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Looking for the 'Next Big Thing'? Ranking the Top 50 Start-Ups -

Stashed in: Startups, Venture Capital!, Silicon Valley!, For Milo

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And the winner is...

I frankly had not heard of a lot of these companies.

The Wall Street Journal's third annual ranking of the top 50 venture-capital-backed companies shows a crop of contenders that overall are focused less on online consumers than in years past.

Hmmm, I had never heard of Genband before this article.

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. That excludes a number of high-profile companies, including Twitter Inc., Dropbox Inc., Pinterest Inc. , Airbnb Inc. and Square Inc. More than 5,900 candidates were considered.

"We're going to rule out all the companies people have heard of..."

The best and most profitable companies are probably exactly the ones you haven't heard of. The creative ones - like Gore Associates -- too.

I mean, does Haliburton or KKR really want to be famous?

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