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Luke Marklin, CEO of Bellhop in Chattanooga, sits in the lobby of the Warehouse Row headquarters. / Staff file photo

Two of Chattanooga's fastest growing companies were named by Forbes magazine among the best startup employers in America for 2021.

Bellhop, one of the nation's fastest-growing moving services, was ranked as No. 24 among the 500 companies included on the Forbes list of the Best Startup Employers released Tuesday. Freightwaves, which was ranked No. 196 in the Best Startup Employer list in 2020, ranked No. 218 in the Forbes' 2021 list of the top employers for up-and-coming businesses.

The two Chattanooga businesses were among only six startup companies on the Forbes list from Tennessee. Bellhop was the top ranked company in Tennessee and the other four Best Startup Employers in the state not from Chattanooga were all based in Nashville.

Forbes and Statista Inc., a statistics portal and industry ranking provider, analyzed more than 7 million data points to identify the top Startup Employers. Companies were selected based on an innovative methodology evaluating employee satisfaction, employee reputation, and company growth. The list was compiled by evaluating 2,500 American businesses that were founded between 2011 and 2018 and employ at least 50 employees. The data was gathered via a social listening campaign and extensive desk research.

"2020 was a tough year for many companies, and I'm proud of the way we persevered as essential service providers," said Luke Marlin, CEO of Bellhop. "Being named to 2021's list is a testament to the culture fostered by our employees, which makes Bellhop a really special place to work."

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Freightwaves CEO Craig Fuller talks about the expansion of the Chattanooga business in the offices at 1500 Chestnut St. / Staff file photo

Bellhop, which was originally named Campus Bellhop, was founded by Cam Doody and Stephen Vlahos in 2011 to serve Auburn University students looking for help moving into and out of their dorms. The business expanded to provide movers for other relocations and, after moving to Chattanooga in 2013 and securing seed funding from the Lamp Post Group, the company has grown nationwide with both movers and moving vans in some markets.

Using AI technology to dispatch helpers in designated markets, Bellhop is helping to link moving talent needs with available workers in the $18 billion-a-year moving industry. The company has grown to include 215 employees at its Chattanooga headquarters and more than 4,000 contract movers around the country. Bellhop is looking to expand its moving staff by 6,400 workers by July and currently has 80 open positions, company spokeswoman Alexandra Skillman said.

FreightWaves, which Craig Fuller began in 2106, is a media and analytics company for the global freight industry that Fuller hopes to grow into a billion-dollar-plus company over time. Forbes ranked FreightWaves No. 6 among top startup employers in its category (Media & Entertainment).

Freightwaves has secured more than $76 million in funding during its 5-year history and now employs more than 130 workers.

"FreightWaves will continue to grow and develop products and services for our industry because of the work our employees do daily," Fuller said in a statement Tuesday. "The company's success has been their success, and the unique FreightWaves culture reflects that."

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