19 startups that could make you a millionaire if you got hired there today

Working at startups is always a gamble.

But if you get your foot in the door early enough at the right company, you could end up a millionaire.

Inspired by a 2012 Quora thread, we decided to come up with our own list of companies you should join if you want to make some serious cash in four years, assuming you’re able to negotiate a bunch of stock options when you join.

We’ve included employee count for each company. For startups whose employee headcounts we didn’t have access to from our own reporting, we consulted Pitchbook, a private equity and venture capital database that tracks information about companies.

The companies on this list are blowing up — some are early-stage, some are more mature, but they’re all highly valued and fast-growing. You’ll want to get hired before they take off further.

Thumbtack

YouTube/Startup Grind

Headquarters: San Francisco

Investment raised to date: $US273.2 million

Employee count: 745

Thumbtack, one of the newest entrants to tech's still-booming 'unicorn club,' is a platform that matches professionals like personal trainers or electricians with potential customers.

Earlier this year, Thumbtack raised $US125 million at a $US1.3 billion valuation. That's quite a spike from the company's $US750 million valuation last year. Thumbtack handles job listings and marketing for people providing local services, and collects interested customers.

Lyft

Headquarters: San Francisco

Investment raised to date: $1.01 billion

Employee count: 500

Founded: 2012

Though it's often regarded as a smaller rival to Uber, Lyft is a huge entity in the on-demand ride-hailing market. With a $2 billion valuation, Lyft operates in about 65 US cities, and recently announced a huge partnership with Didi Kuaidi, the highly valued Uber rival, to expand its footprint overseas.

Lyft's investors include Rakuten, Alibaba, and even Carl Icahn. This year alone, Lyft 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.

Harry's

Harry's
Jeff Raider (left) and Andy Katz-Mayfield

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US287.1 million

Employee count: 535

In under two years, Harry's cofounders Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield launched their online shaving service, raised more than $US200 million in funding, and
purchased German razor factory Feintechnik, where their products are produced, vertically integrating the company. Harry's raised $US75 million in venture funding in November 2014 and another $US75.6 million in a Series C round in July, not to mention the $US122.5 million they received back in January 2014. As of this summer, the startup was valued at $US750 million post-money.

Raider and Katz-Mayfield first came up with the idea after a trip to the drugstore where Katz-Mayfield found himself overpaying for a poorly branded product and frustrated by the lack of customer service. They knew there had to be a more efficient way to purchase razors -- and Harry's was born.

Giphy

YouTube/The Webby Awards

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US23.95 million

Employee count: 16

Looking for the perfect GIF? Let Giphy do the work for you. Type in any keyword or phrase, such as 'happy puppy,' and the search engine generates hundreds of related GIFs for you, making it easy to add that cute puppy to a text or email.

But the startup is more than an addictive way to send GIFs to your colleagues: In January, it raised $US17 million in a series B round of financing led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from General Catalyst, Lerer-Hippeau, RRE Ventures, CAA Ventures, and Betaworks, bringing its post-money valuation up to $US80 million. Not bad for a company that's less than two years old.

Oscar

Oscar
Oscar CEO and co-founder Mario Schlosser, co-founders Kevin Nazemi and Joshua Kushner.

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US327.5 million

Employee count: 223

In April, health-insurance company Oscar raised $US145 million, giving it a $US1.5 billion valuation. In September, Oscar closed another $US32.5 million round of venture funding led by Google Capital, pushing its valuation up to $US1.75 billion.

Oscar wants to transform the healthcare industry by creating a better user experience when it comes to health insurance. It launched publicly in 2013 and had more than 40,000 customers across New York and New Jersey as of April, with plans to launch in Texas and California.

Pinterest

Michael Kovac/Getty and Twitter/eshp

Headquarters: San Francisco

Investment raised to date: $US1.32 billion

Employee count: 731

Pinterest, an online scrap-booking site that lets users organise photo pins onto different boards, is now valued at $US11 billion after raising a $US367 million round of funding in March, followed by another $US186 million in May. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity Investments, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

The site continues to grow and adapt its business model, most recently releasing new options for advertisers. Instead of just choosing to pay for views or clicks on promoted pins, advertisers can choose to pay with a cost-per-engagement model or cost-per-action model.

ClassPass

ClassPass

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US54 million

Employee count: 35

Gym rats love ClassPass, a service that lets users take unlimited classes (up to three per location) at boutique fitness studios for a flat fee of $US125 a month. Not only does the ClassPass give users a steep discount on pricey classes like Pure Barre and SoulCycle, but it allows them to try a multitude of things, from spin to hot yoga to Pilates.

Investors are pretty keen on ClassPass as well. The startup is valued at about $US400 million, and raised $US40 million in January in a series B round of funding led by General Catalyst Partners and Thrive Capital, bringing its total amount of venture capital raised to $US54 million since its launch in 2013.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US193 million

Employee count: 2,500

Blue Apron, a company that makes cooking easy by delivering perfectly proportioned ingredients and recipes straight to your door, isn't just a godsend for lazy cooks -- it's also super valuable. Following a series D round of funding to the tune of $US135 million in June, the startup announced its $US2 billion valuation.

Though it's only been around since 2012, Blue Apron is already selling more than 5 million meals per month. CEO Matthew Salzberg says the company makes money on every meal and that its retention rates are 'really, really strong.'

The startup has more than tripled in size since January, and reports hundreds of thousands of customers. Blue Apron's potential is vast: The service appeals to millennials who want to expand their repertoire in the kitchen as much as busy mums straining for creativity and simplicity in their weeknight meals.

Snapchat

Steve Jennings/Getty
Evan Spiegel of Snapchat attends TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 in San Francisco.

Headquarters: Venice Beach, California

Investment raised to date: $US1.19 billion

Employee count: 481

Spiegel dropped out of Stanford University just a couple credits shy of a degree to create Snapchat, the ephemeral multimedia mobile messaging app. Snapchat is on track to generate $US100 million in revenue this year.

Snapchat has received $US1.19 million in funding and has a $US16 billion valuation -- higher than almost any other US-based private tech company.

Sprinklr

Sprinklr

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US123.5 million

Employee count: 691

Earlier this year, Sprinklr, a social-media management firm that competes with companies like Hootsuite, raised a $US46 million round at a $US1.1 billion valuation.

Sprinklr nearly doubled its valuation in a year. When the company closed its last round of funding, a $US40 million Series D round in April 2014, its valuation was $US520 million. In August, the startup also acquired TBG Digital, one of Facebook's big ad-buying clients.

Okta

Okta

Headquarters: San Francisco

Investment raised to date: $US230 million

Employee count: 600

Todd McKinnon is a former star Salesforce engineer who launched his own company in 2009 without CEO and friend Benioff's blessing. His cloud-security company, Okta, has seen massive growth: By September 2014 it had raised $US155 million from top VCs, and has now received $US230 million. Okta is now valued at about $US1.1 billion 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 endeavours. He called his time at Salesforce a 'gift' that taught him what it means to win.

Compass

Courtesy of Compass

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US123 million

Employee count: 428

Launched in 2013, Compass (formerly Urban Compass), helps people find neighbourhoods and places to live -- either renting or buying. It has attracted over 350 agents to the company already, with more of half of them in New York.

Compass has already shaken up the real-estate industry in New York and DC. It recently raised another $US50 million to expand all over the US. The funding, led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), brings total funding to $US123 million and values the company at $US800 million, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Bond Street

Courtesy of Bond Street
David Haber (left) and Peyton Sherwood

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US112.2 million

Employee count: 11

David Haber and Peyton Sherwood are coming after Wall Street banks with their startup, Bond Street, and Wall Street has begun to take notice. Bond Street is eating into the business of some major banks by making loans to small businesses.

This summer, Bond Street pocketed a whopping $US110 million investment from Jefferies investment bank and Spark Capital, where Haber previously worked. Some investors, like Airbnb cofounder Nathan Blecharczyk, also participated in the round. The new funding will be put toward expanding Bond Street from eight to 25 full-time people next year. 'We'll probably expand that even more to 40 within the next two years, but we'll see,' Haber told Business Insider.

YouNow

YouNow

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US41 million

Employee count: 40

Teens are obsessed with live-streaming mobile app YouNow. The interaction between performers and their audiences is what sets YouNow apart from other buzzy live-streaming services such as Periscope or Meerkat. The average mobile session on YouNow is about six minutes. The average mobile broadcast is about 18 minutes.

Founder Adi Sideman says 70% of YouNow's users are under the age of 24 and that the platform has 100 million user sessions a month, with about 150,000 broadcasts daily. For comparison, Twitter announced earlier this year that its live-streaming app Periscope hit 1 million users in its first 10 days.

Stripe

Stripe

Headquarters: San Francisco

Investment raised to date: $US280 million

Employee count: 247

Last fall Apple announced partnerships with a number of retailers and payments companies for its Apple Pay service. Among them was Stripe, a five-year-old mobile-payments startup.

In July, Stripe raised a $US90 million round of funding from American Express, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital, and Visa. The round of funding valued Stripe at $US5 billion.

Vox Media

Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Headquarters: New York

Investment raised to date: $US307.6 million

Employee count: 328

Vox Media, the media company that owns The Verge, Curbed, SB Nation, Vox.com, and Eater, added another site to its arsenal in June: 18-month-old Re/code, a tech-news publication founded by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher in 2014, which is predicted to bring in $US12 million this year, Business Insider reported at the time of the acquisition.

In addition to purchasing Re/code, Vox Media received a $US200 million investment from NBCUniversal in August. The investment is reportedly part of a push by NBC to connect with Millennial audiences, Re/code reported at the time, but it's a good sign for Vox Media any way you slice it. With this investment, Vox Media is now worth $US1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

DraftKings

DraftKings/ Facebook.

Headquarters: Boston

Investment raised to date: $375 million

Employee count: 222

Founded: 2011

DraftKings is a $1.2 billion daily-fantasy-sports site that lets its users bet real money on their teams. You may have seen its ubiquitous TV advertisements telling you about how some of its members have cashed out crazy sums of money using DraftKings.

The startup is also mired in controversy: Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that a DraftKings employee admitted to 'inadvertently releasing data before the start of the third week of N.F.L. games.' That same week, the employee won $350,000 at FanDuel, DraftKings' biggest competitor in the daily-fantasy-sports business.

DraftKings, Boston-based startup, has raised $375 million in venture capital funding from investors like MLB's venture arm, Melo7 Tech partners, the NHL, and Redpoint Ventures.

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