Companies are catching multi-billion-dollar valuations on the fly in recent times. High profile investors are constantly looking for the next big thing to partner with.
The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VentureSource are tracking venture-backed private companies valued at $1 billion or more. According to the Journal’s analysis, at least 73 private companies world-wide are valued at $1 billion by venture-capital investors.
These are 10 of the most valued private companies as of March 2015.
1. The world’s 3rd largest smartphone distributor, Xiaomi designs, develops, and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and consumer electronics. Since the release of its first smartphone in August 2011, Xiaomi has gained market share in mainland China and expanded into developing a wider range of consumer electronics, including a smart home device ecosystem.
The company’s founder and CEO is Lei Jun, China’s 23rd richest person according to Forbes. The company sold over 60 million smart phones in 2014.
At the end of December 2014, Xiaomi became the world’s most valuable technology startup after it received US$1.1 billion funding from investors, making Xiaomi’s valuation more than US$46 billion.
2. Uber develops, markets and operates the mobile-app-based transportation network also called Uber. The Uber app allows consumers to submit a trip request, which is routed to crowd-sourced taxi drivers. As of December 16, 2014, the service was available in 53 countries and more than 200 cities worldwide. Since Uber’s launch, several other companies have emulated its business model, a trend that has come to be referred to as “Uberification.
3. Palantir is known for two software projects in particular: Palantir Gotham is used by counter-terrorism analysts at offices in the United States Intelligence Community and United States Department of Defense, fraud investigators at the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, and cyber analysts at Information Warfare Monitor (responsible for the GhostNet and the Shadow Network investigation).
Palantir Metropolis is used by hedge funds, banks, and financial services firms. CEO Alex Karp announced in 2013 that the company would not be pursuing an IPO, as going public would make “running a company like ours very difficult.
4. Snapchat is a photo messaging application developed by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, then Stanford University students. According to Snapchat in May 2014, the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day, while Snapchat Stories content was being viewed 500 million times per day.
5. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is an American space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, USA. It was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars.
It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both of which were designed from conception to eventually become reusable, and the Dragon spacecraft which is flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to supply the International Space Station with cargo.
6. Pinterest is a web and mobile application company, which operates an eponymous photo sharing website. The site was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. It is managed by Cold Brew Labs and funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and investors.
In February 2013, Reuters and ComScore stated that Pinterest had 48.7 million users globally. A study released in July 2013 by French social media agency Semiocast revealed the website had 70 million users worldwide.
7. Flipkart, is an E-Commerce company established in 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. It operates exclusively in India, with headquarters at Bangalore, Karnataka. Flipkart has launched its own product range under the name “DigiFlip” with products including tablets, USBs, and laptop bags.
In May 2014, Flipkart received $210 million from DST Global and in July it raised $1 billion led by existing investors Tiger Global and South Africa’s media group Naspers.
8. Airbnb is a website for people to rent out lodging. It has over 800,000 listings in 33,000 cities and 192 countries. Founded in August 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company is privately owned and operated by Airbnb, Inc. In April 2014, the company closed on an investment of $450 million by TPG Capital.
By October 2013, Airbnb had served nine million guests since its founding in August 2008. In December 2013, the company reported it had over six million new guests in 2013, and nearly 250,000 properties were added in 2013.
9. Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by Dropbox, Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, California, that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software.
As of February 2013, Dropbox was responsible for 0.29% of all worldwide Internet traffic. On January 21, 2015, Dropbox acquired CloudOn a leading company for document editing and creation. With the acquisition, Dropbox users will now have the power to create documents from their file sharing service, something they haven’t been able to do in the past.
10. Theranos is a privately held health technology and medical laboratory services company based in Palo Alto, California that has developed novel approaches for laboratory diagnostic tests using blood.The company’s blood testing platform uses a few drops of blood obtained via a fingerstickrather than vials of blood obtained via traditional venipuncture, and utilizes microfluidics technology.
As of 2013 the company had been secretive about its plans and operations in order to maintain confidentiality – “operating deeply in ‘stealth mode’” – and had rarely issued public statements or granted interviews to the media. An exclusive interview with Holmes in the Wall Street Journal in September 2013 marked a shift to going more public.