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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

Just one year later, Uber and Xiaomi are each worth more than $40 billion:

Also, Snapchat is now worth $19 billion, Palantir $15 billion, SpaceX $12 billion, Pinterest $11 billion.

Flipkart is worth $11 billion and I had not even heard of that company till this article. 

Airbnb and Dropbox are looking to raise money at a $20 billion valuation.