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Ranked: The Most Innovative Companies in 2023

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The Most Innovative Companies in 2023

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The Most Innovative Companies in 2023

Every year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) releases their Most Innovative Companies ranking. Based on a survey of over 1,000 innovation executives polled in Dec. 2022 and Jan. 2023, BCG assessed a company’s performance on four dimensions:

  • Global mindshare: the number of votes received from all global innovation executives
  • Industry peer view: the number of votes received from executives in a company’s own industry
  • Industry disruption: the Diversity Index (Herfindahl-Hirschman) of votes across industries
  • Value creation: total shareholder return, including share buybacks, over the 3-year period from Jan. 2020 through Dec. 2022.

We’ve provided a more visual representation of these results in the graphic above.

Data and Highlights

The 2023 ranking can be found in the table below.

For the fourth straight year, Apple is considered the most innovative company in the world. In fact, Apple has held this title every year since 2005 with the exception of 2019.

RankCompanyIndustryChange in Rank
(+ or -)
1🇺🇸 AppleTechnology-
2🇺🇸 TeslaTransportation & energy+3
3🇺🇸 AmazonTechnology-
4🇺🇸 AlphabetTechnology-
5🇺🇸 MicrosoftTechnology-3
6🇺🇸 ModernaHealthcare+1
7🇰🇷 SamsungTechnology-1
8🇨🇳 HuaweiTechnology-
9🇨🇳 BYD CompanyTransportation & energyReturned
10🇩🇪 SiemensTechnology+10
11🇺🇸 PfizerHealthcare+7
12🇺🇸 Johnson & JohnsonHealthcare+15
13🇺🇸 SpaceXTransportation & energyReturned
14🇺🇸 NvidiaTechnology+1
15🇺🇸 ExxonMobilTransportation & energyReturned
16🇺🇸 MetaTechnology-5
17🇺🇸 NikeConsumer goods & services-5
18🇺🇸 IBMTechnology-8
19🇺🇸 3MConsumer goods & services+18
20🇮🇳 Tata GroupTransportation & energyReturned
21🇨🇭 RocheHealthcareReturned
22🇺🇸 OracleTechnology-3
23🇩🇪 BioNTechHealthcareNew
24🇬🇧 ShellTransportation & energyReturned
25🇫🇷 Schneider ElectricTransportation & energyNew
26🇺🇸 P&GConsumer goods & services+8
27🇨🇭 NestléConsumer goods & services+22
28🇺🇸 General ElectricTransportation & energy+1
29🇨🇳 XiaomiTechnology+2
30🇺🇸 HoneywellTransportation & energyNew
31🇯🇵 SonyTechnology-22
32🇨🇳 SinopecTransportation & energyNew
33🇯🇵 HitachiTransportation & energy+6
34🇺🇸 McDonald'sConsumer goods & servicesReturned
35🇺🇸 MerckHealthcareReturned
36🇨🇳 ByteDanceTechnology-
37🇩🇪 BoschTransportation & energy-11
38🇺🇸 DellTechnology-24
39🇨🇭 GlencoreTransportation & energyNew
40🇺🇸 StripeTechnologyNew
41🇸🇦 Saudi AramcoTransportation & energyNew
42🇺🇸 Coca-ColaConsumer goods & services-6
43🇩🇪 Mercedes-Benz GroupTransportation & energyReturned
44🇨🇳 AlibabaTechnology-22
45🇺🇸 WalmartConsumer goods & services-32
46🇨🇳 PetroChinaTransportation & energyNew
47🇯🇵 NTTTelecommunicationsNew
48🇨🇳 LenovoTechnology-24
49🇩🇪 BMWTransportation & energyReturned
50🇬🇧 UnileverConsumer goods & services-

BCG added additional context on several companies in its report, including Germany’s Bosch (37th). According to BCG, the engineering and technology company has a global R&D organization of 84,800 employees across 130 locations. Bosch has also maintained R&D spending (as a share of sales) at between 7.6% and 8.2% from 2018 through 2021.

Another highlight was Samsung (7th), which spent over $17 billion (9% of annual sales) on R&D in 2021, making the South Korean conglomerate one of the world’s largest spenders on innovation. Samsung was also granted 6,300 U.S. patents in 2022, the most out of any company.

As this ranking shows, innovative companies aren’t just tech companies. McDonald’s (34th) is considered by BCG as the “restaurant industry frontrunner in technology innovation and investment”.

For example, McDonald’s recently acquired Apprente, a startup that develops voice-based technologies, and Dynamic Yield, a firm specializing in creating customizable online experiences. McDonald’s aims to leverage these technologies to improve ordering times and offer customers better choices.

Companies by Nationality

Now let’s examine the ranking through a different lens—nationality. The following chart compares the country breakdowns of the 2013 and 2023 rankings.

BCG Most Innovative Companies by Nationality

The U.S. and China are the only two countries that have increased their share from 2013, pushing out firms from European countries like Germany, the UK, and Italy. We can also see significant declines in Japanese and South Korean representation.

Given China’s economic growth, it’s likely that Chinese firms will continue to represent more of BCG’s ranking in the future. So far, the country’s strongest innovator is Huawei (8th), which has made the top 50 list every year since 2014, when it debuted at 50th place.

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Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?

The majority of billion-dollar startups in the U.S. have at least one immigrant founder. Here is where those founders are from.

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u.s. startup founders from other countries

Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?

The majority of U.S. unicorns—private startups worth more than $1 billion—have at least one immigrant founder, according to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

While some of the companies and founders are well known, like SpaceX from South Africa’s Elon Musk, hundreds of lesser-known unicorns have been founded from the top talent of just a handful of countries.

This visual using NFAP data lays out the countries which are home to the most U.S. billion-dollar startup founders as of May 2022.

Note: These rankings are based on unicorn valuations as of May 2022. As valuations regularly fluctuate, some companies may have gained or lost unicorn status since that time.

Countries with the Most U.S. Unicorn Founders

Here’s a look at the countries that these immigrant founders come from.

The 382 founders accounted for below have combined to start 319 of 582 U.S.-based unicorns.

RankCountry# Founders of
U.S. Unicorns
1🇮🇳 India66
2🇮🇱 Israel54
3🇬🇧 United Kingdom27
4🇨🇦 Canada22
5🇨🇳 China21
6🇫🇷 France18
7🇩🇪 Germany15
8🇷🇺 Russia11
9🇺🇦 Ukraine10
10🇮🇷 Iran8
11🇦🇺 Australia7
T12🇮🇹 Italy6
T12🇳🇬 Nigeria6
T12🇵🇱 Poland6
T12🇷🇴 Romania6
T16🇦🇷 Argentina5
T16🇧🇷 Brazil5
T16🇳🇿 New Zealand5
T16🇵🇰 Pakistan5
T16🇰🇷 South Korea5
T21🇩🇰 Denmark4
T21🇵🇹 Portugal4
T21🇪🇸 Spain4
T24🇧🇾 Belarus3
T24🇧🇬 Bulgaria3
T24🇮🇪 Ireland3
T24🇰🇪 Kenya3
T24🇱🇧 Lebanon3
T24🇵🇭 Philippines3
T24🇿🇦 South Africa3
T24🇹🇼 Taiwan3
T24🇹🇷 Turkey3
T33🇦🇲 Armenia2
T33🇨🇿 Czech Republic2
T33🇬🇷 Greece2
T33🇲🇽 Mexico2
T33🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia2
T33🇸🇬 Singapore2
T33🇨🇭 Switzerland2
T33🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2
T41🇦🇹 Austria1
T41🇧🇩 Bangladesh1
T41🇧🇧 Barbados1
T41🇨🇴 Colombia1
T41🇩🇴 Dominican Republic1
T41🇪🇬 Egypt1
T33🇬🇪 Georgia1
T41🇮🇶 Iraq1
T41🇯🇴 Jordan1
T41🇱🇻 Latvia1
T41🇱🇹 Lithuania1
T41🇲🇹 Malta1
T41🇲🇦 Morocco1
T41🇳🇱 Netherlands1
T41🇳🇴 Norway1
T41🇵🇪 Peru1
T41🇶🇦 Qatar1
T41🇸🇮 Slovenia1
T41🇻🇪 Venezuela1

Far in the lead is India with 66 startup founders and Israel with 54 startup founders. Together, they account for 31% of all unicorn founders listed. In fact, more than half of the immigrant unicorn founders came from just six countries: India, Israel, the UK, Canada, China, and France.

These immigrant founders have helped found many of the world’s biggest startups:

  • Stripe was co-founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison
  • Instacart’s founder and former CEO, Apoorva Mehta, was born in India, then moved to Libya and Canada as a child.
  • Big data startup Databricks was founded by a group of seven computer scientists from the University of California, including five immigrants from Iran, Romania, and China.
  • Immigration and Entrepreneurship

    Though some of these founders came to the U.S. as successful business leaders, the report noted that many immigrated as children or international students.

    In addition, there are another 51 founders (not included in the above statistics) that were not immigrants themselves but are first-generation Americans born to immigrant parents. Data from the report also shows that 80% of unicorns have an immigrant in some key role, whether it’s as a founder, a C-level executive, or some other crucial position.

    Even historically, some of the biggest companies in the U.S. were not founded by Americans. For example, the founders of Procter & Gamble emigrated from England and Ireland in the early 1800s. And today, one of the biggest companies in the U.S. is NVIDIA, which recently broached a trillion dollar market cap and whose founder is from Taiwan.

    The Ever-Changing Unicorn Landscape

    While this dataset is from mid-2022, it should be noted that the startup ecosystem has shifted drastically in just the last year.

    Rapidly rising interest rates and a slowdown in venture capital have conspired to create a more precarious fundraising environment, leading to down rounds and stagnation for some of these billion-dollar companies.

    In Q1 2023, unicorn births declined 89%, suggesting that in upcoming years the unicorn list—and the number of immigrant founders—may be subject to change.

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