The Wall Street Journal unveiled its third annual ranking of the top 50 U.S. companies backed by venture capital—a list that attempts to identify start-ups that could become the “Next Big Thing.”

To be eligible for the ranking—compiled by research firm VentureSource, which like The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp.—companies must be based in the U.S., have received an equity round of financing in the past three years and be valued at less than $1 billion, as the aim is to identify lesser-known start-ups. More than 5,900 candidates were considered.

The Wall Street Journal’s third annual ranking of the top 50 venture-capital-backed companies shows a crop of contenders that overall are focused less on online consumers than in years past.

Appia is founded by Jud Bowman who has also played key roles in the formation of Motrocity – since relocated to Seattle, WA.  Appia has raised over $28M in its 4 years of existence.  The Information Technology sector represented 28 of the 50 companies and Appia is among 8 of those outside of California.

Within the InfoTech Industry:

– 20 from California

– 2 from Massachusetts

– 2 from New York

– 1 from Texas

– 1 from New Jersey

– 1 from Colorado

– 1 from North Carolina (Appia)