THE 15 MOST VALUABLE STARTUPS IN THE WORLD

  05/09/2016

  Phạm Anh Cường

Billion Dollar Club
 
It used to be that a startup worth more than $1 billion was a unicorn, a creature so rare as to be quasi-magical. 2014 was the year of the unicorn stampede. 
These 15 startups, the most highly valued private businesses in Silicon Valley, are making investors very, very happy.

Uber
 
The car-hailing app can already claim the richest direct-investment round ever. Recently, it reached a new milestone, raising another $1.2 billion for a total of $2.5 billion raised since it launched in 2009. The latest money was raised at an impressive $40 billion valuation.

Airbnb
 
Inc,'s 2014 Company of the Year, Airbnb has raised $800 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and others. The startup is currently valued at $10 billion, but according to recent reports, an upcoming employee stock sale will value the company closer to $13 billion.

 Dropbox
 
More than 25 million users rely on Dropbox to store and access their files. In turn, the service has raised $507 million from investors like Accel Partners and Y Combinator and is currently valued at $10 billion. By comparison, its closest rival, Box, has raised $545 million and is valued at $2.4 billion, not enough to make this list.

Dropbox
 
More than 25 million users rely on Dropbox to store and access their files. In turn, the service has raised $507 million from investors like Accel Partners and Y Combinator and is currently valued at $10 billion. By comparison, its closest rival, Box, has raised $545 million and is valued at $2.4 billion, not enough to make this list.

Snapchat
 
The photo-sharing app turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook last year. And it turned out to be one of the best decisions the company could have made. Since then, Snapchat has raised $150 million and attained a valuation of $10 billion.

Xiaomi
 
China's highest-valued company is phone maker Xiaomi, which has raised $347 million and is currently valued at $10 billion. Its cheap but well-designed smartphones and other accessories have made Xiaomi the "most fascinating phone company on the planet."

Palantir Technologies
 
Co-founded by Peter Thiel, Palantir provides big data software to the CIA and the FBI. With such high-profile clients, the company was once Silicon Valley's best kept secret. Now, it has managed to raise $900 million and is valued at $9.3 billion. 

Jingdong
 
China's answer to Amazon, giant online retailer Jingdong (JD.com) has raised  $2.2 billion and is valued at $7.3 billion. Could it continue to raise funds and top Alibaba's blockbuster IPO?

Square
 
A formidable player in mobile payments, Square has raised $495 million. At least $25 million came from Starbucks, which installed the Square payments system in 7,000 of its U.S. locations in 2012. The startup is currently valued at $6 billion. 

Pinterest
 
The digital scrapbook service has become a staple of the visual Web. After raising $800 million from its committed investors, the startup is currently valued at $5 billion
.
SpaceX
 
For founder Elon Musk, space is the final frontier. His space exploration company has raised $115 million and is valued at $4.8 billion. And for the next 10 years, SpaceX's investmentwon't be spent on local taxes.

Cloudera
 
The big data software provider may not be a household name, but it did manage to raise $1.2 billion. A large sum of it, $900 million, came from Intel. Cloudera is currently valued at $4.1 billion.
 
Spotify
 
Taylor Swift may not be a fan, but one of her corporate sponsors, Coca-Cola, is investing in Spotify. The music streaming service has raised a total of $521 million, for a valuation of $4 billion. Not bad for an unprofitable business model.
 
Lending Club
 
Fast-growing peer-to-peer lending service Lending Club filed for IPO this year. As of April, the lender's total equity funding consisted of $155 million for a valuation of $3.8 billion.

Jawbone
 
A pioneer in developing wearable devices, Jawbone has raised $531 million from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures. The fitness tracker maker is currently valued at $3.3 billion.

Fanatics
 
The largest online retailer of licensed sportswear, Fanatics sold more than $1 billion worth of merchandise in 2013. Founded in 1995, the e-commerce site survived the dot-com bust and has gone on to raise $320 million. The company's valuation currently sits at $3.1 billion.
Source: Inc.com
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