45. Fanatics

They root for everyone, as long as you root for someone.

Founder: Michael Rubin
CEO: Doug Mack
Launched: 2011
Headquarters: Jacksonville, Florida
$1.7 billion
Valuation: $4.5 billion
Key technologies:
Edge computing, Internet of Things, machine learning
e-commerce, online sports apparel

George Kavallines | CNBC

This Jacksonville, Florida-based company has exclusive licensing deals with the NFL, NHL, NBA, major league baseball, and scores of colleges and universities to make and sell jerseys, caps, and tons of other official team merchandise. One of the keys to its success is the ability to pair cutting-edge manufacturing and logistical skills so that team merchandise is ready for sale on its website soon after a team or player does something spectacular, like make it into the playoffs or score a record-breaking goal.

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The company, in its current form, was started by billionaire Michael Rubin in 2011. That same year, he sold a sports e-commerce business to eBay for $2.4 billion, bought back parts of it, and acquired Fanatics—which back then was a two-store retail operation in Florida. He renamed the entire entity Fanatics. The company is now run by Doug Mack, who joined in 2014 after spending several years as CEO of the e-commerce company One Kings Lane.

Fanatics reportedly does about $2 billion in annual sales, but is projecting $10 billion over the next five years with a major expansion globally, especially in the U.K. and China. It remains to be seen if fans in those markets are as enthusiastic as their U.S. counterparts, but investors are bullish on the company's prospects. In September, Japan's SoftBank Group provided the company with a $1 billion investment, bring Fanatic's total funding to $1.7 billion.