One look at this year's 12th annual AlwaysOn Global 250 winners, and you can see that the technology landscape has changed dramatically during the last decade. New funding options are bringing more startups into being, and while competition has become fierce, the resulting companies that rise above the rest are proving their worth in today's demanding environment.
Cash-rich companies, both public and private, continue to make acquisitions, incorporating both intellectual capital and technology into their core products. Successful startups are waiting for IPO, stimulating ultra-high valuations, and keeping the venture community on its toes. This year's companies represent a strong, tough group of organizations willing to do what it takes to bring that one kernel of an idea from concept to market.
The AlwaysOn editorial team, along with partners at Morgan Stanley, KPMG, GSV Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, Khosla Ventures, Accel Ventures, Bridge Bank, Venrock, FirstMark Capital, Doll Capital Management, Benchmark Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Mayfield Fund, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, InterWest Partners, Qualcomm, Sequoia, and industry experts identified their best private technology startups to select the top 250 private companies in AlwaysOn's most distinguished annual competition.
Disruption Goes Global
Promise has turned to reality, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the B2B arena. Current advances in cloud infrastructure have finally started winning over IT departments. The hybrid cloud is burgeoning, and heavy-duty companies are developing resource-sharing technology that's replacing legacy infrastructure. Security, storage apps, and virtualization are among the most critical uses of the cloud, and business are turning to these solutions in droves.
Mobile applications, as well as the uprising of platform-as-a-service solutions are letting businesses spend their technology resources developing money-making apps instead of software support. SaaS has almost completely taken over traditional software models. The number of products available, from marketing automation to payment solutions to big data analytics to customer management, has taken a leap forward in terms of quality and reliability.
On the consumer side, social media has branched out into community-based resource-sharing and is forcing a disruption in key legacy institutions that hasn't been seen since online shopping began to tear down the suburban mall in the 1990s. In the transportation industry, the old school is literally taking to the streets in protest against ride-sharing firms like Lyft and Uber.
The travel market has already experienced a huge shakeup during the last decade, with online travel sites completely overhauling the traditional travel agency approach. Now, the advent of online short-term and vacation housing exchanges has rattled the bars of the powerful and entrenched hotel unions, especially in the U.S. Slow to respond, the hotel industry has been blindsided by a wave of companies, and media stories report municipal crackdowns, code enforcement, evictions, and even criminal charges, as this irresistible force threatens to engulf a previously immovable object.
A New Technology Landscape
This year's AlwaysOn Global 250 winners represent leadership in global innovation, developing software and hardware solutions that are ushering in a new era of global prosperity. Each company was selected based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value, and media buzz.
Congratulations to all the 2014 AlwaysOn Global 250 winners. While the opportunities for software developers are practically limitless, B2B innovation and advancement in infrastructure solutions may represent the most potential for growth and opportunity. As technology continues to rewrite the present, the Global Silicon Valley remains its driving force.
The winners of this competition will be honored at:
Silicon Valley Innovation Summit 2014
Meet the Captains of Innovation
July 29th - 30th, 2014
Computer History Museum
Mountain View CA