The 10 most innovative companies in North America of 2023


Never underestimate the power of an American brand. “The brand is the most indispensable thing,” says David Aaker, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley’s Haas business school and author of more than a dozen books on branding strategy. “If you pull out the brand, you don’t have a business.”

American institutions such as Nasdaq, Radio Flyer, and Ralph Lauren are demonstrating how a storied brand can use that power not just to extend their businesses into adjacent markets but expand into emerging ones—and bring both existing and new customers along with them. Radio Flyer, the 106-year-old maker of children’s wagons and toys, has made a big bet on e-bikes, its first adult offering in its history. The $2,000 Flyer L885 cargo e-bike and its follow-up Flyer Folding Cargo Electric Bike connect to the company’s heritage with their family-friendly design flourishes. In introducing their new line of e-bikes, Aaker says that Radio Flyer is leveraging the visibility, likability, and nostalgia associated with the brand. The move puts the company in an enviable position to pioneer electric bikes for family use.

Similarly, since Nasdaq, the electronic stock exchange, acquired a majority stake in the carbon-removal platform in 2021, it has transformed Puro’s CO2 Removal Certificates into a public, verifiable product. Anyone can now search via the Puro Registry to see if a company has purchased credits. In addition, Nasdaq created the first index family focused on tracking the price of carbon removal. These financial features create a larger, more transparent market. Nasdaq’s brand has also helped attract 60 new carbon-removal suppliers in 27 countries to Puro’s platform.

[Illustration: Yann Bastard]

Ralph Lauren’s clothing, meanwhile, has always had a timeless aesthetic, which has allowed the fashion house to reinterpret its classics consistently, now with an environmental edge. Ralph Lauren redesigned its signature cashmere sweaters to receive certification from Cradle to Cradle, a nonprofit that helped the company meet C2C’s standards for using safe materials, employing fair labor practices, and enabling the garment to be recycled into a new one. “Having a legacy brand,” says UC Berkeley’s Aaker, “gives you credibility” to push into new spaces.

Beyond the brand, the most innovative North American companies are, like Nasdaq, seeking novel ways to mitigate climate catastrophe. GHGSat can identify greenhouse gas emissions from its Earth observation satellites, helping companies comply with regulations and governments identify problems. Footprint, the compostable packaging pioneer, expanded to shelf-stable microwaveable meals, and Oxford Properties keeps finding new means to prioritize sustainability across its developments.

Scientific advancement continues to be a heartening theme in American innovation as well. Benchling enables researchers to take advantage of the most advanced biotech platforms—from DeepMind’s AlphaFold to mRNA to CRISPR—and accelerate the possibility of drug discovery. While Benchling works with everyone from AstraZeneca and Gilead to emerging biotechs, Flagship Pioneering creates the companies that may be the next big thing in bio.


For easing the eternal hassles of expense reporting

Ramp, which became one of the fastest-growing business software startups with its spending-management credit card during the bull market, is now more vital than ever amid a more recessionary environment. The company, which was last valued at $8.1 billion, significantly expanded its product line over the course of 2022.

In late 2021, it created Bill Pay, which uses AI to read invoices and automatically cull such info as line items and due dates before they enter the approval process, saving customers time and energy. Bill Pay quickly surpassed the growth rate of its credit card, generating more than $1 billion in annualized volume, according to the company. Ramp also introduced its own travel booking solution in February 2022, which lets employees book corporate travel through any channel; it then automates the expense report, collating all travel-related receipts. It also integrated with Gmail to alleviate the expense reporting process, automatically scanning for receipts and matching them to business transactions. Receipts using the Gmail, Outlook, Amazon, and Lyft integrations are typically processed before the transaction has even cleared. This integration is being used by more than 40,000 users, with Ramp reporting to have saved employees over 60 working years.

Ramp, which was also a Most Innovative Company in 2022, doubled its revenue run rate in the first half of 2022 and has grown its customer base by 400%, to more than 10,000 businesses and over 300,000 users.

Read more about Ramp, honored as No. 9 on Fast Company’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2023.


For capturing greenhouse gas emissions via satellite imagery

Quebec-based GHGSat uses its Earth observation satellites to measure greenhouse gas emissions emitted from industrial sites, with a particular focus on methane. The company doubled its constellation to six commercial satellites in 2022, with six more planned for 2023.

In September 2022, GHG’s satellites were the first ones to produce high-resolution images of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline leak in the Baltic Sea. It was the company’s largest emissions discovery from a single source in its seven-year history of monitoring. The company was also able to capture views of methane plumes from a coal mine in Kazakhstan and in the Gulf of Mexico in 2022.

Methane is a colorless gas, but the GHG satellites use spectrometers to pick up differences in light waveforms as they travel through a plume of gas. Approximately two-thirds of the company’s customers are oil and gas businesses seeking to identify problems and comply with regulations;
the rest are governments and climate change researchers. GHGSat’s revenues increased 240% from August 2021 to 2022, and in October it won a contract with NASA.


For accelerating the next generation of drug development

Benchling is scientists’ research partner in the cloud. The San Francisco-based company makes software tools to accelerate the creation and testing of the most advanced biotech therapeutic platforms. In May 2022, it added support for DeepMind’s AlphaFold breakthrough, which can predict the 3D structure of a protein and has the potential to bring new levels of insight and understanding into drug discovery, drug interaction, and so forth. Benchling’s software lets scientists choose any amino acid sequence in the company’s R&D Cloud platform, run the AlphaFold algorithm, and get back a prediction of its protein structure. In September, Benchling introduced support for RNA and mRNA R&D, giving biologists and chemists visualization tools for designing and modifying mRNA sequences and collaborating with one another, in service of identifying drug candidates more quickly.

For a sense of why adding tools and support for these advanced scientific platforms matters, Benchling first added CRISPR gene-editing technology to its cloud in 2014. Five years later, a startup named Verve Therapeutics started work on a novel CRISPR-based therapy for heart disease, using Benchling’s software to support its development. In July 2022, Verve started human trials, the first time that a person has received this type of treatment during a clinical trial.


For investing in a carbon removal marketplace

Nasdaq, the stock exchange, acquired a majority stake in the carbon removal marketplace in June 2021. identifies and verifies CO2 removal processes that are net-negative in terms of emissions and stores that CO2. In January, the minimum storage time was increased from 50 to 100 years. It also provides a registry of CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs) in an online marketplace where corporate buyers can purchase carbon removal credits. The value of the combination of the financial market and the carbon market started to come into view when Nasdaq launched the Puro Registry in February 2022. The platform allows companies who have used CORCs to make them public, transparent, and verifiable—and for anyone to search if a company has purchased CORCs. The following month, Nasdaq introduced the first commodity reference price indexes to track the cost of carbon removal. As more companies make net-zero carbon commitments and the SEC considers standardizing carbon disclosure rules, Nasdaq’s moves provide transparency to help companies understand the cost of carbon removal certificates as well as provide the ability to purchase advance commitments. Microsoft, Snap, and Zurich Insurance Group are all customers. Nasdaq reports that in 2022, issued 225,000 CORCs (225,000 tons of CO2 removed), more than triple that of the 74,000 it issued in each of the two prior years. It has also added more than 60 new carbon-removal suppliers in 27 countries since the acquisition.


For fostering the intersection of business, science, and public health

Flagship Pioneering, which is in the business of founding, funding, and fostering companies with new approaches to persistent problems, continues to launch transformative life science companies—and, among other things, get ahead of the next pandemic. Best known for its role in backing Moderna and mRNA vaccine development technology, Flagship continued to try to get ahead of where virality (the bad kind) is going. Apriori Bio, launched in July 2022, seeks to identify the protection needed for future virus variants before they exist and, using its AI platform Octavia, model their behavior. The goal: build variant-proof vaccines and antibodies before they emerge. Apriori is currently focused on HIV, Influenza, and SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Apriori was but one of four companies launched in 2022, along with more than 65 new clinical programs, 130 therapeutics in preclinical and discovery programs, and more than 550 patent applications from its Flagship Labs division.


For designing products that let customers pass down a healthier planet to the next generation

American fashion brand Ralph Lauren’s clothing has always had a timeless aesthetic, but the articles themselves were not being made with the same spirit toward the planet. Lauren debuted a number of textile breakthroughs throughout 2022 that embody its adoption of a more holistic interpretation of its ethos.

For the 2022 Australian Open tennis tournament, its RLX Clarus polo shirt, created with Natural Fiber Welding (which is honored as one of the most innovative Energy and Sustainability companies), gives cotton fibers the breathability and quick-drying qualities that garment makers typically turn to synthetic (plastic-based) fabrics like nylon to achieve. In June 2022, the company committed to making some of its most iconic products, starting with a women’s crewneck cashmere sweater, according to the standards of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Each garment is made with regenerative soil and water practices and can be recycled into a future one. These certified products are a showcase for the company’s commitment to growing regenerative practices and making all of its products according to circularity principles by 2025. For the nine months ending December 31, 2022, Ralph Lauren delivered $4.9 billion in revenue and $490.4 million in profits.


For placing sustainability above occupancy

Toronto-based Oxford Properties manages 165 million square feet of commercial real estate space and $82 billion of assets, predominantly across Canada and the United States. The firm, which has built a reputation for erecting large net-zero buildings, is now taking multiple steps to prioritize sustainability during development rather than hoping for tenants to embrace it later. Oxford completed Riverbend Business Park in Vancouver, where it removed over 300,000 cubic meters of waste and debris and converted the former mill into Canada’s first large-scale two-story industrial facility. The project is fully leased after signing on Amazon in March 2022. At Oxford’s The Hub in Toronto, the company helped successfully change city policy to reduce mandated parking spaces by 70%, encouraging tenants to use more sustainable modes of transportation like biking, walking, or public transport. It further encouraged green transit by making bike stalls, high-quality changing rooms, and showers (including toiletries) standard for all new office projects.

Oxford also initiated an impressive array of socially conscious and sustainably led projects in 2022. In March, it broke ground on 3 million square feet of properties in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard, whose foundation is a $1 billion commitment to creating spaces for Black-owned businesses and using Black contractors in the development process. This was followed in September by the commencement of a project in Southern Ontario, which will install 400,000 square feet of solar photovoltaic arrays in the first phase of development, ensuring that tenants will use clean energy from day one, a significant departure from developers’ typical practice of waiting for tenant cooperation before installing. The company’s focus on sustainability is also proving to be good business: Oxford had a 9.9% return in the first half of 2022.


For giving plastic an expiration date

We all know plastic is bad—and hiding everywhere. Footprint, a packaging innovation firm that first made its name with its plant fiber–based trays for frozen dinners and premade hamburger patties, has turned its attention to another grocery aisle: shelf-stable microwaveable meals. In 2022, Kraft, Annie’s, and Walmart’s Great Value brands all refreshed the packaging of their macaroni and cheese cups, replacing plastic with Footprint’s fully recyclable or compostable alternative. The cups use both Footprint’s Barrier Technology (which allows the food not to saturate the paper, replacing the plastic liner inside paper cups) and its Print-to-Fiber Technology, so companies can render their branding in the color graphics of their choosing without the need to add a plastic label. Footprint estimates the shelf-stable cup market uses more than 42 million pounds of plastic annually. In October 2022, the company won deals with Sambazon to make a fiber cup for its açai bowls and with F’real for its milkshake cups.

Footprint had planned to go public via a SPAC but rescinded the deal in December 2022 due to market conditions. The company had previously told investors that it would generate $135 million in 2022 revenue and end the year with $924 million in revenue under contract.


For helping you find your lost remote

Roku, the streaming media devices and software company, brought a variety of successful new products and platforms to market in 2022. In May, the Roku Ultra, the highest-end version of its streaming hardware, bundled the Roku Voice Remote Pro that includes a voice-powered lost remote function (“Hey Roku, find my remote”). That same month it teamed up with a company called Element to make its first outdoor TV outfitted with anti-glare and weather protection. The TV sold out at Walmart.

On the software side, the company’s free advertising-supported Roku Channel closed partnerships with Lionsgate for theatrical releases, NBCUniversal Local to add local news shows, and the National Hockey League for game highlights, condensed classic games, and original programming. Roku debuted its first original movie in November 2022—Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, starring Daniel Radcliffe—to great acclaim.

Although Roku’s stock was down 82% for 2022 (amid the market’s large sell-off of growth-oriented tech equities), the company’s 2022 revenue grew 13% year over year, to $3.1 billion, and active accounts rose to 70 million. Those users watched 87.4 billion hours of streaming TV, an increase of 14.3 billion hours from 2021.


For racing to a micro mobility future

The maker of the Little Red Wagon entered the e-bike market in 2022, the first adult product in Radio Flyer’s century-plus history. The Flyer L885 ($2,000) includes a carrier accessory, making it a family-friendly e-bike that can easily switch its rear area from kid mode, which can fit two children, to cargo mode to carry groceries, bags, or gear. The bike includes a number of thoughtful design flourishes, including an easy-to-clean fabric that covers the carrier and folds down to protect a child’s legs during a ride. The Flyers have been highly acclaimed (the private company does not release sales figures), and Radio Flyer followed up with its next product, a folding cargo bike, in October 2022. It, too, is replete with clever touches such as a hidden compartment to house a tracking tag, such as an Apple AirTag, to locate the bike in the event it’s lost or stolen. The company also became the first toy or e-bike manufacturer to earn B Corp status, receiving its certification in August 2022.

Looking to improve employee satisfaction and the intra-team connection isn’t a new trend; high-achieving businesses have long prioritized worker engagement, says author and workplace development expert Julie Winkle Giulioni. But the combination of a tight labor market and the aftermath of the pandemic created “a perfect storm” when it comes to employee apathy and restlessness. It’s why we all read a million panicked takes about “quiet quitting” and the “Great Resignation” last year.

As leaders wrestle with the different challenges of hybrid, remote, or fully back in-person teams, more are realizing they need to meet the moment by refocusing on their most valuable resource. “When you don’t have [employee engagement], you’ve got less discretionary effort. You’ve got productivity issues. You’ve got morale issues,” says Giulioni. “All it takes is a couple of people who aren’t feeling connected with the mission and excited about what everyone’s doing. . . . It does have that spreading, viral effect.”

The 10 most innovative workplace companies of 2023

These companies are enhancing collaboration and productivity for increasingly distributed and hybrid workforces.

[Illustration: Yann Bastard]

The cure can take a variety of forms, and often involves harnessing remote work technology in surprising ways. Owl Labs, for example, helps bridge the divide between remote and in-office workers during hybrid meetings with its 360-degree camera, microphone, and speaker device—so every employee can be easily seen and heard. Behind the scenes, Culture Amp allows HR teams to collect detailed employee feedback, track how initiatives are working, and develop personalized growth plans, while tech giant Microsoft’s two-year-old employee engagement platform Viva helps workers set goals, develop their careers, deliver feedback, and build connections. To address the challenge of team-building remotely, there’s Donut, a Slack app that randomly pairs coworkers and offers up silly icebreakers to bond far-flung colleagues, which may be more effective than a dozen chocolate glazeds.


For helping big companies get organized

Whether your team is colocated in adjoining cubicles or spread across five different time zones, working on complex projects requires everyone to be on the same page. Airtable is certainly not the only company offering a “low-code/no-code” solution for teams that want to track projects from beginning to end, but it has created one of the most user-friendly. In fall 2022, the platform began rolling out a new suite of features meant to help eliminate information silos, especially at bigger companies. (Airtable counts Amazon, IBM, and Nike among its clients.) The new offering includes apps that serve critical business needs, from managing product road maps to tracking job applicants, and uses Airtable data to update the apps in real-time. “If you’re a 10-person company, you can run pretty efficiently just by tapping each other on the shoulder, Airtable CEO Howie Liu told Fast Company last October. “But what we’ve found—and, frankly, what I didn’t understand when I founded the company—is that at a larger and larger enterprise . . . they actually need apps that connect to each other and form this kind of ecosystem that all operate on shared data.” Airtable, which has an $11.7 billion valuation, reportedly has been deployed in more than 80 of the 100 largest U.S. companies and 300,000+ firms overall and earned $142 million in revenue in 2022.


For providing family-building benefits

The fertility benefits provider is known for its hyper-customizable plans, which support various ways employees look to grow a family, including IVF, IUI, adoption, and surrogacy. In 2022, the company, which was founded in 2016, expanded its offerings to cover a wider spectrum of fertility care for its 800-plus customers, including benefits for people experiencing menopause and perimenopause—life stages that can be especially taboo in the workplace, despite affecting so many. Carrot also expanded its offerings for people with low testosterone, something that affects approximately 40% of men aged 45 and up. These sorts of benefits, which Carrot says more than half of its customers have opted to offer its employees, are especially in-demand as employers work to retain in-demand workers. The company is on track to surpass the half-a-billion-dollar mark in claims processed before the end of 2023, and it states that 96% of members who use a Carrot benefit said they’re more likely to stay at their company because it offers Carrot.


For improving teams’ ability to do meaningful work

Workers are exhausted. According to Microsoft’s own research, almost half of the employees (and more than half of managers) report that they’re burned out at work. So it makes sense that this year, the tech giant—which has established Teams as a dominant platform for meetings and messaging—has focused on addressing this issue with Viva, an integrated experience platform that’s meant to help with goal-setting, career development, delivering feedback to managers, and building connections at work—all imperatives as companies work to stave off general workplace malaise and defections. First launched in 2021, Viva includes select features that are free for 365 enterprise customers or $12 per user per month for the Viva suite; Viva now has more than 20 million monthly active users and 1,000-plus paid customers, including REI and Nationwide. In June 2022, Microsoft added Goals to Viva, allowing workers to commit to objectives and key results (OKRs), and integrating them with Teams (for check-ins) as well as Microsoft Project and Planner so updates are automatically tracked. In September 2022, Viva introduced Pulse, which assists team leaders in soliciting confidential feedback from employees. According to a recent Forrester study, Viva helps reduce employee attrition by 20%.


For simplifying workflows and helping workers focus

We all have those times when it feels like we’ve spent the workday toggling between Slack DMs, an overstuffed inbox, and approximately 17 Google Docs. ClickUp, which is used by more than 6 million users including teams at IBM and Samsung, is a single platform for users looking to cut down on time spent switching between tasks. In 2022, the company, which acquired the search tool Slapdash in April, launched a universal search so users can find the information they need more quickly. Ninety-seven percent of users surveyed said they increased efficiency by using ClickUp at their companies, and 88% say collaboration with teammates has improved.


For finally figuring out how to make hybrid meetings work

Ask any worker—remote or in-office—about how annoying they find most hybrid meetings. Employees working from home miss out on half the conversation (including body language clues and that vital pre- and post-meeting banter), and the employees in the room feel frustrated at having to slow down for their far-flung colleagues. Owl Labs, which claims use by 84 of the top 100 U.S. companies by revenue, provides a solution via its cute Meeting Owl product line. The Meeting Owl 3, launched in June 2022, includes a 360-degree camera, an 18-foot audio pickup, and a tri-speaker, so remote employees can see, hear, and be heard, respectively. The Owl gets better at recognizing speakers with use and can be paired with an expansion mic to increase its audio range to 26 feet—perfect for your next big all-hands. In November 2022, the company announced its $25 million Series C funding and that its products are now used by more than 130,000 organizations worldwide.


For helping employees grow—and getting them to stick around

Used by more than 25 million workers, Culture Amp is a platform dedicated to improving the employee experience—something that’s especially critical for employers who don’t want to lose high performers in a (still) tight job market. The platform allows HR teams to collect detailed employee feedback, track how specific initiatives are working, conduct employee reviews, and compare how their company stacks up against others in their industry. In June 2022, the growing company (whose clients include Warby Parker, Oracle, and SoulCycle) launched Develop, which allows employees to create personalized growth plans. Culture Amp says that customers who participated in Develop’s pilot program saw a 30% increase in employees who agreed that they have a clear sense of their development goals.


For destigmatizing mental health support

In May 2022, the mental health platform—whose clients include Pixar, SoFi, and Zendesk—tapped four-time Grand Slam winner and mental health advocate Naomi Osaka as a spokesperson. As part of this partnership, meant to destigmatize mental health care (especially for underserved communities), Osaka is putting out personalized meditation tools and working with the company to support BIPOC mental health care providers. (American Psychiatric Association data indicates that only 3% of U.S. psychologists are Black.) This collaboration isn’t the only move the platform made to make it easier for people to get the help they need. The company, which has a $1.17 billion valuation, introduced Courses in December 2021, a self-paced series of exercises developed by therapists that helps employees “seek support in their own time and at their own pace,” and expanded Circles, group sessions led by therapists and coaches. The hope is that both options can serve as a friendly onboarding for those previously unlikely to seek out more formal psychological care.


For helping companies pay their workers more equitably

Perhaps the most prominent employment-related regulation sweeping the country are laws that mandate that companies share pay ranges for every job. The goal is to reduce the inequality that persists in pay that leads to women being paid less than men and people of color being paid less than white people. These laws, which have taken effect in New York City as well as California, Colorado, and Washington state, are also designed to give workers more information during the hiring process. OpenComp helps companies be smarter about their compensation strategies. The startup was founded in 2021 by Thanh Nguyen and Nancy Connery, former Salesforce HR execs. In June 2022, OpenComp released Range Builder to help companies automate the process of building out salary ranges. Range Builder uses AI to assess both market data and a company’s status to develop pay scales. OpenComp raised a $20 million Series A in February 2022 and has attracted several thousand customers to its platform, including the likes of Calm, Discord, and Reddit.


For making company culture sweeter

With the influx of remote and hybrid work, many leaders are rightly concerned about building a sense of camaraderie and inclusion—especially for employees who have joined since the start of the pandemic. Donut is a suite of tools designed to do just that, through randomly pairing up coworkers via Slack DM and introducing spontaneous icebreakers into teams’ daily workflow. In 2022, the company, which is used by more than 20,000 teams (including all Ivy League universities), introduced “Celebrations,” a product that helps everyone recognize workplace milestones, like promotions, anniversaries, and birthdays. In the first six months, the tool helped teams recognize more than 30,000 of these events—with no need for anyone to awkwardly sing Happy Birthday in the conference room ever again.


For helping workers who are also caregivers

Even as we exit the acute phase of the pandemic, the stress felt by caregivers has not lessened. Despite the fact that the majority of employers don’t track their employees’ caregiving requirements, 73% of workers say that they have a caregiving responsibility for at least one child, parent, relative, or friend, according to a Harvard Business School study. Wellthy provides support by matching these workers to an expert who can help them navigate complicated healthcare and insurance systems—and keep their care team on the same page. This year, the company has focused on partnering with employers like Hilton (as it did in June 2022) that have large populations of hourly workers who may especially benefit from this sort of assistance. The company’s services, which are available to more than 1.5 million employees, also launched Wellthy Community in May, a peer-to-peer platform “where families can connect with others who are caring to find support, share experiences and feel less alone.”

The 10 most innovative companies in data science of 2023

Here’s how the most innovative companies are harnessing big data, whether to solve pressing healthcare problems or delight music fans.

In the digital age, every company has data—often in such overwhelming quantities that it can be tough to figure out what to do with it all. Properly applied, data science turns it from an undifferentiated mass of information into intelligence. These companies are harnessing their power to tackle challenges in everything from supply chain management to media and entertainment.

Healthcare is a particularly fertile field for data science innovations such as Sophia Genetics‘s machine learning models, which allows partners such as AstraZeneca and Memorial Sloan Kettering to identify cancer early and improve patient outcomes. Then there’s Nference’s nSights platform, which leverages more than a billion lab results to give Mayo Clinic and other researchers new insights in areas such as oncology, cardiology, and COVID-19 prevention.

Organizations working to overcome deep-seated societal problems can turn to data science to gain critical knowledge about the issues at play. Aclima, for example, collects hyper-targeted data on air quality, confirming that poorer neighborhoods suffer from more smog than affluent ones—a first step toward focused solutions. Censia provides an AI-based hiring platform based on skills, not conventional résumé information, giving a more diverse talent pool better access to jobs that match their strengths. And Robust Intelligence helps companies spot flaws in machine language models as early as possible, so they can be used to overcome real-world biases rather than reinforce them.

Not every application of data science involves such weighty matters. Spotify’s hugely popular, much-imitated Wrapped summarizes nearly half a billion users’ listening habits in increasingly inventive ways that beg to be shared. For music fans, Wrapped is pure fun—but it’s also the product of new ways of managing big data.


For making sure machine learning models are solid from the start

As machine learning models transform business processes across an array of industries—from finance to medicine to travel—it’s essential to test them for flaws that, if left unchecked, could have catastrophic consequences. Robust Intelligence’s platform tests ML models from conception to deployment, analyzing data in real-time to spot biases that make AI unfair, security holes that leave it open to hackers, and other problem areas. The company added the ability to adapt its ML integrity solutions via Amazon Web Services in July 2022, allowing customers with less specialized needs to have a solution for testing their ML operations. The company began working with the U.S. Air Force in March to protect its AI systems. It also signed on Deloitte, Mastercard, and Medtronic as customers in 2022.


For creating a yearly global ritual based on our music-listening habits

Spotify started compiling its year in review in 2013, and it officially became Wrapped in 2016. Since then, Wrapped has grown into a highly anticipated global moment of virality by compiling the music and podcast listening stats from each of its 489 million monthly active users (as of December 31, 2022) for a personalized year in audio. In 2022, the visual, highly sharable experience—Wrapped is one of the world’s most shared marketing campaigns—added Audio Day, which let users see how their musical mood evolved from morning to night, and most notably, slotted users into one of 16 “listening personalities,” such as “early adopter” and “replayer.” For the first time, the company let artists (and podcasters) offer their biggest fans the opportunity to buy merch. Spotify claims this led to its biggest-ever week in sales, though it did not reveal hard numbers.

With Wrapped having become an annual event during the holiday season, Spotify is now exploring opportunities to leverage and coalesce more data by developing other shareable moments throughout the year. In June 2022 it launched Supergrouper, which gave users the ability to create supergroups of their favorite artists. In August, Spotify offered an in-app experience that invited listeners to pick their top five Kendrick Lamar projects.


For showing companies how to make their supply chains more resilient

Every supply chain consists of multiple tiers—and it can be difficult for any organization to gain full visibility into those that lay beyond tier one, its direct suppliers. Everstream Analytics uses 128 billion daily points of public and nonpublic data to give its clients, which include AB InBev, Bayer, Unilever, and Whirlpool, a full understanding of every layer of their supply chains and their impact on such things as the company’s inventory, ESG goals, and reputation. In March 2022, Everstream launched Discover, which leverages all those data points to map the entirety of a company’s supply chain, identifying bottlenecks and helping companies comply with local and international laws. In June 2022, the United States started to enforce the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and the European Parliament called for an import ban on goods made with forced labor. Everstream Discover’s tools assist companies in ensuring that their supply chains are free of goods made with forced and child labor.


For weaving health data from varied sources into one powerful platform

Sophia Genetics’s machine learning product, known as Sophia-DDM, processes medical data from multiple sources—such as patient history, genomic testing analysis, and radiometric data—to provide insights that go beyond more siloed approaches to analysis. In February 2022, the company introduced a new deep-learning tool for identifying cancer through DNA analysis. It has already been rolled out in 10 countries, including a European deployment in partnership with AstraZeneca. In September 2022, the company teamed with institutes such as Memorial Sloan Kettering and Boundless Bio to apply its algorithms to applications such as tumor analysis, therapeutics development, DNA-based cancer detection, and patient outcome prediction. Sophia Genetics, which went public in July 2021, generated $34.2 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2022, a 15.8% increase over the same time period a year earlier.


For collecting pollution data, block by block

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that 99% of the global population breathes air that contains a level of pollution that exceeds its guidelines. Aclima, which is now live in 150 cities across 15 states, builds both stationary and roving sensors to measure air quality at the specificity of a single city block. The company initiated a block-by-block analysis of 5,000 square miles in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in May 2022, it reported on the data it amassed. Aclima revealed that people living in poverty are exposed to 30% more particulates that lead to smog (and subsequent health problems) than those who live above the poverty line; in communities of color, it’s as much as 55% more pollutants than predominantly white neighborhoods. Although the top-line data is not necessarily a surprise, the block-specific intelligence allows for targeted interventions by municipal governments, such as encouraging individual or community gardens in affected areas.

In July 2022, Aclima partnered with the state of New York to do mobile monitoring of air quality and greenhouse gas emissions in communities most burdened by environmental pollution. The state intends to use Aclima’s data to help it fulfill its climate effects mitigation commitments in its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.


For removing biases from the data companies use to make hiring decisions

Censia is a five-year-old executive search firm; its proprietary Talent Intelligence tool is an AI-powered, data-driven technology that helps companies find job candidates with the necessary skills—faster and without bias. In 2022, the platform bolstered its data set by adding company and industry information. That helps identify strong prospects regardless of their current title and employer, opening up opportunities for diverse candidates, those from smaller organizations, and ones in adjacent industries who might otherwise be overlooked. It also began offering its service via API in March 2022, allowing clients to incorporate candidate diversity and diversity by job title and skills into their hiring solutions as they see fit. As a result, bookings were up almost sixfold, to $11.5 million.


For targeting ad campaigns so they’re both privacy-minded and effective

New regulations and limitations on browser cookies have compelled marketers to seek new privacy-minded methods of targeting ad campaigns. Introduced in May 2022, Dstillery’s ID-free Custom AI helps brands reach audiences using data derived from the company’s Map of the Internet, a 128-dimension anonymized survey of online behavior. The company says that results are comparable to conventional cookie-based technologies, allowing its customers to ready themselves for the less intrusive future of digital marketing without sacrificing their goals. Dstillery converted dozens of clients to ID-free, with pharma brands, in particular, being interested in how they could use such context clues as when a user visited and from which market to discern patterns that would let them connect their behavior with a health condition. In September 2022, Dstillery partnered with the healthcare analytics company PurpleLab to offer these customers custom patient-targeting tools.


For turning data relationships into vivid 3D visuals

Virtualitics helps organizations understand their data by applying AI to create rich 3D visualizations that can even be experienced in VR. In March 2022, it released its Virtualitics AI Platform which makes its tools available in any web browser. That same month, the Institute for Systems Biology embraced Virtualitics to help 150 researchers better understand the data required to develop treatments for long COVID. Customers from Maersk to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency use its Intelligent Exploration platform to pinpoint relationships, drivers, and outliers in ways that go well past the domain of conventional business intelligence software.


For giving health professionals new insights into medical records

Launched in September 2022, Nference’s nSights allows academic medical centers such as Mayo Clinic to analyze electronic medical record (EMR) data while preserving patient privacy. The platform includes over 20 years of information, including more than 1.3 billion lab results—an invaluable resource for studies in oncology, cardiology, and other research areas. (Nference intends to add genomics data next.) In 2022, more than 40 peer-reviewed studies incorporated nSights data, investigating topics such as the lasting efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. Another study on coronavirus viral sequences led to a new research collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.


For helping, organizations reap the benefit of flash storage

For running AI algorithms in data centers, there’s no faster, more flexible storage technology than flash memory. But flash is pricey compared to hard disks. Enter Vast Data’s Universal Storage architecture, which lets everyone from NASA to Verizon to Boston Children’s Hospital take advantage of flash memory’s benefits in a cost-effective way, shaving hours off critical computing jobs. In March 2022, the company partnered with Nvidia to unveil Ceres, a next-generation storage platform for use in ultrapowerful AI superclusters. Ceres improves Universal Storage’s performance by 2x yet commands half the power requirements.

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