One billion, ten figures, 3 commas – it’s a big number. Obtaining even close to it takes something pretty remarkable, not even 2000 people in the world have reached a bank balance so large. It takes a pretty extraordinary idea at the perfect time for a business to take off and reach the thousand million mark, let alone doing it just five years. These, however, all managed it, some of them with time to spare, the conclusion? Start a tech company, soon.
The Chinese electronics company is the third largest smartphone distributor in the world, despite the fact it’s not selling in Western markets yet. They sell phones at almost manufacturing cost, unlike their rivals, without sacrificing quality. The narrow margins are offset by a model’s lifespan lasting up to 18 months, so components get cheaper over time – unlike their rivals who are releasing new models every year at the least.
Founded in 2010, by the end of 2014 the company was valued at north of $46billion and was the most valuable startup in the world.
When Elon Musk and Peter Thiel are backing a company you know it’s the real deal. Stripe is an online payments provider that can be integrated straight into websites. Unlike competitors it only charges a small commission fee, no setup or maintenance costs. It also heavily focuses on fraud prevention.
A funding round less than three years later, put a valuation of $3.57bn on the company, this is expected to rise to $5bn as soon as new investment takes place.
The fashion e-commerce startup got a billion dollar valuation just four years after it was founded. Offering a personalised subscription service, it selects items for costumers based on style preferences and they can then choose to “shop or skip” that month’s offering.
The poster child of tech unicorns, the software was launched in late 2013 and had 8000 customers within 24 hours. A year later it was worth $1.2bn after raising investment amounting to $120m. In April this year, that valuation more than doubled to $2.8bn. So what is this idea that seemingly prints money? An instant messaging service for the workplace, simple but seriously effective – and it keeps people off Facebook.
Released in 2011, Snapchat has been a smartphone staple since. Sending photos and videos to friends that self-destruct within a maximum of 10 seconds, Snapchat didn’t entirely break new ground but it quickly established itself as a daily form of communication. Over 700million photos a day are now sent on the service and the company has a valuation of roughly $16bn. Co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel is now the youngest billionaire in the world at 25, with fellow founder Bobby Murphy, 27, just behind him.