Explore the full 2022 list of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, 528 organizations whose efforts are reshaping their businesses, industries, and the broader culture. We’ve selected the firms making the biggest impact with their initiatives across 52 categories, including the most innovative workplace, media, and data science companies.
This era of great disruption—fueled by rapid changes in technology, geopolitical events, and a global pandemic—presents unique challenges to enterprise businesses, and the bigger the ship, the harder it can be to pivot. The 10 companies that Fast Company is honoring in this year’s Enterprise category stood out for innovations designed to help entities adapt to a rapidly changing landscape or protect themselves from emerging threats. Their offerings run the gamut, from self-managing payroll to quantum computing, but all of them aim to empower organizations to meet the new demands of a world now evolving (or deteriorating, depending on your perspective) at the rate of Moore’s law. Cyber security firm GeoComply combats fraud and piracy by making it more difficult for bad actors to fake their locations. Informatica makes massive amounts of disparate data more manageable, Amplitude provides valuable insights into how consumers actually use digital products, and GitHub continues to create new ways to streamline the work developers do to keep the digital world running. Everlaw’s AI-powered platform accelerates e-discovery and helps legal teams construct the fact-driven narratives that win cases. Unqork’s no-code software expedites builds, Paycom provides employees with new visibility into the payroll process and some control over their paychecks, and DocuSign introduced a new function that enables remote notarization as well as the ability to embed computer-coded clauses, a giant step toward a new generation of smart agreements. Fiserv launched a novel product that enables multinationals to handle payments across multiple devices at global scale, and IBM released the first quantum chip to break the 100-qubits barrier. Here are this year’s 10 honorees in the Enterprise category of Most Innovative Companies.
For outsmarting cheaters and crooks
Even the most casual sports fan has probably noticed the recent blitz of television commercials for online betting. What—apart from an eagerness to induce you to take a gamble on gambling—do FanDuel, DraftKings, and Barstool all have in common? They each rely on GeoComply to ensure that bettors aren’t flaunting laws and regulations. Founded a decade ago by Anna Sainsbury and David Briggs, the Vancouver-based cyber security company has seen a 650% growth in annual revenue over the three years since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on state-authorized sports betting. Last year, legal online betting in the U.S. more than doubled, and GeoComply software enabled sports-book companies to detect bettors attempting to evade local betting laws by faking their locations through virtual private networks. The same technology is also enabling broadcasters and content delivery networks like Akamai, Amazon Prime Video, and the BBC to protect geographically restricted content, and GeoComply is now expanding into financial services to help combat fraud. In 2021 the company implemented new algorithms and detection processes to counter ever-increasingly sophisticated piracy techniques such as hijacked residential IPs and targeted proxy-over-VPN attacks. GeoComply software is currently installed on nearly half a billion devices worldwide.
For harnessing unstructured data
Since 1993, Informatica has created tools that manage data, and over the past decade, global data has proliferated by more than 5,000%. These torrents flow from every angle—consumer behavior, sales, manufacturing, personnel—and flood business in a variety of formats. Informatica’s ETL (extract, transform, and load) software enables companies to integrate disparate data sets into manageable streams that can then yield actionable insights. In April 2021, Informatica launched a new AI-powered product designed specifically to help enterprises working in multi-cloud environments. Its Intelligent Data Management Cloud platform offers more than 200 different cloud data services and creates a kind of data marketplace that allows users to shop for data much the same way consumers shop for products on Amazon. At Eli Lilly, the new service helps harness data to enhance clinical research; Unilever is using it to improve supply chain operations. With more than 5,000 global customers, including 84 of the Fortune 100, the company generates revenue of more than $1 billion a year off subscriptions to its software.
For deepening insights into consumer behavior
More than 30 years into the digital era, product proliferation is accelerating: According to the market research company International Data Corporation, half a billion new digital applications (backed by $6.8 trillion in global investment) will have been released between 2020 and 2023—as many as were launched in the previous four decades. This volume presents a massive challenge to businesses seeking to glean insights into how consumers actually use digital products. Last April, 10-year-old San Francisco-based Amplitude introduced a number of new tools that together comprise what the company describes as the first unified system for customer understanding and real-time optimization. A new behavioral graph records every single customer action taken on a digital product, identifying combinations that lead to various outcomes, providing businesses valuable insight for improving outcomes. (In the second quarter of 2021, Amplitude reports, its behavioral graph captured nearly a trillion monthly data points.) Another new tool, Amplitude’s machine learning-powered Recommend, enables clients to automate personalization of the customer experience. A third product in this suite, Amplitude Experiment, enhances a company’s ability to integrate customer behavior into its A/B testing processes. Amplitude claims that its customers (which include Walmart, NBCUniversal, Ford, Twitter, and Anheuser-Busch) have seen an 80% increase in productivity and 46% increase in conversion rates through use of the digital optimization system. Amplitude completed a successful IPO in September 2021.
For helping legal teams build case-winning stories
Everlaw is a cloud-native, AI-powered e-discovery and investigation platform that helps law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agency legal teams uncover the needle-in-a-haystack pieces of information that can make or break a case or investigation. In January 2021, Everlaw launched Storybuilder, narrative building software that helps legal teams build cases. Through its Everlaw for Good program, the company offers Storybuilder along with its full product suite to pro bono lawyers, journalists, educators, and nonprofits in their pursuit for justice. Everlaw has helped to exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners, investigate naval shipyard pollution, and bring justice to victims of the opioid epidemic and California’s deadly wildfires. In use by corporations and top law firms, the U.S. Justice Department, and all 50 state attorneys general offices, Everlaw reported year-over-year growth of 80% in 2021 and secured a $202 million series D funding round—led by TPG with participation from HIG Growth Partners, Capital G, Menlo Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and K9 Ventures—this past November.
For expediting enterprise development
In early 2020, Unqork had just established itself as one of New York’s fastest growing startups, closing a $131 million funding round that earned the company unicorn status, when the COVID-19 crisis hit and allowed the no-code software development platform-as-a-service company high-profile opportunities to flex its muscles. Desperate to build coronavirus information portals, officials in both D.C. and New York used Unqork to create reliable sites in just a few days. The burgeoning realm of no-code/low-code development platforms isn’t aimed primarily at non-techies who hear Java and start reaching for the creamer; it’s a way for professional coders to expedite their builds while also alleviating the enterprise from having to devote significant resources to maintaining legacy code. Last year, Unqork launched what it describes as the first-ever no-code marketplace, a library of assets, from preconfigured software snippets to pre-built integrations from partners like DocuSign, Experian, and Twilio, enabling developers to create custom applications. Through the first half of 2021, Unqork increased headcount by 74% while year-over-year revenue grew by 277%.
For devising a remote platform for notaries
One of the so-called work-from-home stocks that have recently taken a beating as investors try to forecast the global pandemic, 18-year-old DocuSign nevertheless remains the dominant player in electronic signatures, with more than a million client companies and a market share approaching 61%. Last year, DocuSign introduced several new products, including AI-enhanced search and reporting to bolster contract lifecycle management and Notary, which utilizes video and digitizes the notary process; a June 2021 acquisition, Clause.io, enables clauses in agreements to run as computer code. The first step towards the smart agreement, the technology makes agreements interactive and more highly searchable. Faltering stock price aside (as of this writing the stock is trading at $155 per share, half its high-water mark of $310 in early September 2021 but more than double the price at the start of the pandemic), DocuSign most recently reported third quarter revenue of $545 million, a 42% year-over-year jump.
For giving employees more visibility into their paychecks
Since its founding in 1998 as one of the first online payroll platforms, the Oklahoma City-based company has expanded its offerings to include other human capital functions, including onboarding and expense reporting. Last year Paycom launched Beti (Better Employee Transaction Interface), which prompts employees to preview paychecks before they are issued, enabling them to identify and resolve any discrepancies before approving for payroll. At a time when millions of employees have been working remotely, Paycom offers instant access to HR information—time management tools, benefits documentation, and professional development opportunities. After an IPO in the spring of 2014, the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, joining the S&P 500 in 2019. While most of Paycom’s more than 23,000 customers are small to mid-sized businesses, the company also works with such high-profile brands as Burger King and the New England Patriots. The company reported revenue of $1.1 billion in 2021, a 25.4% increase.
For streamlining the work of developers
The largest development community in the world, GitHub is a code repository where more than 73 million active users share tools and insights and collaborate on open-source projects. Nearly 12,000 GitHub developers, for example, helped create the software that powered Ingenuity, the NASA helicopter that completed the first successful controlled extraterrestrial flight on Mars last April. Last summer, GitHub released two new products, Copilot (in June) followed by Codespaces (in August). Copilot, an AI tool that autocompletes code for developers working in certain languages, has been in technical preview since its release, and while initial reviews have been mixed (critics have focused especially on the tool’s potential to infringe on copyright protections), GitHub reports that progress has been rapid and significant (the percentage of Copilot suggested code being utilized by developers increased from 30% to 35% in just a month), and GitHub is receiving requests from enterprise customers for a commercial version. Codespaces offers custom development environments that enhance collaboration by affording greater speed and security within the cloud. Founded in 2008, GitHub was acquired by Microsoft in 2018 for $7.5 billion.
For making quantum leaps in quantum computing
Ask a typical group of developers what they think of innovation at IBM and you’re likely to get blank stares and shrugs. But in 2020, for the 28th straight year, the 110-year-old company led the world in patents, with 9,130. Its 2021 revenue totaled $57.4 billion. One of the areas in which IBM has been making bold strides is quantum computing, last year launching the most powerful Q computers in both Europe and Japan, announcing an ambitious new partnership with Cleveland Clinic, and releasing the first quantum chip to break the 100-qubits barrier. Google declared “quantum supremacy” in 2019 with a 53-qubits chip. IBM has stated its intent to produce a 1,000-qubits chip by 2023 and is already developing the cooling system that will be required to operate a million-qubits machine, the holy grail in quantum computing.
For facilitating ecommerce transactions at enterprise scale
As the pandemic dramatically accelerated consumer appetite for e-commerce and contactless transactions, Wisconsin-based fintech giant Fiserv launched Carat, a platform designed for large companies to handle payments across devices at global scale. The Milwaukee Bucks play their home games at Fiserv Forum, which used Carat to transform its concessions from the familiar pre-pandemic mosh pit experience into a contact-free process, where fans place an order on an app, receive an alert when their food is ready, and collect it at self-serve kiosks. In a partnership with Amazon and Google, Fiserv has deployed Carat to enable digital purchases at more than 11,000 Exxon and Mobil stations across the U.S. Drivers can now pull up to a pump and tell their Alexa-enabled phones or cars, “Alexa, pay for gas,” and Carat will activate the pump, authorize the transaction, tokenize payment credentials, and deliver a digital receipt They can also use Google Pay by scanning a QR code on the pump or activating the transaction from within the Google Pay app. In the third quarter of 2021, Fiserv added PayPal and Venmo as digital wallet payout options for Carat and finalized a deal to provide digital tokens for Microsoft. Fiserv says its Carat customers include 10 of the top 15 global quick service restaurant chains, nine of the top 10 U.S. grocery store companies, and seven of the top 10 U.S. retailers. Adjusted revenue increased 11% in 2021, to $15.4 billion.