The 20 Greatest Startups of All Time [Infographic]

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Sunset at Mt. Everest
What makes a startup truly great?

Is it how quickly (or for how much) you sell? Is it profits? Number of users? Social or cultural impact?

Well, yes.

rsz_incontentad2Our friends at Verge Startups put together an infogrpahic that outlines the top 20 startups of all time. They took into consideration economic factors like market cap and bottom line revenue, but they also considered the cultural impact the company has made.

You’ll see the obvious on the list: Apple, Google, Facebook. But they aren’t the only companies that have affected the digital landscape.

China’s Startup Giants

Chinese companies like Tencent and Baidu are also on the list. We may only hear about them occasionally in the United States, but they have huge followings in Asia. Tencent–established 6 years before Facebook–brings social media, games, and other products to China. While they offer several digital products, including chat app WeChat, their real money is made in virtual goods, a market Facebook hasn’t seemed to be able to break into.

Baidu is China’s answer to Google, bringing search to the largest populace in the world. Obviously smaller than the American giant, Baidu still holds an impressive amount of power in China.

The Original Founders

When we think of startups, we usually think “new” and “innovative.” But there had to be someone who started it all, right?

Hewlett-Packard was founded in 1939, and its founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard are symbolically credited with “founding” Silicon Valley. HP is #10 on the list, with a $52.87 billion. Not the largest, but not the smallest either. Without a doubt, HP had a cultural impact that continues to affect us all.

The Not-So-Certain Successes

The thing about startups is that even when you’re successful you could still fail.

Yahoo, eBay, Groupon, and Zynga all made the top 20 greatest startups of all time, yet many question the stability of any of these companies. Oh, they’re all hanging in there, and no one should count them out yet. But each of these companies has big obstacles to ensure ultimate success.

Yet, like HP, few would argue the impact each has had on culture, and that coupled with still-high market caps–puts them on the list.

Who’s Missing?

So, what do you think? Is this list of the 20 greatest startups of all time accurate? Who did we miss, or who shouldn’t be on there?

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