Operates radio stations, produces live events, and provides digital marketing services.
Steven Price and Stuart Rosenstein founded media and entertainment company Townsquare Media in 2009. Today, Townsquare owns more than 625 local radio stations and websites, and operates more than 500 live events each year. The company has pursued many acquisitions over the years as a means to increase its reach--most notably, it purchased a number of websites from AOL in 2013. Many of Townsquare's media properties target audiences in small to midsize markets, which the company says are traditionally less volatile than crowded national markets. But Townsquare depends heavily on advertisers to help the company generate revenue--and any economic downturns in the markets that Townsquare serves could mean advertisers spending less money on Townsquare properties. Townsquare hopes to diversify its revenue mix in the coming years by increasing its portfolio of live events and rolling out new digital products. Note: employee count as of Dec. 31, 2015
Provides marketing automation and sales software.
Marketo, founded by Philip Fernandez, sells software that companies can use to consolidate their online, social, and mobile marketing activities into one platform. To stand out from other software marketing companies, Marketo touts its customer-service tools, which include consulting services and discussion forums for Marketo customers. The company says its goal is to help customers navigate the evolving digital market landscape. Marketo faces stiff competition, however, from large, enterprise-level software companies that are now getting into the marketing software game, including Oracle and SAP. To stay innovative (and to continue meeting the changing needs of its customers), Marketo says it plans to release a new application for its marketing platform every 12 to 18 months for the foreseeable future. Note: employee count as of Dec. 31, 2015
Provides business analytics and data-visualization software.
Spun out of Stanford University, business analytics company Tableau Software was founded by Christian Chabot, Chris Stolte, and Pat Hanrahan. The three co-founders also played a hand in the invention of a data-visualization language called VizQL, implemented in Tableau's original software. The company aims to help businesses see and understand their data better, selling software that turns data points into visual presentations. Tableau's history of profitability has been spotty--it turned a profit in 2013 and 2014, and then lost money in 2015--so it is unclear how successful the company will be in the future. But Tableau feels that it is well positioned, since the business-analytics-software industry is still relatively new. Note: employee count as of Dec. 31, 2015
Provides enterprise-grade Wi-Fi networks managed through the cloud.
Aerohive Networks, founded by Changming Liu, wants to make it easier for large companies and organizations to install Wi-Fi. The company created a Wi-Fi network that can be managed through the cloud, reducing the need for physical controllers, which take up space and can be costly. Currently, the majority of Aerohive's customers are businesses in the health care and education sectors. But to turn around its history of losing money, Aerohive needs to attract customers that represent a broader variety of markets. To do so, the company plans to increase its sales team. Note: employee count as of Dec. 31, 2015
How Jack Dorsey's Square has succeeded where Twitter struggles
It's easy to miss given all the trouble plaguing Jack Dorsey's other company, Twitter, but Square has had a remarkably good run of late. When Dorsey launched Square eight years ago with co-founder Jim McKelvey, the San Francisco company focused on selling credit card payment systems to small businesses. But now, Square's ever-popular gadget is just one of its many products. "Today, sellers come to Square for much more than payments and hardware," Dorsey told investors earlier this year.
Square is becoming, in other words, a one-stop shop for small businesses: You can get invoices and payroll services there, or even speedy cash through its lending program, Square Capital, which has extended $1.3 billion since its 2014 launch. And Square has even gotten into the on-demand food-delivery business by buying Caviar. New products launched since 2014 now account for a full quarter of the company's adjusted revenue. As John T. Williams, an analyst at Compass Point Research & Trading, puts it, "A lot of the business lines they've added tie in very nicely with Square's original product." --Victoria Finkle