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According to venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, the combined value of the top publicly-traded cloud computing companies now exceeds $100 billion.

But that’s just an appetizer for the multi-course meal to come. With the overall software market worth a trillion dollars annually, and many hot cloud companies still in private hands, $100B is just a tiny piece of the potential valuation for publicly-traded cloud companies.

Bessemer’s “BVP Cloud Computing Index” tracks 30 companies that it has identified as the “top” cloud corporations. They range in valuation from $215 million (Vocus, $VOCS) to $25.5 billion (Salesforce, $CRM), with a median valuation of about $1 billion and an average of more than $3.5 billion.

“The $100B milestone is massively significant in terms of relevance to the overall software and tech industry, and to Wall Street,” BVP’s Byron Deeter, who compiled the index, told VentureBeat. “We’re now at the point where this is too large to ignore.


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“But software-as-a-service represents a small fraction of the overall trillion-dollar software market today, so we believe we’re still in the early days of this market’s evolution,” Deeter added.

He said the firm created the index by first identifying publicly-traded companies that were pure-play cloud companies, not those offering hybrid models or selling cloud services as a small part of their overall business (e.g. Amazon or HP).

“The delineation for this group was pretty straightforward,” Deeter said. “Going forward I suspect there may be more contentious discussions,” as more companies adopt hybrid models or existing IT companies move into the cloud arena.

The firm will update the list as more cloud companies go public or leave the public markets through acquisition.

The only other heavyweight with the market cap to rival Salesforce is LinkedIn ($LNKD), weighing in at $23 billion. From there it’s a big jump down to the next-largest company, Workday ($WDAY, $11.9 billion valuation), and then another big jump to ServiceNow ($NOW), currently valued at $5.9 billion.

In other words, the index has a lot of solid companies in the half billion dollar to 2 billion dollar range, but the whales are still few and far between.

(Update 7/30: Why is LinkedIn considered a cloud company and not a social network? We asked Deeter, and he answered: “Roughly 2/3 of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from pure SaaS products (roughly 50/50 between the enterprise recruiter product and consumer LinkedIn pro accounts). The other 1/3 is advertising based, but even that is enterprise traffic. ” So, in contrast to a purely consumer-oriented social network like Facebook, LinkedIn is primarily supported by cloud-based, enterprise-oriented business.)

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Bessemer’s blog post notes that its new index is up by 68 percent from January 1, 2012, reflecting the public markets’ strong appetite for cloud-based enterprise companies.

“The M&A markets have also been active, with more than $10 billion of public cloud M&A in just 18 months and over $20 billion in the last two years,” the post notes.

And there’s more to come, if Wall Street’s appetite for this kind of company continues.

“I strongly believe we will see a wave of very successful cloud IPOs in the coming quarters,” Deeter told VentureBeat.

“Wall Street is absolutely excited about this transformation of software and is eager for growth.”

Financial wonks can download the full BVP index spreadsheet (with weekly updates to the index) from BVP’s website. Note: Former BVP portfolio companies on the list include LinkedIn, Cornerstone On Demand, Broadsoft, and Lifelock; Deeter noted that Eloqua would have been on the list if it hadn’t recently been acquired by Oracle, taking it off the public markets as an independent pure-play cloud company.

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