On behalf of the World Economic Forum, I am delighted to congratulate and present the 23 companies chosen as 2013 Technology Pioneers.

Technology Pioneers are small, highly entrepreneurial companies involved in the design, development and deployment of new technologies that have the potential to make a large impact on business and society.

The Forum has always recognized the important role that technology plays. Indeed, Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, recently reminded his colleagues that more than half the engineers and scientists that have ever existed in human history are alive today. The fact that they can communicate with each other more easily than at any other time in history, has profound implications for all of us.

Among the many concepts that the Forum is addressing is “hyperconnected reality” – the idea that the world is becoming ever more interdependent, complex, transparent and fast. The Technology Pioneers are an important driver of hyperconnectivity, which fundamentally redefines how individuals, enterprises and governments communicate with, and relate to, one another.

Every year 700 to 800 are nominated for the programme. The most promising candidates are referred to an external selection committee, which carefully evaluates each nominee based on five criteria: innovation, potential impact, growth and sustainability, proof of concept and leadership.

I would like to thank our partners and all selection committee members for their expertise and diligence, which enables us to identify and select the most truly innovative start-ups from around the world.

This year’s group of 23 Technology Pioneers are amazing companies providing new models and solutions in a number of areas including solutions for a greener and more sustainable planet; technology for social and economic development; interaction-enabling technologies and platforms for collaborative exchange.

One Technology Pioneer is benefiting rural populations by providing “thermal batteries” that help dramatically reduce waste in rural milk delivery chains.

Another is reducing greenhouse gas emissions from steel plants and other industrial processes while simultaneously creating ethanol and other useful chemicals.

In the life sciences, one Technology Pioneer is developing highly sophisticated software that can analyse millions of pieces of data to reveal the hidden biochemical interactions that will hopefully provide the key to developing future “miracle” drugs.

Another is creating eye-tracking software that makes it possible for users to control a computer cursor by their eye movement, which bodes profound implications for disabled people.

Over the years we have seen some changes in the Technology Pioneers programme. The traditional focus on product innovation has shifted towards process innovation – figuring out how to make products or deliver services better, faster or cheaper.

We are also witnessing more Technology Pioneers that could be described as excelling in business model innovation. These companies have developed new models for aligning incentives so that multiple stakeholders can collaborate to deliver new forms of value.

We look forward to welcoming the chief executive officers of many of the 2013 Technology Pioneers to the Annual Meeting of the New Champions – the Forum’s “Summer Davos” – that will take place on 11-13 September in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, under the theme “Creating the Future Economy”.

The Summer Davos meeting offers a dynamic environment in which the rising generation of entrepreneurs can engage with the world’s top business executives and interact with leaders of Global Growth Companies, Young Scientists and other future-focused communities.

The Technology Pioneers for 2013 are (in alphabetical order): AlienVault, Anhui LIGOO New Energy Technology, Azuri Technologies, Coulomb Technologies, Enphase Energy, Ingenuity Systems, LanzaTech, Liquid Robotics, Lookout Mobile Security, MC10, Mind Candy, PassivSystems, Practice Fusion, PrimeSense, Promethean Power Systems, RightScale, shopkick, SoundCloud, Tobii Technology, Transphorm, va-Q-tec, Vidyo and Voltea.

Author: Silvia von Gunten is Director and Head of the Technology Pioneers Programme and North America Membership, World Economic Forum USA.

The Technology Pioneers programme was managed by Olivier Schwab until June 2012.