Top 20 Startups of All Time [INFOGRAPHIC]

What makes a startup truly great?

Well, it isn’t how cool their office is or how many twitter followers they have. And it certainly isn’t the number of lines of code written. So how, then, do we measure the success of a startup?

Top 20 Startups InfographicCapitalization & growth are two indicators that we like to look at for startups in the Verge community. But those two factors don’t tell the whole story. There’s also social, cultural, and industry impact to consider.

What’s the value of a technology or brand in its community?  What is its lasting impact on the world?

These are tough things to measure, so our team set out to sort through more than 906,000 companies that could have been considered a startup at some point in time. We used resources like BrandZ’s Top 100 brands lists to narrow our search and combined multiple data sources to create our definitive list:

The Top 20 Startups of All Time

Sifting through the financial data of the public companies was the easy part. Placing a value on qualitative areas was a bit trickier.

Top 20 Startups All TimeTo learn more about our methodology in creating The Top 20 Startups of All Time, check out the video at the top of the interactive infographic below. We’ll be launching more videos on the Verge YouTube channel with deep dives into each of the Top 20 Startups. Click through to subscribe to our channel if you want to keep up with us.

If you want to fact-check us, or contribute to The Top 20 Startups study, you can click through to our citations spreadsheet and checkout the resources we utilized to determine these ranking.

Do you think we’ve got these companies listed in the right order?  Did we leave anyone out?  Let us know what you think in our comments section or tweet out your observation with the hashtag #VergeStartups.

Top 20 Startups of All Time [Infographic and Video Below…]

The infographic below is interactive and pulls a lot of data. Thanks for being patient while it loads 🙂

Want to post this on your own site? Grab the embed code below:

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About Matt Hunckler
Matt Hunckler
Matt's a founder and organizer at Verge. He's a connecter, writer, and habitual start-upper.
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  • Dubious

    Interesting list. While attempting this undertaking was clearly a large project, I would argue that this list is really, with a couple of exceptions, a “top 20 Internet startup list”.

    So Zynga and Rovio made it, but lesser known startups like Cisco and Intel didn’t? Or how about Ford? Do they not count as a startup? If you don’t think so I believe Henry might disagree.

    I’m really surprised you put HP on here, considering the rest of the list. While they have a great history and great name recognition, is there any product category, other than overpriced ink, that they are a leader in?

    While it’s a very interesting list, it is very skewed to the Internet and software world. (And frankly, where would that be without Intel?) There are a lot of other cool, big companies that used to be startups out there, too bad you missed them.

    • Indy-preneur

      I have to agree. If a startup is, as the video says, a business built with a “repeatable and scale-able business model,” then I would think that all of the major auto, biotech, and manufacturing companies would get to throw their hat in the ring. Would be interested to see how their early numbers stack up to software startups

    • TimHickle

      “If you need major industrial infrastructure to get off the ground, we did not consider you a startup.” That sentence could account for the omission of some of those other companies. Would be interested to see how many of those companies like Cisco, Intel, and Ford looked like from an industrial infrastructure standpoint early on. Thinking of Ford today, it seems obvious that a large amount of industrial infrastructure is necessary, but in the beginning, I’m not sure.

  • One thing I noticed. All male. I hope the next list will have some female founders on it 🙂