After months of research, debate, and more research, Business Insider is proud to present our annual Silicon Valley 100, the authoritative ranking of the people who matter most in Silicon Valley. The list covers people who backed promising companies and saw big exits; were star executives; created new, interesting things; changed entire industries; and made industry-defining acquisitions or took their companies public.
In sum, these people aren’t riding on old reputations. All of them did something of note since our last instalment in February 2013, and they won big. And if you feel that we missed someone, tell us — we’re not all-knowing, and we love telling stories about amazing people.
Thanks to our many readers who took the time to send us nominations. The Silicon Valley 100 was assembled by Megan Rose Dickey, Jillian D’Onfro, Alyson Shontell, Jim Edwards, and Steve Kovach. Copy editing by Elizabeth Wilke and Jill Klausen.
Executive Producers, HBO's 'Silicon Valley'
We got word earlier this year that producers Mike Judge and Alec Berg will be launching an Entourage-esque comedy show called 'Silicon Valley' on HBO that will poke fun at SV and help pop its arrogance bubble.
The show follows a group of close-knit friends working at a company trying to develop a new search algorithm, and will include cameos from real-life Silicon Valley figures. It airs April 6 on HBO.
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.
Co-founders, Immunity Project
A team of scientists and entrepreneurs are trying to cure HIV/AIDS. Immunity Project, which is in the current Y Combinator class, has already developed a prototype and completed preliminary lab testing.
The Immunity Project is currently trying to raise $US482,000 to fund its final experiment before beginning its Phase I clinical study. So far, more than 1,000 people have pledged over $US200,000 to the project.
As an education tech founder, it's not always easy to get schools and institutions on board, mostly due to a bunch of bureaucracy. That's why Pathbrite founder Heather Hiles is so impressive. Last year, Pathbrite raised an additional $US4 million led by testing behemoth ACT, with participation from Rethink Education for its e-portfolio product for students. Pathbrite has raised $US8 million in total to date.
As of March 2013, Pathbrite was in more than 100 universities and school districts. Stanford, for example, purchased 1,000 licenses for students in its design, education, and engineering schools. And as of September 2013, more than 400 schools have used Pathbrite's new learning platform.
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.
CEO; Director of Business Development, AnyPerk
After being told he had the worst startup in his Y Combinator batch, Taro Fukuyama had to figure out how to turn the company around. Six pivots later, he landed on AnyPerk. AnyPerk helps put startups on par with Google and Facebook when it comes to perks, offering discounts on things like movie tickets, lift tickets, cell phone plans, Lyft car-sharing rides, and car rentals.
Today, AnyPerk has 28 employees. Last March, the startup raised a $US1.4 million seed round from Digital Garage, Ben Lewis, Michael Liou, CyberAgent, and Shogo Kawada.
This year, Watsi became the first charitable company to raise over $US1 million in funding from traditional angel investors in Silicon Valley.
It is also the first Y-Combinator company to nab investor Paul Graham for its board of directors. Watsi allows anyone to give as little as $US5 to fund someone's medical care, and 100% of the money is donated. The mission of this startup is so beautiful, you just have to root for its success.
Director of product management, Yahoo
Erin Teague worked as the growth product manager for the mobile-only social network Path for two years and is responsible for the company's astounding user growth in 2013. In the spring, the app was growing by 1 million new users per week. It hit the 10-million-user mark in April. She worked on the product team at Twitter for two years before joining the Path team.
Last fall, she joined Yahoo with a director of product management role.
Co-founder and Chairman; Co-founder and CEO; Senior Software Product Designer, 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.
A lot of the success of the fitness-tracking band Jawbone Up is thanks to Matt Hunter. Hunter designed the latest version of the Jawbone Up app that accompanies the wristband. Hunter is also regarded as one of the top designers in technology. Prior to joining Jawbone, Hunter founded Textslide and EightBit.me.
Jawbone also bought BodyMedia, a 14-year-old wearable fitness startup, for $US100 million last year.
Paul Maritz, the former CEO of VMware, launched a 1,300 employee cloud computing spin-out called Pivotal last year.
Prior to founding Pivotal, Maritz served as chief strategist of EMC and CEO of VMware. While at VMware, Maritz helped transform the company into a leader in cloud computing. Martiz was also reportedly in the running for the CEO position at Microsoft, but he wasn't interested in the job.
Ramona Pierson has survived worse things than most people can imagine. In 1984, Pierson got hit by a drunk driver and fell into an 18-month coma. After recovering, Pierson eventually launched her first startup, SynapticMash, an education software company that sold to Promethean World for $US10 million in 2010.
Now, Pierson is running social learning startup Declara. The aim is to help people sift through tons of content when they're not exactly sure what they're looking for. Last September, Declara raised a $US5 million seed round from Founders Fund, Peter Thiel, and Data Collective.
Venture capitalist, SoftTech VC
Charles Hudson is a well-known face in the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem because he has his hands in both sides of the business, both as a founder at Bionic Panda Games and now an investor at SoftTech Ventures.
Previously, Hudson founded Social Gaming Summit, one of the leading conferences in the free-to-play games space. He was also the VP of Business Development for Serious Business, a company that Zynga later acquired in 2010.
HandUp is proof that the tech industry does care about the homeless. Rose Broome and Zac Witte launched their crowdfunding platform for the homeless back in August.
In its pilot stage, there are about 100 homeless people who receive cash donations via text or email. Within the last couple of months, the pair landed a seed investment from serial entrepreneur and angel investor Jason Calacanis. To date, HandUp has raised $US200,000.
HandUp is also part of startup accelerator Tumml, which gives entrepreneurs $US20,000 to help them solve urban issues.
Chief Legal Officer, Google
When Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing the NSA is allegedly tapping Google's servers and private networks, David Drummond, the company's chief legal officer, expressed his outrage and urged the need for dramatic reform in government intelligence policy.
In the wake of Snowden's many revelations, major tech companies have been put under a microscope, and Google has taken the lead in being as transparent as possible about government requests for user info.
Getting the public to regain trust in the Web and and major tech companies like Google isn't an easy task, but Drummond is tackling it valiantly, insisting that trust is to encourage innovation.
In four months, PayPal founder Max Levchin helped 1,000 women get pregnant thanks to his new fertility app Glow. Glow uses data to analyse the best time for a woman to get pregnant.
In August, Levchin landed a $US6 million Series A investment from Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund. Just last month, Glow launched its service for enterprise. The first two companies to partner with Glow are hot startups Eventbrite and Evernote.
LinkedIn continues to surpass Wall Street expectations with user growth, revenues, and profits. Jeff Weiner, who joined the company when it was struggling in the shadow of Facebook, deserves credit for spurring innovation and disciplined execution.
LinkedIn's market value has passed $US23 billion and it currently employs over 5,000 people. Worldwide, LinkedIn has over 277 million members.
Fun fact: When LinkedIn reported a monster quarter in February where its revenues beat expectations by $US25 million, Weiner decided to give every employee an iPad.
VP of Corporate Development, Google
David Lawee moved away from his position as head of mergers and acquisitions at Google to lead a stealthy late-stage investment fund called Google Capital earlier last year. Just last month, Google Capital officially launched to invest in growth-stage companies.
In May, Google acquired a minority stake in LendingClub, a service that helps people pay off loans, with interests rates typically lower than credit cards. At the time, LendingClub was approaching $US2 billion in funded loans.
Lawee led the investment and is now a board observer at LendingClub. He's also led investments in big companies like SurveyMonkey, and Renaissance Learning.
Venture Capitalist and Founding Partner, 500 startups
Since launching his 500 Startups accelerator program in 2010, Dave McClure has invested in a slew of companies all over the world.
In October, McClure announced that his firm has officially backed more than 500 startups since launching in 2010.
It also confirmed its second fund, which closed at $US44.1 million in July. This year, 500 Startups aims to back at least 200 companies.
Founder, (unnamed stealth startup)
The co-founder and former CEO of VMware, Diane Greene, has something new up her sleeve this year that looks like it will challenge the company that ousted her in 2008.
Greene's stealth startup is focused on virtual storage and will target cloud and service providers as customers. So far, we've heard it's lured at least three VMware employees away from their jobs.
She also just finished her first year on Google's board of directors.
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.
Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Balaji Srinivasan is the one of the newest partners at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.
He's also the founder of a stealth bitcoin-mining hardware company called 21E6, which is believed to be backed by some of the richest people in Silicon Valley. Bitcoin mining is a way to acquire the digital currency without paying for it.
Srinivasan had previously co-founded genetic testing company Counsyl. As of December 2013, the company was testing somewhere around 3 to 4% of all births in the U.S. Given that it charges around $US500 to $US600 per test, the company is on an annual revenue run-rate of about $US60 million to $US80 million per year.
Photo app Frontback caught fire last year, amassing 200,000 downloads in just one month. The app has users take two pictures (one of what they're seeing in front of them, and the other with their phone's front-facing camera) and it stitches them together.
In October, Frontback reportedly turned down an acquisition offer from Twitter and instead raised $US3 million.
The app was built in just four weeks.
Secret is the latest social app to go viral, and it's filled with a boatload of Silicon Valley insights and rumours.
The app, which launched last month, was founded by ex-Googlers David Mark Byttow and Chrys Bader.
The idea behind Secret is to let you share anonymously with your friends. It's kind of like secret-sharing app Whisper, but the difference is that all of the secrets are from your friends, or a friend of a friend.
Secret has raised $US1.4 million from investors including Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan through Initialized Capital, Index Ventures, Matrix Partners, SV Angel, and Fuel Capital.
Senior Vice President, Chrome and Android
Sundar Pichai, formerly only in charge of Chrome, got a promotion in March 2013 to head up Android, taking over the role of Android founder Andy Rubin.
The vast majority (nearly 80%) of smartphone owners are Android users. Android is becoming more hospitable to developers as it becomes less fragmented, and as Android app sales bring in more revenue.
In 2012, social coding startup GitHub raised a massive $US100 million round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz after bootstrapping since 2008.
More than a year later, we can see the effect that funding had on the company. GitHub doubled the number of projects that it was hosting in 2013, and is now home to about 10 million software projects.
Although GitHub doesn't publically disclose revenue, co-founder and CEO Tom Preston-Werner has put it in the ballpark of 'millions and millions a year,' largely thanks to its enterprise clients who pay to keep their GitHub code out of public view. That's a huge success because when GitHub raised the funding, the company said it wanted to use the money to break into enterprise.
Husband and wife team Kevin and Julia Hartz have been able to grow their once-tiny ticketing company into the enormous Eventbrite which, after a $US60 million funding round in April, is now worth a reported $US650 million.
Admittedly, some have argued the round was completely unnecessary, and that the company raised too much money to date.
President and CEO, Flurry
Simon Khalaf is gearing up to take his mobile analytics company public as Flurry continues to grow into a massive business.
In September, Khalaf told Business Insider that an IPO is inevitable for Flurry. At that time, Flurry had a net-revenue run-rate of about $US100 million. To date, Flurry has taken $US50.5 million in funding from investors.
Since unveiling the world's first real-money gaming platform in 2012, Chris Griffin has secured $US23 million in venture funding.
In November of last year, Betable raised an $US18.5 million round of funding led by Venture51, valuing the company somewhere between $US80 million and $US100 million.
After Intel's Paul Otellini retired, Brian Krzanich got the tough job of making Intel relevant in mobile, growing its cloud businesses and tackling the wearable tech space.
By the end of this year, Kraznich aims to sell 40 million tablets with Intel processors, up from 10 million in 2013. Based on Krzanich's performance at CES, it sounds like Intel has quite a lot up its sleeve this year.
Brit Morin, widely referred to as the Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley, raised $US6.3 million last year from prominent Silicon Valley elites like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Index Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, and Aileen Lee and Oak Investment Partners, for her domestic lifestyle brand Brit & Co. As part of the investment, Tina Sharkey and Oak Investment Partners' Fred Harman joined the board of directors.
That's a huge win for Morin given that Harman coached Arianna Huffington and Bleacher Report to exits worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Founder, The Information
Former Wall Street Journal tech reporter and editor Jessica Lessin officially launched her own tech news site in December called The Information. To read all of its articles, you have to shell out $US399 a year or $US39 a month.
Already, The Information has broken news regarding Apple's iWatch, YouTube's new CEO, Square's latest funding round, and Google's EnergySense project.
James Beshara's startup Crowdtilt is solving a pretty common problem: group payments, which makes it possible to divvy up a bill between friends. Last year alone, Crowdtilt raised $US35 million.
In December of last year, investors rewarded the company with $US23 million in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. In March 2013, Crowdtilt raised a $US12 million Series A round, also led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Crowdtilt has raised about $US37 million to date.
CEO, Hewlett Packard
When Meg Whitman joined HP in 2011, she only earned a salary of $US1 a year because the company was really struggling.
But now that she's been able to turn the company around, HP directors say she deserves $US1.5 million. Under Whitman's leadership, HP's stock has rebounded back to the near-$30 mark from before she first started. Whitman has also since distanced herself from Microsoft and Windows 8, showing a preference toward Chromebooks.
Co-founding Partner, Floodgate
As co-founding managing partner at venture capital firm Floodgate, Ann Miura-Ko has led seed investments in TaskRabbit, Lyft, Modcloth, Refinery29, Boxbee, and NewsCred.
She also lectures at Stanford University, where she recently started a new class to teach highly technical graduate students how to be successful entrepreneurs in the field of big data.
Two of her portfolio companies, Lyft and Refinery29, both had years of note. Refinery29 raised a total of $US25 million last year, and Lyft raised a total of $US75 million.
VP of Product Management for Chromebooks, Google
In 2013, Chromebooks started to become a serious threat to PCs as PC vendors fled their partner-turned-competitor Microsoft. It was also the year when Googlers themselves started to embrace the Chromebook, especially the Pixel.
Sengupta was one of the engineers responsible for creating Chrome OS and the Chromebooks. He leads the project internally today at Google.
Co-CEOs, Revere Digital; Co-Executive Editors, Re/Code
When Dow Jones and AllThingsD split, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg decided to start their own tech site called Re/Code.
Swisher and Mossberg are two of the best news breakers in the tech industry, but it's particularly impressive that every single person from the D team decided to join them at their new venture.
Re/Code has about 20 people on its editorial staff and is backed by NBC Universal and Windsor Media. Swisher and Mossberg are the majority stakeholders.
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 keyless. August also gives you total control of who can enter your home and when. August will start shipping its locks later this year.
Head of Corporate Development and Partnerships, Facebook
Remember that time Beyoncé announced her new album out of the blue on Instagram?
Well, that's all thanks to Dan Rose, Facebook's head of corporate development and partnerships. Rose and his team had been in talks with Beyoncé for months, and reportedly leaped at the opportunity to announce the album on Instagram, a Facebook-owned photo-sharing app.
Engineering Manager, Pinterest
Makinde Adeagbo is something of an engineering superstar, bouncing between major tech companies. He spent 3.5 years at Facebook, and became one of the go-to engineers to improve the site speed and overall performance.
Next, he got snapped up by Dropbox, where he helped improve sharing on the Dropbox platform with things like Dropbox Links, which lets anyone share and preview any file in someone's Dropbox from the Web. In July 2013, he left the huge cloud storage company to become Pinterest's engineering manager.
2013 was full of ups and downs for Anne Wojcicki, CEO of the health and ancestry startup 23andMe. The company kicked off the year by discounting its DNA kits to an affordable $US99. It built a genetic research community of more than 10,000 people with Parkinson's disease -- the largest Parkinson's community in the world. But in November 2013, the FDA ordered 23andMe to stop marketing its health-related genetic tests.
Despite the FDA's cease-and-desist, Wojcicki stands behind the data 23andMe gives its customers. She wrote in November she remains committed to working with the FDA to ensure 23andMe is a trusted consumer product. She also admitted that the company had fallen behind schedule in responding to FDA feedback.
23andMe has raised $188 million to date from investors including Mohr Davidow Ventures, Sergey Brin, Google Ventures, and Genentech.
Co-founder and CEO; Co-founder and Lead Software Engineer, Instagram
Since Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger sold Instagram to Facebook in 2012, the app has continued to grow and change.
Late last year, Instagram launched Instagram Direct, a new feature that lets users send private photos, videos, and messages to up to 15 friends at once. Instagram also successfully introduced ads into users' streams without any major revolt.
The app doubled its user base in 2013. Official numbers haven't been released since September, but we can peg Instagram's user base at about 180 million monthly active users.
Brian McAndrews, an ad veteran who formerly held roles at Madrona Venture Group, Microsoft, and aQuantive, took over Joe Kennedy's role as chief executive at Pandora in September.
On the first day of trading following the announcement of McAndrews' new position, Pandora's stock went up by $US2.50 a share -- a nearly 12% jump.
Despite increased competition from iTunes Radio, Pandora just had its most profitable quarter since its IPO.
Co-founder and CEO; Co-founder, Pinterest
Last year alone, Pinterest raised a total of $US425 million. Its latest $US225 million round gives the social sharing site a $US3.8 billion valuation.
Pinterest also recently acquired image recognition and visual search startup, VisualGraph, to build out its data science team.
Founder and CEO, One Medical Group
Going to the doctor shouldn't have to be a pain. That's why One Medical Group makes it dead simple to set up same-day appointments with top-notch doctors. For $US199 a year, you can make appointments online, chat with your doctor via email, and avoid hanging out in waiting rooms.
In March, One Medical raised a $US30 million Series F round led by Google Ventures, with participation from Benchmark, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich, Maverick Capital, and Oak Investment Partners.
One Medical has doctors' offices in San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
When Google shut down its beloved Reader product, a lot of people flocked to Feedly. A month after Reader disappeared, Feedly emerged as the top RSS traffic referrer.
In August, Feedly kicked off a paid version of its RSS service, adding custom sharing, power search, a speed boost, integration with other apps, and more. It limited the release to 5,000 people, and it only took eight hours for 5,000 $US99 lifetime-subscriptions to get snatched up. Around that same time, Feedly was touting more than 13 million users.
Partners, Andreeseen Horowitz
Andreessen Horowitz -- the venture capital firm with investments in hot companies like Airbnb, Pinterest, GitHub, Twitter, Foursquare, Lyft, and Fab -- announced this year that it's raising $US1.5 billion for its fourth fund.
In April 2013, the firm teamed up with Kleiner Perkins and Google Ventures to fund startups building apps for Google Glass. The new fund is called the Glass Collective.
CEO; Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer; Co-Founder and Chief of Merchandising, One Kings Lane
The home decor site One Kings Lane raised a huge round of funding -- $US112 million to be exact -- last month, bringing its valuation to nearly $US1 billion. The company has also made some recent strategic hires, bringing former Zappos CTO Arun Rajan onboard to lead its technology initiatives.
The company plans to use the funding to hire, expand its technology, and build out its inventory. To date, the company has raised $US229 million.
Head of Retail; Head of Human Resources, Apple
In October 2013, Apple announced the hiring of former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as the company's new head of retail.
Then, in February 2014, Apple appointed Denise Young Smith to lead its worldwide human resources division. The pair are in charge of the future of two of Apple's most important assets: its chain of stores and its talent.
(It's also great to see Apple shaking up its previously male-dominated top ranks.)
Hunter Walk and Satya Patel were able to raise $US35 million in a matter of months to invest in early-stage startups through their new VC firm, Homebrew. Since launching in July, Homebrew has backed startups like Plaid.io, Shyp, theSkimm, and UpCounsel.
Walk and Patel are two former Google employees who have tons of connections in Silicon Valley. Both Patel and Walk joined Google in 2003. Walk stayed until 2013, while Patel did stints at Battery Ventures and Twitter.
Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Salesforce.com
Under the leadership of Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com made its largest acquisition ever, spending $US2.5 billion to buy mobile marketing company ExactTarget.
Also, in Q1 2014, Salesforce delivered its first-ever $US1 billion-plus revenue quarter.
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.
To date, there are more than 300,000 Pebble watches on wrists all over the world.
When Twitter went public, its largest outside investors hit the jackpot.
Benchmark Capital and DST Global both cashed very pretty checks from the IPO.
Because of the growth of a number of his portfolio companies throughout 2013, Fenton will likely see a significant number of other companies go public this year.
Milner, on the other hand, helped fund a new award for scientists that rewards curing disease and extending human life.
General Partner, Google Ventures
MG Siegler, a well-known Apple fanboy, shocked the industry when he left CrunchFund and joined Google Ventures in May to focus on seed and early-stage investments.
In his spare time, Siegler continues to blog for TechCrunch.
In general, Google Ventures had a great year, making 75 new investments in 2013, including a hefty backing of the hot transportation startup Uber.
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.
Co-founder and CEO, HotelTonight
HotelTonight lets you book last-minute, overnight stays at discounted rates. In 2013, it raised a $US45 million Series D round of financing, bringing its total funding to about $US81 million.
Since June 2012, it has doubled its downloads to more than 6.5 million, added more cities (it now features hotels in nearly 120 locations across 12 countries), and doubled its headcount to more than 100 employees. Plus, CEO Sam Shank says that the number of transactions on HotelTonight increased by 300% in 2013.
Co-founder and CEO; Co-founder and Head of Engineering, Quip
Bret Taylor was Facebook's CTO for about three years before leaving in summer 2012 to launch a new startup with ex-Googler Kevin Gibbs.
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 and CEO, Coinbase
It was a hot year for Bitcoin, and for startups dealing with them.
Brian Armstrong and his Bitcoin startup, Coinbase, were the recipients of high-profile VC Fred Wilson's first investment in nearly two years. In December, Coinbase raised a $US25 million Series B round from Andreessen Horowitz and added partner Chris Dixon to its board.
Just last month, popular budgeting app Mint added Bitcoin support with Coinbase.
It's very rare to reach great success before you're an adult, but that's exactly what 17-year-old Nick D'Aloisio has achieved. Last March, Yahoo bought D'Aloisio's news aggregation app Summly for $US33 million.
At CES this year, D'Aloisio unveiled a brand new mobile app called Yahoo News Digest.
2013 was the year when ride-sharing startup Lyft really made a dent in the transportation space. Last year, Lyft expanded its service into the San Francisco East Bay Area, from Oakland to Castro Valley, and some of the suburbs of Los Angeles, Calif., like Pasadena and Malibu.
Lyft also ditched its donation-based model in California to set payments determined by the company. The service initially operated on donations because it wasn't legal to charge for ride sharing in California. But as of September, the California Public Utilities Commission legalized the practice, allowing Lyft to make the switch.
In March, Lyft raised a $US60 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The transportation startup has raised $US82.5 million to date. As of December 2013, Lyft has seen its revenues grow at a rate of about 6% every week.
Co-founder; Co-founder and CEO, Stripe
Founded by brothers Patrick and John Collison, Stripe -- a payments startup that creates an easy way to accept payments on the Internet -- is now seen as a threat to PayPal.
Just last month, Stripe raised $US80 million at a $US1.75 billion valuation, making the startup one of the newest additions to the billion-dollar club.
Founder and CEO, Clinkle
Lucas Duplan started mobile payments startup Clinkle while studying computer science at Stanford. Last year, Clinkle raised a $US25 million seed round -- what is said to be the largest in Silicon Valley history.
When he was 19, Duplan started gathering up a group of Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to work on the company. Some have since taken leaves of absence, but Duplan was able to graduate a year early so he could work on Clinkle full time.
But 2013 didn't come without its downs. Toward the end of the year, Clinkle laid off about a quarter of its staff.
CEO and Co-founder, Netflix
Netflix is slowly but surely challenging HBO for its customer base, according to recent data from market research company NPD Group.
Last year, Netflix's shares quadrupled to an all-time high and was the top performer in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100. According to a regulatory filing from December, Hastings will receive a 50% pay bump this year, now making an annual salary of $US3 million with a stock option allowance of $US3 million.
When Google Maps and commerce boss Jeff Huber stepped down in March, longtime Google executive Susan Wojcicki took over commerce. At the same time, she was also running Google's ad business, overseeing Payments, Wallet, Offers, Shopping, Local Search, Maps & Earth, and Travel.
And, just this month, we got some more huge news about Wojcicki: She was tapped to become head of YouTube. By appointing Wojcicki as the new YouTube CEO, Google could be hinting that it's interested in revamping the video platform's advertising business.
Palantir Technologies, the data analytics company with deep ties to the CIA, recently raised $US58 million during a funding round that is expected to top $US100 million. From September to December, Palantir's valuation increased by 50%.
It's reportedly seeking a valuation of $US9 billion. Although secrecy surrounding Palantir makes it difficult to pin down what it's doing at any given moment, the company focuses on using big data to find solutions to large-scale issues like preventing fraud in Medicare, taking down human trafficking networks, or preventing Ponzi schemes.
Klout, a site that measures your influence on social media, is reportedly about to be sold for at least $US100 million to Lithium technologies, according to Recode. The deal isn't closed, but papers have been signed, according to the report.
Lithium Technologies makes tools that brands can use to provide customer service on social networks.
The acquisition makes sense. It would be very helpful to brands to know how influential the people tweeting about their products and services are. Klout gives social media users a score on a 100-point scale that measures their influence based on a secret algorithm.
Within only a few weeks of launching, Gentry Underwood sold his super-hyped email startup Mailbox to cloud-storage company Dropbox for $US100 million.
Mailbox -- an app that helps you organise your inbox -- went viral before it even launched thanks to the team's marketing efforts. Mailbox launched a video to promote the app a couple of weeks before it launched in January. Within the first few hours, more than 100,000 people had watched the video.
CEO; Founder, CTO, and Chief Strategy Officer, FireEye
FireEye -- a computer-security company that detects would-be hackers before it's too late -- had a very successful IPO in 2013, followed by a massive $US1 billion acquisition of computer-forensics company Mandiant earlier this year.
On opening day, its valuation was a healthy $US2.3 billion.
Airbnb co-founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia made some great leaps forward with their home-sharing startup this year.
Airbnb, valued at $US2.5 billion, is on track to become the world's largest hotelier, overtaking both InterContinental Hotels Group and Hilton Worldwide. In December, the company listed more than 550,000 properties worldwide and announced that it had topped 10 million guest stays, with more than half occurring in 2013 alone. In February 2014, Airbnb confirmed that it raised $US200 million last October and that it's also expanding its services to include connecting travellers with local chefs and cleaning services.
Although there has been hype about an Airbnb IPO, CEO Chesky has repeatedly insisted that it's not in the cards for 2014.
Co-founder and CEO; Co-founder and CTO; Head of Product, Business, and Mobile, Dropbox
After raising a $US250 million round, the online-storage service Dropbox is valued at a jaw-dropping $US10 billion.
Dropbox had sales of more than $200 million in 2013, and has more than 200 million users and 4 million businesses subscribed. It also recently expanded its service to software developers, asking them to write more apps that use Dropbox.
We suspect an IPO might be in the near future.
Marissa Mayer was known for her poise as a leader at Google and is now remaking Yahoo as its CEO. As such, she has been on a hiring spree.
Just last month, Mayer unveiled two new products to Yahoo's lineup: mobile app News Digest and a new digital magazine focused on tech, which is headed up by former New York Times reporter David Pogue.
Co-founder and CEO, Google
Google CEO Larry Page is something of a tech deity. When he took over as Google's CEO, he wanted to reinvigorate the company's vision, pushing it to invent wild things to help humanity.
Today, Google continues to dominate search, making scads of money on advertising. In the past year or so, it has generated nearly $US18 billion in profits.
By embracing moonshots while also maintaining Google's dominance at the basics, Page is one of the leading forces for innovation in Silicon Valley right now.
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.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone launched a social Q&A startup earlier this year called Jelly. In May, Stone raised a Series A round from Spark Capital, SV Angel, Bono, Al Gore, Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Reid Hoffman, Greg Yaitanes, Steven Johnson, Jason Goldman, and Roya Mahboob.
It also doesn't hurt that Twitter, the company he co-founded, went public last year. Stone also co-founded Medium.
CEO; COO; CFO, Facebook
Although CFO David Ebersman caused quite a stir when he announced that teen engagement declined in Q3, it has been an amazing year for Facebook overall.
The company just had its first-ever $US1 billion-plus mobile-ad revenue quarter, in which ad revenue skyrocketed to 53% of its business. That's a jaw-dropping surge since May 2012, when ad revenue made up almost 0% of the business.
Facebook also bought conversation platform Branch for $US15 million and launched a new Flipboard-like news curation product called Paper. More recently, Facebook acquired messaging app WhatsApp for $US19 billion.
When Twitter went public last year, its co-founder Evan Williams became a billionaire. Williams holds a 15% stake in the company, and is the largest individual shareholder of Twitter stock.
Last year, Williams launched blogging platform Medium and he recently raised $US25 million for the company. Investors include Greylock Partners, Google Ventures, Code Advisors, Science, Ron Conway, Chris Sacca, Tim O'Reilly, Michael Ovitz, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Betaworks.
CEO; SVP of Design; SVP of Software Engineering, Apple
Apple's Tim Cook got his mojo back last year with the launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in September. The company even sold more iPhone 5S models than expected. Back in May, the App Store passed 50 billion downloads, with more than $US10 billion paid out to developers. In 2013, Tim Cook's compensation was $US4.25 million.
Apple also surprised everyone when Craig Federighi announced that Apple would release its newest Mac operating system, Mavericks, for free.
Jony Ive is in charge of all software and hardware design at Apple.
In the past year, Ive has guided the Apple through several big releases. He was the brains behind iOS 7, the biggest update to the iPhone software since the original launched in 2007, as well as the new iPhone 5S and 5C.
Before Steve Jobs passed away, Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that if he had a spiritual partner at Apple, it was Ive.
Musk also released his plans for the Hyperloop -- a transportation system that would be faster and cheaper than high-speed trains -- in August.
Google has since integrated some of Waze's data into Google Maps, but Waze continues to operate its own stand-alone app.
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.
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.
Co-founder; Co-founder and CEO, WhatsApp
After selling WhatsApp to Facebook in a deal worth $US19 billion, Brian Acton and Jan Koum officially became billionaires. Koum is worth about $US6.8 billion and Acton is worth $US3 billion, according to Forbes.
At last count, WhatsApp had 465 million active users.
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