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The pandemic reshaped the Fortune 500 by propelling tech companies

June 4, 2021, 8:45 PM UTC

When it comes to legendary moments in Fortune‘s history, the birth of the Fortune 500 ranks high. First published in 1955, the list was dominated by manufacturers, car companies, and oil giants. Sixty-seven years later, technology companies sit in three of the top 10 spots: Amazon at No. 2, Apple at No. 3, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, at No. 9.

The 47 tech sector companies on the Fortune 500, says Fortune list editor Scott DeCarlo, make almost as much revenue as the 94 financial sector companies on the list. Tech is also the third-leading employer of all sectors represented.

DeCarlo joins Michal Lev-Ram and Brian O’Keefe, the hosts of Fortune Brainstorm, a podcast that explores how technology is reshaping our world, to discuss what it takes for a company to make the Fortune 500 and the impact of tech companies on the 2021 list.

Also on the show is Carvana CEO and cofounder Ernest Garcia III. Though the company is classified as a retailer on the list, it’s Carvana’s adoption of consumer-facing technology that helped fuel the company’s growth during the COVID-19 pandemic and its first showing on the list. Carvana sits at No. 483 on the 2021 ranking.

The company is in “just shy” of 300 markets around the U.S., Garcia says. He says during the first quarter of the pandemic, Carvana “grew revenues by over 100%…because of these shifts in demand.”

Garcia adds that the pandemic “created this moment in time where I think all of a sudden people tried things they might not have otherwise tried. The hurdle of the fear of change was kind of lowered because change was required.”

Rounding out the show is Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Fortune 500 No. 137, Salesforce. The company brought in more than $21 billion in revenue in 2020. Benioff discussed the reasons Salesforce revenues grew during the pandemic, his vision for the future of entrepreneurship, and the return of employees to the workplace, including his own company’s 60,000 employees around the world.

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