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The 36 Most Valuable Start-ups on Earth

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A new interactive chart from The Wall Street Journal's ace Scott Austin ranks these billion-dollar startups using data from Dow Jones VentureSource. Today there are about three-dozen such companies in the U.S., Europe and China. 

A billion dollars isn’t cool anymore. More than half of the companies are valued at $2 billion or more. And the exclusivity is fading: since November, three companies have joined the club (storage equipment maker , payments service Stripe and messaging app Snapchat) while another three (music-streaming service Spotify and online storage companies Boxand Dropbox) have raised funding at multi-billion dollar valuations.

Before you scream “Bubble!” know that most of these companies are in better financial shape then peers from the dot-com boom era. A few pre-revenue startups, such as Snapchat and scrapbooking site Pinterest, have crept into the club. But a large share of them are making real revenue – see Dropbox and its $200 million in annual sales –even if you question the valuation metrics.

Here’s a startling stat—the U.S. membership is larger than during the dot-com bubble years of 1999 and 2000, when there were 18 companies, according to VentureSource. Today, there are least 25 startups valued at $1 billion or more in the U.S.—19 alone in the past two years.

In China, the lineup is dominated by online companies – such as retailers Jingdong andVANCL, search engine Sogou and restaurant-review site Dianping – capitalizing on a surging Internet population. But it is a smartphone maker, Xiaomi, that is one of the world’s most valuable venture-backed companies at $10 billion.

Zalando, a German retail giant, tops the European list at about $5 billion, followed by Spotify and Mobileye, a maker of vehicle-collision warnings systems.

Yeah, revenue multiples would have been useful. Why is Workday so valuable?

SAAS valuations chart 2014

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