Research-driven, industry-sourced list derived from investors who have put several billion into the sector.

The methodology for the IA40 is based on Madrona's experience investing in founders and engaging with researchers involved in AI and Machine Learning for over a decade, and inspired by a research and survey methodology developed by This list was compiled by and voted on by experts in the space: investors who are funding the next generation of intelligent application companies, technology companies, and a leading investment bank.  

Phase 1
Building the voting list

In 2023, we received over 350 private company nominations from over 60 venture investors from over 50 top-tier venture capital and investment firms. This year, we again partnered with PitchBook to further expand our nomination list by identifying the top-performing companies in the generative AI and intelligent applications sector to ensure we were not missing out on any companies. Each judge had the opportunity to nominate companies for consideration in each category. The Madrona team vetted the companies to ensure they met the definition of intelligent apps.

Phase 2

After we collected the nominations, we asked the same venture capital investors to vote on their top 5 companies in each sector (early, mid, late, and enabler). Each venture capital investor was limited to voting for only 2 of their portfolio companies.

Phase 3

To tabulate the 2023 list, we then leveraged PitchBook’s “Venture Exit Predictor Tool.” Their model considers and weighs many data points, including total venture dollars raised, number of employees, and latest post-money valuation. We weighted the venture community votes and PitchBook’s Venture Exit Predictor Opportunity Score to produce a final composite score that resulted in the 40 winners.

Defining Intelligent Applications

We define application intelligence as the process of using machine learning models embedded in applications that use both historical and real-time data to build a continuous learning system. These learning systems solve a business problem in a contextually relevant way — better than before, and typically deliver rich information and insights that are either applied automatically or leveraged by end users to make superior decisions.

Intelligent applications are:

The Judges

Goldman Sachs
Scale Venture Partners
Decibel Partners
Positive Sum
ICONIQ Capital
General Catalyst
Redpoint Ventures
Playground Global
GGV Capital
Mayfield Fund
Norwest Venture Partners
Allen Institute of AI
Essence VC
Bain Capital Ventures
Khosla Ventures
March Capital
Madrona Venture Group
Bessemer Venture Partners
Meritech Capital Partners
Acrew Capital
Menlo Ventures
.406 Ventures
Amplify Partners
Anthos Capital
Basis Set
Cowboy Ventures
Emergence Capital
Felicis Ventures
Mango Capital
Radical Ventures
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