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Top 10 tech start-ups racing to the billion-dollar mark

The one question that constantly obsesses the industry is where will the next billion-dollar venture come from? What would it entail and what would make it shine in comparison to its peer, given that the industry is seeing technology start-ups launch virtually on a daily basis. In an effort to give some direction to these questions, social networking website for professionals, LinkedIn, has put together a list of the top 10 technology start ups.

“If managing a hyper-growth tech start-up in Silicon Valley is like launching a rocket, then the fuel is a mix of venture capital funding and engineering talent,” writes James Raybould, Director of Insights at LinkedIn’s Global Sales Organisation. For hi, the right group of engineers can thrust a start-up to a sky-high valuation – which then attracts even more funding and talent – eventually pushing select start-ups into the billion-dollar orbit.

LinkedIn employs its own platform information to arrive on this list. Leveraging the data gathered from professionals researching companies on LinkedIn, last year, the company developed the InDemand ranking algorithm to translate these research activities into signals that reveal which companies are most attractive to LinkedIn professionals as places to work. To create the 2013 Most InDemand Startups list, LinkedIn focussed on its site activity between 287,000+ Bay Area engineers and companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Top 10 tech start-ups of 2013
Amongst the companies that have made it to the top of the list, one common factor appears to be their ability to comprehend and be relevant in the Big Data space. Companies focussed in the networking and storage area too are increasingly gaining momentum with users. Finally, physical consumer products companies are showing a very promising future.

Top in LinkedIn’s list is Cloudera, a leading player in the Apache Hadoop-based software and services that offers data platform to enterprises and organisations for all kinds of data.

Next is Dropbox, a free service founded in 2007 that has 175 million users today, allows people to store photos, docs and videos anywhere, and share them easily.

Violin Memory, founded in 2005, focuses on flash storage in the enterprise data center, delivering storage at the speed of memory and running critical applications in memory.

Nimble Storage too is a player in the data storage space, working on how data for next-generation datacenter applications is stored, served, and protected.

Hortonworks develops, distributes and supports open source distribution of Apache Hadoop for the enterprise.

GoPro features ‘wearable’ tech line camera/camcorders such as helmet cameras and so on.

Jawbone is also a player in the wearable tech space that uses Bluetooth technology to connect wearable devices to the user’s mobile phone.

Big Switch Networks is a player in Open Software-Defined Networking that unlocks all new customer value through an open, flexible and programmable network architecture.

Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events and other common interests and talking points.

Nutanix is a virtualisation infrastructure company that again focuses on datacenter.

Underlying trends of companies that click
This is the second year that LinkedIn has undertaken this initiative. Some of the companies that featured last year include Nicira (that was later acquired by VMWare for USD 1.26B), Arista, Box, Square, Palantir and Splunk, each of which has grown to more than 500 employees, and is valued between USD 1B and USD 5B today.

One of the key things that standout when the two lists are compared is that businesses that focus on Big Data, Networking & Storage and Consumer continue to be very attractive.

Raybould pointed out, “Building physical products for consumers is on the rise. In 2012, none of the start-ups in the Top 10 sold physical products to consumers. This year, two start-ups made the list which do just that (Jawbone and GoPro), and three more just missed the Top 10 – Nest Labs (#14), Fitbit (#16), and Lytro Inc. (#17).”

LinkedIn’s InDemand Tech Startups 2013
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