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The 25 Most Important Private Companies

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The companies were selected based on a combination of factors: their prodigious revenues or assets, their social currency, their deep connection to our daily lives, and (particularly for the newer and smaller companies), their disruptive impact.

For more on the 25 Most Important Private Companies, see "Companies Find a New Allure in Going Private."


By Erika Fry, Leigh Gallagher, Vivian Giang, Erin Griffith, Robert Hackett, Mathew Ingram, John Kell, Beth Kowitt, Adam Lashinsky, Michal Lev-Ram, Sy Mukherjee, Brian O’Keefe, and Christopher Tkaczyk

Fortune has long celebrated the achievements of massive publicly-held corporations in lists such as the long-running Fortune 500. Today, as even super-hot startups forgo IPOs (at least for now), and some public behemoths turn private, the time has come to recognize the hugely significant contributions of those corporations that choose not to sell their stock to the public.

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Bridgewater Associates

Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates
Photograph by David A. Grogan — CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Everything about Bridgewater is radical, from its size to its culture. With more than $150 billion under management, it’s the world’s biggest hedge fund company and has produced a net gain of $45 billion, the most in hedge fund history, according to LCH Investments. (Clients are institutions such as pension funds.) Its flagship $70 bil­lion Pure Alpha fund has averaged 13% annual returns since 1991. The firm is known for founder Ray Dalio’s culture of transparency, governed by 210 “principles.” (Sample: “Only believable people have a right to opinions.”) Recent tensions at the top led the firm to hire ex–Apple exec Jon Rubinstein as co-CEO.

Company Info

CEO Jon Rubinstein and Eileen Murray (Co-CEOs)
HQ location Westport, Conn.

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