absolute leader in the region. From smart farms to fintech solutions, they raised over $400 million in funding despite the pandemic. But what other post-pandemic startup survivors are there? And what strategy they used to not only survive but also thrive?

Notable startup of the year votes:


East Europe

What do tools like Miro, Telegram, and Grammarly have in common? Apart from the probability of you using at least one of them, they all originated in Eastern Europe. They have grown tremendously, infiltrated the mainstream culture and consequently our day-to-day lives. But aside from the known giants, what other Eastern Europe-based startups have succeeded in surviving the pandemic, the biggest economic challenge since 2008?

Notable startup of the year votes:

South Europe

The economy of countries located in the Southern parts of Europe took a significant hit during the pandemic, mostly due to their heavy reliance on tourism. But how did the startup world in countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece handle it? We can assume that Barcelona-based MediQuo thrived, giving its application in the medical industry, but other than that, who are the real heroes of the pandemic-driven startup world?

Notable startup of the year votes:

West Europe

When it comes to Western Europe, it seems that we can finally see some disturbance in the force of the startup ecosystem, with power gradually shifting away from London and the growing popularity of Amsterdam-based startups. Was it the pandemic or Brexit, or both? And more importantly, who are startups that managed to thrive despite both, and, what are their secrets?

Notable startup of the year votes:

North Europe

It came as no surprise that countries in Northern Europe have been a fertile ground for startups, being known for their impeccable financial systems and excellent living standards. That is especially true of Sweden, which became the home to global giants like Spotify, Candy Crush, and Skype, among others. However, the pandemic was gentle to no one, not even the Northern Europeans, making us wonder how their startup ecosystem, and especially younger startups, dealt with it.

Notable startup of the year votes:

Central Europe

Even before the pandemic, Central Europe was getting an increasing amount of attention in the startup world, thanks to its very relevant talent pool. In December Google reported that in Poland only (who seems to be the center of gaming development) there have been around 4,500 startups, more than half of which were generating revenue! Considering the turbulent economic background of the area, that left us wanting to know more about the startups in question and, also, what is their secret.

Notable startup of the year votes:

Watch our annoucement video here.

About Brex

Brex is all-in-one finance for growing businesses. We help companies spend, save, and earn smarter—and take every dollar further—by doing more than a bank, bookkeeping, or reward program could ever do alone. After completing the Y Combinator accelerator program in 2017, Brex has grown to over 700 employees and raised over US$940 million in venture capital. Learn more at

About Bybit

Bybit is a global cryptocurrency derivatives exchange established in March 2018 and registered in the BVI. It is headquartered in Singapore and has offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan. They have users from all over the world including North America, Europe, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia. Learn more at

About Blockster

Blockster is an all-in-one social media platform for all things crypto. From real-time social media updates and pricing feeds of popular currencies to extensive blogs and advertising options for cryptocurrencies, Blockster offers it all. Learn more at

About Hacker Noon

How hackers start their afternoons. Hacker Noon is built for technologists to read, write, and publish. We are an open and international community of 15k+ contributing writers publishing stories and expertise for 3M+ curious and insightful monthly readers. Founded in 2016, Hacker Noon is an independent technology publishing platform run by David Smooke and Linh Dao Smooke. Start blogging about technology today.


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