Most Innovative Alumni: The Year In Review

For the companies among our 2012 Most Innovative, the year didn’t stop in March. They’ve encountered plenty of success and some failures.

Most Innovative Alumni: The Year In Review

March 17
Activists march to Zuccotti Park, the site of the original protest, to commemorate the movement’s six-month anniversary.

May 1 (right)
Touted as a day of protest that would mark Occupy’s return, the “general strike” features a concert in New York and rallies in Europe and Asia, but no significant disruptions.

October 30
Former Zuccotti Park residents are among the first responders following Hurricane Sandy.


April 26 (right)
The solar-power-system rental and installation firm files a $201 million IPO registration with the SEC. The offering is looked to as a bellwether of clean tech’s viability as an industry.

December 13
After delaying the offering by two days and slashing the price to $8 per share from a possible $15, SolarCity debuts on the Nasdaq index, raising $92 million.



2012 MIC RANKING: 11

April 15
The much-hyped comedy Girls, from writer-director-star Lena Dunham, debuts on the network and quickly becomes one of the year’s most-talked-about shows.


September 5
The season begins with an officials lockout, forcing the league to hire replacement referees.

September 21
Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network reach a multiyear distribution deal.

September 24 (right)
A grotesquely bungled call by replacement refs accelerates negotiations between the union and the league.


September 27
Union refs retake the field, just as Time Warner completes its rollout.



2012 MIC RANKING: 18

May 1 (right)
The mobile device company debuts Big Jambox, its first new product release since the too-fragile Up personal fitness tracker.

November 13
Jawbone releases a second, more rugged version of Up, to mixed reviews.


July 31 (right)
After users report receiving spam messages at their Dropbox email addresses, the cloud storage company confirms that it has been hacked.

November 13
Dropbox reaches 100 million users, quadrupling its user base in just over a year.


Kiva Systems

2012 MIC RANKING: 23

March 19
Amazon purchases the robotics company for $775 million in an apparent effort to shore up margins and streamline distribution across its rapidly growing customer base.



2012 MIC RANKING: 24

June 4
The gourmet coffee giant purchases San Francisco’s La Boulange gourmet bakery.

August 8 (right)
Starbucks announces a deal with Square (No. 3 on this year’s Most Innovative Companies list), which will enable mobile payments in all its U.S. stores.

November 13
Starbucks acquires Teavana, a chain of 301 artisanal tea retailers.


2012 MIC RANKING: 27

March 6 (right)
Tapjoy announces that its app-oriented mobile advertising platform, launched in 2010, now reaches half-a-billion devices.

November 27
CEO Mihir Shah abruptly resigns and is replaced by former Disney executive Steve Wadsworth.

December 6
Tapjoy crosses the billion-device threshold.

Red Bull Media House

2012 MIC RANKING: 29

October 14
Pilot Felix Baumgartner, sponsored by Red Bull, freefalls 128,100 feet, breaking a world record. The live stream is the most-watched in YouTube history.


2012 MIC RANKING: 30

July 16 (right)
LinkedIn announces a home-page redesign, a major step in the site’s attempt to boost user engagement.

October 2
The site launches Influencers, a program by which users can sign up to follow so-called thought leaders who write original posts for LinkedIn Today.

November 1
The company releases its third-quarter earnings, which come in well above analysts’ expectations, further distancing LinkedIn from its 2011 IPO rivals.


2012 MIC RANKING: 40

July 25
Chobani opens a flagship yogurt bar in New York’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood.


2012 MIC RANKING: 41

July 11
On day one of its Kickstarter campaign, next-generation gaming console Ouya becomes the eighth project in Kickstarter history to raise more than a million dollars.

July 25 (right)
Pebble smartwatch, another multimillion-dollar project, announces that it will miss its September delivery date. The news sets off a round of Kickstarter bashing.

September 20
The founders outline a program of changes they hope will mediate the expectations of both investors and founders.

December 3
A month after the launch of its U.K. site, Kickstarter announces that 400 projects have been successfully funded, with a total of more than #2 million raised.


2012 MIC RANKING: 42

May 9
The music-streaming site amps up its social capabilities with Next, offering enhanced profiles and continuous play on its music platform.


2012 MIC RANKING: 43

August 22
The mobile payment company announces a partnership with Discover card, vastly expanding its offline presence.

November 5 (right)
Hacker group Anonymous claims it has discovered 28,000 PayPal passwords. An internal PayPal review finds that no data had been breached.


2012 MIC RANKING: 46

May 3 (right)
Following a year of catastrophic failures, the biofuels company’s board votes to let go of three key executives, including founder and CTO Neil Renninger.

May 8
Amyris releases its first-quarter results, showing a net loss of nearly $95 million.

May 16
Just over a year after hitting its all-time-high share price of $33.86, Amyris’s stock bottoms out at $1.58.

Y Combinator

2012 MIC RANKING: 50

March 13
The startup accelerator announces that for the first time, it will accept applications from groups that do not yet have a product.

August 21
Eighty-four companies presented at demo day, having received $150,000 of funding each.

November 26 (right)
Cofounder Paul Graham announces that the next class will see its numbers and funding level cut by nearly half, explaining that the accelerator “grew too fast.”

Julie Dermansky/Corbis (May Day); Courtesy Of Solarcity (House); Courtesy Of Hbo (Girls); Stephen Brashear/Ap/Corbis (Nfl); Justin Sullivan/Getty Images (La Boulange); Balazsgardi.Com/Red Bull Content Pool (Baumgartner); Courtesy Of Chobani (Yogurt); Pascal Deloche/Corbis (Masks); Ian Allen (Renninger); Alex Lewin (Graham)