Silicon Valley, the famed area in northern California, is a hotspot for technology companies and is synonymous with the tech industry and innovation. In the 1970s, companies like Apple, Oracle, and Atari were founded in the area, helping Silicon Valley become the center of the computer industry.
Today, the area’s most prominent companies make it a nearly $3 trillion neighborhood. Here are Silicon Valley’s top publicly-traded companies based on revenue:
- Headquarters: Cupertino, CA
The world’s most profitable publicly-traded company has been a hub of innovation since it introduced the Apple II in 1977. Since then it’s been churning out groundbreaking products and changing the way people communicate, work, and spend their time. The release of the iPhone in 2007, the company’s near-ubiquitous mobile smartphone, has helped Apple’s solid and steady growth in the last decade.
Last year, Apple posted more than $136 billion in net iPhone sales. There are now more than 700 million iPhones in use worldwide. Apple also makes Mac desktop and laptop computers, the iPad and iPad Pro, Apple TV streaming devices, and the Apple Watch. Along with its hardware, the company also runs the App store, which includes millions of applications for its devices.
Apple is also the third-largest Fortune 500 company based on revenue, with 2016 revenues of more than $200 billion. As of October 2017, the company’s market cap was more than $800 billion and many investors hope that it will be the first company to reach the trillion-dollar mark.
2. Alphabet, previously known as Google.
- Headquarters: Mountain View, CA
Following a restructuring, Google separated its core business into multiple companies and changed its name to Alphabet in 2015. Alphabet became the new parent company of a number of smaller subsidiaries, one of which is Google. Some of Alphabet’s other subsidiaries include Google X, an experimental research and development facility; Nest, which creates smart, internet-enabled home devices, such as thermostats and security cameras; and Fiber, which provides internet services. Google runs Alphabet’s internet-focused businesses such as YouTube, Chrome, Android, and Google Maps.
Alphabet is experimenting with a number of innovative and potentially game-changing products, including research on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). The company’s top-secret innovation division, Google X, is working on space elevators, giant space-traveling balloons that provide internet service for everyone, and self-driving cars through its Waymo division. Waymo was recently valued at $70 billion by a prominent Wall Street firm.
Google has consistently landed the top spot as the best company to work for, according to Fortune. It offers its more than 70,000 employees free gourmet food, haircuts, and laundry facilities.
In 2016, Alphabet booked revenues of more than $90 billion and posted profits of $19 billion.
- Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
Facebook, the social networking juggernaut that allows people to connect and communicate with its more than 2 billion global users, has turned into one of the most profitable companies in the world, thanks in part to its success with the monetization of video ads and its photo sharing subsidiary, Instagram.
Facebook has made a number of high-profile acquisitions as part of its long-term growth strategy. In 2012, the company bought Instagram for $1 billion, which now has more than 800 million users. In February 2014, Facebook paid $19 billion for the instant messaging service WhatsApp, which has more than 1.3 billion monthly users, the same number of people that use Facebook’s other messaging app, Messenger.
The company started trading publicly in 2012 with the third-largest IPO in U.S. history. In the U.S. and Canada, Facebook has more than 230 million users – more than the combined populations of Germany, France, and Spain. Facebook said its users spend more than 20 minutes per day on the site, which means that Americans and Canadians have spent nearly 16 million years on the site since the company’s IPO.
In 2016, Facebook posted revenues of more than $27 billion, an increase of about 50% from the prior year.
4. Wells Fargo
- Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Wells Fargo is the third-largest U.S. bank by assets. It was founded in 1852 by legendary American businessmen Henry Wells and William Fargo. The company was originally started to serve California’s Gold Rush prospectors who were sending their remittances east.
In 2008, Wells Fargo bought Wachovia for more than $15 billion, nearly doubling its 6,000 locations in the process.
In 2016, Wells Fargo became mired in a controversial accounts fraud scandal after it was found that its employees opened unsolicited bank accounts for customers in order to meet aggressive sales goals. Wells Fargo is still dealing with the fallout, even after it paid millions in fines and fired 5,000 employees in the process. The company’s CEO at the time resigned in the wake of the scandal. However, Wells Fargo still reported revenues of $94 billion for 2016.
- Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
There are more than 3 billion Visa cards in the world and the company processes more credit card transactions than its three main competitors – Mastercard, American Express, and Discover – combined. Last year, Visa processed $8.9 trillion in transactions.
In 2016, Visa booked revenues of $15 billion with profits of nearly $6 billion. The company’s stock is a top wealth creator for its investors, according to a report in the New York Times, with annualized returns of 21 percent.
- Headquarters: San Ramon, CA
Chevron, founded in 1879 as Pacific Coast Oil, is the second-largest oil and gas producer in the U.S. with more than 51,000 employees. In 1906, a consolidation between Pacific Coast Oil and Iowa Standard created a new entity, Standard Oil Co of California (Socal).
In 1984, Socal merged with Gulf to create Chevron. Through the Gulf merger, Chevron became the No. 1 U.S. refiner and marketer as well as the nation’s market leader in gas liquids.
- Headquarters: Redwood City, CA
Software giant Oracle provides cloud computing services and customer relationship management to more than 430,000 customers.
Oracle was founded in 1977 and has made a number of acquisitions over the years in an attempt to innovate and stay ahead of its competitors. In 2009, Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, which owned the programming language Java, for more than $7 billion. Then, as part of its effort to push into cloud computing and go after cloud-based software rivals, Oracle bought NetSuite, a cloud storage company, for $9.3 billion in 2016.
Oracle’s founder, Larry Ellison, ranks as the seventh richest person in the world, with a net worth of nearly $60 billion.
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- Headquarters: Santa Clara, CA
Intel manufactures and sells computer components but originally gained notoriety as a chipmaker. Though the company also makes microprocessors, flash memory products, and system management software, it is positioning itself as a supplier of connected chips that are used in self-driving cars and jet engines. The company’s chips are even used in Google’s self-driving cars.
In September 2017, Intel announced that it’s working on chips that resemble the brain – they have 128 computing cores and are as complex as a lobster brain. Similar to how a human brain functions, the chip transmits data through pulses between neurons.
9. Cisco Systems
- Headquarters: San Jose, CA
Cisco Systems was founded in December 1984 by Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner, two Stanford University computer scientists. Cisco Systems, the networking giant that manufactures IP-based products, brings together IT and telecommunications. Its products are used for transporting data, voice, and video within companies, across campuses, and also globally.
Cisco’s technology is used to make advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), domain security and energy management. Through the years, it has acquired companies that have become subsidiaries, including OpenDNS, WebEx, Jabber and Jasper.
In 2016, Cisco reported revenues of more than $49 billion.
- Headquarters: Santa Clara, CA
Nvidia develops 3D graphics processors and software that were originally used for gaming but today are used for a variety of functions, including artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. The company says that all major Internet and cloud-service providers use its chips to better and accelerate their processes.
Nvidia announced a partnership with Toyota in May 2017, to provide the car maker with artificial intelligence technology to develop its self-driving cars. The company also announced a partnership with Walmart to power its cloud platform for the retail giant’s new e-commerce data center.
MIT ranked Nvidia as the world’s smartest company in 2017.
Netflix, Honorary mention
- Headquarters: Los Gatos, CA
Netflix, the internet-based subscription streaming giant, has become one of the greatest success stories of the last two decades. It has more than 100 million subscribers who use its platform to stream TV shows and movies straight to their TVs, computers, or mobile devices.
Netflix doesn’t just stream content – the company also produces its own TV shows and movies, including hits such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” It has transformed the way people watch TV and movies – its users spend 116 million hours streaming shows and films on the site every day.
In 2016, Netflix produced 16 movies and is hoping to produce 40 this year. However, the majority of its $6 billion annual programming budget is used to buy movies and TV shows made by other companies.
In 2017, Netflix received 91 Emmy nominations, making it the second-most nominated network behind HBO.
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