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Most Innovative Companies

Cree

Think back three years. Had you—or anyone you knew—heard of Cree, the North Carolina lighting company? Since its founding in 1987, the company had staked out a successful but obscure business building chips and high-tech components that go inside other companies’ LED products, the superefficient, long-lasting bulbs that have sparked a revolution in the lighting business. But a few years ago Cree decided it could make a better bulb itself. So it did. In secret. The company handpicked an internal team and put them in a secure and private location. And that team in turn created an LED design that quickly won over Home Depot, which decided to showcase the brand to customers. Two years and 20 million bulbs later, Cree is the best-selling LED light in the U.S.
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