It’s been a great year in the world of business from new start-ups to record breaking IPOs. Below you’ll find our list of the top 30 entrepreneurs of 2012. Each individual demonstrated their dedication and hard work and rose above all others to build and grow incredible companies that serves millions of customers each and every day – from social networks and music applications to cloud services and blogs, we announce the 30 most influential entrepreneurs of 2012.
Be sure to share your thoughts on our list of top 30.
The numbers: $75 -$100 billion after IPO.
Since it’s introduction to the world in 2004, Facebook has grown into one of the most influential companies of our time. At a time when MySpace was top dog in social networking, Mark Zuckerberg was able innovate and build his company into an empire worth $100 billion dollars with over 800 million users and growing. Today Facebook can be found everywhere on the web – from smartphones and tablets to millions of websites implementing marketing strategies to increase their “Likes” and attract new users to their brand and business. Zuckerberg has an estimated worth of over a billion dollars earning the title of youngest billionaire of all time. He was also named Person of the Year for 2010 by Time magazine.
The numbers: $808 million funding.
LivingSocial is a social commerce platform offering deals to customers who save up to 90 percent on their restaurants, spas, sporting events, hotels, and other local attractions in major cities across the United States. Today it is the second largest social group buying website claiming the rank as top 100 websites in the U.S. LivingSocial continues to grown and invest in acquisitions of over $350 million to date. It was founded by Tim O’Shaughnessy, Eddie Frederick,Val Aleksenko, and Aaron Batalion in 2007.
The numbers: $71.4 million in funding.
Foursquare was founded by Naveen with his partner Dennis Crowley in March of 2009. Today it has grown to a social networking company with 15 million users strong and over $600 million dollars in valuation. Foursquare is considered top dog when it comes to location based social networking even earning their founders celebrity status and appearances in national advertisements with major retailer, Gap.
The numbers: $125 million in funding.
Karp is a young entrepreneur who founded Tumblr in 2007 with savings from a job he previously held in the software industry. Today Tumblr has over 2 million daily posts, and rapidly growing with 15,000 new users each day. Tumbler employs 85 individuals and is ranked in the top 50 websites in the world by Alexa. Tumblr has over 44.3 million blogs and 15 billion monthly pageviews.
Aaron Levie & Dylan Smith
Age: 26 & 25
The numbers: $159 million in funding.
Levie and Smith would never have imagined that a college business class project would turn into a venture worth millions. Today Box.net has millions of users using their cloud storage service across multiple platforms including Android, Apple’s iOS, Rim’s Blackberry, and the now defunct HP WebOS. Box.net offers its 8 million customers, secure cloud storage and collaboration tools. Their service allows for content to be shared across multiple plaforms and that is accessed and shared in any format on any internet ready device. Their company has a staff of over 225 people.
The numbers: $183 million funding.
Spotify is the newest and most successful music software application that allows for instant streaming and listening to a massive collection of music with zero buffer delays. Spotify was started in the fall of 2008 and gained over 10 million users by September of 2010. It was introduced in the United States in mid-2011 and has enjoyed great success and continues to grow monthly.
Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk
Age: 29, 29, 28
The numbers: $120 million in funding.
Airbnb is an online service that helps room seekers find temporary and vacation accommodations from those with a spare room to rent It was started by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk in 2008 and has now grown to a successful business with over 100,000 listings in 16,000 cities across the world. It’s services are used in 186 countries and is continuing to grow with accumulated funding of over $120 million.
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi
Age: 28, 25
The numbers: $257 million in funding.
Dropbox is a leading cloud storage company that allows its users to store files of any format and access such files on any devices connected with Dropbox. The company was founded by fellow MIT students, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in 2007. Determined to create a service that would allow users to bring all their files into one single place without the use of email attachments and added hassles, they grew their company to over 25 million registered users and counting. Files are shared at a staggering rate of over 10 million files every hour.
Jennifer Carter Fleiss
Company: Rent the Runway
The numbers: $30 million in funding with 1.5 million members.
Rent the Runway is a unique membership website that specializes in luxurious designer apparel and accessories rentals on a 4 to 8 day rental periods. Founded by two Harvard Business School grads, Jennifer Hymen and Jennifer Carter Fleiss, the company received $30 million and is amongst top 25 thousand websites in the world. Their business launched in November of 2009 and has a staggering 25,000 dresses and accessories to choose from. They also work with over 165 designers including Vera Wang and Calvin Klein.
The numbers: $11 million in funding.
Quora was the creation of two former Facebook employees, Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever who quit their jobs to start Quora in January of 2010. D’Angelo was inspired to create Quora because he felt that: “Q A is one of those areas on the internet where there are a lot of sites, but no one had come along and built something that was really good yet.” Today with just 34 employees, the companies projected valuation is near one billion dollars.
Cathrine and David Cook
Age: 21 & 23
The numbers: Acquired for $100 million.
MyYearBook.com was created by young entrepreneurs, Cathrine and David Cook and quickly grew as one of the top websites for teens. Since it’s launch 6 years ago, they now generate 1.2 billion monthly page views with over 20 million users. Before selling the company for $100 million, they raised $17 million in financing from investors.
The numbers: $30.6million in funding.
Matt Mullenweg is considered one of the most influential entrepreneurs for bloggers and publishers. His widely popular platform, WordPress is used by over 20 million blogs to date. Since it’s launch in 2003, WordPress became the most popular and most preferred blogging platform running top sites like Mashable, Huffington Post, and our very own Expert Launch. Autmattic also offers other web based products including Akismet, Polldaddy, IntenseDebate, Gravatar, VideoPress, After the Deadline, and WordPress VIP Hosting.
The numbers: $33.5 million in funding.
RadiumOne is a social currency platform that connects advertisers with publishers and digital consumers. Currently the company connects over 2 billion consumers with advertising partners utilizing both desktop and mobile internet devices. Gurbaksh founded the company in 2009. He is no stranger to the advertising business, having sold two companies – one aat $40 million and another for $300 million.
The numbers: 50+million monthly page views.
Mashable is the leading blogging sites covering and reporting on “All that’s new on the web.” Cashmore started the site in 2005 and Mashable is currently is ranked 205 in the world according to Alexa. His site is larger than TechCrunch and Huffington Post which sold for $25 – $40 million to AOL. His companies projected worth is in the millions.
Michael Seibel, Emmett Shear, Justin Kan and Kyle Vogt
Age: 28, 28, 28, 26
The numbers: 41 million+ monthly visitors.
Justin.tv was started by four entrepreneurs and has grown to become the largest live streaming websites in the world. The platform streams over 50 million hours of videos each month and currently has over 41 million users each month. The platform continues to grow holding a strong popularity with fans and artists worldwide.
The numbers: Companies valued at over $100 million.
Matt is a classic example of a model entrepreneur. At the young age of just 14, he launched his first website, sitepoint.com which was created to educate web developers. Quickly the site grew in popularity into a multi million dollar company without any investments. He went on to follow up on his success with launching 99designs.com generating over a 1,000,000 in designer payouts each month. His latest company is called flippa.com, founded in 2009. Flippa.com generates over $2 million dollars in payouts each month.
The numbers: $50M+ in revenues.
Thrillist is a blog and newsletter dedicated to men’s lifestyle founded in 2004 by Ben Lerer. The newsletter currently has 3 million subscribers generating revenues at $50 million annually. The site is ranked as the top 15,000 sites worldwide. His company has a projected revenue of $100 million with a possible IPO in the future. Lerer also runs a venture firm, Lerer Ventures.
The numbers: $25.8 million in funding.
Scribd is a social publishing website founded by Trip Adler. Adler was able to raise over $25 million in funding and is ranked 253 of all websites in the world according to Alexa. The company employs 40 people and publishes over 10 million written documents including books, magazines, research projects, recipes, and presentations just to name a few. Scribd is currently used by today’s top companies including The New York Times, USA Today, TechCrunch, and Guardian.
Eric Koger & Susan Gregg Koger
Age: 27 & 26
The numbers: $19.8million in funding.
ModCloth.com was founded by Eric and Susan Koger and specializes in vintage-inspired fashion. The company raised just under $20 million in funding and had revenues over $15 million with 138 employees staffed.
Hayley Barna & Katia Beauchamp
Age: 27, 28
The numbers: $11.9million in funding.
BirchBox was founded by Hayley Barna & Katia Beauchamp and offers monthly subscription services of beauty product samples. The site hosts published content and an e-commerce website. Their company received just under $12 million in funding and currently has over 45,000 subscribers. The company launched just over a year ago in September 2010.
David Gorodyansky and Eugene Malobrodsky
Age: 29, 29
The numbers: 7.5million monthly users.
Anchorfree is the worlds first ad sponsored virtual private network. Currently the services is used by 7.5 million users across 100 countries. The service is used for secure web browsing and is currently the only free way to ensure privacy and anonymity on the world wide web. The service works with desktops, laptops, and all mobile devices including Android and iPhone.
The numbers: $50 million in revenues.
iContact was created by Ryan Allis and Aaron Houghton in 2003 as a service targeted to small business owners to manage their email marketing projects. Utilizing Google Adwords, the company has grown to 70,000 users and 300 staff members. Ryan also wrote Zero to One Million, a book that earned bestselling status on the Wall Street Journal.
Junaid Shams and Ahmed Khattak
Company: GSM Nation
Age: 25, 25
The numbers: $35 million+ in revenues.
GSM Nation was launched in March 2010 to offer customers cheaper cellular service saving hundreds of dollars each year. The two entrepreneurs launched their website using $150,000 in savings and support from friends and family. They were also chosen as finalists in Business Weeks Top Young Entrepreneurs award.
Alexa von Tobel
The numbers: $24.5 million in funding.
LearnVest was launched in 2009 with a focus on helping young women make better financial decisions. Thus far the company has raised $24.5 million in venture funding with a experienced team including former executives from Huffington Post and DailyCandy. Upon launch, LearnVest secured $1.1 million in revenue with over 100,000 members.
The numbers: $23.3 million in funding.
Quirky is an innovative company with an incredible passion for helping turn ideas into reality. It’s the only company of its kind and focuses on industrial design, branding, and manufacturing. Through their website they use feedback to determine which ideas turn into reality and which ones become a faded memory of our past. With $23 million in funding and partnerships with major brands like OfficeMax, Target, and Amazon they are surely destined to grow and succeed – plus help entrepreneurs achieve their dream.
The numbers: $50 million in revenues.
Matthew Corrin founded Freshii in 2005 with a vision of creating fast food that’s fresh, custom made, healthy, and environmentally sustainable. Today the company employs 500 employees and can be found in 35 stores worldwide. Matthews company has grown to generating $50 million in annual revenue.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger
Age: 25, 27
The numbers: $7.5 million in funding.
Instagram is a smartphone application that allows users to take pictures, edit photos, and share across a variety of social networking websites. The application features impressive customization and ease of use. Since launching in October 2010, the company has 12 million users and hundreds of millions photos shared.
The numbers: $64.8 million in funding.
2thor is an educational company founded by John Katzman, founder of Princeton Review, and Jeremy Johnson in 2008. Their company provides tools and resources to top universities including USC, UNC, and Georgetown implementing online educational programs. Currently 2thor has raised nearly $65 million in funding.
Siamak Taghaddos, David Hauser
The numbers: $15 million in revenues.
Grasshopper was founded by Siamak Taghaddos, David Hauser in 2003 in an effort to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their ideas into reality. Since opening it’s doors the company has helped 100,000 entrepreneurs and currently staffs 45 employees.
Nick Friedman & Omar Soliman
Company: College Hunks Hauling Junk
Age: 27, 27
The numbers: $10M+ in revenues (acquired).
College Hunks Hauling Junk is a unique company that has grown into a franchise specializing in removing peoples unwanted junk. They have grown into a $10 million in revenues with 38 franchises and 654 employees. The company was bought by 1-800-JUNK-USA in August 2011. Nick and Omar were also featured on ABC’s Shark Tank.