Running a startup is too difficult especially when you don’t have the manpower. More than manpower, you need able hands to visualize what you’re thinking and help you take the right path. Alas! It is very rare to come across such guides and mentors.
If you already have one, consider yourself lucky! All the startups we are mentioning in this list have had some kind of guiding force, be it in the form of a mentor, a trusted friend, or a supportive family member.
CEO: Mark Pincus
Business Idea: Online/social gaming
Estimated Value: $11 billion
Our Take: Remember Cityville and Farmville? These are the top two online games designed and developed by Zynga. Even I was a Farmville addict for 2 years! Cityville receives about 100 million daily active users.
What I am saying is that the online gaming industry is very large and that there is a large market waiting to absorb creative and mind blowing games like the above. Truly, Zynga has established itself as a standalone leader in the social gaming industry. In 2011, its revenue was approximately $600 million and this year, it is predicted to cross $1.5 billion.
Zynga has close associations with social networking sites like Facebook on which they sustain and provide the users an enriching experience. Its virtual revenue model is surely giving them high returns.
CEO: Andrew Mason
Business Idea: Online daily deals
Estimated Value: $10 billion
Our Take: Clearly, Groupon is the pioneer of the daily deals concept. It is an often used marketing strategy these days like classifieds and other marketing strategies. The concept became so popular that within a year, hundreds of Groupon clones have sprouted up all over the Internet.
The ‘Daily Deal’ revenue model has given the company tremendous growth in the past years. Even though certain experts feel that Groupon would begin to lose its novelty factor given the fact that its IPO stands on shaky ground, I, as a consumer, feel that Groupon has a longer path to tread.
In 2011, its estimated revenue was $3 billion.
CEO: Evan Williams
Business Idea: Micro-messaging service and social networking platform
Estimated Value: $8 billion
Our Take: Who would have thought that 140 character messages would become so powerful of a business strategy, giving thousands of people the opportunity to earn thousands of dollars online?
Twitter continues to enlarge and spread its tentacles wide. Every small, medium and large business has a dedicated twitter accounts promoting its products and services. In 2011, twitter hit 100 million active users and about 250 million tweets are being sent out daily by users.
As with every other knowledgeable online marketer, we too feel that twitter has immense potential as a social media marketing platform and since the online business is booming even in this decade, twitter will survive and make its founders billions.
CEO: Liu Qiangdong
Business Idea: eCommerce in China
Estimated Value: $10 billion
Our Take: We know how the Chinese government has imposed red tape over the Internet, which is why websites like Amazon, Twitter and Facebook are inaccessible there. However, given the fact that eCommerce is a booming industry and also because they didn’t want to lag behind their western counterpart, you have Liu’s 360Buy.com, an eCommerce site solely dedicated to China.
Wal-Mart and Digital Sky Technologies are its investors. The eCommerce site is known as the Amazon of China.
Clearly, this initiative is feeding a huge demand by online shopper and thus, it is likely to sustain itself very well over this decade. As we know, business is all about the niche and it’s USP. The niche and USP of 360Buy.com lies in its geographical restraint imposed by the government.
CEO: Drew Houston
Business Idea: Document, image and video sharing
Estimated Value: $4 billion
Our Take: The reason behind Dropbox success is its unique service – you get to upload and share your documents, images and videos with anyone you want, and store the same in a dedicated cloud server from where they can be recovered anytime and on any device! This is a compact service and that too is free. Yes, it has a premium membership account but you get so much with the free account and people love it – it’s the Dropbox success.
People think that since the cost of cloud computing is getting cheaper, the revenue of Dropbox will take a back seat too but they are very wrong. With decreasing cloud computing prices, Dropbox is also lowering their costs, and in the process, their revenue margin is soaring higher and higher.
Dropbox has immense growth potential as a repository of saving and storing important documents. Think of yourself – won’t you feel like paying for such a private service? Of course, you would!
36. Living Social
CEO: Tim O’Shaughnessy
Business Idea: Social daily deal site
Estimated Value: $3 billion
Our Take: Living Social is an example of selecting a niche within a niche. It is similar to Groupon, which is catering to a niche market. Now within this niche market, Living Social has built a business by zeroing in on a niche within a niche. How?
Living Social is a social daily deal site, which means that it brings promotional codes and discount offers from places which are good places to socialize in your city or town. Its like bringing a group of people together, allowing them to socialize without spending too much.
In 2011, it received $400 million in funding and most likely, it had revenue of $1 billion.
37. Palantir Technologies
CEO: Alexander Carp
Business Idea: Data analysis
Estimated Value: $2.5 billion
Our Take: The Palantir Technologies is an analytical platform, hiring the best minds in the industry to analyze financial data and government information.
The platform is much in demand by large organizations, which is why Business Insider has given it $2.5 billion valuation. In 2011, they earned $100 million approximately.
CEO: Jason Kilar
Business Idea: Online video service
Estimated Value: $1.6 billion
Our Take: It is not big as YouTube but Hulu.com has its own niche market. It is an online video service provider that offers a selection of movies, clips and TV shows.
This shows that in startups, you must never get intimidated by your competitor, YouTube in this case. If you have a strong belief in your idea, go ahead by any means.
In 2011, Hulu.com generated about $500 million, keeping the fact in mind that the website keeps a maximum of 40% in revenues. It came as no surprise that media moguls like Google were trying to buy off Hulu.com but it hasn’t been acquired yet.
CEO: Brian Chesky
Business Idea: Local accommodation available locally
Estimated Value: $1.3 billion
Our Take: The idea behind airbnb.com is one of the best I have heard to date. Suppose you are visiting Singapore for 10 days and you want to rent an apartment. You have no clue about it because it is your first time visit. What do you do? You contact airbnb.com and give them the task of finding a local apartment on a short term rental at your affordable budget. Sound interesting?
Airbnd.com is an innovative service that will look for apartments on a short term rental basis and their services are available globally. If you don’t want to be put up in hotels, this is an alternative option. Quite creative…eh!
In 2011, they had about $500 million in gross merchandise sales. Impressive!
CEO: Pete Flint
Business Idea: Real estate listing giant
Estimated Value: $700 million
Our Take: Trulia.com is speedily taking over Zillow.com and becoming one of the biggest real estate companies in the US. Here, members can buy and sell properties conveniently.
Real estate is another business that never goes out of vogue; hence, if Trulia.com takes their steps right, they have a lot of potential…
There is no report of how much revenue it generated in 2011, insiders say it was more than double from 2010 revenues.
We come to the end of today’s list. While writing this, I noticed something interesting. Almost all the startups are based in California,USA! Hmm…Why? No idea…
Watch out for the final list, followed by some tips to begin your startup business online.