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Connecticut‘s Tech Titans: The Largest Digital Companies in the Constitution State

When you think of leading technology hubs in the United States, Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston probably come to mind. But there‘s another state that punches above its weight when it comes to innovation: Connecticut. From fintech to healthtech, insurtech to industrial tech, Connecticut was home to an impressive roster of major technology companies in 2015, building on the state‘s long heritage of entrepreneurship and invention.

A Legacy of Innovation

Connecticut has been a seedbed of new ideas and industries since the early days of the nation. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin here in 1793, helping to revolutionize the textile industry. In 1839, Charles Goodyear discovered the vulcanization of rubber in Naugatuck. The first submarine, helicopter, and nuclear submarine were all developed in the state. Fast forward to the late 20th century, and Connecticut played a key role in the growth of computing, telecommunications, e-commerce, and financial services technology.

This innovative DNA was alive and well in Connecticut‘s tech sector in 2015. The state had an impressive mix of publicly-traded digital leaders alongside fast-growing startups and emerging companies – all capitalizing on Connecticut‘s unique combination of strengths:

  • A concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters providing a built-in base of customers, partners, acquirers, and talent
  • World-class universities like Yale and UConn conducting cutting-edge research and spinning out new ventures
  • A highly educated workforce, with the nation‘s highest per-capita concentration of advanced degrees
  • Targeted state support for tech businesses, including funding, tax incentives, and economic development programs
  • A strategic location in the heart of the Northeast corridor, with easy access to the major markets of New York and Boston
  • A high quality of life, with top-notch schools, safe communities, natural beauty, and a lower cost of living than New York City or Silicon Valley

Fintech, Insurtech, and Enterprise Technology Leaders

In 2015, Connecticut‘s most prominent tech companies were concentrated in serving the financial services, insurance, and enterprise technology (B2B) sectors. This is not surprising given the state‘s long history as a hub for insurance, banking, and corporate headquarters.

On the fintech front, the biggest player was FactSet (NYSE:FDS). The Norwalk-based company provides data, analytics, and software tools to investment professionals, researchers, and corporate clients around the world. As of 2015, FactSet had:

  • More than 87,500 users, including 4,400 clients in 90 countries
  • Annual revenues of $1.06 billion, up 9.1% from 2014
  • Over 3,500 employees globally, including more than 700 in Connecticut
  • A market capitalization of around $6.5 billion

Another major fintech player was SS&C Technologies (Nasdaq:SSNC). Headquartered in Windsor, SS&C provides software and services for the investment and financial services industries, with solutions for portfolio management, trading, accounting, reporting, and more. In 2015, SS&C had:

  • 10,000+ customers, including many of the world‘s largest banks, investment managers, and insurance companies
  • $1.5 billion in revenue, a 53% increase over 2014
  • Over 6,800 employees in 43 offices worldwide, including more than 1,000 in Connecticut
  • A market capitalization of $6.8 billion

In the insurance technology (insurtech) arena, Insurity was the biggest success story you may not have heard of. The Hartford-based company provides core processing, data integration, and analytics solutions for property and casualty insurers. Although privately held, Insurity has reported:

  • 100+ insurance customers, including 15 of the top 25 carriers in the U.S.
  • 30%+ annual revenue growth
  • 500+ employees globally, with over 200 in Connecticut

Healthcare Technology Rising

Another sector where Connecticut digital health firms were making their mark was healthcare. With healthcare spending approaching 20% of U.S. GDP and the Affordable Care Act driving the digitization of medical records and processes, opportunities abounded for technology to improve care and reduce costs.

One of the most promising healthtech startups was Evariant. The Farmington company‘s software platform helps healthcare providers improve patient engagement, clinical outcomes, and financial results by using big data analytics and targeted marketing automation. In 2015, Evariant announced a $42.3 million Series C round led by Goldman Sachs, bringing its total funding to over $73 million. The company was serving more than 1,000 hospitals and health systems nationwide.

Another healthcare technology leader was HealthPlanOne, a Trumbull-based company that operates a digital brokerage and exchange platform connecting consumers with health insurance plans. With the ACA expanding coverage to millions of Americans, HealthPlanOne‘s technology enabled major health insurers like Aetna, Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealthcare to enroll and engage members online and over the phone. The company had revenues of $47.2 million in 2015 and made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing U.S. companies for the sixth year in a row.

Manufacturing and Industrial Technology

While Connecticut is a small state geographically, it has a proud heritage in manufacturing, aerospace, and defense. Even old-line industries increasingly rely on cutting-edge technology to drive innovation and efficiency, and Connecticut firms were at the forefront.

Amphenol (NYSE:APH) has been designing and manufacturing high-tech connector and sensor products in Wallingford since 1932. Its components are used in virtually every electronics market, from mobile devices to automobiles to data centers. In 2015, Amphenol posted revenues of $5.6 billion (up 6% from 2014) and had a market cap of around $17 billion.

Another industrial technology powerhouse was Hubbell (NYSE:HUBB). Founded in Bridgeport in 1888, the company has evolved into a leading provider of electrical and electronic products for utilities, industry, and construction. Hubbell‘s R&D teams leverage the latest in materials science, power electronics, and the Internet of Things to build a smarter electrical grid and infrastructure. In 2015, Hubbell had net sales of $3.4 billion and employed nearly 15,800 people worldwide, including over 500 in Connecticut.

E-commerce and Internet Technology

Connecticut was also home to some major players in the consumer-facing Internet and e-commerce arenas in 2015. The biggest was The Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), a Norwalk-based company best known for its online travel and dining reservation platforms including, KAYAK, and OpenTable. But Priceline was also a leader in applying data analytics and dynamic pricing algorithms to the travel industry. In 2015, Priceline had:

  • Gross travel bookings of $56 billion, up 10% from 2014
  • Revenues of $9.2 billion, a 9% increase over the prior year
  • Over 15,000 employees worldwide, including more than 1,000 in Connecticut
  • A market capitalization north of $60 billion, making it one of the most valuable Internet companies

Another emerging force in online commerce was TicketNetwork. Launched in 2002 out of South Windsor, the company built one of the largest secondary marketplaces for live event tickets on the web. Despite some legal and public relations challenges, TicketNetwork was processing more than $1 billion worth of ticket sales annually by 2015 and had over 300 employees globally.

A Thriving Startup Ecosystem

In addition to the established tech titans, Connecticut was seeing a groundswell of startup activity, with new ventures popping up in co-working spaces, accelerators, and incubators across the state. In 2015 alone, Connecticut startups raised over $500 million in venture capital funding, a 27% jump from the prior year according to data from CB Insights.

One of the hottest startups was Datto, a Norwalk-based provider of cloud backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity solutions. Founded in 2007 by then-college student Austin McChord, Datto bootstrapped its way to profitability before raising a $75 million Series B round in 2015 led by Technology Crossover Ventures. With revenue of $118 million (up 57% from 2014), Datto was included on the Deloitte Fast 500 list of fastest growing tech companies.

Other notable funding deals in 2015 included:

  • Arccos Golf (Stamford) – $12.7 million for its AI-powered game improvement platform
  • SilverSky (Milford) – $11.5 million for cybersecurity software
  • iDevices (Avon) – $10 million for smart home products
  • Inovalon (Hartford) – $150 million IPO on NASDAQ (data analytics for healthcare)
  • FuelCell Energy (Danbury) – $65 million IPO on NASDAQ (alternative energy)

Supporting this startup activity was a growing network of entrepreneurial resources and organizations. The Stamford Innovation Center provided coworking space, events, and an accelerator program focused on digital media and commerce. District New Haven offered a similar community for startups at The Grid coworking space and through the Venture Clash pitch competition.

Yale University was also a major engine of startup activity, launching dozens of student and faculty ventures each year with support from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. The Elm City Innovation Collaborative was working to develop an innovation district in downtown New Haven anchored around Yale and the city‘s major corporations and institutions.

At the state level, Connecticut Innovations – the state‘s venture capital arm – had millions to invest in early-stage tech and biotech companies. CI‘s investments in 2015 included Arccos Golf, iDevices, and Zadspace, a New Haven startup enabling micro-manufacturing on demand. The CTNext program also provided grants, mentoring, and other resources to entrepreneurs statewide.

Building on a Foundation of Innovation

As this overview shows, Connecticut in 2015 had a dynamic and diverse technology industry that was driving economic growth and making an impact well beyond the state‘s borders. While smaller in scale than Silicon Valley or New York City, Connecticut‘s tech scene was punching above its weight, with a potent mix of large public companies, high-growth startups, supportive institutions, and skilled talent.

Since then, Connecticut‘s tech sector has continued to evolve and expand:

  • The Priceline Group changed its name to Booking Holdings in 2018 as the company shifted its focus to its global hotel business. With a market cap over $80 billion, it is now the largest Internet company in Connecticut and one of the most valuable in the U.S.
  • FactSet and SS&C each topped $1.5 billion in annual revenue and joined the S&P 500 index in recent years. FactSet also acquired several fintech startups including Truvalue Labs and BTU Analytics to enhance its ESG investing and energy data capabilities.
  • Evariant was acquired by Press Ganey in 2020 for $100+ million, reflecting the strong growth and consolidation in the healthcare IT space. Press Ganey itself was later acquired by private equity firm EQT Partners for $4.2 billion.
  • Datto went public on the New York Stock Exchange in October 2020, raising over $400 million at a valuation of $4 billion. The company now has over 17,000 managed service provider partners and more than 1,000 employees worldwide.
  • New ventures like Owl Labs (video conferencing devices), RallyBio (biotech), ReNetX Bio (biotech), and Quantum Circuits (quantum computing) have emerged on the scene, attracting significant venture funding and partnerships.
  • Startup hubs like District Innovation and Venture Center (New Haven), Innovate Stamford, and MakerspaceCT (Hartford) have expanded, providing more infrastructure and community for entrepreneurs.
  • The Tech Talent Fund, a public-private partnership backed by $5 million in state funding, was launched in 2016 to develop tech skills training programs at community colleges and universities aligned with industry needs.

Of course, significant challenges remain for Connecticut in maintaining its edge – from the high cost of doing business to traffic congestion to fiscal pressures on the state budget. But if history is a guide, the state‘s deep reservoirs of ingenuity, productivity, and competitiveness will continue to power new waves of technological innovation and economic opportunity in the years ahead. As the old New England saying goes, "Yankee ingenuity will always find a way."