41. Twilio

Cloud-based notification service for software developers

Founders: Jeff Lawson, John Wolthius, Evan Cooke
Date launched: 2007
Funding: $110 million
Industries disrupted: Enterprise software, telecom, cloud services

Developers have become the tech industry's version of the pretty girl at the dance that has lots of suitors. Twilio is among those suitors. This San Francisco-based start-up is growing by convincing developers to use its application programming interface (API) to add call, voice, text and picture messaging to any app by adding just a few lines of code.

Companies of all kinds—Uber, Airbnb and even non-tech outfits such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Nordstrom—use Twilio's API in their apps to enhance their communication functions. Every time a text or phone call gets made within these apps, Twilio makes money since it gets paid when its API is accessed.


The company, founded by former Stubhub executive Jeff Lawson in 2007, has a fair amount of competitors that have emerged, including Nexmo and Tropo, but has held its own with a reported $100 million annual-revenue run rate. So far, the company has raised $110 million in funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Union Square Ventures.

Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio.
Photographer | CNBC
Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio.
"Be relentless about solving hard problems. Only with grit and determination can we truly unlock our potential and earn the feeling of accomplishment for building something meaningful." -Jeff Lawson, Twilio CEO

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