Creative minds at work. That could be the sign hanging over any of the 22 companies and organizations listed in our inaugural Companies to Watch list.

The origins of this list are simple, and to be honest, we’re smacking our collective heads at not kicking this off sooner. Every year, while compiling the SD Times 100, the editors discuss and debate every significant company and organization in the software development industry. We start with a huge list, collected both from our internal research and from reader nominations. The challenge is to whittle that big list down to one hundred.

The SD Times 100 (which you can read in our June issue) recognizes the top innovators and leaders in the industry. As we discuss and debate, sometimes we’ll say about a company, “They’re not ready yet, but they’re one to watch for next year.”

This year, we did something different. We wrote down those “ones to watch” and decided to revisit them in a few months. In late summer, we looked through the list, crossed some out, and added a few new entries. Et voilà: The Companies to Watch: 2013.

Every one of the 22 companies listed here is an innovator whose technology is emerging, impactful and growing in influence—but which didn’t make the final cut for the 2012 SD Times 100.

Some have been around for a while. ActiveState, for example, is well known for its development tools for scripting languages like PHP and Tcl. Recently, however, ActiveState has begun to transform itself with technology for dynamic languages, and that makes it a company to watch.

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