The idea is that anyone who completes one of udacity's nine nanodegrees — which include front-end web developer, Android developer, and data analyst — will be perfectly primed to get a job, since big companies actually helped design the curriculum. Over 10,000 students from 168 countries have enrolled in the nanodegree program, and in November the company raised a $105 million Series D round to continue scaling that growth.
Cofounded by Groupon founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, Uptake is a billion-dollar Internet of Things startup. The company provides analytics for major industries, with the eventual goal of helping industries like gas and construction cut costs. One of the company's biggest partnerships is with Caterpillar Inc.
“Eliminating unplanned downtime is the aspiration of the industrial Internet,” Keywell, uptake's CEO, told Fortune earlier this year. “The benefit is not tens of millions of dollars, it’s hundreds of millions of dollars of increased revenue and profitability.” The Chicago-based startup has more than 300 employees.
Valuation: $1.2 billion
DraftKings is a $1.2 billion daily-fantasy-sports site that lets its users bet real money on their teams. You may have seen its ubiquitous TV advertisements telling you about how some of its members have cashed out crazy sums of money using DraftKings.
The startup is also mired in controversy: Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that a DraftKings employee admitted to "inadvertently releasing data before the start of the third week of N.F.L. games." That same week, the employee won $350,000 at FanDuel, DraftKings' biggest competitor in the daily-fantasy-sports business.
DraftKings, Boston-based startup, has raised $375 million in venture capital funding from investors like MLB's venture arm, Melo7 Tech partners, the NHL, and Redpoint Ventures.
In October, Jet changed its business model and dropped its $50 membership fee it once proposed would be its sole source of profit. Lore previously said Jet doesn't plan to reach scale or profitability until 2020, when the company projects to have 15 million paying customers and $20 billion in sales.
Oscar wants to transform the healthcare industry by creating a better user experience when it comes to health insurance. It launched publicly in 2013 and had more than 40,000 customers across New York and New Jersey as of April, with plans to launch in Texas and California.
Valuation: $1.7 billion
Jessica Alba, an actress, mother, and entrepreneur, cofounded The Honest Company because she couldn't find any high-quality eco-friendly baby products when she was a new mom.
"I wanted clean, safe, effective products that were affordable and beautifully designed and I couldn't find that in the marketplace ... There wasn't really a family brand that spoke to me as a young mom," Alba said on Jimmy Fallon this past January.
Online lending startup Avant is one of two Chicago-based "unicorn" startups founded within the past five years. Avant targets subprime borrowers — people with lower credit scores. Its average borrower's credit score is 650, and their borrowers' average income is between $40,000 and $100,000.
This year, the company is expected to generate $275 million in revenue. Last year, it generated $75 million.
Valuation: $2 billion
Blue Apron, a company that makes cooking easy by delivering perfectly proportioned ingredients and recipes straight to your door, is a godsend for lazy cooks.
Often dubbed "Uber for groceries," Instacart eliminates the need to ever set food in a grocery store. For $3.99 plus your bill, the service will deliver your full load of groceries, hand-picked by a personal shopper at local stores like Whole Foods and Costco.
The startup notably brought in a $220 million round of funding last December, following a $44 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz in June. And it's still on the rise: Instacart is in 18 states and Washington DC, and plans to continue growing in those places while expanding to others.
Valuation: $2.5 billion
Green's Lyft is a laid-back, fist-bumping, pink-mustachioed alternative to Uber. Lyft launched three years ago in San Francisco and had expanded to more than 60 cities across the US. Before there was Lyft, Green was the cofounder and CEO of the ride-sharing community Zimride.
Lyft has raised an eye-popping $1.01 billion in funding from Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, Floodgate, AFSquare, and more, at a valuation of $2.5 billion. To expand its footprint globally, the company has a number of strategic partnerships with ride-hailing companies like China's Didi Kuaidi, Singapore's GrabTaxi, and India's Ola.
"We want to be Google AdWords for the retailer," Szulczewski said. Wish has been described as the e-commerce company Fab was supposed to be. It sells cheap but stylish products by optimizing social channels like Facebook. Its layout resembles Pinterest, but on Wish everything is for sale, and you'll be hard-pressed to find an item that costs more than $25.
The company has reportedly raised close to $600 million and been valued at $3 billion or more by investors. But it hasn't gotten much press because CEO Peter Szulczewski doesn't want or need any. When we first reached out to Szulczewski, in December 2014, he wrote that he was "humbled and a bit surprised" to find himself on Business Insider's radar, since he and the company "try to keep a very low profile."
Valuation: $4 billion
Lending company Social Finance (often known as SoFi) raised $1 billion in September, helping establish CEO Mike Cagney's endeavor as one of the best-funded startups in Silicon Valley. The fundraising was the biggest financing round by any company in the fintech industry.
SoFi is up against other online lenders and brick-and-mortar banks alike. So far this year, the startup has lined up more than $4 billion in loans. That accounts for roughly 80% of its $5 billion in loans issued since its launch in fall 2011. Cagney believes there's a lot more room for its origination platform to grow.
Valuation: $4.5 billion
Zenefits, a startup aimed at making administrative tasks such as payroll and benefits easier, is shaping up to be one of the fastest-growing cloud companies ever, in revenue and number of users.
Snapchat has received $1.19 billion in funding after 8 rounds from investors including Alibaba, Kleiner Perkins, Coatue Management, IVP, Benchmark, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. This year, the company has unveiled its first revenue product, Discover, which lets a selected group of partnering media companies air daily content on Snapchat.