The Next Big Thing likely comes from California, New York, Massachusetts or Washington

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The Wall Street Journal have just published their 2012 “Ranking the Top 50 Start Ups

They, sort of, headline the article, “The Next Big Thing” which is, in our view nearer the mark as some of the companies started up in the last century and in their top ten the latest one was founded in 2007!

Their inclusion criteria are:

“To be eligible for the ranking—compiled by research firm VentureSource, which like The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp.—companies must be based in the U.S., have received an equity round of financing in the past three years and be valued at less than $1 billion, as the aim is to identify lesser-known start-ups. More than 5,900 candidates were considered.”

As per their infographic of the top ten 10% of the companies are in the Health Care sector. If a comparable UK listing was compiled we doubt if this sector would be as prominent.

We also noted the following numbers breakdown by state:

1   California 37

2   New York 4

3    Massachusetts 3

4   Washington 2

5= Colorado 1

5=  New Jersey 1

5=  North Carolina 1

5=  Texas 1

California is remarkable but understandable and possibly New York is a population #’s scenario with Massachusetts linked with their Institute of Technology. Washington we find interesting with one company Donuts Inc (a new domain registry company) based in Bellvue and the other Cheezeburger being based in Seattle. Both Amazon (AWS Global Start-up Challenge) and Microsoft (Bing Fund)  as we have mentioned before fund directly and indirectly new startup ventures and are based in Seattle and Bellvue. Whilst there may be no direct link we doubt if this is an entire coincidence.

In our list in addition to their top ten we’ve selected our personal choice of “interesting” companies.

Employees State Founded Funding WSJ Category
$ million
1 Genband Inc 1700 TX 1999 500 Information Technology
2 Xirrus Inc 170 CA 2004 100 Information Technology
3 Tabula Inc 120 CA 2003 215 Information Technology
4 Prosper Marketplace 70 CA 2005 81 Business & Financial Services
5 SpiderCloudWirelessInc 95 CA 2007 106 Information Technology
6 Docusign Inc 275 CA 2005 123 Business & Financial Services
7 Glaukos Corp 57 CA 2001 126 Health Care
8 Neuropace Inc 90 CA 1997 180 Health Care
9 10Gen Inc 155 NY 2007 74 Information Technology
10 Glam Media 280 CA 2004 135 Consumer Servicess
12 Plexxi n/a MA 2010 46 Information Technology
14 Donuts Inc n/a WA 2011 100 Business & Financial Services
16 Uber Media n/a CA 2010 27 Consumer Services
17 Etsy n/a NY 2005 91 Consumer Services
19 RockMelt Inc n/a CA 2009 40 Information Technology
21 Machinima Inc n/a CA 2005 50 Consumer Services
22 Appia Inc n/a NC 2008 28 Information Technology
23 Boku Inc n/a CA 2009 73 Information Technology
25 SmartDrive SystemsInc n/a CA 2004 100 Business & Financial Services
28 Cheezburger n/a WA 2007 32 Consumer Services
30 Vidyo Inc n/a NJ 2005 99 Information Technology
34 Chegg Inc n/a CA 2005 211 Consumer Services


For the top ten the WSJ provides mini bios for each company (difficulty in finding a direct link so – scroll down on main article to” The Top 10 Venture-Backed Companies” picture & click on that!) . The one fun fact we sort of smiled at was Xirrus’s “The company’s conference rooms have names from Star Trek like the Holodeck, the Transporter Room and Warp Core. “ Whilst it didn’t raise a smile here we thought 10Gen Inc’s was incredibly ….. sensible “Everyone at 10gen, regardless of title, does customer support, including the CEO, CTO and engineers.”

Of our interesting additions Cheezburger generates wide public acclaim for its “fun” but we favour  Donuts Inc ( if the new gTLD’s take off so could they) RockMelt (a sort of Social Media browser {or Wowser} as they describe it),  Machinima for all you gamers, and Vidyo (not only for the name but also its enterprise video conferencing).

As ever we will leave you with a video – this go round it’s the WSJ’s, rather hesitant interviewee Emily Maltby explaining it all.

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