2012 hosted many tech companies accomplishing impressive milestones. Being an entrepreneur who co-founded RockThePost, the crowdfunding platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs, I am deeply embedded in the tech scene. There were several companies that stood out and made headlines that I would like to highlight. Below is a list of the tech companies that, from my humble opinion, deserve to be in the “hall of fame” of 2012. The list is based on exits, valuations by A+++ investors and rapid growth.
The popular photo sharing app had one of the best exits this year. The company got acquired by Facebook for approximately $1billion in cash and stock. The company set download records when it was released to the Android market with over 100 million loyal users by September 2012. With no marketing budget, Instagram relied on its fans to spread the word.
The company was created and launched in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Cheyenne Foster. By December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users. In June 2011 Instagram announced it had 5 million users and it passed ten million in September of the same year.
The website lets people with extra space rent it out to travelers. The company has a simple pricing model where Airbnb takes a 6% to 12% fee from the guest and a 3% fee from the host.
The site was founded in August 2008 by Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. In July 2012, the company had over 200,000 listings in more than 26,000 cities and present in 192 countries with over 1,000,000 hosts and travellers on its platform.
Moreover, this year the company was rumored to have valuations of over $2.5 billion when news of Peter Thiel potentially becoming an investor hit the street.
GitHub is a social coding startup that lets developers share code and offering hosting for projects. GitHub offers both paid plans for private repositories, and free accounts for open source projects.
GitHub Inc. was founded in 2008 and is based in San Francisco, California. During the first year that GitHub was online, it accumulated 46,000 public repositories, 17,000 of them in the previous month alone. At that time, about 6,200 repositories had been forked at least once and 4,600 merged. On 19 December 2012, GitHub announced it had over 2.8 million users hosting over 4.6 million repositories
Andreessen Horowitz, believed in the concept so much that it made its largest-ever investment in the company. The company has over 2 million users that have used its service and over $99 million in venture funding.
This online retail site handpicks its merchandise, letting shoppers look for items that are a little more unique than mass-market stores. It is the world’s fastest growing e-commerce site, having grown from 175,000 members at launch in June 2011, to over 10 million as of December 2012.
Fab was founded in February 2010 by CEO Jason Goldberg (formerly of XING AG, socialmedian, and Jobster) and Chief Design Officer Bradford Shellhammer. The site was originally created as a social network before pivoting on June 9, 2011 into its current model of daily design inspirations and sales
This year the company was able to raise over $100 million in venture funding.
Square allows individuals and businesses to accept credit card payments on mobile phones, by using either a plug-in device or entering the card’s details on the phone. Square charges a fee of 2.75% on every credit card transaction.
The original inspiration for Square came to Jack Dorsey in 2009. Square was co-founded by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey, and was introduced in early 2010. The company has currently over 400 employees.
The company’s valuation in September 2012 was $3.25 billion dollars.
Uber is a San Francisco-based company that has made calling a car convenient. A luxury town car experience is only a click away on the Uber app. All charges go directly to credit cards without cash or additional paperwork needed.
The company was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. Uber’s pricing is similar to metered taxis. If the Uber car is travelling at a speed greater than 11 mph, the price is calculated on a distance basis. Otherwise, the price is calculated on a time basis. Prices are about 50% to 75% higher than prices charged by conventional taxicabs.
With almost $50 million in venture funding and due to its increasing demand, in July 2012, the company entered the UK market.
ZocDoc helps people schedule doctor appointments online and has been expanding quickly, attracting lots of capital to reach $95 million in funding, and adding killer new features like ZocDoc Check-In.
The release to the public was back in 2007 during the TechCrunch40 conference. Initially limited to Manhattan, the service used by more than 2 million people per month and has further expanded to cover 40% of the U.S. population. Their model is very simple as ZocDoc charges every practice $250 per month to list appointments
In September 2012, the company announced the closing of their Series C round of funding from Goldman Sachs, bringing the total round to $75 million. Before this last round, the company had a valuation of $700 million.
Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies. Etsy.com is considered the eBay for arts and crafts industry. Crafts that are homemade and handmade. This platform is ideal for stay-at-home moms and retired people.
The platform was launched in June 2005. Etsy makes money by charging a listing fee of 20 cents for each item and getting 3.5% of every sale.
In December 2010, Etsy said it had seven million registered users and predicted $400 million in transactions for the year, and that it would continue to focus on a personal community feel as it grows larger, as that is part of what distinguishes it from eBay. In 2010, Etsy saw revenues increase from $180 million to $314 million.
In May 2012, Etsy raised $40M in Series F funding.
Rent the Runway
This company manages to rent luxury fashion at a fraction of the actual cost. The renter chooses an item, wears it and then returns it. It is perfect if you are looking for high-end clothes for special occasions.
The company was founded by two Harvard Business School graduates, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Carter Fleiss and launched in November 2009. As of December 2011, over 1.5 million members had signed up..
In 2011, Rent the Runway had approximately $20 million in revenues and $6 million in 2010.
The company offers some of the world’s largest brands social media solutions. The Buddy Media social marketing suite helps brands build powerful connections globally.
Buddy Media was founded in 2007. One of the founders Michael Lazerow, Lazerow, is considered a thought leader in digital media. Having already started four successful companies, he was named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in the New York region for 2011.
Buddy Media was acquired by Salesforce this year on a deal valued at over $800 million. Shortly after he signed the deal, Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow made an inspiring YouTube video. He explained in the video that the near-death experience changed his life entirely, helping him realize that he needed to start living fearlessly.