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50 Smartest Companies

1

Illumina

After outflanking and outlasting competitors, it is on top of the genome-sequencing business—just as that market is about to soar in importance.

2

Tesla Motors

The startup automaker is putting together the pieces for a truly mass-market electric car.

4

Samsung

Maximizing the advantages of its vertical integration as it extends its lead in the smartphone market.

32 percent
Samsung's share of global smartphones sold
5

Salesforce.com

Its tools will be crucial in helping companies incorporate new data from the Internet of things.

2,150
number of business apps in Salesforce's online marketplace
6

Dropbox

Its business services are making cloud file storage more pervasive.

200 million
number of users
7

BMW

At the forefront of adding self-driving capabilities to cars.

2020
when BMW expects to begin selling cars that are autonomous on highways
8

Third Rock Ventures

These VCs don’t wait for biotech startups to come to them. They create companies themselves.

9

Square

Not just giving merchants a way to collect payments on phone; now you can e-mail someone money.

$20 billion
estimated annual value of transactions processed by Square
10

Amazon

Raising expectations for what e-commerce can deliver.

12
the number of top online retailers whose sales would have to be combined to match Amazon's.
11

Tencent

Building on its Twitter-like social media service in China with electronic payment technologies.

$130 billion
Tencent's market capitalization
12

Snapchat

Meeting the need for online interactions that are ephemeral.

$3 billion
size of buyout offer from Facebook, which Snapchat rejected
13

Cree

By making a cheaper LED lightbulb, the newcomer to the industry hopes to dominate the market for energy-efficient lighting alternatives.

14

Box

Its online file storage service is becoming the basis for a wide range of applications that help people get work done.

1,000
number of third-party mobile apps that work with Box
15

BrightSource Energy

Fired up the world's largest solar thermal plant in California.

377 megawatts
the plant's production when fully operational
16

Wal-Mart Stores

Taking advantage of its retail heft as it rethinks payment and e-commerce technologies.

1 billion
Walmart.com page views in first five days of holiday season
17

General Electric

Its use of big data and sensors could help revive manufacturing.

$1.5 billion
announced investment in the "industrial Internet"
19

Kaggle

Has helped many organizations crowdsource data analysis; now focusing on certain industries.

144,000
number of registrants for Kaggle data-analysis competitions
20

Second Sight

Makes an artificial retina for people with certain kinds of blindness.

74
number of people who have gotten the Argus II implant
21

SpaceX

Where would NASA be without it?

14
launches scheduled for this year—one more than it had from 2006 through 2013
22

Kickstarter

Keeping crowdfunding pure, it won't let donors get equity in startups.

$962 million
money pledged onsite for 55,000 projects
23

Hanergy Holding Group

Chinese energy company is snapping up advanced solar technologies at fire-sale prices.

$1.2 billion
onetime value of Miasole, a solar company that Hanergy bought for $30 million
24

Siemens

Its advances are bringing down the cost of offshore power.

13,100
number of its wind turbines installed worldwide
25

1366 Technologies

The company has managed the nearly impossible for a solar startup over the last few years: it is still in business.

26

Uber

Disrupting the taxi business.

69
number of cities in which people can use Uber's app to summon rides
27

Evernote

Its tools for managing information overload get ever more useful.

$45
cost of an annual subscription to Evernote Premium
28

Baidu

Chinese Web-search leader is expanding globally, heightening competition with Google.

8 miles
distance from Baidu's new Silicon Valley research lab to Google headquarters
29

GitHub

This site for sharing computer code is part productivity tool, part social network.

10.7 million
number of repositories of shared software on the site
30

Xiaomi

This Chinese startup could outmaneuver big companies in the coming smartphone boom in developing countries.

31

Oculus VR

Its soon-to-be-released virtual-reality headset should help the technology live up to its potential.

21
age of founder Palmer Luckey
32

Qihoo 360 Technology

Leading Chinese antivirus company, moving into Web search.

$12 billion
Qihoo's market capitalization
33

Monsanto

Continues to dominate development and sales of genetically modified crops.

$1.53 billion
R&D spending in 2013
34

Aquion Energy

Just finished a production line to make its low-cost battery for storing electricity off the grid.

$100 million+
capital raised
35

IBM

Its Watson system could deliver more answers from big data.

$1 billion
new investment IBM plans for Watson-related services
36

Jawbone

Making fitness tracking technology mainstream.

28
countries where the Up fitness band is sold
37

Medtronic

Continues to shrink life-saving implantable medical devices.

2 grams
weight of the world's smallest pacemaker
38

Valve

A rising force in video games with its open-source console and online game distribution.

65 million
number of people using Valve's game-distribution network
39

Genomics England

Will run the U.K.'s project to make DNA sequencing part of the country's health-care system.

100,000
number of genomes the company hopes to sequence in five years
40

D-Wave Systems

It's not clear whether it has invented quantum computers. But its machines solve certain problems remarkably well.

30 minutes
time it took in one study for a conventional computer to solve a problem that D-Wave's machines handled in less than half a second.
41

Siluria Technologies

If it can convert natural gas to transportation fuels and commodity chemicals, it could reduce our dependence on oil.

42

Kaiima Bio-Agritech

Developing a novel non-GMO way to breed crops with improved yields.

$65 million
investment raised in recent round
43

Datawind

Began as a project to spread cheap tablets to students in India; now selling devices everywhere.

$38
price of its cheapest tablet
44

Freescale Semiconductor

Making tiny computers for the Internet of things.

2 square millimeters
size of a Freescale chip that has a processor, memory, and other functions.
45

Upworthy

You won’t believe how these guys redefined viral content on the Web.

46

LG

Korean electronics giant's recent innovations include a smartphone with flexible, curved screen.

30 percent
growth in LG's mobile phone business in 2013
47

Expect Labs

Its anticipatory software listens to your conversations so it can suggest relevant information.

8
number of people who can participate in a conversation through the company's MindMeld app
48

AngelList

Influential service acts as a matchmaker for early-stage investors and startups.

$1 billion
amount startups have raised through the site
49

Arcadia Biosciences

Tests crops designed to use less fertilizer and water or tolerate more salt.

50 percent
amount of nitrogen fertilizer needed by Arcadia's rice, compared with conventional strains.
50

Ripple Labs

This startup invented its own digital currency for exchanging money across borders.

  • Energy
  • Biotech
  • Computing & Communications
  • Internet & Digital Media
  • Transportation