The World Economic Forum has released its 2015 list of top early-stage technology companies. The World Economic Forum has released its 2015 list of top early-stage technology companies. The World Economic Forum has released its 2015 list of top early-stage technology companies. (Photo: Gumpanat/Shutterstock)

Tech companies out to change the world in 2016

The World Economic Forum's list is dominated by Americans.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced its annual list of top early-stage tech companies from around the world that are poised to have a significant impact on business and society in the coming years.

The honor comes with an invite to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Summer Davos’ conference in Dalian, China, this September, or the annual meeting in Davos in January. Past honorees include such titans as Google, Airbnb and Dropbox.

The U.S. dominated the list this year, with 35 of the 49 companies headquartered stateside. Other countries with multiple entrants were the United Kingdom (4), Israel (2) and the Netherlands (2).

Here are a few of the companies that caught the eye of From The Grapevine:

Holomic: Los Angeles, U.S.

Holomic's technology turns your smartphone into a lifesaver, testing for diseases ranging from malaria to Ebola, or the presence of alcohol or drugs. Other products in development include a lens-free holographic microscope, and handheld analyzers for blood count, allergens and mercury contamination. "These technologies make complex and expensive diagnostic lab tests affordable in low-resource settings," wrote the WEF.

ElMindA: Herzliya, Israel

ElMindA is behind the non-invasive technology Brain Network Activation (BNA), which allows physicians to differentiate between the function of a healthy brain and the dysfunction of an injured brain. With BNA, physicians can monitor brain networks and address brain health. Wrote the WEF, "ElMindA is revolutionizing our ability to assess and treat the brain across a broad range of previously elusive conditions such as depression, pain or memory loss."

Spire Global: San Francisco, U.S.

Spire provides "unprecedented' weather, climate and maritime data via an advanced network of 100+ nano-satellites. All are equipped with groundbreaking sensor technology and up to 50 ground stations for what the WEF called "a resilient and reactive space-to-ground communication network." The company's analytics should help to tackle global problems such as drought, illegal fishing, climate change, power consumption and supply chain optimization.

Carbon Clean Solutions: Reading, U.K.

Carbon Clean Solutions technology "radically reduces the cost of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from various industrial processes and energy generation plants," wrote the WEF. This cheaply captured CO2 can then be used as a feedstock in downstream industries, ranging from plastics, chemicals, oil and gas and biofuels. "Carbon Clean's technology not only reduces CO2 in the atmosphere, mitigating climate change, but also produces economic incentive to do so," wrote the WEF.

Plant-e: Wageningen, Netherlands

Plant-e takes a crazy concept and puts it into practice: it produces electricity from living plants. Plant-e's patented technology harvests the electrons produced during photosynthesis to generate electricity. "The technology has the potential to provide green, clean electricity worldwide," wrote the WEF.


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