What’s exciting in Boston right now?

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Amidst the endless string of funding announcements, office leases, Kickstarter campaigns, and initial public offerings, it can be tough to discern what’s actually happening in Boston’s innovation economy.

What are the new industry clusters that are growing fastest locally, and seem to be more than flashes in the pan? Those were the questions that drove the creation of this list. Some are dominated by big companies headquartered outside of the region, such as speech recognition, where West Coast players like Apple and Amazon have been hiring experts as fast as they can. But clusters such as biotech and data security have been Boston strengths for decades.

I’ve chosen five representative companies in each cluster — a mix of small start-ups and more established players. These aren’t the top five companies in any sense, but rather a subjective sample.
Among them: Moderna Therapeutics, Actifio, and Intarcia Therapeutics — three private companies valued at more than $1 billion — and the Boston office of FitBit, a San Francisco company that filed to go public last week.

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Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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