The Top 10 Innovative Companies in 2015 Poised for Success in 2016

Jan. 7, 2016
Companies developing brain-computer interfaces, advanced water treatments, cybersecurity, and more, presented new business opportunities in 2015.

Lux Research, a technology research firm, profiled 1,189 companies across 20 different emerging technologies during 2015 as part of its ongoing intelligence services. As the end of the year approaches, Lux analysts selected 10 companies profiled in 2015 that are poised to make a significant impact on their target industries in 2016. Each firm earned a grade that ranges from “Strong caution” to “Strong positive.” The grade provides a bottom-line assessment of the company’s prospects, with a “Wait and see” rating for companies facing too much uncertainty for a definitive call.

Here’s Lux’s Top 10:
1. NeuroSky (bioelectronics, sensors): NeuroSky develops a number of bioelectrical signal detection and processing systems, most notably its electroencephalography (EEG) sensors used in mind-reading brain-computer interfaces like Uncle Milton’s Star Wars Force Trainer. They could also be used for diagnostic and monitoring gear as healthcare shifts to digital technologies. (Grade: Positive)

2. Organica Water (water): Organica builds low-cost greenhouses around its treatment plants to reduce odor, letting it place plants closer to wastewater sources and opening the door to cost-effective water reuse within cities. The greenhouses also reduce energy consumption, sludge production, and the overall size of the wastewater treatment facility. (Grade: Positive)

3. PFP Cybersecurity (connected objects and platforms): PFP uses a physics-based approach to detecting cyber threats by analyzing the electrical patterns of processors. This is thought to be ideal for securing Internet of Things (IoT) devices that can’t support modern security software or are limited by memory or compute constraints. (Grade: Strong Positive)

4.Norsk Titanium (advanced materials): Norsk’s plasma arc deposition lets its machines create 3D-printed titanium parts that are up to 70% cheaper than those made using conventional machining methods. Savings come from eliminating waste material. (Grade: Positive)

5. Nutrigenomix (food and nutrition): This firm’s genetic testing provides individualized recommendations on seven specific dietary components, a step in the right direction for personalized nutrition. (Grade: Positive)

6. Fulcrum BioEnergy (alternative fuels): Fulcrum is well positioned to make fuels, including jet and diesel, from municipal solid waste. It also has strong partnerships along its entire value chain, and is the only Fischer-Tropsch fuel process developer with proven production at some scale. (Grade: Positive)

7. Zerlux (oil and gas exploration and production): This Hungarian company is a leader in using high-powered lasers in the oil and gas industry for well stimulation, hard-scale removal, and subsea pipeline remediation. (Grade: Positive)

8. Hillcrest Labs (sensors): Hillcrest is developing ways to interpret data from different sensors and has built up strategic relationships with Bosch, Atmel, and ARM. (Grade: Positive)

9.ENS Europe (intelligent buildings, sustainable building materials): ENS’s efficient electrostatic filters help clean indoor air, much like HEPA filters, but they could be scaled up to clean smog and address other city-wide air-quality issues. (Grade: Wait and see)

10. AgDNA (agro innovation): AgDNA has been licensing its technology to integrate data from existing equipment into a decision-support system for farmers to OEMs like John Deere. (Grade: Wait and see)

Other notable companies that were nominated by the analysts and earned an honorable mention include:

Alsentis (wearable and flexible electronics, sensors): Touchscreens don’t work in high-noise environments —with wet surfaces or gloved hands—but Alsentis is changing that with its multi-touch sensor chips, now used in industrial and automotive applications with planned release for consumer devices in 2016. (Grade: Positive)

Elevance Renewable Sciences (bio-based materials and chemicals, alternative fuels): Elevance has commercial scale production for making specialty chemicals from crude palm oil (CPO), and is planning to expand by building or retrofitting plants in the U.S. and in Malaysia and deploying its technology outside the “conventional” regions of Europe and the Americas. (Grade: Positive)

Mapdwell (solar): Using Lidar data and an online portal, Mapdwell lets consumers estimate the solar potential of any rooftop in cities it covers. This will help bring down soft costs associated with customer education, targeting, and system design. (Grade: Wait and see)

Sakti3 (energy storage): Satki3 makes solid-state batteries, a key technology for higher-density energy storage beyond the current Li-ion batteries. Although its unproven production process is reason for caution, its acquisition by Dyson could give it the boost it needs to make the leap to commercial production. (Grade: Caution)

EasyMile (autonomous vehicles): EasyMile, a joint venture of Ligier Group and Robosoft, is developing autonomous shuttles that could be the basis for future personal rapid transit systems. (Grade: Positive)

About the Author

Anthony Vicari | Advanced Materials team member

Anthony Vicari is a member of the Advanced Materials team at Lux Research where he covers technological and market developments in emerging materials and manufacturing technologies, including composites, coatings, and metals. He also covers longer-term, potentially disruptive innovations such as metamaterials, smart materials, additive manufacturing, and graphene. Prior to joining Lux Research, Anthony was a R&D Scientist at InnovX Systems, developing improved elemental analysis for handheld x-ray fluorescence spectrometers. Anthony earned an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. (magna cum laude) in Physics and Chemistry from Harvard University.

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