Technology giants have absolutely skyrocketed in value over the last decade, offering consumers an endless stream of continuously innovative new products – one rolling out after the next. Ten years ago, we saw these massive, growing corporations as heroes that would take human technology into the next era. Nowadays, however, these companies have managed to be embedded into our day-to-day lives like we could never have anticipated – on top of making a lot of investors rich in the process.
Interesting Fact: The founder of the company – Steve Jobs – was actually fired in 1985, when he was 30 years old.
- Founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne on April 1, 1976.
- CEO: Tim Cook
- Employees: 123,000
- Headquarters: Cupertino, CA
- Market Cap: $875.3 billion AND GROWING
- Growth in last ten years: 770%
This company needs no explaining – just watch the Golden Globe-winning 2015 film “Steve Jobs” to get an inside look at the beginnings of this legendary tech giant. This company got its start back in the 70s when its three founders developed the first commercially successful line of personal computers – and eventually launched one of the most successful mobile phones of all time, the iPhone.
Interesting Fact: Amazon.com was almost named Cadabra.com, but it was changed when a lawyer misheard it as “cadaver.”
- Founded by Jeff Bezos on July 5, 1994
- Has Employees: 566,000
- Headquarters: Seattle, WA
- Market Cap: $719.1 billion AND GROWING
- Growth in last ten years: 2020%
Amazon.com is the largest online retailer worldwide today, and it got its start in a garage back in the mid-90s. Jeff Bezos had been the VP of a Wall Street firm before moving to Seattle to start an internet company after feeling like he missed the boat with the online boom. Since then, the company has exploded into groceries, artificial intelligence, and many more innovative services that almost all of us use.
FACEBOOK ( FB)
Interesting Fact: Within just a month of forming, over half of the Harvard student population had already signed up for the platform.
- Founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitzand Chris Hughes on February 4, 2004.
- CEO: Mark Zuckerberg
- Product: Social Network
- Employees: 25,105 AND GROWING
- Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
- Market Cap: $520 billion AND GROWING
- Growth in last ten years: 483%
If you want to understand the beginnings of Facebook, which is one of the most widely-used social media platforms in human history, just watch the movie “The Social Network.” The film is all about the founding of this social network at Harvard University, which also includes depictions of the characters who eventually sued and won for the theft of their original social network idea.
Interesting Fact: While its two founders were grad students at Stanford, they already had a search project called BACKRUB that was hosted on the university’s servers for over a year.
- Founded by: Larry Page and Sergey Brin on October 2, 2015
- CEO: Larry Page
- Product: Conglomerate (Google parent company)
- Employees: 72,053
- Headquarters: Mountain View, California
- Market Cap: $784.2 billion AND GROWING
- Growth in last ten years: 411%
The two co-founders of Google eventually ended up founding Alphabet, Inc, and chose to launch a higher-up umbrella conglomerate to take some of the pressure off of Google – which was in control of a number of subsidiaries until they were passed up to the new parent company. The massive restructuring will certainly go down in corporate history.
Interesting Fact: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has executed nine stock splits since going public.
- CEO: Satya Nadella
- Product: Software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and services
- Founded by: Bill Gates & Paul Allen on April 4, 1975
- Employees: 124,000
- Headquarters: Redmond, Washington
- Market Cap: $ 724.2 billion AND GROWING
- YoY growth: 47%
- Growth in last ten years: 231%
Microsoft was founded back in the mid-70s in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It took about ten years until it completed its Initial Public Offering (IPO), which raised $61 million at the time – famously making Bill Gates super rich. Since then, this has been one of the most reliable tech investments, as we use its software and video games technology all over the world.
Interesting Fact: This wildly popular social media network was almost called Friendstalker instead of Twitter.
- CEO: Jack Dorsey
- Product: Social Media
- Founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone & Evan Williams on March 21, 2006
- Employees: 3,583
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California
- Market Cap: $24.15 billion
- YoY growth: 98%
- Growth in last ten years: -28%
It was long before Twitter became the preferred communication medium of President Donald Trump that it had changed social media (and the world) forever. This platform, where quick thought-bites are tweeted out to followers all over the world, has exploded in popularity and is seen in all sorts of media nowadays. Its growth has lulled in the past couple years, but it looks like it’s starting to make a comeback.
Interesting Fact: The founder, Jack Ma, taught English classes for 5 years at a University where he only earned $12.00 to $15.00 per month.
- CEO: Daniel Zhang
- Product: E-commerce, Internet, AI and Technology
- Founded by Jack Ma & Peng Lei on April 4, 1999
- Employees: 50,092
- Headquarters: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
- Market Cap: $496 billion AND GROWING
- YoY growth: 82%
- Growth in last ten years: 108%
Alibaba is often thought of as the “Chinese Amazon” – but it is much more than that. This company actually delivered the highest-value initial public offering in US history with $21.8 billion raised. Its founder, Jack Ma, is one of the richest people in the world, and one of the most influential in China.
Interesting Fact: The starting pay for most entry-level jobs at Netflix, like positions in call centers, is $18.00 per hour.
- CEO: Reed Hastings
- Product: Streaming Entertainment/Production
- Founded by Reed Hastings & Marc Randolph on August 29, 1997
- Employees: 5,400
- Headquarters: Los Gatos, California
- Market Cap: $124.1 billion
- YoY growth: 104%
- Growth in last ten years: 6259%
Netflix is a company that started out as an innovative DVD-mail-service venture and slowly grew to nearly dominate film and TV on Earth – with its online streaming services, it truly transformed the way that human beings consume entertainment. Nowadays, some of the most popular films and television shows are produced and put directly onto the Netflix platform.
Interesting Fact: This company was actually voted as one of the 10 worst business ideas of 1999.
- CEO: Daniel Schulman
- Product: Online Payments
- Founded by Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, Max Levchin, Peter Thiel & Elon Musk in December 1998
- Employees: 18,100
- Headquarters: San Jose, California
- Market Cap: $95.6 billion
- YoY growth: 89%
- Growth in last ten years: 129%
PayPal went public in 2002, just four years after it was founded – and it got picked up by eBay in the same year of its initial public offering (IPO). It was originally called Coinfinity until it merged with Elon Musk’s X.com back in 2000. Since then, it has become one of the top online payments processors in the world – and we can see their label on tons of e-commerce sites globally.
Interesting Fact: The founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, put $70 million of his own cash into the venture.
- CEO: Elon Musk
- Product: Automobiles & Energy Storage
- Founded by Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, Ian Wright, Elon Musk & JB Straubel on July 1, 2003
- Employees: 33,000
- Headquarters: Palo Alto, California
- Market Cap: $59.5 billion
- YoY growth: 40%
- Growth in last ten years: 1728%
Tesla has been one of the global images of innovative technology and renewable energy since its all-electric sports cars hit the road. Its Model S was the global top seller when it came to plug-in electric cars for both 2015 and 2016, and has since released a crossover as well as its latest model (the Model X). This company’s super-celebrity CEO and founder is probably what this stock is best known for, however.
Interesting Fact: The construction unit of Samsung built the tallest building on Earth – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
- CEO: Kwon Oh Hyun
- Product: Various
- Founded by Lee Byung-chul on March 1, 1938
- Employees: 489,000
- Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
- Market Cap: $285.8 billion
- YoY growth: 23%
- Growth in last ten years: 280%
This is the largest South Korean congolomerate, and one of the largest and most successful tech companies to have ever existed. This company started as a trading company and worked in many sectors until the 60s when it entered the electronics realm. Nowadays, it is one of the top global producers of televisions, smartphones, home appliances, and a number of other popular devices.
Interesting Fact: Salesforce actually created the first App Store before Apple did, even registering the name 3 years before the iTunes giant did.
- CEO: Marc Benioff
- Product: Cloud Computing
- Founded by Marc Benioff & Parker Harris
- Employees: 25,178
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California
- Market Cap: $83 billion
- YoY growth: 43%
- Growth in last ten years: 704%
Salesforce.com is one of the biggest cloud computing companies around, and it actually became the first enterprise cloud computing company in history to rake in $10 billion in yearly revenue – starting in Summer of 2017. It has grown spectacularly since its 2004 IPO, which even got an investment from Nancy Pelosi – the current minority leader in the US House of Representatives.
LinkedIn ( acquired by Microsoft)
Interesting Fact: The likelihood of your Linkedin profile getting viewed is 11 times higher if you have a profile picture.
- CEO: Jeff Weiner
- Product: Professional Social Network
- Founded by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly & Jean-Luc Vaillant on December 28, 2002
- Employees: 9,372
- Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California
- Market Cap: $26.2 billion AND GROWING
If you have applied for a job online in the last ten years, then you know exactly what LinkedIn is – the social network for the professional networking scene. This employment-focused platform has more than 500 million users in over 200 countries, and has grown to become a household name as well as a leading way for people to find jobs. Microsoft snapped LinkedIn up in a $26.4 billion acquisition in 2016.
Interesting Fact: This company once offered UberKITTENS, which allowed riders in many US cities to have the option of purchasing cuddle time with real-life cats in sets of 15 minutes.
- CEO: Dara Khosrowshahi
- Product: Peer-to-Peer Ride Sharing Platform
- Founded by Travis Kalanick & Garrett Camp in March 2009
- Employees: 12,000
- Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
- Market Cap: $69 billion
It was actually called UberCab for the first two years of its existence – but now the word “Uber” is a global household name. People in cities all over the world rely on this peer-to-peer ride sharing service – and a ton of people make their living as drivers in the global ecosystem. They are supposedly going to do anIPO in 2019.
Interesting Fact: Even though it’s the biggest accommodation provider in the world, Airbnb doesn’t own any actual real estate.
- CEO: Brian Chesky
- Product: Peer-to-peer travel lodging platform
- Founded by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia & Nathan Blecharczyk in August 2008
- Employees: 3,100
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California
- Market Cap: $31 billlion
Much like most of the tech companies on this list, Airbnb launched a successful product years ago that has transformed an entire feature of the global economy. This time, though, it’s with the short-term lodging sector. With this peer-to-peer platform, users can stay in other people’s homes instead of a hotel or other type of accommodation. While Airbnb is planning on going public, the CEO just announced that it won’t be happening in 2018.
Interesting Fact: This project was launched accidentally – when Drew Houston found a quick personal solution to forgetting his USB drives with important data saved on them.
- CEO: Drew Houston
- Product: Web-based file hosting
- Founded by Drew Houston & Arash Ferdowsi in June 2007
- Employees: 1,858
- Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
- Market Cap: $10 billion
This file-sharing giant began as a simple startup back in 2007 – when two MIT students decided to launch it. It was once valued as one of the most expensive startups on Earth, and it has won a number of awards and other types of recognition as an innovative venture. This type of online file sharing was a major step in our technological evolution, and it spurred the eventual creation of cloud file sharing.
Interesting Fact: The founder of Slack Technologies also founded Flickr.
CEO: Stewart Butterfield
Product: Collaborative Software
Founded by Stewart Butterfield, Eric Costello, Cal Henderson & Serguei Mourachov in 2009
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Market Cap: $5.1 billion
This Canadian software firm’s main management team members came from a company called Ludicorp, which built the popular Flickr website. Thanks to some angel funding (partially from Accel Partners), back when the company was still called Glitch. Glitch failed and was renamed Slack Technologies in 2014 – when it became the popular real-time collaboration platform used all over the world today.