Top 10 Most Valuable Startups in the World

Every tech startup wants to become a unicorn – a private company valued at more than $1 billion. Because they typically dominate a new business or technology, unicorns are able to raise billions of dollars from investors on the speculation that they will become the next Facebook or Google.

Let’s see who’s at what postion in our top ten list.

10. SpaceX

Valuation: $12 billion
> Industry: Space technology
> Total funding raised: $1.2 billion
> 5-month value change: 25.0%

Private spaceflight company SpaceX was founded by tech magnate Elon Musk — founder of electric car company Tesla Motors and co-founder of online payment giant PayPal among other ventures. The company has spearheaded the private sector’s contribution to space flight. SpaceX was awarded a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to fly a number of manned missions to the International Space Station in the near future.

9. WeWork

Valuation: $16 billion
> Industry: Shared office space
> Total funding raised: $1.4 billion
> 5-month value change: 60.0%

Formed in 2010, WeWork set out to provide a communal work environment for professionals, be they businesses, entrepreneurs, lawyers, consultants, or freelancers. The company essentially rents out office space and provides a social atmosphere and much of the office infrastructure necessary to run a business. WeWork now has offices in more than two-dozen cities spanning four continents. Since then, WeWork has hired its own in-house cleaning staff and is now valued at $16 billion.

8. China Internet Plus

Valuation: $18 billion
> Industry: Internet technology
> Total funding raised: $3.3 billion
> 5-month value change: None

China Internet Plus integrates multiple consumer Internet applications into a single platform. Its primary goal is to improve customer experiences by increasing efficiency in the dining and retail industries. The company had a reported 600 million users as of June 2016 and is currently valued at $18 billion, more than all but seven other startup companies.

7. Lufax

Valuation: $18.5 billion
> Industry: Peer to peer lending
> Total funding raised: $1.7 billion
> 5-month value change: None

Peer-to-peer lending has become an attractive option for startup companies seeking alternatives to traditional loans. Based in Shanghai, China, Lufax has become one of the fastest-growing platforms for this new kind of lending. Founded in 2012, a new round of funding In January valued the company at $18.5 billion. That is more than double the company’s value as of the end of 2014 when a round of funding was based on a $9 billion valuation.

6. Snapchat

Valuation: $20 billion
> Industry: Social media
> Total funding raised: $2.6 billion
> 5-month value change: 45.6%

Snapchat CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel conceived of the app in 2011 as an undergraduate at Stanford University. The app allows users to send and share photographs and videos that disappear in a matter of seconds. While the app initially drew criticism over the perception that it would only be a sexting app, it has become much more. Due to the impermanent nature of the content shared on the app, people feel comfortable sharing pictures they otherwise would not on other social media platforms such as Facebook.

5. Palantir

Valuation: $20.3 billion
> Industry: Data analytics
> Total funding raised: $2 billion
> 5-month value change: None

Venture capitalist and futurist Peter Thiel co-founded data analytics startup Palantir in the early 2000s. Thiel gained a great deal of public attention recently when it was revealed that he was a secret funder of a lawsuit by Hulk Hogan that bankrupted media giant Gawker.

Palantir, which provides data solutions for private companies including insurers, banks, and cyber security firms, has garnered increasing interest from investors in the last few years. The company’s work in security has likely contributed to its extensive record of earned U.S. government contracts, including a number from the CIA, the Department of Defense, and the NSA.

4. Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

Valuation: $28 billion
> Industry: Car service
> Total funding raised: $10.5 billion
> 5-month value change: 70.7%

Earlier this year, China passed legislation that allows companies such as Didi Chuxing, an app-based taxi hailing service, to operate in the country. Even before the startup was officially protected by law, Didi was operating in legal ambiguity and was a major disruption to the country’s taxi industry.

Former competitor Uber recently sold its China division to Didi. While Uber has been successful in North American markets, it lost billions of dollars in China.

3. Airbnb

Valuation: $30 billion
> Industry: Vacation rentals
> Total funding raised: $4.2 billion
> 5-month value change: 17.6%

Facilitating the connection between travellers looking for accommodations and homeowners willing to host them, Airbnb presented a major disruption to the hospitality industry. Founded in 2008, the startup now operates in 34,000 cities throughout 191 countries and has facilitated more than 60 million transactions. It has become one of the most successful startups in the world, valued at $30 billion.

In addition to making money for investors, Airbnb can be lucrative for its users as well. Renters in expensive cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Vancouver often depend on the service, renting out their private residents to make extra income.

2. Xiaomi

Valuation: $46 billion
> Industry: Electronics manufacturing
> Total funding raised: $1.5 billion
> 5-month value change: None

Based in China, Xiaomi designs and makes consumer electronic hardware and software. Among its products are smartphones, media players, headphones, and external batteries. Founded in 2010, the company is now valued at $46 billion, more than all but one other startup.

The company has been a household name in China for years and will soon break into the U.S. market.

1. Uber

Valuation: $66 billion
> Industry: Car service
> Total funding raised: $15.8 billion
> 5-month value change: 5.6%

Valued at $66 billion, Uber is today’s the world’s biggest startup success story. The company set out to make hailing a cab as easy as hitting a button on your phone. Since then, it has evolved into a far-reaching logistics network that can provide ride sharing and delivery services.

Though many argue the company is dramatically overvalued, big investors are likely banking on an even more evolved future. Using a team of roboticists from Carnegie Mellon University, the company recently rolled out a fleet of driverless cars in Pittsburgh.

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