While the Triangle is home to dozens of promising young companies backed by venture capitalists, only one made an exclusive list.
Appia, the Durham company that helps mobile-phone companies build online "apps stores" is the only local firm on the Wall Street Journal's 2011 list of the top 50 venture-funded companies.
The list, which is stocked mostly with California health and technology firms, puts Appia at No. 15.
The newspaper considered 5,743 venture-backed companies to find those with "the greatest promise to succeed." To be eligible, companies must have received an equity round of financing in the past three years and be valued at less than $1 billion.
That excluded big names such as Facebook, Twitter and Groupon on purpose, "to identify lesser-known contenders." The newspaper warns that more venture money flowing to tech firms could "be a sign of a re-inflating Web bubble."
Appia announced last month that it had changed its name from PocketGear as part of a broader strategy shift. The company employs about 50 people and raised $15 million in venture funding last summer.
Appia is focused on technology that allows partners such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Samsung and Verizon to run online stores that sell games and other applications for smart phones, tablet computers and other devices.
Previously, the company was trying to sell apps directly to consumers, but is shifting away from that part of its business.
Appia was formed in 2008 when CEO Jud Bowman, who founded PocketGear's predecessor a decade ago while still a teenager, bought back the business from Motricity, which moved its headquarters to the Seattle area from Durham.
Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.