Hardware startups don’t nearly get enough attention.
Companies that build apps and Web services get all the attention but more and more companies are starting to build physical products you can buy and use.
In light of Facebook buying virtual reality company Oculus VR for $US2 billion, we decided to shed some light on other hardware companies in Silicon Valley doing incredible things.
Co-founder and Chairman; Co-founder and CEO, Jawbone
Jawbone quietly raised more than $US100 million in a debt round of financing back in September because, Jawbone says, demand for its Up fitness tracker is high. In February of 2014, we got word that the company is raising $US250 million at a $US3.3 billion valuation.
Jawbone also bought BodyMedia, a 14-year-old wearable fitness startup, for $US100 million last year.
Mike Del Ponte is the genius behind Soma, a sort of Warby Parker of water filters. In July 2013, it closed a $US3.7 million round of seed funding led by Baseline Ventures and Forerunner Ventures.
Soma is targeting people who are tired of ugly Brita water filters and are passionate about sustainability. For every biodegradable water filter it sells, Soma donates money to charity.
The Internet of Things is all the rage lately, so it's no wonder startup August was able to snag $US8 million for its smart locks from Maveron Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Industry Ventures, Rho Ventures, and SoftTech VC.
With August, you'll never have to worry about getting locked out of your house because the system is entirely key-less. August also gives you total control of who can enter your home and when. August will start shipping its locks later this year.
Co-founder and CEO, Square
With Twitter going public and Square reaching a payment volume of $US20 billion, Jack Dorsey undoubtedly had a huge year.
Dorsey, the current chairman at Twitter, was its CEO from 2006 to 2008. Dorsey's stake in Twitter alone would have made him a billionaire, although he was one already.
Since his involvement in Square and Twitter apparently isn't enough to keep him busy, Dorsey joined Disney's board in December.
Manager of Robotics division, Google
In March 2013, Andy Rubin stepped down from his position as the head of Google's Android mobile operating system to 'start a new chapter' at the company. We didn't know what that chapter would be until December, when Google announced that he would be in charge of the company's new robotics division.
Founder, Walker and Company
Early Foursquare employee Tristan Walker launched his own startup, Walker and Company, in December 2013 to better serve the African-American community.
The first brand, Bevel, sells premium razors and shaving cream geared toward black men. Walker has already snagged $US2.4 million from Upfront Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, Sherpa Ventures, and the William Morris agency's Charles King.
Aarthi Ramamurthy is one of the most notable female entrepreneurs out there today. She spent six years at Microsoft working on its popular Visual Studio software development tool and on Xbox Live.
Before founding Y Combinator-backed Lumoid, a startup for letting people test-drive electronics before buying them, she co-founded a bra-fitting company called True&Co.
Lumoid helps you try out high-end gadgets, like camera equipment before you buy them.
Co-founder and CEO; Co-founder and COO, Dropcam
As of June 2013, red-hot startup Dropcam's cloud storage service has more video uploaded to it per minute than YouTube does. (Of course, Dropcam users are recording continuously unlike YouTube users, but the growth is still impressive.)
Back in July, Dropcam raised a $US30 million Series C round led by Institutional Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, bringing its total funding to $US47.8 million.
Co-founder, Director of Special Projects; Director of New Projects, Google
Sergey Brin and Astro Teller are the men responsible for trying to decide which world-changing ideas Google will pursue.
They both work for Google X, the lab that works on hush-hush, long-term projects that try to tackle big problems. This year, Google X has revealed plans for smart contacts for diabetics and flying wind turbines that generate power.
Teller has called his team at Google X 'Peter Pans with PhDs' and likens the forward-thinking arm of Google to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
Founder and CEO, GoPro
Nicholas Woodman and GoPro have come a long way since the camera startup's inception in 2002. More than a decade later, GoPro is gearing up to go public.
Last year, GoPro made nearly $US1 billion in sales. In 2012, GoPro made $US521 million in sales with a valuation of $US2.3 billion.
GoPro is expected to publicly file its initial public offering in May or June.
Musk also released his plans for the Hyperloop -- a transportation system that would be faster and cheaper than high-speed trains -- in August.
Co-founder; Co-founder and CEO, Nest
Nest founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers struck gold earlier this year when they sold their smart thermostat and smoke detector company to Google for a whopping $US3.2 billion.
As part of the acquisition, both Fadell and Rogers have joined Google, but will continue to operate Nest separately from the search giant.
Founder and CEO, Pebble
Pebble, arguably the hottest smart watch on the market, recently unveiled its high-end Pebble Steel smart watch and its app store for wearable tech. Now, Pebble wearers have easy access to a selection of more than 500 apps specifically made for smart watches.
Last year alone, Pebble sold 400,000 smartwatches and is on track to double its revenues this year.
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