We all know the regular tech rock star alumni: Gates, Musk, Dorsey, Zuckerberg, but technology evolves fast and so does the pantheon of Silicon Valley Superstars. Do you know about the dynamic duo trying to make your devices communicate with you like in the movie Her? If you haven’t seen the movie, Her is an operating system which talks and converses like a regular human being. Or how about the guy that wants to make any car a self-driving car? Yeah, I didn’t think so…just for the sake of enlightenment here are a few of the top Silicon Valley Superstars of 2016 creating awesome technology right under our noses.
1. Kyle Vogt – Cruise
Remember the guy I was talking about that wants to make any car self-driving? That would be this strapping young gentleman that goes by the name Kyle Vogt. His Cruise system can be fitted to any car, to essentially make it driverless. Cruise was acquired by car manufacturing giant General Motors and made a whopping 18.8 million dollars of funding in 3 rounds. Can’t wait to be able to talk on the phone while drinking coffee and eating a donut, without the fear of dying in a fiery wreck.
2. Eric Migicovsky – Pebble
More established than the previous member of the superstar echelon Migicovsky is founder and CEO of Pebble, a company which produces a feature rich budget smart-watch ($99 compared to Apple Watches astronomic $349 for the basic version at launch). Starting as a Kickstarter project, it achieved its goal almost immediately and still holds the record for the most highly funded campaign in the history of the crowd funding platform.
Migicovsky is no one-trick pony, though, since his company brought down the price of their smart-watch on the eve of the Apple Watch launch and have promised an affordable smartwatch with new features (which have been pointed out as deficiencies of the Apple Watch) in their latest generation.
3. Solomon Hykes – Docker
Developers often find themselves in a dilemma regarding what platform to dev for. Enter Solomon Hykes’ brain-child Docker, which is promising to allow developers to build and distribute apps across multiple platforms. The idea is proving so popular that Yelp and eBay have adopted Docker already. To date, Hykes has gathered 150 million dollars after three rounds of funding, and impressive feat considering the platform is open source.
4. Vlad Tenev – Robinhood
As the name indicates, Robinhood seeks to democratize the process of investment. A mobile-brokerage application Robinhood is free to use, unlike his main competitors who charge a range between $5-10 per trade. You don’t have to Wolf of Wall Street to BUY, BUY, BUY and SELL, SELL, SELL. In May, the company managed to secure a respectable $50 Million dollars. It was even backed by celebrity investors such as Jared Leto and Snoop Dogg. Fo shizzle, buyzzizle Googlezzle.
5. Palmer Luckey – Oculus
My own personal Silicon Valley rock star Palmer Luckey and co-founder/CEO Brendan Iribe arguably began the landslide interest in VR technology. Creating Oculus Rift, the company was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. Since then they have announced their collaboration with Microsoft and released their (finally!) market-ready VR headset. The Oculus Rift was released on March 28, with 30 games optimized for it on day one. I’m sorry, I just drooled a little.
Do you know of any other Silicon Valley All-Stars? Let us know in the comment section below.