According to Deloitte, “The Technology Fast 500™ is an annual ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Award winners were selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2008 to 2012.”  Deloitte notes that 241 of these companies are software companies, the highest percentage in the 18 year history of the survey.” Software is indeed “eating the world”.

A well-paid analyst would analyze these 241 companies for you and categorize them in some new and entirely useful way.  I am not a well-paid analyst and this blog is free, so instead you get my overall impressions of the list, a few key themes from a B2B perspective, and an introduction to one interesting new company.

  1. The good news from the list is that software is eating the world and “platforms are eating software.”  (By platforms, I mean cloud-based applications joining two or more complementary intra-enterprise groups together:  buyers and suppliers, advertisers and publishers, etc.)
  2. The bad news, from my perspective, is that most of the software platform companies on the list, including #1 Rocket Fuel, OpenX (#5), Maxpoint (#9), Blue Kai (#12), SpotXchange (#40), Pubmatic (#45) and many more are advertising platforms.  (If you need any reinforcement on how the internet and search have forever changed the advertising world, just look through this list.)  As I investigated  these companies, all I could think of was that many of our best and brightest engineers are now fully engaged in making sure the search, video, and display ads (that fewer than 1% of us click on) are highly targeted.  It truly is great to be an American!
  3. Another obvious theme on the list were the many platforms in the healthcare space which weave together payers, providers, and consumers.  This is clearly an exciting and needed set of platforms, but living in Washington D.C., I am little “healthcared-out”  so I’ll move on. (#healthdon’tcare?)
  4. It was great to see a number of B2B stalwarts on the list, most of which I have written about previously:
    1. Tangoe in Telecom Expense Management (#284) (not really a platform, but I cannot shake Spend Management)
    2. Prime Revenue (#291), a true pioneer (and survivor) in Supply Chain Finance
    3. Liaison Technologies (#313), which began in 2000 as the forest products industry’s consortium, ForestExpress, and has built and acquired its way into a broader data integration business!
    4. Cvent (#360) a corporate events and meetings space platform, and
    5. SPS Commerce (#472) which is a vertical EDI play.

All in all, the list was a disappointment from my quirky B2B, industry cloud perspective. There was, however, one company which piqued my interest, Real Matters (#118).  Here’s how they describe themselves:

“At the core of Real Matters lies redihiveTM, a cloud-based environment that connects a competing network of appraisers and insurance inspectors, allowing them to create powerful insights into residential and commercial properties. redihiveTM works with this network – more than 18,000 – to build our unique property database. As we gather this property information, we validate it, normalize it and assemble it into North America’s largest. We leverage the redihiveTM network through business verticals Solidifi – appraisals – and iv3 – property and casualty insurance inspections – to provide complete property information services. Over time, we’ll deploy this unique information into new business services, further unlocking the power of our oneVisitTM strategy.”  Here’s is their handy graphic to describe this nascent strategy.

Bottom line:  it appears that Real Matters have woven together a fragmented network of folks who can build their database of residential and commercial property.  This database can then be repurposed for a variety of uses.  Some great businesses have been built like this in the automotive repair space (CCC Information Services comes to mind) and others.  It will be fun to watch this one.

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