Entering its eighth year, the Forbes Cloud 100 highlights the world’s top 100 private cloud companies—and the roster of 20 Rising Stars poised to join them. Bessemer Venture Partners has partnered with Forbes and Salesforce Ventures each year to bring you the Forbes Cloud 100, and I am excited to announce that nominations are officially open for the 2023 Forbes Cloud 100 list.
Visit The Cloud 100 website to nominate a private cloud company.
Regardless of market conditions, landing a spot on the Cloud 100 list remains a remarkable achievement. In 2022, the average Cloud 100 company valuation was $7.4 billion, representing a 42% increase over the year prior. At the time of publication, the aggregate value of the 2022 Cloud 100 list was $738 billion, 43% higher than the list’s $518 billion aggregate value in 2021. Despite the macro challenges and headwinds of the past year, cloud companies have continued to grow: over the last twelve months, the average BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index (^EMCLOUD) growth rate was still more than twice the average S&P 500 growth rate. Cloud 100 companies are the leaders in the private cloud market and will be the public cloud companies of tomorrow. The Cloud 100 has always been a signal for what’s to come—new waves of innovation across different sectors and areas of the globe.
In addition, with our Rising Stars, we highlight 20 of the most promising companies that are still early in their startup journey and growing at an impressive clip. The all-star lineup includes entrepreneurs building around the world transforming the way we connect, operate, serve through software. For example, last year we saw names join the list, including Bettermode, the customer community platform, Pocus, the revenue management system for GTM teams, and Cocoon, software for leave management.
Where are they now?
Though IPO activity for cloud businesses remains on pause, 2022 was still a year for strategic growth and innovation for prior Cloud 100 winners. On the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) side, Adobe announced its intent to acquire Figma for $20 billion, representing the highest acquisition multiple offered for any software company of scale. In light of major advancements in AI, the Large Language Model revolution is transforming the application layer. Leading cloud companies have already launched industry-defining products with OpenAI’s GPT-4 API, including Intercom, Canva, and Zapier, among others.
Eynat Guez of Papaya Global, Amit Bendov of Gong.io, Dylan Field of Figma, and Bernadette Nixon of Algolia, share their stories from the trenches as they offer both strategic and tactical advice to founders.
On the financing and operations side, cloud companies are adapting to the market’s paradigm shift and embracing a zeitgeist of efficient growth. The beauty of the cloud model, with its low marginal cost of distribution, annuity-like revenue streams, and strong retention dynamics, means that cloud companies can drive growth while driving attractive margins. Today, the ten highest valued BVP Cloud Index companies (by forward revenue) are driving an average of ~18% FCF margin, versus ~7% from the Top 10 cohort a year ago. In the private markets, we are seeing startups follow suit by implementing durable habits and tactics while building category-creating software.
How to apply
The list of top private cloud companies is geographically diverse—international representation on the Cloud 100 list reached almost 30% last year. We recognize that the rise of the cloud is a global phenomenon, and we welcome international nominations.
Private cloud companies are evaluated by their market leadership, people and culture, and operating metrics, including revenue, funding, and estimated valuation. The Cloud 100 judges, made up of the leading public cloud company CEOs, will once again determine the Cloud 100 honorees. Last year’s public CEO and CXO judges, including top leaders such as Frank Slootman of Snowflake, Jenn Tejada of PagerDuty, Eric S. Yuan of Zoom, and Jeff Lawson of Twilio. The Cloud 100 judges’ qualifications precede them. Many of these CEOs were Cloud 100 winners before they were judges––they know how hard it is to build a business that makes this list.
Kenrick Cai of Forbes, Tope Awotona of Calendly, Howie Liu of Airtable, Ara Mahdessian of ServiceTitan, and Eynat Guez of Papaya Global, dive into how to lead and build enduring businesses in bull and bear markets.
Nominations for the 2023 Cloud 100 are open at thecloud100.com and run through Friday, May 12 at 11:55 pm PT. In August, Forbes will announce the Cloud 100 and the 20 Rising Stars in Forbes Magazine and on Forbes.com.
The Cloud 100 will celebrate list honorees by bringing memorable discussions and thought-provoking ideas from CEOs, founders, and leaders on what’s driving today’s cloud economy forward directly to you.
Every year, these 120 companies represent the best cloud technology leaders of today and tomorrow. We are honored to celebrate their massive achievements once again.
Best of luck to this year’s applicants!