Each year, Forbes rounds up some of the top candidates for the next billion-dollar company on its America’s Most Promising Companies list. For 2015, five Massachusetts companies have claimed spots. As per the Forbes’ methodology, all companies on the list are private and generate under $300 million annually. Additionally, revenue plays a key part in the ranking, and the Forbes list includes the specific revenue figures that each company generated in 2014—information that privately held tech firms are often skittish about releasing.

Forbes also took other factors into consideration in making its picks, such as growth in employee numbers, operating margins, capital raised, product ideas, management and how long companies have been involved in their industries.

“Placing one company before another is never easy but one thing you can be sure of is that each firm is going places—be it to an IPO, an eventual acquisition by a much larger player or simply on to greater profits,” the intro reads.

Here are the five local firms that got a nod from Forbes.

#38: Applause

Industry: IT Software & Services
2014 Revenue: $38 million
Number of employees: 200
Big VC investors: QuestMark Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Longworth Venture Partners, Mass Ventures, Egan-Managed Capital and Mesco Ltd.

The Framingham-based company, which was initially founded under the name uTest in 2007, provides software testing for applications across platforms from mobile to the Web, allowing developers to better determine users’ product preferences. Applause has raised $80 million total to date, and has tested more than 30,000 new builds for companies of all sizes, including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, USA Today, Rolex, Box and Runkeeper. Last year, the company landed at No. 7 on Forbes’ list. The company has also made two acquisitions to date: Apphance, a mobile app quality tool, and the German crowdtesting company TestHub.

#52: VMTurbo

Industry: IT Software & Services
2014 Revenue: $24 million
Number of employees: 254
Big VC investors: Bain Capital Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners.

This company, which is based in Back Bay, sells software that can mitigate common challenges that come with adopting the cloud and virtualization by bringing automated control to virtualized data centers. Its CEO, Ben Nye, also works as a partner at Bain Capital Ventures.

Following a year in which the firm saw major revenue growth, VMTurbo just announced $50 million in new funding, giving the firm a valuation of $500 million. The round was led by the lesser-known Silicon Valley fund ICONIQ Capital, which has a close connection to Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook as well as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. VMTurbo has collected a portfolio of notable customers include NASA, Disney and GE Healthcare. The company has raised a total of $75 million to date.


#66: ALKU

Industry: Business Services & Supplies
2014 Revenue: $69 million
Number of employees: 65

This consulting firm, which has its headquarters in Andover, provides niche-focused contractors to help with quality and compliance for technology projects and government agencies. ALKU—the Finnish word for “start”—is also known for its emphasis on philanthropy and strong community involvement; it has raised more than $50,000 for the Mass Mentoring Partnership organization.


#78: CarGurus

Industry: Services
2014 Revenue: $40 million
Number of employees: 103

Founded in 2006, this Cambridge-based auto shopping website—which BostInno named one of the top local tech companies to watch in 2015—offers customers an online search tool to find the best-priced cars in their local markets. CarGurus also boasts the third-highest traffic rate among car-shopping websites despite having no national ad campaigns, and is reportedly considering an IPO this year.

CEO Langley Steinert founded CarGurus after selling TripAdvisor, of which he was also a co-founder, to Expedia. In November, Sam Zales—former CEO of the marketing software company ClickSquared— joined CarGurus as president of international and dealer operations to oversee the international expansion and worldwide dealer sales. The site has also launched in Canada, and there are plans in the works to expand to both England and Germany in 2015.


#96: Localytics

Industry: Business Services & Supplies
2014 Revenue: $10 million
Number of employees: 150
Big VC investors: Foundation Capital, Polaris Partners

This mobile and Web app analytics startup (and Techstars Boston grad) aims to help companies build stronger relationships with their users through its analytics and marketing platform. Localytics closed a $16 million Series C round last February, bringing the total that the firm has raised to about $24.7 million (from a combination of venture investors, angels and internal financing). With offices in Boston, San Francisco and London, Localytics’ software is now installed on more than 1.5 billion devices across the globe as part of apps from more than 5,000 companies, including ESPN, eBay, Fox, Microsoft and SoundCloud. Last year, the fast-growing company moved its local headquarters to a larger space in the Financial District.