Valuation: $11 billion
Founders: Ben Silbermann (current CEO), Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp
Pinterest was birthed out of a failed meta-catalogue on-the-go app, Tote, which Silbermann and Paul Sciarra initially launched with their company Cold Brew Labs. The app was a complete non-starter, but Silbermann noticed a curious behavior from the app's users ...
Instead of buying, they kept sending pictures of certain products from the app to themselves. One web product and four years later, it was the hottest social media platform out there, driving comparisons to Facebook in 2012.
Valuation: $12 billion
Founder: Elon Musk (current CEO)
Space exploration isn't just the realm of NASA and governments these days. In 2012, SpaceX took a first big step into bringing space adventuring to the next level ...
Valuation: $15 billion
Founders: Sachin Bansal (current CEO) and Binny Bansal
What started as an online bookseller quickly grew into one of India's largest e-commerce sites. It was seeded with wee investment of roughly $6,000 by Binny and Sachin Bansal.
Valuation: $15 billion
Founders: Wei Cheng (current CEO) and Dexter Chuanwei Lu
The result of a merger between two of the biggest transportation app companies in China, Didi Chuxing is Uber's biggest rival in the Asian market.
Valuation: $16 billion
Founders: Evan Spiegel (current CEO) and Bobby Murphy
The hottest social-media platform du jour, Snapchat has a 25-year-old founder and current CEO in Evan Spiegel, who credits the startup's successto three key factors ...
Internet everywhere, fast and easy media creation, and ephemerality. Granted, it hasn't always been a smooth road for the company (Spiegel's leaked emails in 2014 come to mind), but he and co-founder Bobby Murphy have come pretty far from their O.G. frathouse days.
Valuation: $20 billion
Founders: Alex Karp (current CEO), Nathan Gettings, Peter Thiel, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen
In five years, this big-data company has become the go-to for various intelligence outfits and government branches, and if they ever go public, CEO and co-founder Alex Karp stands to make billions. Palantir's talent at taking large amounts of data and turning it into easily-understood visualizations help agencies like the CIA, NSA and U.S. military connect certain dots. Plus ..
... the rumors that they helped the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden don't exactly hurt their reputation either.
... good camera + beautiful photos = booked listings. Now, the site is now for its #wanderlusty aesthetic, proving once again that everything is about presentation.
Valuation: $46 billion
Founders: Lei Jun (current CEO), Hong Feng, Zhou Guangping, Li Wanqiang, Huang Jiangji, Lin Bin, Liu De, Wang Chuan
Xiaomi's meteoric rise to become a leader in China's smartphone market can in large part be traced to its marketing. Their motto?
"Be friends with our fans." Cultivating a culture of cool, with a highly engaged social following, the company relies solely on the Internet for sales. This flexibility allows Xiaomi to react quickly to market response, something attractive to both investors and the general public.
Valuation: $51 billion
Founders: Travis Kalanick (current CEO) and Garrett Camp
The apocryphal story of how Uber was born goes like this: On a snowy, cold night 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were unable to get a cab in Paris, so they vowed to create an app that, with one simple button, would hail one.