2013's top entrepreneurs

FOXBusiness.com's Gabrielle Karol on the entrepreneurs that grabbed attention in 2013.

The Best and Worst Entrepreneurs of 2013

By Small Business FOXBusiness

From delivering packages by drones to bringing high-speed rail to California, entrepreneurs were all about moving fast in 2013. Here’s a look at the top innovators that made news this year – both good and bad.

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  • 1. Travis Kalanick, Uber

    Travis Kalanick, Uber

    Uber

    When taxi commissions tried to shut down taxi-hailing app Uber, CEO Travis Kalanick fought back – and won – getting approval in states like California, Colorado and New York this year. In August, Kalanick confirmed the company had raised more than $250 million.

  • 2. Ben Silbermann, Pinterest

    Ben Silbermann, Pinterest

    Pinterest

    Social networking site Pinterest isn’t making any serious money yet – but even without a proven monetization model, CEO Ben Silbermann led the company through two massive rounds of funding this year, raising $425 million overall. Most recently, analytics firm Piqora showed that Pinterest was making a major impact on sales for retailers, doubling and tripling traffic on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, respectively.

  • 3. Evan Spiegel, Snapchat

    Evan Spiegel, Snapchat

    Snapchat

    One of the gutsiest moves this year came from Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, who the Wall Street Journal reports turned down a $3-billion acquisition offer from Facebook. Can it really go for more than that? We’ll have to wait and see …

  • 4. Noam Bardin, Waze

    Noam Bardin, Waze

    Waze

    Waze CEO Noam Bardin took the acquisition bait – selling his social navigation app to Google for a reported $1 billion. Waze is just one of the Israeli startups that had a good year, with VC funding up 34% last quarter for Israeli companies, netting a total of $660 million.

  • 5. Jack Dorsey, Square and Twitter

    Jack Dorsey, Square and Twitter

    Twitter’s successful IPO may be just the beginning for co-founder Jack Dorsey. Just weeks after taking the social media site public, the Wall Street Journal said the serial entrepreneur may be planning an IPO for Square, his mobile payments startup.

  • 6. Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX and Hyperloop

    Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX and Hyperloop

    Elon Musk, Reuters

    Speaking of serial entrepreneurs, Elon Musk owned the spotlight in 2013 when he released plans for a Hyperloop transit system, promising a 30-minute trip from L.A. to San Francisco may be more than just wishful thinking. And despite recent reports of fires, Tesla’s stock has been riding high this year.

  • 7. Jeff Bezos, Amazon

    Jeff Bezos, Amazon

    Reuters

    Also on the cutting edge is Amazon. In early December, CEO Jeff Bezos told CBS’ 60 Minutes the company is working on Octocopters – or drones that can deliver packages in just 30 minutes. While they won’t be ready for last minute holiday gifts, Bezos says the drones could get off the ground by 2015.

  • 8. Sara Blakely, Spanx

    Sara Blakely, Spanx

    Reuters

    Fashionista Sara Blakely also made news this year, for a good cause. Just one year after becoming the youngest, female, self-made billionaire on Forbes’ list, thanks to her well-known undergarment brand Spanx, this year Blakely became the first woman to join Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge – committing half of her fortune to charity.

  • 9. Aaron Levie, Box

    Aaron Levie, Box

    Box

    Cloud computing was all the rage in 2013 – and floating to the top is Box, led by 28-year-old CEO Aaron Levie. Just named Inc.’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Levie now leads a company of 900 employees, valued at $1.2 billion.

  • 10. David Karp, Tumblr

    David Karp, Tumblr

    Reuters

    Levie’s not the only 20-something entrepreneur who’s having a good year. Tumblr founder David Karp turned microblogs into a major sale, overseeing the company’s $1.1 billion acquisiton by Yahoo.

  • 11. The Bad: Paula Deen, Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur

    The Bad: Paula Deen, Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur

    Reuters

    The Bad:


    Not all entrepreneurs had a good run in 2013.

    Celebrity chef and entrepreneur Paula Deen got axed from Food Network, and her wares were dropped from Wal-Mart, Target and other retailers after racist comments were revealed in a lawsuit by a former employee.

  • 12. Andrew Mason, Groupon

    Andrew Mason, Groupon

    REUTERS

    Groupon founder and CEO Andrew Mason also had a rough go of it in 2013, getting fired from the company he started. While he’s no longer a billionaire, don’t feel too bad for him – he’s still worth a reported $200 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • 13. Todd Park and Jeffrey Zients, ObamaCare

    Todd Park and Jeffrey Zients, ObamaCare

    Todd Park

    Save the sympathy for the entrepreneurs called in to fix the glitch ObamaCare site. President Obama summoned Todd Park and Jeffrey Zients, two successful entrepreneurs in the health-care space, to get Healthcare.Gov up and running.

  • 14. Jason Goldberg, Fab

    Jason Goldberg, Fab

    Fab.com

    Fab CEO Jason Goldberg is finding himself in a not-so-fabulous spot. After raising more than $150 million this summer and seeing his company’s valuation shoot up to $1 billion, Goldberg has since had to lay off a reported 37% of employees due to struggling sales. Co-founder Bradford Shellhammer jumped ship, as did a number of other high-profile execs.

  • 15. Walter White, “Breaking Bad”

    Walter White, “Breaking Bad”

    Bryan Cranston, AKA Walter White

    But no one had quite as bad a year as TV’s most infamous entrepreneur. Meth kingpin and carwash owner Walter White finally got what was coming to him – and got killed off in the show’s final episode.

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