Boston’s Next Tech Gold Mine

The region’s newest multibillion-dollar industry is massive and invisible. It is a tech revolution that is silently and stealthily connecting companies to us in ever-more-cunning ways. And it may be the one enterprise that locks in Boston’s hegemony over tech for years to come.

In Search of Unicorns

COMPANIES ON THE CUSP

TripAdvisor, which launched in 2000, makes money from ads as well as from referral fees from its former sister company Expedia. When it was acquired by Barry Diller’s IAC, it became part of Expedia, then was spun out in a public offering in 2011. In 2013 revenues hit $945 million. The Needham-based company is still run by CEO and cofounder Stephen Kaufer.

Wayfair, which started in cofounder Steve Conine’s house, offers 7 million home products from 12,000 brands. The Back Bay venture had $915 million in sales in 2013. Conine continues to be co-chairman and CTO, and cofounder Niraj Shah is CEO. There is speculation that Wayfair could go public, perhaps in 2015.

Watertown’s Athenahealth makes a popular electronic medical-records system. The 17-year-old company, which went public in 2007, had $595 million in revenues in 2013. One of its founders— president, chairman, and CEO Jonathan Bush— presides over the business.

COMPANIES TO WATCH

Actifio, founded by Ash Ashutosh, has drawn more than $200 million in funding. Acquia, meanwhile, hosts one of the most popular tools for content management, and in 2013 sales neared $100 million. It was named the fastest-growing private company in the U.S. by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list.

Veracode, founded by noted white-hat hackers Chris Wysopal and Christien Rioux, makes software that helps developers build more-secure programs. The Burlington outfit’s sales could hit $75 million this year, and it may go public.

As the industry leader in cloud commerce technology, Demandware boasts clients such as New Balance and Pier 1 Imports among its more than 200 global retailers. With market capitalization now valued at around $2 billion, the Burlington-based company is on track to have another record-bre