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$1 Billion In Under 5 Years: 12 Hot Tech Startups

December 29, 2014

For a select group of innovative tech startups, 2014 was a very good year. Venture capitalists were lining up to pour money into companies with buzzed-about technology.

ForbesIn its recently released 2015 Tech IPO Pipeline report, research firm CB Insights found 42 privately held companies considered possibilities for a 2015 IPO had raised venture financing this year at an estimated valuation of at least $1 billion. That compares to just 25 startups that hit the $1 billion mark in 2013.

What’s even more interesting is the tender age of many of the startups that made it into the $1 billion club in 2014. Where it once took decades to build a company that’s worth $1 billion, a dozen of this year’s crop of 42 accomplished the feat in 5 years or less. One made it to $1 billion valuation in under two years.

What do these red-hot tech companies have that the rest of the tech-startup wannabes don’t? In many cases, it’s a founding team with a solid-gold track record, or executive experience at the biggest names in online tech. If you’re looking to get into this club, the path looks similar to the famed road to Carnegie Hall: practice. In this case, in online business and entrepreneurship.

Here’s a look at the 12 youngest startups that joined the $1 billion club in 2014, ranked by estimated or actual valuation (fundraising data via Crunchbase):

9. Actifio ($1.1B) — There’s already IPO buzz about advanced data-management firm Actifio, which earlier this month beefed up its management by hiring former LogMeIn CFO Jim Kelliher as chief financial officer. The 5-year-old startup has raised over $207 million, fueled by the perception that it is eating archival EMC’s lunch. Actifio raised $100 million of its funding in March, when early investors Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners Israel, Advanced Technology Ventures, and Technology Crossover Ventures all re-upped. Founder Ash Ashutosh previously started AppIQ, which HP bought in 2005, among others.

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