The 36 Most Valuable Start-ups on Earth

Ever heard of Jingdong, Nutanix or Zalando? They are all members of the exclusive “Billion-Dollar Startup Club,” a growing list of startups valued at $1 billion or more by venture capitalists.
A new interactive chart from The Wall Street Journals ace Scott Austin ranks these billion-dollar startups using data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Today there are about three-dozen such companies in the U.S., Europe and China.
A billion dollars isn’t cool anymore. More than half of the companies are valued at $2 billion or more. And the exclusivity is fading: since November, three companies have joined the club (storage equipment maker , payments service Stripe and messaging app Snapchat) while another three (music-streaming service Spotify and online storage companies Box and Dropbox) have raised funding at multi-billion dollar valuations.
Before you scream “Bubble!” know that most of these companies are in better financial shape then peers from the dot-com boom era. A few pre-revenue startups, such as Snapchat and scrapbooking site Pinterest, have crept into the club. But a large share of them are making real revenue – see Dropbox and its $200 million in annual sales –even if you question the valuation metrics.
Here’s a startling stat—the U.S. membership is larger than during the dot-com bubble years of 1999 and 2000, when there were 18 companies, according to VentureSource. Today, there are least 25 startups valued at $1 billion or more in the U.S.—19 alone in the past two years.
In China, the lineup is dominated by online companies – such as retailers Jingdong and VANCL, search engine Sogou and restaurant-review site Dianping – capitalizing on a surging Internet population. But it is a smartphone maker, Xiaomi, that is one of the world’s most valuable venture-backed companies at $10 billion.
Zalando, a German retail giant, tops the European list at about $5 billion, followed by Spotify and Mobileye, a maker of vehicle-collision warnings systems.
Are you surprised by any companies in the club? Who are we missing? Bookmark this website, as the Journal will update the chart as companies move up, down, off and on the list.


The Billion Dollar Club – Updated ranking of the the world’s most valuable startups.
WSJD – The Journal’s new website for technology news and analysis.
Scott Austin – Creator of the Journal’s awesome smartphone cost calculator and the billion-dollar club.

Posted by:Dennis K. Berman

The 10 Year Overnight Success

What every person striving for success should know and embrace.

It’s been said that every overnight success is actually 10 years in the making. What most people see as overnight success is often the result of years practicing, grinding and hustling to achieve it. Ever heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect?” Well it’s true! Rarely does it ever have anything to do with talent. Those who become rock stars in their field or industry all know they MUST practice, drill and rehearse. I’ve always been told by my mentors that repetition is the mother of all learning.

Now of course, we all have seen some overnight-sensations pop up from YouTube and other video platforms. However it’s typically one in every million that actually achieve some sort of overnight stardom. In my opinion it’s just not duplicate-able.

While success looks like a duck gliding on water to some people. The REAL work and effort is taking place below the surface. Have you ever seen a duck’s feet paddle under water? No…Well check this out!

It takes deliberate, on-purpose practice to achieve greatness in any area of success. Anyone who deliberately sets out to get better by mastering themselves and their craft each day will inevitably obtain high levels of greatness and success.

It’s really a no-brainer and clear to see that it’s more about your journey and who you will become along the way.

Podcast listening :-)

I honestly had no idea early on that overnight success really was an average ten-year journey. Thankfully, I was blessed with an entrepreneurial mind-set since the age of 14. So naturally I’ve started & have overseen many projects along the way. Which I will do a follow up story on at a later date. Some things I’ve learned and gained along the way is an incredible mind-set, discipline, creative thinking & to seek out phenomenal mentors. Knowing all of this now truly excites me because even greater success is sure to come for me. WhooHoo!!!

So get excited and stop being so hard or critical of yourself as to why you haven’t “arrived yet.” This ten-year rule & journey is here to teach you. Accept it. Embrace it. Now create something and become GREAT!!!

Thanks for reading this far! If you found value in this article, it would mean a lot to me, if you scroll down and hit the Recommend button or share to FB or Twiiter.

You can find me at or Tweeting @ioanagarrett

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Enterprise Mobility: Devices, Security, Design, And Distribution

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Editor’s Note: Semil Shah works on product for Swell, is a TechCrunch columnist, and an investor. He blogs at Haywire, and you can follow him on Twitter at @semil.

Every Sunday for this column, I write on something related to mobile. To date, it’s mostly been about consumer-facing apps, device sensors, user interfaces, tactics like push notifications, and a range of other topics. However, I have yet to dig into mobile for more business-facing, enterprise-oriented users and considerations. That’s partly because I do not work at a large company nor too closely with others. Yet recently, in some of my conversations, the topic of mobile apps for enterprise environments has resurfaced. In 2013, I also moderated a panel at a mobile event organized by Emergence Capital, a venture capital firm which focuses on SaaS and created this chart on different type of enterprise apps. While much has been written on the topic, I wanted to write this post with few or no assumptions, from first-principles, and share my thought process about what founders and investors could look for in these kinds of mobile products. Mostly, however, I’d like to learn from you all about what it will take to win in these environments, so please comment or tweet or reach out to me with your thoughts.

Devices: I’ve heard every angle here. At some large companies, employees can bring their own devices to work. The company will support what the employee wants. But, this becomes more difficult as the number of devices increases quickly, device turnover happens faster, and newer devices hitting the market (especially non-iOS) fragment the ecosystem. One founder remarked to me he believes we’ll see a shift from BYOD to CYOD, or “Choose Your Own Device,” where the employer pre-selects a controlled group of devices from which employees can choose. These conditions will certainly be different at each company, depending on what policies they adopt.

Security Compliance: Even prior to NSA revelations, enterprise security is obviously a big deal. This may be why, for instance, larger companies could move to a CYOD world. Companies are concerned about client-side and cloud-based data security, and this is likely heightened today with the latest batch of handsets allowing different forms of filesharing which don’t require traditional data sources to power them. On the employee-side, I’d imagine many may opt to keep their own personal phones active and thereby carry two phones, partly to keep a separation from work and life outside work, and partly because they are concerned about privacy.

Enterprise-focused vs crossover apps: This is the debate around whether the enterprise needs specific app solutions, or whether it’s more likely consumer-focused apps (or one’s that draw from consumer-level principles) are more likely to win. I don’t know what the answer is here, and it seems like there isn’t just one path to success. Products like Box are designed for enterprise-level customers, products like Yammer draw on consumer-level design principles, and products like Mailbox, as just one example, could help its parent Dropbox spread its own suite of apps through the employee ranks at larger companies. Beyond this, we may also “Bring Your Own Apps” in enterprise settings, as well.

And, here’s the important one for me…

Distribution, viral bottom-up, or top-down command? This is the one I wrestle with when I see new teams forming and building new products. I  don’t know what the best approach is. The way the world is moving, it would seem, at first, logical to assume workers will start to use consumer-level apps and some will “cross-over” into their work, igniting the spark needed to make it grow among colleagues. This is how apps today get huge and become breakout level. Yet, in a company-setting, there may be a case for employers mandating workers use specific apps, and use them daily. That could force everyone in a company not just download and install a specific required app, but to set notifications, allow location tracking, and use the app multiple times a day.

Today, the top-rated and grossing “business” apps are mostly from legacy providers (like Adobe), apps built on top of enterprise giants (like Salesforce), a few new entrants (like Square), and a slew of small-business related tools, such as scanner apps, and so forth. Perhaps one of my next columns will focus on apps for small businesses, but for now, I’d like to hear your opinions on what enterprise-level apps are doing well, where the opportunities are, what the security concerns will be, and who will be driving distribution. It’s certainly a huge opportunity, and with mobile distribution posing a real challenge to tens of thousands mobile developers, the conditions inside large companies could present attractive opportunities.

Photo Credit: Scott Rubin / Creative Commons Flickr

Apple Preparing For Push Into Mobile Payments For Physical Goods, WSJ Reports

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A long-rumored move by Apple is reportedly one step closer to becoming a reality today. The Wall Street Journal says that Apple is looking into a way to expand its mobile payments efforts into a means by which its users can pay for physical goods using iOS mobile devices via their existing iTunes accounts.

It’s not such a stretch: Apple already allows shoppers who frequent their physical retail stores to do this with accessories and other relatively inexpensive items. Using the Apple Store app, users can scan barcodes of products and then authenticate and finalize the purchase using their iTunes Store credentials, the same way they can pay for digital goods including movies and music.

The new WSJ report claims that Apple is looking into a way to expand that kind of shopping behavior beyond just goods in Apple’s own stores, to third-party retailers and service providers including black car hiring service Uber. Apple’s head of iTunes, the App Store and general Internet software and service Eddy Cue is said to be meeting with industry execs in the retail and commerce space to prepare the way for a wide-reaching payments system, according to the WSJ’s sources, and Apple has also reportedly shifted Jennifer Bailey, longtime VP of Apple’s online stores, into a role focusing on building a payments business.

Apple’s existing stockpile of consumer cards on file makes this move seemingly inevitable: it had 600 million users with credit cards on file as of late last year, according to analyst estimates. To put that in perspective, PayPal has around 137 million active accounts, according to the company’s own current figures. The dormant potential for Apple is huge, in other words.

Building a system for payments into the fabric of iOS also makes sense in terms of Apple’s recent moves with regards to R&D and actual shipping technology. It introduced Touch ID with the iPhone 5s, for instance, which provides a secondary authentication tech to help verify the identity of a user (Touch ID is already used for virtual good purchases made through the iTunes store), and with iOS 7 it debuted iBeacons, which can be used as an NFC-style vehicle for conducting device-based mobile transactions in-store. Finally, Apple just recently filed for a new patent that would allow its devices to securely store payment information, and then authorize purchases in a way that doesn’t convey any sensitive user data.

I’ve been writing about the potential Apple has in the field of mobile payments since back in 2010, and nothing much has changed except for the fact that the opportunity is much more mature, increasing the chances of wide consumer adoption. Time and time again, Cupertino has proven itself willing to wait for the right time to strike with new technologies, and while the iTunes card account piece of the puzzle has always seemed a compelling argument in support of Apple entering this market, you could argue that paying for things via your device was still an alien enough concept to keep consumer interest low.

Last year, Forrester estimated mobile payments would become a $90 billion market by 2017, and it’s already growing a rapid pace. If the WSJ’s report today is accurate Apple might finally be ready to claim its spot at the table in preparation for the upcoming feast. And if it does happen, it could drastically alter the positioning of some of the top players currently operating, including Square, PayPal and many more.

Social media is broken

Social media is a topic that is truly overshared these days. There’s 10,000 books on “the power of social media” and about 40,000 blog posts on “how to step up your social game to the next level”. Every brand and individual is obsessed with curating a perfect image. The problem? About 90% of brands fail at this goal. Brands and people are too busy shouting promotions and clearly scripted PR-esque messages that they completely lose the emotional connection with the consumer.

Let’s take a look at how brands are failing.

Example #1:

@Gap / Twitter

What a dead, meaningless, scripted post. Well Gap, I’m glad your marketing team is ready for a new year of shopping and follows a cookie cutter script. Great hashtag use too. (p.s. I’m sure the people retweeting this are great community managers in the pixel perfect circle jerk of social media)

Example #2:

@Sears / Twitter

The typical, “let’s ask a mundane question and get some mundane responses that some people might answer back to!”. What the hell? Why would anyone want to talk to Sears about their game predictions?

Example #3:

@Dell / Twitter

Wait, what?

Example #4:

@Uniqlo / Twitter

Okay, so the question is relevant to fashion…and this is a clothing company…one point. Did Uniqlo respond to any of their tween answers? Hell no they didn’t.

Example #5:

@Office / Twitter

A full inbox feels like a full inbox. Is this supposed to make me want to use or buy Office? I use Office because my employer got it for me, or because it’s too much of a hassle trying to push another word processor to the world.

Most brands are blurting out nonsense that does nothing to improve their image or generate an emotional connection. Who’s in charge of the hiring in these departments? I thought the point of social media was to help a company achieve their growth goals, not something to throw money at for some bozo on TweetDeck to copy and paste scripted messages. Being fake and sparkly only goes so far, we’re all human here.

Social media should reach out and connect with consumers. It should push the idea of the brand and make a statement. Social media needs to stop being afraid of not being sterile and “posh”, it’s all so boring and trite.

Social media is not a place for press releases, constant coupons, or extremely lame small chat. It’s a place for PEOPLE PEOPLE!!! We’re all people, not bots! Stop asking me what my favorite color scarf is! Start asking me about what scarfs I’d like to see in stock this season…and then ACTUALLY RESPOND, FOLLOW UP. Crazy idea, I know, actually trying to be humane to consumers. It’s not about followers, or retweets, or likes, it’s about how many people you can touch and connect with. Be genuine and actually try, the metrics will come naturally.

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  • Watch wearer. Enthusiast. Human cat. Critic on certain days. In constant flux. – @hellojoaquin

    Updated January 24, 2014

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