10 firms worth more than $1bn that you've never heard of

19 June 2015 -


As Ant Financial (who they?!) hits a $45bn valuation, we scan the corporate landscape for other giants hiding in plain sight

Matt Packer

Far above the minutiae of management and leadership are the masters of the business universe – and they hide in plain sight. This week, it emerged that a $45 billion valuation had been awarded to one Ant Financial. With a single, booming voice, you ask: “Who are they?” And with good reason. Often, some of the world’s largest companies are so dedicated to particular regions that they remain completely unknown to those of us in the West. Ant Financial is just one such firm, being a spinoff of Alibaba – the biggest online-shopping platform in China.

It is not the only company that stands tall over the corporate world while passing almost unnoticed among the general public. It’s not just regional factors that keep these behemoths shrouded, either. Sometimes they will be working in particularly niche technology areas, such as highly specific fields of genetic science, or 3D printing, for example.

Here are nine other biggest companies you’ve never heard of…

1. Xiaomi: $45bn

In June 2012, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer was worth just $4bn. But following a funding round at the end of last year, that figure increased more than 10 times over as the firm’s policy of tight margins and local focus swelled market confidence. Famously, Xiaomi has yet to spread its brand to Western markets, due to concerns over the patent wars that have beleaguered smartphone makers in the US and Europe. (Source)

2. Juno Therapeutics: $300bn

Last year, this developer of cellular immunotherapy treatments brought the biotech house down with the industry’s largest-ever IPO. Its valuation suggests that investors are as keen to rewrite genetic codes as they are to write new entries in the funding-round record books.

3. Stratasys Ltd: $3bn

In growth industries, some firms decide that joining forces puts them in the best position to cut swathes of success into the future, and in 3D printing – an industry where some of the earliest patents are beginning to expire – consolidation is on the rise. That was certainly the case for unheard-of market leaders Stratasys and Objet, who threw in their lot together to create the equally unheard-of Stratesys Ltd. (Source)

4. Flipkart: $15bn

Did you know that China’s Alibaba had an equivalent in India? No, we expect not, but the fact remains that Flipkart – India’s biggest online-shopping site – is a commercial force to be reckoned with, and with a growing convergence between corporate interests in India, the UK and the US, it’s likely that its global profile won’t be draped in mystery for much longer. (Source)

5. Snapdeal: $1bn

To every giant its competitor – and although Flipkart stands tall as India’s most significant digital resource of fast-moving consumer goods, Snapdeal is beginning to nibble quite effectively at its heels. Chief executive Kunal Bahl is psyched for the battle ahead. “We need to keep investing in tech and marketing,” he said in the wake of a May 2014 funding round. “There is a tremendous opportunity for e-commerce in India. It is a very small portion of retail today and will only expand.” (Source)

6. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC): $278bn

China’s biggest lender by assets was boosted towards its extraordinary market capitalisation thanks to an Alibaba and Xiaomi-style, laser-like focus on the local market, which contains the world’s largest population. In March, the organisation unveiled e-ICBC: the first-ever, purely web-based finance brand to be launched by a Chinese bank. Could be one to watch… (Source)

7. China Construction Bank: $213bn

Running ICBC a close second, this organisation made waves among the UK’s financial cognoscenti in June last year when it was unveiled as London’s first-ever clearing service for renminbi trading – a move designed to boost the UK Capital’s position as the world’s foremost foreign-exchange (forex) market. While far from a household name, the Bank is well placed for a rapid rise in its reputation. (Source)

8. GrubHub: $2.67bn

Founded in 2004, this online food retailer posted its valuation in April last year after bagging an impressive $192 million in a funding round – although at around the same time, its more famous, transatlantic rival Just Eat made $600m in a round of its own. No matter: GrubHub managed to shift 135,000 revenue-generating orders per day in 2013, according to its IPO filing. (Source)

9. Square: $6bn

Founded by Jack Dorsey, the man who unleashed a ceaseless flock of comments with Twitter, this payments platform for small businesses has yet to make the same impact, and Dorsey has dithered since early last year about whether or not to go for a full IPO. However, don’t rule it out – and entrepreneurs: you would do well to watch the development of this service to see how it may benefit you… (Source)

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