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LinkedIn: Here Are The Top 10 Startups In 2018

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Ride-sharing startup Lyft is basking under a robust year. After snagging a valuation that crossed a pretty $15B, Lyft has also won the top spot on LinkedIn’s list that ranked top startups in the US this year.

Lyft’s biggest competitor stole the show last year—Uber was ranked first in the list, but the company didn’t make it to the list this year.

LinkedIn analyzed young companies that were less than seven years old and privately-held, with 50+ employees.

After gauging user metrics like account activity of a massive list of 575M members, employment growth and engagement, the company arrived at the list which encompasses some of the best breakthrough startups around the world.

Here are the top 10 startups that made the list.

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These 22-Year-Olds Built A $2B+ Business In 2 Years

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It all started with a legal threat from Apple from jailbreaking a phone. It ended with a $2.6B business, built in two years by two Brazilian college dropouts.

A little over a year ago, Pedro Franceschi and Henrique Dubugras, then 22, announced a $125M Series C for Brex, a payment business, securing them a $1.1B valuation.

Then just last summer, the pair raised an additional $100M, bringing the valuation to $2.6B.

“Brex is … one of the most exciting starts we’ve ever seen,” venture capitalist and investor Somesh Dash said in a statement.

This feat made the duo the youngest unicorn founders in history, as well as one of the fastest-growing companies in history. Brex was founded in the winter of 2017. And it only launched publicly in June 2018.

How did that happen?!

Unsurprisingly, both Brazilian-born young men grew up coding and it has fueled their success.

Pedro became the first person to jailbreak the iPhone 3G and later helped bring Siri—Apple’s voice assistance—into the Portuguese language. 

At 14, he had already built a successful online game but was forced to shut it down once Apple came knocking with threatening legal letters.

“I’ve had two failed attempts, one successful attempt and one on the way to being a successful attempt,” CEO Henrique Dubugras told TechCrunch in an interview.

While Pedro was getting sued by Apple before hitting puberty, Henrique was programming video games and coding at 12 and later went on to meet Henrique on Twitter. 

Then what?

When both were 16, they founded Pagar.me, which was the first developer-friendly payments processor to be introduced to Brazil. 

They went on to raise $30M and grew a team of over 100 people before selling the company. They then enrolled in Stanford University, spending just eight months there. 

“We wanted to come to Silicon Valley to build stuff because everything here seemed so big and so cool,” Dubugras said.

Before leaving, the co-founders were under the impression the payment problems they had addressed for Brazil didn’t exist in the US. So they aimed to start a virtual reality startup instead called Beyond, later entering YCombinator.

“I think three weeks in we gave it up,” Dubugras said. “We realized we aren’t the right founders to start this business.”

Instead, the duo decided to do what they were good at—payments. So, they pivoted and used their experience to form Brex, a company that issues corporate cards for startups in the tech space.

YC gave them a $120K seed investment to back their vision, and they went on to collaborate with  Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, PayPal’s co-founders, and two giants in the payment space.

So what does Brex do exactly?

In a nutshell, Brex is a system for founders. One, it provides businesses a consolidated look at their spending. At the end of each month, for example, a CEO can easily see how much the entire company spent on Uber.

In addition, Brex can give entrepreneurs a credit limit up to 10 times what they’d receive through traditional channels. Brex also issues virtual credit cards moments after completing an online application.

“We have a very similar effect of what Stripe had in the beginning, but much faster because Silicon Valley companies are very good at spending money but making money is harder,” Dubugras explained.

The idea has proven beyond viable, with the company increasing its monthly revenue sixfold in the short time between October 2018 and June 2019, and they show no signs of slowing down. 

So what’s next?

According to the founders, Brex will launch a rewards program built with the needs and spending patterns of founders in mind. Next, the goal is to figure out how to grow the business’s client base beyond only tech startups.

“We want to dominate corporate credit cards,” Dubugras said. “We want every single company in the world, whenever they do businesses expenses, to do it on a Brex card.”

 

Featured Image Credit: Brex

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Entrepreneurs

NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Passes Away At 41

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NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away earlier today in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA, according to various reports. Four other passengers, including 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died in the crash as well.

TMZ was first with the news.

The news comes as a shock to not only the basketball community, but worldwide.

Since retiring in 2016, Bryant had reinvented himself as a venture capitalist, raising $100M in 2016 for a fund that’s had made a number of successful startup investments, including Epic Games, the company behind the Fortnite craze.

As of Sept. 2019, Bryant Stibel had $2B in assets under management, invested in 28 companies, 10 exits, with three of them—Dell, Alibaba and National Vision—going public.

 

“It’s finding that winning company as an investor,” Bryant said when asked about what excited him the most: hitting the winning shot in the playoffs or finding a winning company as an investor. “Because I always expected to hit a game-winning shot growing up.”

Overall, roughly a third of the 19 active companies in the portfolio is worth more than $1B.

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and three daughters, including a six-month old, born in June of last year. Along with a legacy that will live forever.

Rest in peace, Mamba.

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Here’s How Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Starts His Day

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Apple has became a trillion-dollar company. Despite the tech giant’s great numbers, how does its CEO Tim Cook actually start his day?

In a recent Axios interview, Cook revealed he starts each day just before 4 a.m. with a strict morning routine.

What that consists of might surprise you: He reads user comments about Apple products.

“I like to take the first hour and go through user comments and things like this that sort of focus on the external people that are so important to us,” Cook says.

In other words, he reads comments from fans, trolls and everything in between.

You’d think the CEO never bothers to read stuff like that; that he’d have an assistant ready to give him the rundown.

“And then I go to the gym and work out for an hour because it keeps my stress at bay.”

Workouts can be super critical. Billionaires and other successful entrepreneurs cite fitness as a key component to their success (and overall sanity).

“I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life),” Branson once wrote in a blog post. “If I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness.”

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