New York City has become home to some of the tech industry’s most promising companies, including Etsy, MongoDB, and Vice Media.
So we created the Silicon Alley 100 to celebrate people who did the coolest things in the past 365 days.
What does it mean to have done something cool?
Getting acquired or going public — that’s pretty cool. Founding an awesome startup or building impressive hardware — that’s also cool.
Investors? They’re somewhat cool. But the inventors, innovators, and lead executives building the next big things are the people who really should be celebrated. We prioritised entrepreneurs over investors, simply because it’s a lot harder to start a company than to fund one.
Coolest does not mean most important or most impactful. There are many, many people who are instrumental to the New York City tech community who are not recognised on this list.
Thanks to all who make New York City an amazing place to launch a startup.
A number of Business Insider‘s investors appear on this list: RRE, the founders of Zola, and MongoDB.
Many companies on the list share investors with Business Insider.
Disagree with our picks? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or on Twitter using #sa100.
Partner and founder, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
Brooklyn Bridge Ventures is a seed and early-stage venture-capital firm, and the first venture-capital fund based in Brooklyn. In November, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures invested in design app Makr, contributing to its $865,000 seed-funding round. In December, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures invested in peer-to-peer lending startup Orchard Platform's $2.7 million seed-funding round. Brooklyn Bridge Ventures has also invested in Ringly, SocialSign.in, and goTenna. Its biggest breakout company, however, may be home-security camera company Canary.
Brooklyn Bridge Ventures raised $US8.3 million in January. But O'Donnell's greatest achievement this year in tech may be his support of female founders. Unlike other New York City investors who have female founders in only 10% to 20% of their portfolio companies, female-run companies make up a whopping 62% of O'Donnell's portfolio.
Vice President, Time Warner Investments
Time Warner's investment group put its money behind some ambitious companies this year. In June, the group invested $US5 million in women's news website Bustle, $US6.5 million in Epoxy, a company connecting YouTubers with fans, and a whopping $US35 million in data-management company Krux.
Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
For a better understanding of Fisher's talent, all you need to do is look at some of her previous investments: MakerBot, Pinterest, Vine, FiftyThree, Refinery29, and Stripe. Fisher tends to keep a low profile, but tech insiders will immediately recognise her success.
Her investment advantage? 'I like to think I have a strong grasp of human psychology,' Fisher said about evaluating entrepreneurs.
Partners, First Round Capital
First Round Capital is a seed-stage New York-based venture-capital firm. In June, it closed a fifth fund of $US175 million and announced that Wiley Cerilli, the founder of former portfolio company SinglePlatform, would come to First Round as a venture partner. Barnes moved to First Round's San Francisco office.
In the past year, First Round has invested in companies like Warby Parker, Fundera, Path, and Chloe + Isabel. First Round was also the first institutional investor in Uber, which is now valued at $US18.2 billion. Rumour has it that the Uber investment alone will yield a 5X return on its fund.
Partners, RRE Ventures
Early-stage venture capital firm RRE had another big year, investing in Izzie Lerer's media startup The Dodo, dog lovers' subscription service BarkBox, GIF search engine Giphy, Electric Objects, Sols, Paperless Post, and TheSkimm. In April, RRE raised a $US280 million sixth fund.
RRE also saw some substantial payouts from a handful of acquisitions of its portfolio companies, including TapCommerce, which was acquired by Twitter in June to the tune of $100 million, and social TV startup GetGlue, which sold to i.TV in November 2013 for an undisclosed sum.
Disclosure: RRE is an investor in Business Insider
This year, tech- and healthcare-focused venture-capital firm Venrock raised a $US450 million fund.
Venrock's investments in New York include AppNexus, Dataminr, Smartling, Dstillery, YouNow, and others. It also invested in up-and-coming SA100 honoree, YouNow, alongside Union Square Ventures.
94. Alex Crisses, Deven Parekh, Jeff Horing, Jeff Lieberman, Larry Handen, Michael Triplett, Nikitas Koutoupes, Richard Wells, Ryan Hinkle, Hilary Gosher, Oeter Sobiloff
Partners, Insight Venture Partners
This past year, venture-capital firm Insight Venture Partners saw successful exits of several companies it had invested in, including Twitter's IPO, book-rental company Chegg's IPO, and AirWatch's sale to VMWare for $US1.5 billion in cash.
President, BBG Ventures at AOL
Susan Lyne, the CEO of AOL's brand group, stepped down in September but didn't leave the company.
Instead, Lyne now heads up an AOL-owned venture fund that promotes female-led digital startups called BBG Ventures. It will invest in startups run by women and companies primarily related to 'consumer Internet areas, including e-commerce and media.'
New York City General Manager, Uber
Mohrer, who was one of Uber's early employees, built the company's New York City arm from a revolving door of employees into one of his company's most lucrative cities. However, some of the tactics he's used to boost Uber's East Coast business have been controversial.
Uber competitor Gett blamed Mohrer for calling and then cancelling a number of rides on the service when it launched in New York earlier this year.
Despite the drama, investors are still bullish on Uber. In June, Uber raised $US1.2 billion in a Series D round from 500 Startups, Menlo Ventures, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Summit Partners, BlackRock, Wellington Management, and Fidelity Investments, giving the startup an astounding $17 billion valuation. The service is available in nearly 50 countries and more than 100 cities around the world. Its closest competitor, Lyft, is still available only in the US.
Managing Director, TechStars NYC
Alex Iskold, the founder and CEO of social TV network GetGlue, joined tech accelerator TechStars NYC in November.
TechStars, which runs its incubator in Austin, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, London, New York City, and Seattle, provides startups with $US118,000 in funding, mentorship with people in the business, and a strong network of alumni and mentors.
In return, the startups give TechStars 7% to 10% equity in their companies. Before becoming managing director, Iskold helped out at TechStars as a mentor.
Cofounders, The Skimm
Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin quit their jobs at NBC to start a daily email newsletter startup called The Skimm. In November 2013, The Skimm raised a $US1.1 million seed round led by Hunter Walk and Satyal Patel's investment firm, Homebrew.
In April, the startup raised a $US1.6 million seed round from AFSquare, Five Island Ventures, Richard Greenfield, Gordon Crawford, Troy Carter, RRE Ventures, Homebrew, and Bob Pittman.
Two years after launch, in June, The Skimm reached the 500,000 subscriber mark.
Cofounders and incoming CEO, GLAMSQUAD
In September, Alexandra Wilkis Wilson -- the cofounder of Gilt Groupe -- became the company's CEO and president. Cofounder Victoria Eisner, who was previously GLAMSQUAD's CEO, became its executive vice president and chief creative officer.
Alex Taub and Michael Schonfeld were still working at Dwolla when the two accidentally created a viral sensation by coining the phrase 'Most Valuable Follower.'
Since then, the two have left Dwolla, and this year they launched a suite of Twitter analytic tools called SocialRank. SocialRank helps you find your Most Valuable Follower (MVF), your Most Engaged Follower (MEF), and your Best Follower (BF) on Twitter.
Last October, Group.me cofounders Steve Martocci and Matt Aimonetti launched his music collaboration startup, Splice.
Splice raised $4.5 million in a Series A round in September from WME, True Ventures, Plus Eight Equity Fund LP, AM Only, Tijs Michiel Verwest, Steve Angello, True Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and Scooter Braun.
In September, Martocci married Kelsey Falter, the founder and CEO of startup Poptip, who also made our SA 100 list.
Zola was founded in 2013 to reimagine the wedding registry. The e-commerce website provides easily customisable registry pages for couples -- free.
Zola raised $US3.3 million in November 2013 from Thrive Capital.
Disclosure: Kevin Ryan, a cofounder of Zola, is an investor in Business Insider.
Stein had previously developed Stamped, the first acquisition Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made, and helped lead Yahoo's New York product office. One year after Meyer's frequent-flyer company Milewise was acquired by Yahoo, he and Stein left to found Sup.
Sup raised a seed round of $US1.5 million from Keith Rabois at Khosla Ventures. Fun fact: Rabois tried to acquire Stamped when he was an executive at Square, but Stein chose to get acquired by Yahoo instead.
Cofounders, Managed By Q
Named for the Star Trek character and James Bond's Q Branch, Managed By Q is a mobile platform that helps companies book cleaning services, making it easier than it traditionally has been for companies to schedule, manage, and pay the people who clean their offices.
In August, Managed By Q raised $US775,000 from angel investors Scott Belsky, Ricky Van Veen, and Josh Abramson, Henrik Werdelin, Max Burger and Jay Livingston, Slow Ventures, Len Blavatink, and Alex Zubillaga. Companies like Elite Daily and Uber already use Q's services.
Chairman and Cofounder at Doppler Labs/DWNLD, CEO and Cofounder of DWNLD
Angel investor Fritz Lanman launched wearable tech startup Doppler Labs this year. Doppler is run by Lanman, Noah Kraft, and Dan Wiggins, and its first project, which debuted in September, is called Dubs. Dubs are fancy, affordable earplugs. At $US25, they're a steal for concert-goers and the everyday person alike.
Lanman's other endeavour, DWNLD, is a startup that turns websites and social media feeds into beautiful, responsive apps. Alexandra Keating is the CEO and cofounder of DWNLD, where she oversees an impressive team of engineers from places like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Tumblr, Facebook, and Rent the Runway.
Previously, Keating was the vice president of marketing at Thrillist Media Group, where she was instrumental in the company's 500% year-on-year growth.
Airhelp wants to help you get money back when your flight is delayed or cancelled. According to its founders, who cite the US Department of Transportation and the EU, if your flight is delayed three hours, no matter what airline you're flying on, you're entitled to up to $US800 in compensation.
Airhelp will help you get that money back if you register your canceled or delayed flight with them. Airhelp says it's worked with 45,000 passengers to get their money back. It completed the Y Combinator program during the spring and recently relocated its headquarters to New Y0rk City.
Cofounders, Bond Street
The startups investors include Homebrew, Founder Collective, Collaborative Fund, Matt Coffin, Red Swan, Rory Riggs, Larry Grafstein, Josh Koplewicz, and George Hornig. Bond Street also made its first hire: Jerry Weiss of Citibank joined the company as Chief Credit Officer.
Haber left his position at Spark Capital to start the company.
Jared Hecht sold his first company, group-messaging app GroupMe to Skype, for $US80 million just 370 days after it launched.
Hecht's new startup, Fundera, seeks to help the founders of other small businesses get off the ground by connecting them with nonbank lenders who can provide them with loans. Hecht raised $US3.4 million in January from investors such as First Round Capital, Lerer Ventures, Khosla Ventures, SV Angel, and David Tisch.
PowerToFly is a brand-new company that's helping to bridge the gender gap in the startup world. Started by two women who are no strangers to startups themselves, PowerToFly connects companies that are looking to hire female tech talent with women anywhere in the world who are qualified for tech positions at startups. Its clients include Hearst, BuzzFeed, and RebelMouse.
Executive Chairman and Founder, Reserve
One startup being developed by Garrett Camp's startup studio Expa is Reserve. Though it hasn't launched yet, Joe Marchese's Reserve will compete with services like OpenTable to offer real-time restaurant reservations online. It has raised a boatload of money from investors too.
Marchese is also the CEO of true(x), a digital adtech company, and previously he was a executive at Fuse TV. According to its website, Reserve will launch in New York and other cities this fall.
Smart-jewelry company Ringly is making wearable tech for women in the form of an 18-karat gold light-up cocktail ring that connects to a smartphone to notify the wearer when she gets a call or text.
You can customise and control the blinking lights and vibrations as well as which apps you receive notifications from. In April 2013, Christina Mercando quit her job to focus on Ringly. By August, Ringly had received $US1 million in funding from Mesa+, First Round Capital, PCH, and Andreessen Horowitz.
Then they went to work building the prototype for four months in San Francisco. Ringly officially launched this summer, and each ring costs $US145 to preorder. Once the preorder rings ship this fall, the price will go up to $US195.
The 'Warby Parker of mattresses,' Casper takes the hassle out of buying a mattress by shipping big, fluffy mattresses to you in a box the size of a golf bag.
You order the mattresses from Casper's website and they deliver it right to your door -- and if you're in New York City, they will deliver your mattress within two hours. The mattresses come in six sizes and cost between $US500 and $US950 with a 10-year warranty.
Casper generated $US1 million in sales -- its goal for all of 2014 -- its first month. It raised $US13.1 million in August in a Series A round from investors like Kevin Colleran of Slow Ventures, Vaizra Investments, Crosslink Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, and Cendana Capital.
Cofounders, CEO, and CTO, goTenna
GoTenna is a pocket-sized device that solves the problem of having no WiFi. It pairs up with your smartphone to let you communicate -- even when you don't have service.
Cofounders Daniela and Jorge Perdomo came up with the idea for goTenna when they found themselves in the destruction in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. By February 2013, Daniela had created physical prototypes for a gadget to help people communicate without service. In December 2013, goTenna raised $US1.8 million in seed funding.
Creators, TwoDots by Betaworks
Moberg and Murphy have followed their highly addicting puzzle game Dots with TwoDots, which takes you on a 135-level adventure with the game's two main characters, Amelia and Jacques. In just a few days it rose to the top free app in Apple's App Store, where it stayed for two weeks. It got 6 million downloads in its first two weeks, according to the New York Post.
Last year, Dots was among the hottest iPhone games. After just a week, more than 1 million people played the game more than 25 million times. Within 16 days, users had played the game 100 million times.
Founder and CEO, Distractify
Distractify started as a three-person bootstrapped media venture, founded by then 20-year-old Quinn Hu. It's one of several media startups capitalising on Upworthy's formula -- Distractify's stories are largely positive and uplifting and tend to feature cute animals, a combination that has led the company to finding massive viral success, mostly through Facebook shares.
Its traffic has spiked and plummeted throughout the year, however, and Distractify struggled in December when Facebook announced changes to its newsfeed algorithm.
In June, Distractify raised $US7 million in a Series A round from CAA Ventures, Lerer Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Cofounders, CEO, Timehop
Jonathan Wegener cofounded Timehop with Benny Wong in 2010. Timehop acts like a digital time capsule, aggregating all your Facebook posts, tweets, Foursquare check-ins, and Instagram pictures. Every day you can check the app or receive a daily Timehop email reminding you what you posted on social media on that day a year ago.
The nostalgic startup raised a $10 million Series B round in July from investors Spark Capital, Randi Zuckerberg, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Spark, and Shasta Ventures.
Cofounders, Of A Kind
In 2010, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo started Of A Kind to help indie designers sell their stuff by telling their stories to customers and creating a relationship between the two.
Of A Kind is entirely bootstrapped -- Mazur and Cerulo have never raised venture capital funding -- but despite that, according to Forbes, the website is 'already generating seven-figure sales.'
Serial entrepreneur Adi Sideman is the CEO of YouNow, a video streaming social network that lets you broadcast yourself to a live audience. With a 20-person staff and funding from Venrock, Union Square Ventures, and angel investor Oren Zeev, three-year-old YouNow grew by 10x in 2014. YouNow has more than 100,000 unique broadcasts daily and more than 100 million user sessions monthly.
Cofounders, CTO, Head Architect, and CEO
SimpleReach is an ad-tech company that measures native advertising and content marketing. It's how sites like BuzzFeed can tell what content to promote and send viral on platforms like Facebook.
Under the leadership of Eddie Kim and cofounder Eric Lubow, SimpleReach raised $US9 million in July from High Peaks Venture Partners, Village Ventures, Atlas Venture, and MK Capital.
David Tisch, who cofounded the investment fund BoxGroup in 2009 and is the former managing director of TechStars NYC, has a new mobile e-commerce startup: Spring.
Cofounded by Ara Katz, Alan Tisch, and Octavian Coastache, Spring wants to give you the best possible experience for buying stuff on your phone or tablet. Spring raised a $7.5 million Series A round in July from investors like Slow Ventures, Kevin Colleran, Founder Collective, SV Angel, Google Ventures, and BoxGroup. It launched with 300 retail partners and makes buying and shopping for clothing items as easy as dragging your finger across the screen.
Cofounders and Editor-at-Large, The Dodo
Izzie Lerer cofounded The Dodo -- a media company focused on content about animals -- in January. It hit 1 million uniques in its first month, faster than any media company her father, Huffington Post cofounder Ken Lerer, says he's ever seen. Kerry Lauerman, a senior editor at The Washington Post, serves as Lerer's cofounder and editor-at-large of The Dodo.
In September, The Dodo received a $4.68 million Series A funding round led by Discovery, with participation from investors SoftBank Capital, Sterling Equities, Greycroft Partners, and RRE Ventures. The Dodo has also received $US2 million in seed funding from Lerer Ventures, Greycroft, Softbank Capital, Sterling Equities, and RRE.
Founder, CEO, Sols
Sols, the 'future of footwear,' was cofounded by Kegan Schouwenburg and Joel Wishkovsky in 2013. Using 3D printing, Sols works with physical therapists, podiatrists, and orthopedic doctors to provide customisable, orthopedic insoles for their patients.
The startup raised $6.4 million in a Series A round in April from investors including Grape Arbor VC, FundersGuild, Felicis Ventures, Rothenberg Ventures, RRE Ventures, and Founders Fund.
Darren Lachtman and Rob Fishman are the cofounders of Niche, a startup that helps users popular on platforms like Vine, Instagram, and Tumblr monetise their popularity.
In May, Niche raised $US2.5 million in seed funding from Slow Ventures, BoxGroup, Gary Vaynerchuk, Kevin Colleran, WME, Advancit Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, and SoftTech VC. It's expected to generate $US5-10 million in revenue its first year.
Last fall, smart home security system startup Canary garnered $US1.96 million during its IndieGogo campaign -- 1,962% of its initial $US100,000 goal -- in crowdfunded money from 7,400 backers. It's like Dropcam, a company Google acquired for $US500 million, except the camera goes above your frontdoor and strives to detect strange movements and potential break-ins.
It's been an eventful year for dating website HowAboutWe, which lets its users post and browse date ideas.
It acquired Nerve, a sex-culture website in January, and got acquired by IAC -- which also owns OKCupid and Match.com -- in July. But the acquisition wasn't seamless; IAC encouraged HowAboutWe to lay off a bunch of people after the sale.
A TechStars NYC Summer 2012 company, Wander had raised $US1.2 million in funding from Collaborative Fund, Google Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, SV Angel, NextView Ventures, SoftTech VC, BoxGroup, and eVisibility.
Before Poptip existed, Kelsey Falter was a college student working on markover.com -- a site that allowed creative people to collaborate together in real time. She submitted an application to TechStars and left Notre Dame just a few credits shy of a degree to pursue Poptip, a service that provides instant feedback for companies through polls conducted on social media.
After raising $US2.4 million, Poptip was acquired in July by Palantir Technologies. Fun fact: In September, she married another SA100 honoree, GroupMe's and Splice's Steve Martocci.
Cofounders, Grand Street
Amanda Peyton, Joe Lallouz, and Aaron Henshaw launched Grand Street last year as a marketplace to offer the latest electronics gadgets to members every other day. Its appeal comes from the fast that it's a flash-sales site, so you need to act fast. Grand Street sets itself apart by testing every gadget it sells.
In April, Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods,
bought Grand Street. Both marketplaces plan to operate independently.
CEO and Cofounders, Aviary
Photo-editing platform Aviary was acquired by Adobe in September for an undisclosed amount of money. A blog post from Aviary CEO Tobias Peggs said the acquisition would cause no disruption of service to Aviary's tools.
Peggs also said Aviary plans to 'add additional components and services for developers to incorporate -- such as the ability to save creations to Creative Cloud in Adobe file formats, access Photoshop technology, and connect creativity across devices using the Creative SDK.'
Managing Editor of Bloomberg Politics, CEO of Bloomberg Media, Editor of Bloomberg Digital
In March, Bloomberg Media CEO -- and former CEO of The Atlantic -- Justin Smith published a letter on Bloomberg's website and announced the new direction he intended to take Bloomberg Media. Smith's plan is to broaden Bloomberg's content beyond finance and create digital-first media brands.
In May, Time magazine's senior political analyst Mark Halperin and New York Magazine national affairs editor John Heilemann joined Bloomberg Politics. In July, Joshua Topolsky, cofounder and editor in chief of Vox Media-owned The Verge, announced he'd be leaving to head up Bloomberg Digital as its editor.
Editor-in-Chief, The Verge
This summer, Nilay Patel replaced Joshua Topolsky as editor-in-chief of tech news website The Verge. Patel initially came to The Verge in 2011 as the website's managing editor, and spent part of 2014 working at The Verge's sister site, Vox.com.
Patel's new role at The Verge came about after Topolsky announced he would be leaving The Verge to move over to Bloomberg to serve as an editor at Bloomberg Digital and chief digital content officer at Bloomberg Media.
Lulu lets women anonymously rate men they know. The app, which pulls in Facebook information to detect your gender, lets women discuss a guy's ambition, appearance, and more using mini quizzes and hashtags.
This year, Lulu decided to let men sign on to the app too. Guys can check their scores (from 0 to 10) on the Lulu app, and can receive analytics about their profiles (including the number of women who have searched for them, rated them, and followed them). Allison Schwartz, who launched the app with Chong, says over 1 million guys have downloaded Lulu.
Daniella Yacobovsky and Amy Jain are cofounders of BaubleBar, an e-commerce site specializing in jewelry. Earlier this year, BaubleBar experimented with brick-and-mortar stores, launching Nordstrom Loves BaubleBar popup shops in 35 Nordstroms.
BaubleBar raised $10 million in a Series B round in July, from investors like Greycroft Partners, Accel Partners, Comcast Ventures, TriplePoint Capital, Aspect Ventures, and Burch Creative Capital.
Cofounders, CEO, CTO, Sailthru
$20 million in December 2013 from Occam Partners, AOL Ventures, DFJ Gotham Ventures, RRE Ventures, Benchmark, and Scale Venture Partners.
In total, Sailthru has raised $48 million in four rounds from 12 investors.
Cofounders, CEO, CPO, FanDuel
Nigel Eccles and Tom Griffiths are the cofounders of FanDuel, a fantasy sports startup built for casual or busy fans. Instead of lasting all season, FanDuel's leagues last for short bursts, like a day or a week.
FanDuel raised $US70 million in a Series D round of funding this September, led by Shamrock Capital Advisors, NBC Sports Ventures and KKR. The company will generate $US40 million in revenue this year.
In April, online investment startup Betterment raised a $US32 million Series C round from Menlo Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Anthemis Group, Citi Ventures, Northwestern Mutual, and Globespan Capital Partners. It has raised more than $US45 million total.
In October 2013, Betterment acquired ImpulseSave, a banking platform that lets people save money via an app and on e-commerce sites. In the past year, Jon Stein and Eli Broverman have grown the business from managing $US300 million to nearly $US1 billion.
The team nearly tripled to 80 employees in 2014.
CEO, CTO, SumAll
Business intelligence and analytics company SumAll provides real-time data monitoring, social-media insights, and more for over 40,000 companies. Last year it acquired media-monitoring company TwentyFeet.
It raised $4 million in a Series A round from Battery Ventures, Wellington Partners, and Silicon Valley Bank in December. Sumall tracks more than $US4 billion worth of commerce data, 53 billion visits and half a billion social interactions. Previously, Atkinson was CEO of SquareSpace.
CEO, Cofounder, Fab
This year was another roller-coaster year for e-commerce startup Fab. It bought One Nordic Furniture Company, a furniture company based in Finland and Sweden, in June.
In May, Fab cut 80 to 90 jobs, eliminating one-third of the company's staff. This left it with about 200 employees.
Bradford Shellhammer, co-founder and formerly Fab's Chief Creative Officer, left the startup in November 2013 and has since launched Shellhammer.co, a consulting firm for businesses in design, digital merchandising, and branding. In February, Fab's chief product officer, Allison Rutledge-Parisi, and chief financial officer, David Lapter, left. COO Beth Ferreira also departed.
Its business model has gone through a number of pivots and Fab is preparing to launch a home-decor site, Hem. Goldberg wrote a blog post over the summer discussing how difficult it has been to run Fab, and why the world shouldn't give up on his company just yet.
Andy Dunn's clothing company, Bonobos, which launched in 2007, has raised a total of $US127 million.
In July, Bonobos r
$55 million Series D round from investors Felicis Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Glynn Capital Management, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Coppel Capital, Mousse Partners, and Nordstrom.
Though Bonobos launched as an online retailer, with the money the startup raised in July it plans to expand its shopping experience offline and into retail stores.
Founder, CEO, Smartling
Smartling, the language startup that powers translations for Uber, Dropbox, and Pinterest, has raised more than $US50 million in nine months, and more than $US63 million in total -- including $US25 million from Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Reid Hoffman, and Elon Musk's family office, Iconiq Capital.
Founder, CEO, Kargo
In 2008, Harry Kargman pivoted his advertising business Kargo to become mobile-focused. After buying out his company's remaining investors, Harry and a handful of employees created a leading mobile ad network.
Kargo, now approaching $50 million in annual revenue, has had triple-digit revenue growth for the past four years. It's also profitable.
In April, subscription cosmetics service and e-commerce website Birchbox raised $US60 million in a Series B round from Glynn Capital Management, Consigliere Brand Capital, Aspect Ventures, Accel Partners, First Round, and Viking Global Investors. In July, Birchbox opened its first physical storefront in SoHo. The four-year-old startup is still growing rapidly. RetailTouchPoints says Birchbox has '800,000 subscribers, 800 brand partners, 6,500 products in the e-Commerce shop and 250 employees worldwide.'
Cofounders, Paperless Post
Brother and sister James and Alexa Hirschfeld launched e-commerce website Paperless Post in 2009. Paperless Post allows users to create and customise virtual and paper stationery.
In April, Paperless Post raised
$25 million in a Series C round from Tim Draper, Ram Shriram, Mousse Partners, SV Angel, RRE Ventures, and August Capital. Its last round valued the company at about $US150 million.
Cofounders, Head of BD, CEO, and Head of Engineering, Rent the Runway
Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss are cofounders of clothing-rental service Rent the Runway. In July, Rent The Runway announced a new subscription service called Unlimited, which, for $US75 a month, allows customers to rent three accessories at a time. This fall, Rent the Runway's Secaucus, New Jersey, warehouse will move to a bigger, 160,000 square-foot space, according to Forbes. Last year, Rent the Runway has a reported $US50 million annual revenue. The founders are looking to raise more money this fall -- according to Forbes, at a valuation above $US750 million. Camille Fournier came to Rent the Runway in 2011 from Goldman Sachs, and she heads a team of 30 engineers.
Media startup PolicyMic rebranded as Mic in April, raising $US10 million in a Series A round of fundraising from investors like Knight Foundation, Red Swan Ventures, Advancit Capital, Lerer Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Jim Clark.
That $US10 million will allow Mic to expand both its editorial and ad sides, allowing it to focus on 'lighter and more entertaining content.'
The website formerly known as Rap Genius has had a turbulent year. Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory fired cofounder Mahbod Moghadam after he annotated the UCSB shooter's memoir with bizarre and inappropriate comments.
But there appears to be no bad blood between the three cofounders, and Rap Genius has recently rebranded as Genius, which is for 'the crowdsourced annotation of music, news, literature, history, and just about any other text you could imagine,' according to its site.
In February, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert offered to lead a $US40 million investment in the company, valuing Genius at several hundred million dollars.
Cofounders, CEO, COO, Elite Daily
Elite Daily cofounders David Arabov, Jonathon Francis, and Gerard Adams largely bootstrapped their millennial-targeted news startup -- while undergrads at Pace University the three friends pooled together $US60,000 to launch Elite Daily.
Elite Daily raised $US1.5 million from Social Starts, Red Sea Ventures, Vast Ventures, and Greycroft Partners this summer. Last December, Elite Daily's website had 41 million monthly unique visitors. Elite Daily finished the year with $US400,000 in profit, the founders told Business Insider.
Founder, CEO, Hinge
Justin McLeod's free dating app Hinge matches you with Facebook users you're connected to via mutual friends. It has been around for a year, and in March, it made its 1 millionth match.
Founded in 2011, Hinge raised $4.5 million this July from investors like Great Oaks Venture Capital, Middleland Capital, Lumia Capital, CAA Ventures, Lowercase Capital, and Founders Fund.
Lately it's started to steal some of the conversation away from Tinder as a cooler alternative with less noise than the IAC-owned app. 'Hinge cuts through the randomness of Tinder,' one daily user told The New York Times in March. 'I can take some comfort that she knows some of the same people I do.'
Cofounders, CEO, CTO, Pond5
Pond5 has been around for years, but it wasn't until 2014 that it started to get noticed in a big way. It raised $US500,000 from a group of New York City angels in 2008. Accel recently bought out all of the angels in a new $US61 million round of financing following Pond5's acquisition of Prague-based stock-photo competitor Pixmac.
Pond5 is a media-licensing company with an enormous stock-media library, replete with photos music, videos, and visual effects.
Payal Kadakia and Mary Biggins were running a failed startup, Classtivity. In its first year, the MindBody-like startup got fewer than 100 signups for local workout classes on its platform.
But Kadakia and Biggins noticed a few of its users trying to hack a promotion it ran that allowed users to visit local workout venues at a discounted rate. So Kadakia and Biggins scrapped their old idea to be a B2B class-management platform and began offering gym-like memberships to its users.
ClassPass costs $US99 a month and it lets users sign up for hundreds of local spin, barre, yoga and dance classes in New York, San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles. ClassPass grew much faster than Classtivity ever did, and got 350,000 class sign-ups its first year.
In March, ClassPass raised $US2 million in seed funding from investors like BoxGroup and SV Angel. In September it raised a $US12 million Series A from notable angels including David Tisch, Shana Fisher, Kal Vepuri, Fritz Lanman, and Hank Vigil.
Since ClassPass launched in May 2013, more than 350,000 classes have been booked on ClassPass.
Founder, Managing Partner, Brand Foundry Ventures
In March, Andrew Mitchell left venture fund ZIG Capital to raise a new $US20 to $US30 million fund, Brand Foundry Ventures. BFV, which focuses on consumer retail startups, has already invested in Birchbox, Warby Parker, and Chloe + Isabel.
Prior to investing, Mitchell was an entrepreneur. At 23, he founded his first of three beauty businesses.
Cofounders, Wearable Experiments
Ben Moir and Billie Whitehouse design garments with technology practically built into the fibres. After designing a promotion for Durex called Fundawear -- underwear with built-in vibrators controlled by an app on your phone -- Whitehouse and Moir created Wearable Experiments. Fundawear generated more than 8 million YouTube views and 55,000 purchase requests. The viral campaign also won a Cannes Silver Lion.
Whitehouse handles the creative and design elements for Wearable Experiments while Moir tackles the tech. Together, they have designed an interactive piece of sports apparel, the Alert Shirt, and a blazer with built-in GPS, Navigate. They haven't taken money from investors yet.
'The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bulls---,' Choi said at TechCrunch Disrupt this spring. 'They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is colour.'
CEO, Cofounder, Carrot Creative, and Chief Digital Officer, Vice Media
Mike Germano was one of the youngest elected officials to secure office as a Connecticut councilman in 2005, and he used a social-media campaign. At the same time, he cofounded Carrot Creative, an award-winning digital advertising agency that has worked with Unilever, Pepsi, Rolex, Target, and American Express.
Turning down dozens of acquisition offers, the company agreed to become part of Vice media in 2013. Today, Germano is chief digital officer at Vice, and Carrot's staff continues to create for brands, works on Vice's branded projects, and builds the Vice platform, including its news app for iOS 8. He's partially responsible for the estimated $US500 million in 2014 revenue that Vice is expected to generate.
CEO, Managing Editor, Bustle
A cofounder of Bleacher Report, Bryan Goldberg launched Bustle in 2013. He raised $US6.5 million from investors like Social + Capital Partnership, Time Warner Investments, Google Ventures, 500 Startups, and Rothenberg Ventures. Goldberg hired Kate Ward in May to head up Bustle's editorial staff. Bustle is a news, entertainment, lifestyle, and fashion site geared toward women.
Goldberg royally screwed up the site's launch, however, by writing a snarky post about the state of women's publications on Pando.com. The kerfuffle caused him some headaches with investors; Google Ventures sold its stake in Bustle back to Goldberg after the onslaught of negative press.
But Goldberg and his team kept their heads down and quietly grew Bustle to more than 11 million monthly unique readers in one year. Some who originally disliked Goldberg, such as women-in-tech advocate Rachel Sklar, came around. Sklar is now one of Bustle's advisors.
In July, Bryan Goldberg raised another $US5 million from The Social+Capital Partnership and Time Warner Investments.
Cofounders; CEO, chief scientific officer, senior scientist, senior scientist, Modern Meadow
Brooklyn-based Modern Meadows is revolutionizing the food industry by growing meat, fish, poultry, and leather in its labs in its lab using biofabrication, which takes small biopsies from animals while leaving them unharmed. Modern Meadow raised $US10 million in a Series A round of funding from ARTIS Ventures and Horizons Ventures in July.
Before cofounding Modern Meadow, CEO Andras Forgacs cofounded Organovo, a company that 3D prints human tissue. His cofounders include former theoretical physicist Gabor Forgacs, who is Modern Meadow's Chief Scientific Officer, food biochemist Francoise Marga, who is the company's Senior Scientist, and Karoly Jakab, bioprinting expert and Senior Scientist.
Partners, Thrive Capital
Thrive Capital is a venture-capital firm focused on internet and media investments. In October, Joshua Kushner's fund raised a $US420 million fund for the firm. Thrive contributed to gaming network Twitch's $US20 million Series C fundraising round in Septermber, and Twitch was acquired by Amazon in August for $US1 billion.
Mobile banking startup Simple, which Thrive invested in, was acquired in February by German-based mobile social networking site aki-aki networks. This year, Thrive has invested in home-rental startup Urban Compass, which quickly grew to a $US360 million valuation, as well as startups like Spring, Whisper, Oscar, and Warby Parker.
Cofounder, Yext , Confide, and Ahoy
Serial entrepreneur Howard Lerman kept busy this year as the cofounder of three different ventures.
Series F round led by Insight Venture Partners' Deven Parekj with participation from Marker, IVP, and Sutter Hill Ventures. After the fundraising round, Yext had a $US525 million post-money valuation and it expects to go public in 2015.
Lerman is cofounder and chairman of Confide, an iOS app that launched in December 2013 and sends self-destructing messages. Confide targets professionals who are seeking confidentiality, as opposed to Snapchat, which skews younger.
In February, Confide raised $US1.9 million in seed funding from Marker, BoxGroup, Lerer Ventures, SV Angel, Lakestar, CrunchFund, WGI Group, First Round, Google Ventures, and angel investors.
Ahoy is a Yo-like app that lets you easily send a notification to your friends' phones.
CEO, Mail Online
The 15th employee at BuzzFeed, Jon Steinberg left his spot as the media startup's president and COO in May, after Buzzfeed's CEO Jonah Peretti decided not to sell to Disney for more than $US500 million.
A month later he became CEO of North America for Mail Online -- the online division of the UK's Daily Mail, where he's been at the helm of the news and entertainment site since.
He's also a contributor to CNBC.
Partners, Vast Ventures
Nikhil Kalghatgi left Softbank Capital to partner with Doug Chertok on Vast Ventures, an early-stage venture fund, which they raised $US50 million for.
Founder, CEO, Jet.com
Formerly the CEO of Quidsi -- the e-commerce website behind Diapers.com -- Marc Lore has talked about raising $US600 million for his mysterious Amazon-killing e-commerce startup Jet before it has even launched.
In September, Lore raised $US25 million in new funding to round out an $US80 million Series A for Jet. Lore has promised that Jet will be a 'new kind of e-commerce experience, uniquely grounded in transparency and customer empowerment.'
Founders, New York Partner, Expa
One of Uber's cofounders, Garrett Camp, created startup lab Expa with help from New York partner Naveen Selvadurai, who had previously cofounded Foursquare.
Expa helps startups get off the ground and gain traction. It earned $50 million in March from investors like SV Angel, Sherpa Ventures, and Richard Branson. Camp is hopping from coast to coast while he works on Expa and its portfolio of startups, which include an Open Table-like service Reserve and Operator.
Branch, a group-discussion platform, was acquired by Facebook in January for $US15 million. The Branch team is now in London working on a stealth Facebook product.
Cofounders; COO, CEO, CPO, Songza
Songza is a startup that lets users select playlists based on their moods.
Google acquired Songza in July for an undisclosed amount, though reports say the deal could have been valued at $US15 million.
The company boasts a 50% retention rate for its more than 2 million users. Songza's iPad app has previously been No. 1 in the 'top free' category.
CEO; President, AppNexus
Brian O'Kelley has been hailed as the king of ad tech, and Michael Rubenstein has been president of six-year-old AppNexus since 2009. AppNexus' servers process 16 billion ad buys a day, and the company has 550 employees. In August, AppNexus raised $US60 million in a Series E round of funding, and a month later it raised another $US25 million in a Series E round from ad giant WPP. The new funding will increase WPP's stake in AppNexus from 1% up to nearly 15%, and places AppNexus's valuation at $US1.2 billion.
In April, AppNexus announced its new CFO-COO, Jonathan Hsu. Hsu previously had been the CFO, COO, and CEO of 24/7 Media. In April, AppNexus launched a software product called Twixt, which automates TV ad buying.
Cofounders, CEO, COO, CTO, ZocDoc
Founded in 2007 and initially launched in Minnesota, ZocDoc is helping people schedule in-network doctor appointments. The startup is raising $US152 million at a $US1.6 billion valuation, and more than 6 million people use the free app and website monthly. ZocDoc users are also getting into the doctor faster: While the average wait time is nearly three weeks, the typical ZocDoc appointment happens in less than 24 hours.
This year, ZocDoc has aggressively expanded its footprint and will be fully nationwide by the end of 2014. The company is tackling a new $US600 billion market with the introduction of ZocDoc for Business, in which companies can pay ZocDoc to make appointments for employees.
CEO, CFO, Etsy
Brooklyn-based Etsy is growing and has been profitable since 2009, though Dickerson says the company has no plans for an IPO. Kristina Salen joined Etsy as its CFO in January 2013.
In May, Etsy raised a $US5.6 million round of fundraising. A month later, Etsy completed its biggest acquisition yet. A Little Market, a French e-commerce site where users can purchase artisanal and handmade products shipped from France, is Etsy's sixth acquisition. It also acquired New York City startup Grand Street in the spring.
Cofounders, Co-CEOs, Warby Parker
This year was another great one for Warby Parker, the online marketplace for vintage-inspired glasses. In June, the retailer announced it had officially sold and distributed 1 million pairs of glasses through its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program that the company launched in 2010.
Warby Parker raised $60 million in a Series C round from investors BoxGroup, Spark Capital, General Catalyst Partners, First Round, Thrive Capital, and Tiger Global Management. It's worth about $US500 million.
Former CEO, CEO and President, MongoDB
MongoDB continues to be a big-data powerhouse. It was named by Union Square Ventures cofounder Fred Wilson as one of the best companies in New York in April -- a huge statement considering Silicon Valley boasts about big enterprise businesses much more than New York.
Max Schireson announced in August he'd be stepping down from his position to spend more time with his family. The letter he wrote announcing his resignation went viral, and Dev Ittycheria, formerly the managing director for VC firm OpenView Venture Partners, took over as CEO and president.
'I think Dev Ittycheria will be a phenomenal leader for the next phase of our growth, and I'm just happy to stay with MongoDB and help it grow,' Schireson told Business Insider.
Aereo, the paid video streaming service that set out to disrupt traditional cable-TV broadcasters, raised $US34 million in January from investors like IAC. Tiny antennas allowed users to watch live cable channels for a monthly fee.
In July, however, the Supreme Court found Aereo guilty of copyright infringement, effectively taking the service offline indefinitely.
After the ruling, Aereo's investors, including IAC's Barry Diller, were ready to throw in the towel. In August, Aereo asked a federal court to let it operate like a cable service. Otherwise, Aereo said in the court filing, 'the company will likely not survive. The company is figuratively bleeding to death.'
Venmo, an app that lets you pay back your friends with the tap of a button, has been steadily expanding and gaining traction this past year as it rolls out some new features.
The company introduced Venmo Nearby, which lets users easily find friends in the app who are close by. Venmo also launched a Venmo Button that small businesses, artists, nonprofits, and others can embed on websites.
The success of Venmo may be part of the reason eBay is spinning out PayPal into its own company.
VP of Editorial, Vox Media
In November 2013, Lockhart Steele sold his largely bootstrapped company, Curbed Network, to Vox Media for a $20-to-$30 million cash-and-stock deal. Curbed, which was founded in 2005, publishes websites on restaurants, nightlife, shopping, fashion, and real estate.
Steele now leads editorial at Vox Media, which owns SB Nation and The Verge. He was formerly managing editor of Gawker Media.
Chairman of Tinder-IAC (Diller), CEO of IAC's Match Group (Yagan)
Barry Diller's company, IAC, owns dating websites OKCupid, Match.com and HowAboutWe. It also owns a majority stake in Tinder.
Tinder had a big year of growth, which was accelerated by the 2014 Olympics; athletes publicly praised the app as a 'next level' hookup tool.
In April, IAC purchased 10% more of the mobile dating app from early Facebook employee and investor Chamath Palihapitiya in a deal that valued the startup at $US500 million. Benchmark is reportedly trying to invest in Tinder at a $US750 million valuation.
IAC also owns Vimeo, which grew a lot this year.
Cofounders, Urban Compass
Allon's first company sold to Google and his second company sold to Twitter. UrbanCompass is already worth more than both of those startups combined.
Cofounders, Co-CEOs, Harry's
Three-year-old startup Harry's promises 'a great shave at a fair price,' and sells razors, German-engineered blades, and shaving creams.
In January, Harry's spent $US100 million to buy Feintechnik, a German company and factory that have made razor blades for nearly a century. In 2014, Harry's raised $US132.5 million from Harrison Metal, Tiger Global Management, Thrive Capital, SV Angel, Highland Capital Partners, and Lakestar.
Cofounders, Blue Apron
Brooklyn-based startup Blue Apron sends you recipes and perfectly portioned, fresh ingredients, allowing you to cook new, healthy meals at home quickly and easily.
$50 million in a Series C round in April from venture-capital firm Stripes Group. Its latest valuation was about $US500 million. Blue Apron is delivering about 600,000 meals a month to people across the US.
Cofounder Joshua Kushner poached engineering talent from Google, took a Tumblr CTO onboard, and started Oscar in 2013 with Microsoft's former director of healthcare, Kevin Nazemi, and former McKinsey & Co. computer scientist Mario Schlosser.
Oscar is a user-friendly healthcare system that rivals companies like Aetna and UnitedHealth. Oscar makes paying your bills easy by letting you do it on your phone, and it lets you consult with doctors on the phone for no added cost.
CEO, COO, VP Product Experience, VP Product Management, Foursquare
In late 2013, Foursquare decided to roll the dice and relaunch its entire business. The result: Foursquare broke its check-in and venue-finding app into two separate products, Swarm and Foursquare.
Swarm houses the gamification elements the company was founded on; it allows users to check in to venues and find friends nearby. Foursquare is like a mobile-first version of Yelp, with food and activity recommendations and local search tools.
Crowley asked 11 Foursquare employees to oversee the rollout of the new products. Two employees, Noah Weiss and Jon Steinback, were named executives and helped manage the process along with Crowley and VP of Engineering, Harry Heyman. Steve Rosenblatt, Foursquare's head of sales, was in charge of managing advertisers and upcoming campaigns for the new Swarm and Foursquare apps.
In December 2013, the company raised $US35 million in a Series D round from investors DFJ Growth and Smallcap World Fund. In February, Foursquare raised a $US15 million in another Series D round, led by Microsoft. Glueck joined the company as COO over the summer.
Cofounders, CEO, VP of Products and CTO, TapCommerce
In just two years, Brian Long was able to found an ad-tech company and flip it for a reported $US100 million. TapCommerce is a venture-backed mobile technology company that lets businesses target their ads based on a user's previous activity. Twitter acquired the company in June.
In November, TapCommerce raised $US10.5 million in a Series A round from Bain Capital Ventures, RRE Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Metamorphic Ventures, and NextView Ventures.
Divide is a New York-based enterprise software company that was early on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work trend. In May the company was acquired by Google for a ton of money. The executives worked with employees to turn a number of them into millionaires.
The team has been relocated to Mountain View where it is leading Google's Android enterprise department, and it's working on a stealth new product.
Prior to the acquisition, Google Ventures invested in Divide. Other backers included Comcast Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners, and Harmony Partners. Divide raised a total of $25 million before the acquisition.
Cofounders, CEO, President of Product, TubeMogul
Brett Wilson and John Hughes, who met in an entrepreneurship course at the University of California, Berkeley, are the cofounders of TubeMogul. Programmatic video ad company TubeMogul went public in July, and shares surged more than 60% in its public debut. TubeMogul has a $US330 million market cap.
In August, TubeMogul partnered with AudienceXpress, an audience-buying platform. The partnership allows advertisers using TubeMogul's digital video buying tools to buy TV inventory.
CEO, Cofounders, 2U
2U, previously called 2Tor, is a New York-based education company. It allows universities to bring their curriculum online and helps market programs to students.
2U raised $5.1 million in a Series D round last October from Rethink Education, Redpoint Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, and Bessemer Venture Partners. In March, 2U went public and raised $US100 million during its IPO. 2U has a $US627 million market cap.
Founder, CEO, President, BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed has proved it is much more than lists and pictures of cute animals. The company has continued to grow its original-reporting team to a few hundred people, and it has found viral success in quizzes with titles like 'Which State Should I Live in?'
In August, BuzzFeed raised $US50 million from Andreessen Horowitz at an $US850 million valuation. The funding occurred after BuzzFeed walked away from a Disney acquisition last fall.
Disney had reportedly been interested in purchasing BuzzFeed for more than $US500 million. After Peretti walked away from the deal, Disney purchased Maker Studios for between $US500 million and $US1 billion. Refusing to sell his company may have cost Peretti his president, Jon Steinberg, who left BuzzFeed and became CEO of Mail Online.
In August, Greg Coleman was hired to replace Jon Steinberg as BuzzFeed's president. Business Insider Intelligence reports that BuzzFeed is on track to generate $US110 million in advertising revenue this year.
President, CEO, former COO, GrubHub Seamless
The company, now known as GrubHub, went public in April at a $2.7 billion valuation; it is profitable and still growing. Matt Maloney is CEO of the combined entity. Mike Evans, Grubhub's chief operating officer, announced he would leave the company when it filed for its IPO.
Cofounder, CEO, Vice Media
It's been a big growth year for Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi, and Vice Media. The company moved to a new office in Williamsburg that can accommodate 525 employees. Vice is also set to bring in ~$500 million this year, proving itself to be a veritable digital-media powerhouse.
Last year, Rupert Murdoch bought a 5% stake in Vice for $US70 million. In September, Vice raised $US500 million at a valuation that exceeds $US2.5 billion. Smith believes his company could be worth as much as $US30 billion if it goes public.
Cofounders, Flatiron Health
Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg sold their first company, Invite Media, for $US81 million to Google in 2011.
But ad tech didn't really inspire either of them. Turner told Business Insider they 'were burned out on optimising click-through rates and pushing pixels.' So, they decided to do something different with their next company, Flatiron Health, which is collecting data on cancer patients to help patients, physicians, and researchers.
This year they raised $US130 million in funding, with Google Ventures as the lead investor. They took the bulk of that funding and acquired Altos Solutions, a healthcare company that collects data on patients. Altos is one of the biggest companies in the space, so it's impressive Flatiron is taking them on.
The big money and the acquisition are a validation of what they're working on, as well as a strong belief that these two 20-somethings can handle taking on a tricky space and a very tricky acquisition process.
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