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December 19, 2012

Most Likely to Succeed: Top Ten Emerging Tech Companies for 2012



Who are the up and comers in high tech this year? Boston-based Lux Research has released a list of the top 10 emerging technology companies among the 1,380 that its analysts profiled and rated over the course of 2012.

Based on primary and secondary research, Lux researchers evaluated each of the firms on a 10-metric scorecard, while also providing a critical, qualitative analysis of its industry prospects. The resulting assessment—called a “Lux Take”— ranged from “Strong Caution” to “Strong Positive,” with a “Wait and See” cautionary note for companies that still face too much uncertainty for a definitive call.

And now, on to the list! According to Lux, each of the following companies is currently positioned in the vanguard of a global megatrend. If you don’t recognize them yet, you will soon.

Solazyme – Positive – Alternative Fuels; Bio-based Materials and Chemicals– This firm’s unique technology transforms low-cost plant sugars into high-value renewable oils. One of the few advanced fermentation companies generating revenue today, San Francisco-based Solazyme is aligning partners and scaling production facilities to sell into high value markets before bringing down costs to compete in commodity fuels and chemicals.

EOS – Positive – Advanced Materials –Krailling, Germany-based EOS (Electro Optical Systems) offers an additive manufacturing (AM) process that facilitates the fast and flexible production of high-end parts at a repeatable industry level of quality. A leader in the burgeoning 3D printing space, EOS boasts a long list of development partners and employs a savvy business model that includes selling “optimized” raw material input powders at very high margins to go along with laser sintering tools.

Vigilent – Positive – Grid Storage; Efficient Building Systems–With headquarters in El Cerrito, California, Vigilent develops artificial intelligence-based energy management software. The platform “learns” operational habits and optimizes building energy efficiency and consumption, offering payback periods to customers of less than two years.

Cambrios Technologies – Positive – Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics; Solar Components; Advanced Materials—Formerly known as Semzyme and located in Sunnyvale, California, Cambrios develops electronic materials for the display industry. Its silver nanowire-based transparent conductive films replace indium tin oxide—particularly for touchscreen applications. Along with partners Nissha Printing and Synaptics (News - Alert), it released its first commercial product in the Huawei Ascend, Cricket's newest Android smartphone.

 Oxford Pharmascience – Positive – Formulation and Delivery—Oxford Pharamscience, located in Oxfordshire, UK, develops advanced, yet practical, pharmaceutical technologies to enable reformulation that adds value to off-patent and soon to be off-patent drugs. The company does not manufacture or sell its own pharmaceutical products, but instead seeks to license its technologies to a network of partners, mainly leading pharmaceutical companies with Rx and OTC branded portfolios. The ability to manipulate properties such as taste and viscosity to improve oral delivery of medicine makes Oxford Pharmascience appealing. Calcium supplements gained the company entry into emerging markets and doubled its revenue in one year.

SunPower – Positive – Solar Components; Solar Systems—San Jose, California-based SunPower manufactures the highest efficiency crystalline silicon modules on the market, at 21 percent efficiency, SunPower has strong strategic partners and a multi-gigawatt project pipeline in the high profit margin regions of the Americas and Asia. The SunPower Maxeon solar cell technology powers Solar Impulse, a prototype solar airplane that is breaking records for consecutive hours in the air powered only by solar energy.

Efficient Power Conversion – Positive – Energy Electronics—This El Segundo, California-based, fab-less manufacturer of gallium nitride (GaN) power electronics devices is already offering products in the 40-volt (V) to 200 V range, and is well positioned to expand its offering to 600 V applications, taking advantage of GaN’s improved efficiency over today’s silicon-based devices.

Enviro Voraxial – Positive – Water— The company sells high efficiency, low footprint oil-water separators especially suitable for the offshore market, and quadrupled its revenue in 2012. Applications include, but are not limited to, oil spill cleanup, waste-to-energy, onshore and offshore dispersed water separation, frac water, storm water, refinery wastewater cleanup and bio-fuels. Enviro Voraxial is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Itaconix – Positive – Bio-based Materials and Chemicals—Exeter, New Hampshire-based Itaconix Corp. makes environmentally-friendly polymers derived from renewable resources for use in detergents and diapers. With a low-capex, low-opex process expanding to 5,000 MT/year to produce itaconic acid polymers for chemical intermediates, binders, and super-absorbents, Itaconix is one of the few bio-based chemical companies that Lux expects to run in the black in 2013.

Desso – Positive – Sustainable Building Materials—With headquarters in Waalwijk, The Netherlands, Desso develops carpet for the residential, office and hospitality sectors; and artificial grass for sports stadiums. It uses "cradle-to-cradle" principles, making its products biodegradable and recyclable, while offering functionality such as capture and retention of allergens and enhanced sound insulation.

In addition to this list, Lux will present “the 10 companies to watch” in 2013 shortly.

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