Engineers and developers are some of the first people to latch onto startups that succeed. And we trust them to pick Silicon Valley’s hottest new tech companies.

So does LinkedIn. The professional networking site analyzed millions of interactions between around 290,000 San Francisco/Peninsula/Silicon Valley-based engineers/devs and local companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Last year, the survey was astonishingly accurate as a success predictor — one company was acquired and five others rose to valuations of $1 billion to $5 billion.

“There are multiple ways to predict a company’s success,” said a LinkedIn rep via email. “But at the core, if you can’t build it, they most certainly won’t come, so to say.”

This year, here are developers’ top picks for the next billion-dollar company, along with the stories that kept them in the headlines:

1. Cloudera

2. Dropbox

3. Violin Memory

4. Nimble Storage

5. Hortonworks

6. GoPro

  • 2011: Libyan revolution filmed on a GoPro
  • 2011: GoPro takes an undisclosed amount of venture capital
  • 2012: Launch of the GoPro Hero 3

7. Jawbone

8. Big Switch Networks

  • 2011: $13.8 million funding round
  • 2012: Launch of Open SDN
  • 2012: $25 million funding round

9. Pinterest

  • 2011: iPhone app launch
  • 2012: Big deal: $100 million in funding
  • 2012: Removed invite-only requirement

10. Nutanix

  • 2011: Shipped alpha version
  • Left stealth; won Best of VMWorld award
  • 2012: $33 million fundraise

Here’s a handy chart to tie it all together, courtesy of LinkedIn:


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