The Container Store
Operates a chain of retailers selling storage and home-organization products.
Kip Tindell, John Mullen, and Garrett Boone got the idea for the Container Store after they noticed that many department stores lacked a solid selection of high-quality organizational products. Today, the Container Store sells a variety of boxes, crates, trays, and filing systems in retail outlets across the country. The Container Store touts its commitments to customer service and employee well being, as well as churning a profit, as the keys to its success. But because it sells predominately discretionary items--that is, items that customers don't view as an essential part of their lifestyle--the company could find its revenue shrinking in an economic downturn (as it did during the 2007-09 recession). Still, the Container Store believes that its loyal customers will carry it through tough economic times.
Builds flash memory storage for data.
A new kind of digital storage wars is afoot, and Pure Storage, co-founded by John Hayes and John Colgrove in 2009, is out to prove that it has the best technology to help companies store large amounts of data. Pure Storage was one of the companies to claim that it pioneered the use of flash memory--which is cheaper than a hard drive, and allows a device to retain information even when it's not connected to a power source--in enterprise-level data storage. While going public last fall gave the company plenty to celebrate, it has some tough competitors, including IBM, EMC, and HP Enterprise, all of which have been in business for decades longer than Pure Storage. But Pure Storage believes that its innovative roots give it an edge over competitors. Note: employee count as of Dec. 31, 2015
Amplify Snack Brands
Makes natural snack foods, including SkinnyPop Popcorn.
Pamela Netzky and Andrew Friedman created Amplify Snack Brand in the hopes of finding a way to make a healthy popular snack. Their first product, called SkinnyPop Popcorn, used sunflower oil as a low-fat substitute for other types of cooking oil. SkinnyPop quickly built a loyal following, with sales of its product increasing by nearly $100 million from 2012 to 2014. In April 2015, Amplify acquired Paqui, a line of Non-GMO Project Verified tortilla chips, in a quest to build a hearty portfolio of "better for you" snacks. Amplify says it is always looking for healthier alternatives to classic nibbles, though its line of products in the salty-snack category remains small. Note: employee count as of Dec. 31, 2015
Provides cybersecurity support and analytics.
Cybersecurity firm Rapid7, founded by Alan Matthews, Tas Giakouminakis, and Chad Loder, touts its analytics-driven approach to protecting customer data as the key to its success. Rapid7's "threat exposure management" products assess a company's IT infrastructure to determine which parts are most vulnerable to an attack, and perform routine simulations to determine how well Rapid7's security measures would stand up against a hacker. But the cybersecurity industry is rapidly changing, and it remains to be seen how well Rapid7 can protect its customers against new kinds of phishing scams and hacking attempts. To keep growing, Rapid7 plans to increase the number of services available to customers. Note: employee count as of Dec. 31, 2015
These founders are revolutionizing pre-natal medicine
This San Carlos, California-based biotech company makes non-invasive prenatal tests. Co-founder and CEO Matthew Rabinowitz saw his family devastated by the death of a baby with an untested genetic condition; he founded Natera to develop tests that can pick up on fetal chromosomal issues nine weeks into pregnancy. Natera's flagship test, known as an NIPT, analyzes traces of fetal cells that circulate in the mother's blood. Rabinowitz is tapping into a $665 million-plus global market of non-invasive prenatal testing, according to Persistence Market Research, and expanding: Natera hopes to unveil cancer diagnostics by the end of this year.