With new startups launching, constant fundraising, and endless chatter, the who’s who of Silicon Valley is always changing, and only a lucky few come out on top.
After months of research and debate, Business Insider is proud to present the Silicon Valley 100, our annual list of the people who matter most in Silicon Valley.
To compile the list, we looked at who won big in the past year: star executives, industry-changing acquisitions, top VCs, promising companies shifting industries, and more. This list isn’t about long-standing reputations; it’s about who’s done notable things since spring 2014.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments below, because we love telling stories about amazing people.
In A-Z order »
In 1-100 order »
The list was compiled by Business Insider’s technology editors. Additional reporting by Christi Danner and Tanza Loudenback. Photo research by Melia Robinson.
100. Mat Honan
Bureau chief, BuzzFeed SF
BuzzFeed hired Mat Honan at the end of 2014 to lead its new San Francisco office. Since the office opened, Honan has hired 17 reporters dedicated to tech news — most notably Nitasha Tiku, who previously worked at The Verge and Gawker’s Valleywag. The intention of Honan’s new office is to make the website as a must-read tech-news source, a niche that BuzzFeed has struggled with.
Previously, Honan was a senior staff writer and editor at Wired. Upon being hired at BuzzFeed, he said, “Our coverage will be aggressive and bold, like our hiring, and we’ll look to do the kind of authoritative reporting that asks questions and gets real answers from the most powerful people in this industry.”
99. Gagan Biyani, Morgan Springer, Neeraj Berry, Matt Kent
CEO Gagan Biyani’s mission is for Sprig to become “the easiest way to eat healthy in the world.” Former Google head chef Nate Keller leads the in-house kitchen staff that prepares each meal delivered by Sprig, the on-demand fresh-food delivery service that launched in November 2013. It offers three meal options daily and aims to deliver the food in 15 minutes.
In April, the company raised $45 million in funding, which spurred its expansion to Chicago from the San Francisco Bay Area.
98. Conrad Chu, Van Tran, Tri Tran
Van Tran, Tri Tran, and Conrad Chu wanted to provide the convenience of a professional chef without the high cost, and in 2011 Munchery was born. The company is similar to Seamless, except your food is made by Munchery’s chefs instead of being outsourced to restaurants. Each time you order a meal on Munchery, the company makes an equivalent donation to a charity in your town.
Munchery made headlines in April when it raised a $28 million Series B round. More recently, Sherpa Ventures, a prominent venture-capital firm, announced it was making its “biggest bet since Uber” by endorsing Munchery. At the end of May, the company announced its Series C round of $85 million co-led by Menlo Ventures and Sherpa. Munchery has raised $117.2 million, including contributions from celebrities such as Jared Leto and Edward Norton.
97. Todd McKinnon and Frederic Kerrest
McKinnon is a Valley A-lister, a former star Salesforce engineer who launched his own company in 2009 without CEO and friend Benioff’s blessing. His company has seen massive growth: By September 2014 it had raised $155 million from top VCs. Okta is now valued at about $600 million and is expected to go public by 2016.
McKinnon said there’s tremendous value in working for a rapidly growing, successful company before pursuing other endeavors. He called his time at Salesforce a “gift” that taught him what it means to win.
96. Peter Thiel
Partner, Founders Fund; chairman, Palantir; founder, Thiel Fellowship; investor
Thiel started out as Facebook’s first outside investor, and PayPal cofounder and CEO. In 2004 he cofounded Palantir Technologies, a computer software and services company specializing in data analysis. He also manages Founders Fund, a leading VC firm that’s invested in startups like SpaceX, Yelp, RoboteX, and Spotify.
Thiel made waves in 2011 when he set up a fellowship to pay promising college students $100,000 to drop out of school to pursue startup ideas instead. Of the 84 students who’ve become Thiel Fellows, only eight have returned to college.
In April, startup incubator Y Combinator announced Thiel had become a part-time partner, joining Groupon founder Andrew Mason, Stripe cofounder Patrick Collison, and seven others.
95. John Doerr, Megan Quinn, Matt Murphy, Mary Meeker
Partners, Kleiner Perkins
Kleiner Perkins is a legendary venture-capital firm in Silicon Valley. Over the past year, Kleiner Perkins has made investments in Slack, Snapchat, Instacart, secretive virtual-reality company Magic Leap, Uber, and others. Nineteen of its portfolio companies have gone public or have been acquired in the past year, including Lending Club and Dropcam.
Earlier this year, Ellen Pao, a former Kleiner Perkins partner, brought a sexual-discrimination case against the firm. Kleiner Perkins successfully defended itself in trial.
94. Rand Paul
US senator (R-Kentucky) and 2016 presidential candidate
Paul has been courting Silicon Valley for years, even meeting with big names like Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel as well as executives at eBay and others. It’s part of Paul’s strategy to appeal to Silicon Valley libertarians and win their votes in next year’s presidential race.
Even further, he’s opened an office in the area and has raised donations from Sean Parker and other top investors.
93. Ross Mason
Founder, VP of product strategy, MuleSoft
MuleSoft is, to some, the definition of disruption. Two of its biggest legacy rivals, Tibco and Informatica, left the public markets in leveraged buyouts in 2014 and early 2015, which left room for founder Ross Mason to grow MuleSoft like crazy.
MuleSoft solves the hard problem of integrating cloud applications, especially with a company’s existing apps. In 2014 it raised $50 million at an $800 million valuation, and just this past May MuleSoft raised a new $128 million investment at a $1.5 billion valuation. It seems it could be heading toward an IPO.
92. Or Arbel
Cofounder, CEO, Yo
Yo is the almost stupidly simple communication tool that briefly took the tech world by storm in 2014. The one-word correspondence app started out as a side project for Arbel, but it went viral and last year was valued at about $10 million.
Arbel is planning on bringing Yo back with Yo 2.0, which will include your location, a photo, or just the good old original “yo.”
91. Amanda Bradford
Founder, CEO, The League
Bradford’s app The League is like a curated Tinder for elites, and it raised $2.1 million in seed funding earlier this year to play matchmaker to the most successful and ambitious singles. The League launched in San Francisco at the beginning of 2015 and just opened up to the New York market as well, where a targeted group of 2,500 users were allowed to sign up.
The goal, Bradford says, is to make more power couples, and help people date “intelligently.” She’s now eyeing London.
90. Liz Wessel and JJ Fliegelman
Cofounders, Campus Job
Founded by former Googler Liz Wessel, Campus Job is a marketplace for college kids looking for internships and jobs. About 90% of the positions offered on Campus Job are paid, and the startup sees 10,000 new college-aged users signing up weekly.
Campus Job was born out of a campus-rep company that Wessel had started with a fellow student at Penn; it’s an alternative to a college career service center and Symplicity, a job board employers have to pay for postings on. It recently went through the startup accelerator Y Combinator and raised over $9 million in May, bringing its total funding to $10.3 million.
89. Aarthi Ramamurthy
Aarthi Ramamurthy is the founder of Y Combinator-backed Lumoid, a peer-to-peer gadget marketplace that lets people test-drive electronics before they buy them. It allows potential consumers try out the expensive products they’re thinking of buying — like the iWatch, which users can rent for between $45 and $55 (and usually retails for $349 and up).
Ramamurthy spent six years at Microsoft working on its popular Visual Studio software-development tool and on Xbox Live, and also cofounded a bra-fitting company called True&Co.
88. Kyle Vogt
Vogt, a Y Combinator alum, created driverless-car company Cruise not to manufacture driverless cars but to enable any car to become a driverless car. “We’re trying to reuse as many concepts and behaviors as you already have in your car, such as a single button to control the cruise control,” says Vogt. “Whatever speed you’re going becomes the target speed.”
So far Cruise has raised one undisclosed seed amount, back in January 2015. The Cruise system costs $10,000 and can be installed in a few hours.
87. Jason Johnson and Yves Behar
Jason Johnson and designer Yves Behar (known for designing the Jawbone UP fitness band) are out to take “the internet of things” by storm with a new app called August, which aims to make the house key obsolete. Using a lock, along with an app and Bluetooth, August can unlock your home and generate temporary keys that would allow plumbers, cleaners, or houseguests inside at specified times.
Johnson and Behar’s product went on sale in the fall of 2014 and just raised a new $38 million round led by Bessemer Venture Partners to produce August en masse.
86. Adam Cahan
Senior vice president of mobile, Yahoo
Adam Cahan formerly worked at Google on mobile initiatives and joined Yahoo a few months before Marissa Mayer, but he soon found himself in the CEO’s office, tasked with heading up the expansion of mobile for Yahoo.
This became a massive growth opportunity for Cahan, who built up a team of over 600. His investment in mobile helped begin to put Yahoo on par with Facebook and Google, which already had thousands of people working on apps before Yahoo expanded into the territory.
85. Ev Williams
Founder, Obvious Ventures
Ev Williams, one of the cofounders of Twitter and Medium, just raised a boatload of money for his VC firm, Obvious Ventures, last month: $123,456,789, to be precise. This is its first-ever fund.
Williams says the numerically consecutive amount was “absolutely intentional,” and that the firm is out to use the money to make positive change in the world. Obvious Ventures wants to invest in companies that are tackling those challenges head-on. Obvious Ventures’ three main areas of investment are “sustainable systems,” “healthy living,” and “people power,” according to cofounder James Joqauin.
84. Andrew Rubin, PJ Kirner, Alan Stokol
Rubin is the cofounder of Illumio, the buzzed-about startup that raised $42.5 million from investors at hugely successful companies like Salesforce and Yahoo before it even came out of stealth mode. The company offers Adaptive Security Platform — a cutting-edge security software designed for the cloud.
In April, Business Insider reported Illumio to be worth $1 billion, a stunning number for a company that’s six months old. Rubin has also been a seed investor in Powermat and Tory Burch for more than 10 years.
83. Josh Reeves, Edward Kim, Tomer London
ZenPayroll CEO Josh Reeves believes it’s easier than ever to be an entrepreneur. Whether or not that’s true, it certainly seems easy for Reeves, whose payroll-processing startup raised a $60 million series B round, led by Google Capital, in April.
The recently revealed laundry list of angel investors includes celebs like Ashton Kutcher and Jared Leto, former head of the US Small Business Administration Karen Mills, and a list of famed startup CEOs from Evernote, Eventbrite, Stripe, Constant Contact, SurveyMonkey, WordPress, and Instagram. Founders from PayPal, Yahoo, Reddit, Nest, Twitter, HubSpot, and Mint also contributed.
82. Eric Migicovsky
Founder and CEO, Pebble
Migicovsky’s Pebble smartwatch smashed through its Kickstarter goal almost instantly, raising nearly $14 million by the end of March — the most-funded Kickstarter campaign in history.
The company’s marketing strategies are pretty ingenious as well, especially with the introduction of the Apple iWatch to the market. In the fall, Pebble slashed the price of its smartwatch to $99, just before the launch of the iWatch, and it’s introducing new features to the next generation of watch, the Pebble Time, which are key ingredients missing from the iWatch.
81. Ed Lee
Mayor, San Francisco
Since he was first elected, Lee has aligned himself with the city’s startup culture, visiting a new Silicon Valley-area startup every week. A survey conducted by Lee’s administration found that, in general, San Franciscans really like the Silicon Valley tech industry and don’t cite it as the main cause for the high cost of housing there.
Lee, who’s up for reelection this year, found himself amid controversy a couple years ago when he gave rapidly expanding Twitter a tax break to move to a bigger office downtown rather than leave the city.
80. Renee James
James is the No. 2 executive at Intel and seems to be everywhere these days, mainly thanks to her audacious goal to hit “full representation” of women and minorities at Intel by 2020 and have its workforce mimic actual demographics, which would mean a male-female ratio closer to 50-50. Intel has always rated high as a place for women in tech, but James is taking it further, and Intel is investing $300 million to reach its goal.
James, who has been described as “bullheaded, impatient, and very smart” by former Intel CEO Andy Grove, could be starting a model that might be duplicated by other tech companies in Silicon Valley, where women and minorities have historically been underrepresented.
79. Andy Rubin
Managing director, Playground Global
Andy Rubin, best known as the founder of Android — which Google bought in 2005 — left Google in the fall of 2014 to found a VC firm that will invest in robotics. Rubin was involved in robotics-related work at Google, but now he’ll be providing hardware companies with the capital to go full-throttle in the robotics industry.
His venture, which he’s calling Playground Global, has already raised a $48 million fund, and with Rubin as the managing director, and an A-list board of directors that includes ex-Googler Matt Hershenson, former Microsoft executive Peter Barrett, and WebTV cofounder Bruce Leak, hardware companies can start lining up for funding.
78. Sam Altman
Founding partner, president, Y Combinator
Sam Altman, founding partner and president of Y Combinator, one of the most coveted startup accelerators in the country, has been outspoken this year about his disdain for the rate at which many startups burn through cash. The “mega bubble” in Silicon Valley won’t last forever, he said, and he advises startups to spend “almost comically low” amounts of money as the next round of funding may not be as easy to get.
Altman has invested in Product Hunt and BloomThat, among others, and his accelerator is where companies like Airbnb and Dropbox got off the ground. Y Combinator also just raised its first official fund so it can invest in startups in an even bigger way financially.
77. Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder, Social+Capital Partnership
Called “the future of venture capital,” Palihapitiya helped desktop and mobile messaging app Slack raise its recent $160 million round of funding in record time, praising the company on Twitter: “There are many tools that are good with small groups or departments, but Slack is the first product that has utility for the entire company.” At 38, he’s younger than most VCs but still one of the most prominent and most successful.
With an estimated net worth exceeding $1 billion, the part Golden State Warriors owner is viewed as one of the most successful former Facebook employees of all. He’s also pretty much pledged to give all his money away to other world-changers when he dies.
Palihapitiya recently sold his stake in Tinder at a $500 million valuation to IAC.
76. Bill Gurley
General partner, Benchmark Capital
As general partner at Benchmark Capital, Gurley invested in DogVacay, WeWork, Cyanogen, Uber, and many other startups — but he’s also repeatedly warned of the impending “tech bubble” in Silicon Valley. In a SXSW keynote, he warned that Silicon Valley’s optimism could lead to the demise of some of these $1 billion-valuated “unicorn” companies. It’s unsettling for tech founders to hear, for whom achieving unicorn status is a badge of honor.
His latest battle cry is that the tech sector is in a “dry bubble,” where lots of money is being poured into private companies but few liquidity events are happening.
Gurley is a board member of Uber, the world’s largest private company worth $50 billion, and his firm is invested in $20 billion Snapchat.
75. Steve Zadesky
Vice president iPod/iPhone product design, Apple
Apple’s next big thing is in the works. Headed by former Ford engineer and current iPhone/iPod specialist Steve Zadesky, the secretive Titan project is developing an electric car. Apple hasn’t publicly announced the project yet, but Zadesky was given a green light to build a team of 1,000 people, and has been hiring specialists with a variety of skill sets.
Though the Apple Car remains years away from hitting the road for consumers, it represents a major potential revenue source for the tech giant. In fact, a stake in the car industry could generate up to $50 billion in profits annually, according to Forbes.
74. Solomon Hykes
Founder, CTO, Docker
Docker is one of the most buzzed about things on the internet, and for good reason. The open-source software, developed by CTO Solomon Hykes, gives developers the tools to build and distribute apps so that they work across multiple platforms. This technology is revolutionizing how companies view and build applications, and companies such as Yelp and eBay are adopting Docker at a fast pace.
In total, it has raised $150 million through three rounds of funding, with investors including Insight Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and AME Cloud Ventures.
73. Dave Morin
Cofounder, Path; founder, Slow Ventures
Daum Kakao, the makers of the popular Kakao Talk messaging app, acquired Dave Morin’s social-networking app Path at the end of May. Path never took off in the US outside Silicon Valley, but it became popular in Asia, and it raised a total of $77 million as of January 2015. Much of the money Path raised came from Morin’s own pocket; the former Facebook executive made a sizable amount when the company went public.
Dave Morin has also proved to be a great early-stage startup investor. Through is firm Slow Ventures, which just raised a $65 million fund, Morin and his partners have invested in about 200 up-and-coming companies such as Yik Yak, Meerkat, Product Hunt, and ClassPass.
72. Amit Kumar, Jeff Winner, Eckart Walther, Geraud Boyer
Last July, Twitter purchased mobile-payment system CardSpring, marking the social network’s foray into real-time commerce. CardSpring helps developers write applications that accept credit-card payments, creating a world of opportunity for Twitter; its programs can potentially allow users to download discounts or make purchases through Tweets.
In 2012, CardSpring raised $10 million in Series A funding from investors Techammer, Greylock Partners, and Accel Partners.
71. Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg
In May, Vox Media, which owns SB Nation and The Verge, bought Swisher and Mossberg’s 18-month-old tech blog Re/code in an all-stock deal. Multiple sources told Business Insider at the time of the sale that the value of the deal was between $15 and $20 million, in addition to some stock incentives for Re/code’s executives.
Swisher and Mossberg, the cofounders of Re/code, raised about $10 million from investors, including NBC Universal and Windsor Media. Business Insider was told the company was on track to generate $12 million this year largely from its conference business; the website pulled in only about 2.5 million monthly readers.
Despite the impressive revenue figure for such a young media company, Mossberg and Swisher noticed some disturbing trends in the media landscape that caused them to sell Re/code. Other websites, like Vox, had much larger audiences and had raised much more capital; Swisher and Mossberg would have had to give up their controlling stakes in Re/code if they wanted to remain independent.
They’ll be continuing to break tech news for Vox under new leadership, and they’ll help Vox build out a strong conference business.
70. Josh McFarland and Mark Ayzenshtat
Ex-Googler Josh McFarland, who leads marketing-software app TellApart, just sold his startup for more than half a billion dollars to Twitter.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was a personal investor in TellApart before his company paid $532 million for it. TellApart boasted a $100 million run rate a couple of years ago, and the program could be a big driver of revenue for Twitter.
69. Kavan Seggie
Last May, Snapchat made its first acquisition in AddLive, a real-time communications startup that allows the picture-messaging app to power its video-calling feature. The deal cost Snapchat $30 million.
AddLive’s technology offers several useful tools to Snapchat, including screen-sharing, multiparty conferencing, and support for browser-based video chat via WebRTC.
68. Doug Evans
Founder, CEO, Juicero
The juicing fad isn’t over yet. Secretive startup Juicero — which raised $120 million earlier this year — is on a mission to completely reinvent the way we consume fresh fruits and veggies. Though the company has remained tight-lipped about their process, sources told Business Insider earlier this year that Juicero is creating an appliance similar to a Keurig that will juice freshly picked fruits and veggies without creating waste.
And founder Doug Evans knows a thing or two about juice. He’s the former CEO of Organic Avenue, a popular health-food chain in New York.
67. Brit Morin
Founder, CEO, Brit + Co.
Touted at the “Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley,” Brit Morin specializes in the intersection of tech and DIY — and it’s lucrative. Morin launched Brit+Co, a lifestyle website that features crafts, fashion, and decor, in 2011, and so far it’s raised $27.6 million in funding from investors including Oak Capital, Intel Capital, and Marissa Mayer.
Before diving into her own site, Morin grew her love for the tech world as an employee at Apple and Google, where she worked on iTunes and Google Maps, respectively.
66. Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam
Cofounder and CEO; cofounder, Coinbase
Despite slumping bitcoin prices, Coinbase, a digital wallet used to buy and manage the digital currency, is on the rise. The startup raised a $75 million round in January — a record-breaking amount for a bitcoin company at the time. Investors include the New York Stock Exchange, Andreessen Horowitz, and banks USAA and BBVA, and the round supposedly puts Coinbase’s value at $400 million.
65. Balaji Srinivasan, Matthew Pauker, Nigel Drego, Daniel Firu, and Veerbhan Kheterpal
Cofounders, 21 Inc.
Enigmatic startup 21 Inc. wants to bring bitcoin to the mainstream through an embeddable chip for phones that will allow users to “mine” Bitcoin in the background. Though the company only recently announced its master plan, they’ve been building capital for some time. In March, it raised $116 million in venture funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Yuan Capital, and RRE Ventures.
21 recently shook up its management as well: Cofounder Balaji Srinivasan, who is also a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, is taking over as CEO, and Matthew Pauker, the current CEO, is replacing Srinivasan as chairman.
64. Craig Martin and Curtis Lee
Cofounders, Luxe Valet
Luxe Valet wants to take the hassle out of parking. The app, which calls someone to park your car for you with just a click, is picking up steam, even against competition from similar on-demand valet companies. It raised $20 million in a Series A funding round in February, and is continuing to expand into new markets.
The idea was born after cofounder Curtis Lee and his wife spent 30 minutes searching for a parking space in San Francisco one night, nearly missing their dinner reservations. “Circling is not good for anybody,” he told Forbes.
63. Kevin Gibbon and Joshua Scott
Anyone who’s ever had to lug a package to the post office knows how annoying it can be. But with Shyp, all that hassle goes away. The startup is reinventing the shipping process; instead of schlepping your boxes to UPS, Shyp picks them up for a $5 flat fee plus shipping.
Shyp raised $50 million in a Series B round of funding earlier this year, with investors including SherpaVentures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In the past year, the company has increased its number of shipments by nearly 500% and continues to grow.
62. Ben Rubin, Roi Tirosh, Itai Danino
It’s never been easier to share live video with your friends and followers. Just open Meerkat, click “stream,” and share whatever you’re doing with friends. The popular live-streaming app, which launched in March, raised $18.2 million in funding and has nearly 2 million users.
However, Meerkat is facing fierce competition from Twitter’s Periscope, another live-streaming app. Despite Perisciope’s advanced features, like the ability to replay videos, Meerkat cofounder Ben Rubin is confident there’s space for both to thrive. When he found out Twitter was launching its competition, he says “it was Saturday – all the team went back to the office to get ready to dive in.”
61. Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev
Robinhood, a sleek mobile-brokerage app, is making it possible for anyone to invest, not just Wall Streeters. Unlike rival investment apps E-Trade and Schwab, which charge $7 to $10 per trade, Robinhood is free to use. In May, it raised $50 million in a funding round led by NEA. Previous investors include big-name VCs and celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto.
Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street Movement, Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt created the app to “democratize access to the financial markets.” And good news for their mission: It’s now available for anyone to use.
60. Ryan Hoover
Founder, Product Hunt
For tech enthusiasts, Product Hunt is a daily addiction. The community review site constantly surfaces new products, and many consider it a direct competitor to blogs like TechCrunch. Last October, the site raised $6.1 million in a Series A round of financing from investors including Andreessen Horowitz.
Founder Ryan Hoover commands a ton of power in the tech world for becoming the face of the site. He’s been known to flood Twitter with conversations about new products, consistently engaging people with the site.
Recently, Product Hunt also began branching out from tech; it launched Snoop Dogg’s new album in May, and many speculate it will continue to feature nontech products.
59. Tony Xu, Evan Moore, Stanley Tang, Andy Fang
DoorDash, a startup that delivers food from local restaurants, raised $40 million in March from a round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Unlike other meal-delivery services, DoorDash provides its own drivers, which makes it possible to order from restaurants that aren’t available on places like GrubHub.
The company is about more than just meal delivery. It places a heavy emphasis on the logistics side of things, and hopes to create an infrastructure that can be used to deliver anything.
58. Josh James
Founder, CEO, Domo
Earlier this year, data-management startup Domo announced a $200 million Series D round of financing led by BlackRock that brought its total funding up to $450 million. It’s now valued at about $2 billion.
Founder Josh James held Domo in stealth mode for nearly five years to keep the competition at bay while he built a platform for collecting and visualizing business data, making it easy for executives to skim and understand. Though Domo has only 1,000 users compared to competitor Tableau Software’s 23,000, he said that Domo “makes a higher average revenue per customer than Tableau does” during Re/code’s Code/Enterprise: San Francisco event.
57. Max Mullen, Brandon Leonardo, and Apoorva Mehta
Often dubbed “Uber for groceries,” Instacart eliminates the need to ever set food in a grocery store. For $3.99 plus your bill, the service will deliver your full load of groceries, hand-picked by a personal shopper at local stores like Whole Foods and Costco.
The startup is valued at $2 billion, notably bringing in a $220 million round of funding in December, following a $44 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz in June. And it’s still on the rise: Instacart is in 15 cities and plans to continue growing in those places while expanding to others.
56. Jason Kilar and Richard Tom
Cofounder, CEO; cofounder, Vessel
Vessel is a new video-subscription service that lets users watch short-form videos, like music videos or TV segments, 72 hours early for $2.99 a month. The company raised a boatload of cash before it even launched and a $57.5 million Series B round in April led by Institutional Venture Partners. The young startup has raised $132.5 million total.
Vessel launched in March with over 135 YouTubers on board. Formerly the CEO of Hulu, Vessel cofounder Jason Kilar is no stranger to video-streaming services, and he plans to take the Hulu Plus model and optimize it for a younger, mobile audience.
55. Mike Olson, Christophe Bisciglia, Amr Awadallah, Jeff Hammerbacher
Cloudera, a software company that launched in 2008 and aims to help businesses make sense of huge data sets, raised $900 million in funding last March. Investors include Intel, Google Ventures, and MSD Capital. They also raised an undisclosed amount in another round later that year.
The company continues to grow, raking in over $100 million in revenue last year, and some analysts believe it could be worth almost $5 billion by the end of 2015. The startup even recruited Google exec Daniel Sturman to join as their vice president of engineering.
54. John Zimmer and Logan Green
It was a huge year for Lyft: It raised two major rounds of funding — $530 million in March and another $150 million from Carl Icahn in May — rebranded with a more sophisticated look, and announced huge growth for the company. And in March, the ride-hailing service reached a $2.5 billion valuation, making it one of Silicon Valley’s growing number of unicorns.
Though the startup still faces serious competition from Uber, it continues to prove itself a worthy opponent.
53. Alex Hawkinson, Jeff Hagins, Andrew Brooks
At the forefront of the growing”internet of things” market sits SmartThings, an app that lets users monitor household appliances like lights and fans remotely while they’re away from home. Back in 2013, SmartThings raised $12.5 million in Series A funding led by Greylock Partners through one of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns in history. The company was then bought by Samsung for $200 million in August.
SmartThings is just getting started. Eventually, Hawkinson hopes to turn every home into a smart home. Going forward, he plans to concentrate on getting SmartThings’ technology into more homes as well as delving deeper into what it can do.
52. Peter Asbill, Elias Roman, Elliott Breece, Scott Robbin, Aza Raskin
Last summer, Google purchased music-streaming app Songza, giving the tech giant a much-needed edge in the streaming game and saving the company years of research. Though the acquisition went for an undisclosed amount, previous sources suggest it could have been a $15 million deal.
Unlike other services, such as Spotify or Pandora, Songza relies on real people — not algorithms — to curate its playlists based on the time of day or activity you’re doing. Google implemented this into Google Concierge, helping to turn the feature into a tool that seamlessly blends with users’ lives. The Songza team is also being tapped to help Google come up with a streaming service that can compete with Apple and Spotify.
51. Nirav Tolia, David Wiesen, Prakash Janakiraman, Sarah Leary