MIT Technology Review Lists 50 Most Disruptive Companies for 2013

The MIT Technology Review has put together its list of 50 candidates representing innovative companies that will have a telling affect on the world this year and in years to come. Each company on the list has been chosen because it has either created a new market or challenged leadership in a market segment. Some of the companies have produced a breakthrough product or are on the edge of bringing something very new and different to the market that should prove to be disruptive. Some of the companies are just making existing technology cheaper and more accessible. Many have only been in existence for less than five years.

In assembling this year’s list MIT notes that only 15 of the 50 made the 2012 list just telling you how brutal the pace of innovation has become. The list follows in alphabetical order:

  1. ABB – Swiss-based, this company is at the forefront of developing high-voltage DC circuit breakers for integrating renewable energy into power grids.
  2. Aereo – New York based, the company is a 2010 startup that uses tiny antennas on mobile devices to stream live local TV programming to smartphones and tablets.
  3. Alta Devices – Sunnyvale, California based, this company founded in 2007 has developed flexible, ultra-efficient solar photovoltaics that can be deployed almost on any surface, anywhere.
  4. Amazon – becoming a global force for online retail offering same-day delivery in more places than ever.
  5. Ambri – a Cambridge, Massachusetts 2010 startup developing molten electrode-based battery storage capable of absorbing lots of energy and feeding it to the grid when needed.
  6. Apple – on the list this year because of Retina technology designed to dramatically enhance small screen displays.
  7. Aquion Energy – a Pittsburgh-based company that has developed inexpensive large-scale batteries for use in grid storage.
  8. ARM Holdings – a Cambridge, UK company founded in 1990 that expanded from chip design into tablet, PC and server processors in 2013.
  9. Audi –  the German car manufacturer who developed a laser-scanning road detector for its models to make them safer and more autonomous.
  10. BGI –  the Chinese-based company that is making genome sequencing an affordable service.
  11. BrightSource Energy – an Oakland, California company that is building and planning to open the world’s largest thermal solar plant just outside of Las Vegas.
  12. Corning – this 162 year-old American company has developed a new kind of glass that is both flexible and strong for use in touch-screen devices.
  13. Coursera – founded in 2011 and located in Mountainview, California, the company is offering free college courses online that adjust to student individual needs.
  14. CrowdStrike – also founded in 2011, located in Irvine, California, the company has developed virus detection software that is better at detecting attacks and identifying attack sources.
  15. Diagnostics For All – founded in 2007 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this company has developed super-cheap paper-based health tests for use in the Developing World.
  16. Dow Chemical – this 116 year-old firm has developed photovoltaic roof shingle materials making every roof a solar power source.
  17. Facebook – the social networking giant developed innovative applications that correlate online and offline activity.
  18. Factual – a Los Angeles based company founded in 2007 that is collecting and analyzing large data sets to create an online knowledge repository accessible by many software applications.
  19. Foundation Medicine – located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this 2010 company has developed a genetic test for cancer treatment that helps doctors personalize the drugs used in therapy.
  20. General Electric – 123 years old and still going strong, the company made the list because of a new gas turbine designed to ramp up quickly when renewable wind and solar power is unavailable to the grid.
  21. Google – the search giant is now the smartphone software giant with its applications and operating systems making mobile devices cheaper and better.
  22. IBM – around for 102 years, this year IBM developed nano-circuitry that transmits data with light which will lead to the next generation of hardware computing technology.
  23. Illumina – around for 15 years the company has driven down the cost of DNA sequencing creating a new market for genomics.
  24. InMobi – headquartered in Singapore, this 2007 company is offering an alternative to Google and Apple mobile advertising.
  25. Intel – the personal computer chip giant has developed a new generation of powerful, high-performance mobile processors.
  26. Kymeta – founded in 2012, this Redmond, Washington company is developing small satellite antennas to replace the traditional dish, making it possible to offer broadband satellite service almost anywhere including planes, trains and cars.
  27. Leap Motion –  only 3 years old, the company, located in San Francisco, has developed a $70 control technology that allows users to interact with computers by gesture.
  28. MC10 – this 5 year-old company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is developing stretchable, wearable electronics for sports and medical applications.
  29. Microsoft – for Windows 8 combining touch and traditional computing technology.
  30. MLB Advanced Media – that MLB is Major League Baseball and the company, founded in 2000, is making live baseball available on mobile devices.
  31. Mozilla – the open source operating system company that this year brought Firefox to smartphones making the web accessible to everyone in the world through its free browser.
  32. Nest – founded in 2010, this Palo Alto company developed an AI thermostat that learns user preferences and then implements them.
  33. Novartis – headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, the drug giant is developing new manufacturing processes designed to produce customized medications combining compounds faster and in novel ways.
  34. Nuance Communication – around for 21 years, this company is a leader in speech recognition technology and is now developing applications for automobiles and game devices.
  35. Path – a 2010 San Francisco-based company that is developing a personal business and family social networking application for smartphones attracting over 2 million users.
  36. Philips – this 122 year-old company located in Amsterdam is revolutionizing LED light bulbs making them more affordable and intelligent so that they can be controlled remotely by smartphones and tablets.
  37. Pinterest – a different take on social networking built around images, the company, founded in 2010, is headquartered in San Francisco.
  38. Rethink Robotics – the developers of Baxter, the low-cost, small manufacturer robot that can be taught to work a variety of jobs alongside humans.
  39. Safaricom – is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and provides a mobile lending service that is challenging traditional banks in Africa.
  40. Samsung – this South Korean electronics giant is the world leader in smartphones and second to Apple in tablets.
  41. Semprius – founded in 2005, this Durham, North Carolina company has developed highly efficient solar power technology by using tiny lenses to concentrate sunlight.
  42. Siemens – this 166 year-0ld company builds all kinds of technology and lately is developing the turnkey battery and wind technologies that are pushing Germany to the forefront in implementing a comprehensive renewable energy strategy.
  43. SpaceX – founded in 2002, this Hawthorne, California private company is the first to successfully build and launch rocket systems and payloads into Earth orbit and successfully recover them joining a selective group of publicly funded national space carrier programs.
  44. Square – this 2009 founded San Francisco-based company has developed a mobile application for paying for things using a smartphone and a small plugin credit card reader.
  45. Tencent – the developer of China’s version of Twitter, Whatsapp-like WeChat (Weixin) service with over 200 million users and growing rapidly.
  46. Toyota – Japan’s premier car maker continues to dominate the hybrid market and this year added a plug-in version of the Prius.
  47. uniQure – founded in 1997 and located in Amsterdam, the company has developed the first gene therapy to treat a metabolic disorder.
  48. Vidyo –  founded in 2005 and located in New Jersey, the company has developed compression technology for high-definition video conferencing on smartphones.
  49. VMware – founded in 1998 the company is refocusing to provide cloud-based, networking services.
  50. Xerox – 107 years old and once more reinventing itself, the company has created intelligent systems that provide a service that changes the price of parking spots as demand fluctuates.

Did MIT miss any company that you think deserves to be on this list? Send me your candidates and the reasons why you think MIT goofed.


Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...


  • Defkalion Green Technologies
    Leonardo Corporation
    Brillouin Corporation

    Real innovations are never on the list.

    Alainco the tech watcher at lenr-forum.

    • lenrosen4

      I am still waiting on the cold fusion innovators on your list. MIT’s list is representative of companies already hitting the market with their innovations. When I finally see a real LENR cpmmercial device it will, I am sure, be on this list.