25 + Start-ups to Watch

February 23, 2007 by Lisa Oshima | Social Media

In case you were wondering why this blog went from daily to naught this week – One of my best friends was in town this week, visiting from England, so I took a break from blogging to play tour guide.  As of today, I’m back to blogging as usual.

If you’re wondering what’s next in the world of web 2.0, Business 2.0 magazine has some interesting ideas.  Of particular interest, check out their gallery of 25 Startups to Watch.  The following is the list (and some of my thoughts on each company):

  • StumbleUpon: Great feature that allows you to find websites and videos you might like on-line based upon the recommendations of friends. Think of it sort of like Digg but for recommending websites and videos.  It enables you to find websites that you’ll like based upon your personal networks and the preferences you set of people with similar tastes.  It is the perfect accompaniment to Stickis, which allows you to see the comments people in your network have posted on various websites.  I’d love to see Stikis and StumbleUpon link-up to offer an integrated service.
  • Slide:  I’ve not tried Slide yet, but I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about it in the geek circles in San Francisco. It lets you create slide shows of your personal photos which can be inserted into a blog, MySpace page, Sent out via RSS, or streamed to your desktop as a screensaver.  It is an interesting idea, but I suspect there will be a lot of competition in this space with photo sharing sites like Zooomr and Flickr and companies like SharpCast (computer, mobile and PC sync) and photo everywhere messaging concepts like NowThen.
  • Bebo: Social network with 30 million users.  Bebo is especially big in the UK.  Aside from having the conventional greatness of other social networking sites, it takes privacy setting seriously (which I like) and has an on-line whiteboard facility, which is handy for sharing.
  • Meebo: Let’s you manage all of your IM clients from one site. I’ll be interested to see how Meebo does against eBuddy, which is a “free web based messenger that enables you to chat with your MSN, Yahoo and AIM buddies” without downloading a separate client. eBuddy also works via mobile.
  • Wikia: This site was co-founded by Angela Beesley and Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of Wikipedia, who I  recently talked about seeing speak at the Social Media Club meeting in San Francisco.
  • Joost: I’m looking forward to seeing how Joost pans out.  It’s an on-line video website which focuses on broadcast quality television – like IPTV on demand.  They’ve just signed a deal with Viacom, the output of which will be interesting to watch.  The on-line video space is getting crowded between Joost, YouTube, Revver, Grouper, BitTorrent and others.
  • Dabble: Makes a tool for organizing videos into playlists and favorites.  Hmmm… Not sure how I feel about this one.  Think I’ll stick with video search engines and recommendations I find in blogs until someone convinces me otherwise..
  • Metacafe: This site is kind of like YouTube, but it pays users for page views. As I mentioned before, the on-line video space is really crowded. With YouTube saying they’re going to find ways to pay users for involvement, I’m not sure how I feel about Metacafe’s long-term prospects for success.  That said, they do claim 17 million monthly visitors, so they’re off to a good start.
  • Revision3: “A production studio for geek-oriented online shows.”… Certainly a growing market full of opportunity!
  • blip.tv: Platform for syndicating on-line shows… Looks like a hot market.
  • fon.com: Now this looks interesting!  Fon.com is based in Spain and is attempting to build the world’s first worldwide wi-fi network.  They’re selling wireless routers for $30.  According to the description on Business 2.0, consumers “hook it up, register their node, and agree to share their broadband with other “Foneros” for free. Those who want to charge outsiders for access can do so, and Fon gets a cut. Likewise, if someone wants to pay $2 or $3 to use the Fon network for a day, Fon takes a share of that revenue. Just over a year old, Fon’s network boasts more than 70,000

    hotspots.” This could be huge, especially given that wi-fi on mobile phones is a growing feature.

  • Loopt: Loopt lets you see where your friends are anytime, using your GPS enabled mobile phone.  Boost Mobile has integrated Loopt into it’s service offerings.  There are many interesting applications to social networking… Check out my previous posts on GPS to see what I mean.
  • Mobio:  Mobio makes mobile applications and wigets.  They do quite a bit in the mobile location based service space. Mobio just launched at DEMO in January. I’ve not played with their app, but their demo looks an aweful lot like Microsoft Life’s mobile beta.
  • Tiny: Tiny’s Radar service is like Flickr but for mobile phones.  It lets users send photos from their mobile phones and have their friends comment on them. This sounds very similar to NowThen, only it’s restricted to mobile phones.
  • SoonR: This company lets you access information on your PC from your mobile phone. I saw a lot of solutions like this when I was at Palm. I’m not sure why Business 2.0 thinks this is such a big deal.  Win-Hand Anywhere, a strong competitor, has been around for years.  I’m not convinced that that remote PC access is the way forward. The problem with software like SoonR and Win-Hand Anywhere is that if your computer is off, you can’t access your data. I prefer “server in the sky” applications like Avvenu, Orb, and GotoMyPC which allow you to access your information from anywhere (including your mobile phone).
  • Turn: I don’t know much about this but it looks very cool… According to the site: “Avertisers first enter the prices they’re willing to pay for various results – $5 for a sales lead, say, or $50 to $60 for a completed transaction. Next, they upload their text-or graphics-based display ads. Turn’s software then analyzes the ads using more than 60 variables – including content, brand strength, and keywords – and determines the right publishers to serve up the ads.”
  • admob:  Like Turn – Could be very useful to advertisers:AdMob offers a place to buy ads for delivery to cell phones.” It seems to me that Millennial Advertising, which I talked about in my January 26th blog should also be on this list.
  • Spot Runner: This looks like a great resource for small businesses. It’s a “one-stop online shop for low-cost 30-second TV ads. Local businesses can browse a library of premade spots and personalize them for airing in their local markets.”
  • ViTrue:  This is a great idea. Though, I think they need to improve the way they explain their service on their website.  It looks a bit like parts of what I proposed as a potential monetization strategy for YouTube.
  • SuccessFactors:  I met with these guys when I was working in London as a Management Consultant a few years ago. I evaluated their software and other eHR and performance management systems and found theirs to be the most intelligent and well designed. Definitely a company to watch if you’re into enterprise systems.
  • Janrain: Single sign which allows users to juggle multiple passwords for multiple website.  This is the alternative to open ID.
  • Logoworks:  I’ve not used this site, which offers the ability to publish business cards, stationary, etc. for less than conventional on-line publishers, but I’m always interested in deals!
  • Rearden Commerce:  I’ve been hearing a lot about Rearden recently.  They offer a “web-based “virtual personal assistant” application that smoothly integrates hotel and flight reservations, meetings, and other events into your daily agenda.” They’ve got a strong user base with 150 companies and their 500,000 or so employees using the software.
  • SimulScribe: This company has voice recognition software that converts voicemails to text.  Voice transcription software is a growing and hot marketplace. I know of at least one (stealth-mode) start-up working on the next generation of this type of software, which will can be leveraged for all sorts of things you haven’t thought of.

Some other companies that weren’t on the list, but I think are worth watching are:  Shozu (mobile 2.0), IMT Labs (the company behind Spleak, the chatbot), and Kiptronic (advertising platform for podcasters).

On a different note – If you’re interested in technology (especially mobile), you might be interested in this, the new blog from my friend, Derek Snyder, from Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded team.  So far, he’s talked about Windows Mobile 6, how to cancel your Verizon contract in less than 30 minutes with no penalty, how to get a free extra battery for your Blackjack, and more.

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  • [this is good]
    FON is getting really interesting especially after just giving away 1000 €30 FONs in Europe and now that Tesco's (UK) is selling dual TOVO GSM WiFi mobile phones for under £200 in its supermarkets ! If I was Vodaphone I would be getting worried about free global (wi-fi) mobile networks !

    I should mention that I just plugged in my FON yesterday and that there is even a FON group on VOX !

  • [this is good]
    Hi Lisa … I just wanted to point out that JanRain is in fact not creating a competitor to OpenID … we've been one of the leaders of OpenID developing the latest specification and open source libraries to help people enable their sites quickly and easily.

    – Scott

    PS – I find it so frustrating that the creators of OpenID (Six Apart and thus, Vox) don't have consumer support for OpenID on this site … I had to create an account! 🙂

  • Lisa, great write-up. Thought it was worth clarifying that Radar is not, in fact, limited to mobile phones. In addition to the mobile browser and java clients, we offer a complete web experience at http://radar.net.


  • The wikia site is really useful. Almost every book I can think of has a wiki, even though a few are kind of pitiful.



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