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Investopedia/Mrinalini Krishna: The Smartest Companies in the World

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The Smartest Companies in the World

By Mrinalini Krishna | July 6, 2017 — 6:00 AM EDT

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It's not Amazon, it's not Apple and it's not Microsoft—Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MIT Technology Review has just declared NVIDIA as the smartest company in 2017. Technology and innovation drive business and some companies are better at that than others. Every year, MIT Technology Review ranks companies for their annual 50 Smartest Companies list. These include companies, both public and private, originating across the globe.

“The companies on the list combine a high level of technology innovation with a business model that will help them make the most of it,” said Nanette Byrnes, senior editor for business for MIT Technology Review in a press release.
Which Companies Made the Cut?

Here's a look at the top five on the list and why they made it there.

1. NVIDIA Corp (NVDA)

In its third time on this list, chipmaker NVDIA took the top spot because of the success it has found with its processing power for artificial intelligence (AI) software and AI related business, including a tie up with Toyota for self-driving cars. (For more, see also: Top 3 Shareholders in NVIDIA Corporation.)

2. SpaceX

Elon Musk’s dream of making space travel possible is something that the editors at MIT Technology Review found valuable, especially in the light of the company’s successful launch of a refurbished rocket carrying a payload. Reusing rockets could mean less expensive space travel. This is SpaceX’s seventh outing in this ranking. Musk's Tesla also features on this list, ranked 31.

3. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)

While Jeff Bezos wants the company to be the first and last stop of all shopping that people do, it is the company’s use of artificial intelligence technologies like the advances it has made with Alexa and the cashier-less Amazon Go stores have helped it secure a place on this list for a fifth time.

4. 23andMe

Direct to consumer genetic testing company 23andMe hasn’t had an easy run. After finding itself on the wrong side of FDA a few years ago, the company got a breather this year with drug regulators allowing it to share genetic reports on risks of late onset Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)

Alphabet’s DeepMind division and the company’s commitment to AI and virtual reality technologies has brought it back on this list for the eighth time. What helps its case is the fact that machine learning algorithms from DeepMind helps the company save 40% on energy to cool its data center. (For more, see also: Google Doubles Down on Its AI Assistant.)
What Business Are These Companies in?

While technology is the basis for this ranking, it spans firms that map human genetics in search of cures for rare diseases, drone manufacturers, social media companies and even firms that supply 3-D printing tech for sneakers.

In terms of industries, those in the business of intelligent machines and artificial intelligence constituted almost a third of the total followed by biomedicine firms (22%), and firms in the business of connectivity comprising 20%.

Where Are These Companies Located?

Thirty-one or more than 60% of the companies on this list are housed in the United States, followed by seven in China. Hover over the markers to see which companies across the world qualify as the smartest.

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