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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Lots of money is made in enterprise software, but it's hard to make it interesting, even for the folks investing in those companies. One investment firm, Wing.vc, has come up with a new twist: Rank the private companies in the space the way that a coaches' poll ranks college sports teams.

Why it matters: Though not always scintillating, enterprise technology, which serves large companies, organizations and institutions, brings in billions of dollars and accounts for some of the most successful IPOs.

  • "Some important tech companies that are really changing the way business is done fly under the radar," said Rajeev Chand, a former Rutberg analyst and Wing's research partner.

Yes, but: As with sports, not all players are equal. Some of the firms in the rankings are new startups while others are large companies on the verge of going public. So Wing divided them into early-, middle- and late-stage companies and listed the top 10 in each.

  • They started with more than 3,000 startups and winnowed the list to around 775, before polling about 6 dozen of the top investors in the space.
  • Each investor got to vote for 10 companies in each stage, but they were limited to 3 of their own portfolio companies to eliminate too much rooting for the home team.

Results:

This graphic shows the full top 10 in each category:

Wing.vc

Key trends:

  • Of the 30 companies, at least 7 have received fairly little mainstream press attention: Retool, GatsbyJS, Clearbit, Sketch, Tray.io, LaunchDarkly and Pachyderm.
  • 7 of the 30 top companies were in data and analytics, including the top 4 late-stage companies.
  • 3 companies got acquired or went public while the process was going on and were eliminated from consideration. (Slack and CrowdStrike went public, while Looker was acquired by Google.)

The bottom line: Getting onto this list won't magically make any of these companies more interesting. But any project that helps put more of them on our radar — before they file to go public or get acquired — is doing some good. 

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

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Photo Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

How much would you pay for "a sleek, if pleasantly confusing, package of moods" or "a confusing tangle of disjointed installations" or even "the total erosion of meaning itself"? The answer, according to the current market-clearing price, seems to be about $35.

Why it matters: Investors are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into ticketed experiences — immersive, interactive museum-like spaces that don't have the d0-not-touch stuffiness of traditional museums.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over Biden deportations

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.