The world of tech is constantly evolving and always surprising. Especially in 2023 after the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence took the world by storm, many startups launched in hopes of making their mark even among intense competition. And, while statistics show that only 10% of startups make it past their first year on the market, some have what it takes to make waves from the very start and secure significant investments that pave their way toward successful growth.

So, just like last year, we wanted to pinpoint and analyze the most impressive new tech startups that, despite being founded only a few months ago, have already managed to catch the attention of powerful investors and receive hefty pre-seed and seed investments. Accordingly, we ranked these promising new startups by the funding amounts they received in 2023.

Elon Musk’s xAI Secures Highest Pre-Seed Investment, Significantly Ahead of Other Startups

During the pre-seed stage of funding — also known as the earliest stage of the funding process — startups need to prove the viability of their product to secure investments that will allow them to further enhance their product and weather competition in their respective markets. At this point, the attention is focused on building and testing a minimum viable product and assembling a core team, along with investors who grant capital in exchange for equity.

While a typical pre-seed round stands between $50,000 and $250,000, these exciting new startups managed to secure much larger investments, which demonstrates tremendous potential and a more-than-positive revenue forecast.

1. xAI

Industry: Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, Machine Learning

Total Funding Amount: $134,700,000

Possibly the most talked about startup of the year, Elon Musk’s entrance into the AI sphere is surely making waves, both in terms of news headlines and investments. While the company is said to be on a mission to raise up to $1 billion in equity, xAI — despite having just been founded in mid-2023 — has already secured almost $135 million in pre-seed funding from four investors. The company is leveraging artificial intelligence to “understand the true nature of the universe” and is surely one of the most promising startups in recent tech history.

2. CapStack

Industry: Banking, Financial Services, FinTech, Information Technology

Total Funding Amount: $6,000,000

A promising new fintech startup with headquarters in Miami, CapStack is focused on banking and financial services — an evergreen segment that’s likely to consistently drive interest and investments. In this case, the company (founded at the end of March) managed to receive an impressive $6 million in pre-seed funding only four months later from a total of 10 investors. Fin Capital led this funding round, but others — like Cowboy Ventures, Selah Ventures, Cambrian Ventures, Alloy Labs and Gaingels — also contributed to getting this startup up and running.

3. Coresky

Industry: Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Virtual Currency

Total Funding Amount: $6,000,000

Also receiving $6 million in pre-seed funding, Coresky tackles another highly popular industry — blockchain and cryptocurrency. Clearly, the world of virtual currency is still going strong, as evidenced by Coresky’s massive funding. This California-based startup was founded at the end of January 2023 and already managed to secure a hefty pre-seed investment at the beginning of March. With a core focus on launchpad and NFT (non-fungible token) Marketplace, Coresky has already launched a private sale of its product aimed at increasing transparency and user asset security.


Industry: 3D Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Data Visualization, Film Production

Total Funding Amount: $5,000,000

Another exciting AI-based startup, BAILEY AI is on a mission to integrate artificial intelligence into the film industry to generate better and more visually stunning storytelling. Specifically, 3D technology, data visualization, and film production are the core elements tied to the use of AI by this California company. Plus, the product it provides managed to secure a significant $5 million in pre-seed only one week after its founding.

5. 2045 Studio

Industry: Financial Services, Internet, Software, Training

Total Funding Amount: $4,200,000

With headquarters in New York, 2045 Studio has similarly emerged rapidly this year as it received an impressive pre-seed investment of more than $4 million in the same month as its founding. Founder Porter Braswell created 2045 Studio as a members-only network for professionals and leaders of color and developed a platform that helps companies retain a diverse workforce. Notably, the startup managed to gain the trust and funding of powerful investors, led by Benchstrength. Other investors that contributed to this pre-seed funding were AAF Management Ltd., C.J. McCollum, Connecticut Innovations, LeFrak, Acadian Ventures and Miguel McKelvey.

Four out of Five Top Seed Rounds Go To AI Startups

While the pre-seed funding stage is all about forecasting results, seed funding is based on already-proven product viability and a certain degree of adoption in the current market. Considered the first official round of formal investing, seed funding comes after pre-seed and before rounds A, B and C. Generally, the funding granted during this stage stands around the $2 million mark, but the following startups far exceeded this amount and secured trust from hefty investors.

1. Liquid AI

Industry: Artificial Intelligence, Generative AI, Information Technology, Machine Learning

Total Funding Amount: $37,600,000

Referred to as “Boston’s answer to ChatGPT,” Liquid AI is a new AI developer on a mission to help improve the overall human experience. And, given the massive seed investment of more than $37 million that the startup received at the start of December, it’s safe to say that Liquid AI has gained the attention and trust of many, including the 24 investors that made this funding possible: OSS Capital L.P., Stephen Pagliuca, and The Pags Group were the lead investors in this funding round, while Sandeep Vij, Breyer Capital, Tobias Lütke and others also invested in Liquid AI’s promising product.

2. Plai Labs

Industry: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet, Machine Learning, Social Media, Social Network, Web Development

Total Funding Amount: $32,000,000

Also exceeding the $32 million mark in a seed investment round at the very beginning of 2023, this Los Angeles-based startup is yet another company with a thrilling market proposition: Plai Labs is focused on developing social platforms based on social media expertise, game mechanics and advanced technology. The company is also known for operating in the AI and blockchain sectors and received the massive seed funding from two powerful investors — a16z crypto and UTA.VC.

3. Bastion

Industry: Information Technology, Internet

Total Funding Amount: $25,000,000

Here again, a16z crypto is also the lead investor in the funding of Bastion, a newly founded startup that tackles information technology. More precisely, the company secured $25 million in seed funding in the month of September from a16z crypto and Aptos, Isos7 Venture Fund, Laser Digital, Ryan Wyatt, Not Boring Capital and Sancus Ventures, among others, accounting for 12 investors. Focused on blending web2 and web3 technologies to help companies broaden their opportunities and make operations easier for both them and their customers, Bastion’s product appears to be on an upward trajectory and primed for speedy growth.

4. Contextual AI

Industry: Artificial Intelligence, Generative AI, Software

Total Funding Amount: $20,000,000

Co-Founder of Contextual AI, Douwe Kiela, plans to build the next generation of large language models for enterprises — and that’s a goal that has attracted plenty of investors so far. In fact, 12 investors dug into their wallets to support this promising startup from Palo Alto, Calif., in seed funding in mid-2023 with Bain Capital Ventures in the lead. As a result, an impressive $20 million was granted to Contextual AI merely months after its founding, once again proving the trust that industry professionals have in the field of AI and its upcoming innovations.

5. Terminal Industries

Industry: Artificial Intelligence, Logistics, Supply Chain, Management

Total Funding Amount: $17,000,000

Terminal Industries is an AI-focused startup that gathered hefty seed funding from 11 investors in July, when it secured a total of $17 million to further advance its product and market presence. The Texas startup attracted investors such as NFI Ventures, 9Yards Capital, and others, with 8VC (known as the most active supply chain investor) and Prologis Ventures leading during this seed round. In particular, Terminal Industries showed great potential through its goal of creating AI platforms that “help logistics operators in creating efficient and resilient supply chain.”


  • The data used for the purposes of this study was extracted from Crunchbase on December 8, 2023.
  • We looked at tech-related startups that were founded in 2023 and received pre-seed or seed funding.
  • We then narrowed down the ranking to highlight the top five startups in each category (pre-seed or seed) with the highest investments.

Laura Pop-Badiu is a Senior Creative Writer at CoworkingCafe and CoworkingMag, with a degree in Journalism and a background in both hospitality and real estate. Laura is a certified bookworm with a genuine passion for the written word and a keen interest in the coworking sector. Her work has been featured in major publications like Forbes, NBC News, The Business Journals, Chicago Tribune, MSN and Yahoo! Finance, among others.

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