Part II — Hot Startups to Watch in 2010

I love startups. Why? Because they represent the future of the tech industry and usually you can pick trends that will drive the tech blogs like Techcrunch out of them.

In Part I of this post I introduced the first 10 startups out of 25 that I’ll highlight (the second 15 are discussed in this post).

Here’s the 25 I picked on a Twitter list so you can follow them all on Twitter.

Just to make sure I didn’t forget anyone I shouldn’t, I asked my Twitter followers for their favorite startups and that led me to start a new list of about 100 startups that you should pay attention to in 2010. The final 25 were culled from this list. Are some good ones missing even from this list? Absolutely. I expect we’ll have to update this list every quarter or so as new companies come out and there are many, many good companies that didn’t make this list because of biases of mine. If your company didn’t make it in, please let me know and I’ll take a look and maybe do a future post.

Biases and selection process

Every list like this has bias. Here’s mine. I picked the best of the crop as I know it. I looked at Wakoopa, which is a service that shows what’s hot with early adopters. I have seen many of these companies up close and personal, so there’s a familiarity bias that I’m sure is present (hint: if you want hype, you gotta show your product to all tech bloggers). I tried to stay away from already popular startups like Zynga and Ning. Why? Because I’m trying to focus on what is to come, not what has already happened. I also specifically tried to pick best-of-breed to demonstrate a trend but keep it mostly to companies that haven’t gone mainstream yet.

Thanks to Crunchbase for being the definitive database of startups out there (you can edit entries and add info about companies, it really is a great resource on companies).

The rest of the list:

PointAbout logo
11. Appmakr/PointAbout.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video demos of how this works are on their site. Why is it important? Because the iPhone is getting more and more important and having an app is a way for companies to keep relationships with customers up to date. Appmakr lets you make your own iPhone app from a number of different feeds like RSS, Twitter, or YouTube, among others for $99 without writing any code and it looks comparable to apps that other companies have spent tens of millions creating.

Payvment logo
12. Payvment.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? Because this brings ecommerce to social networks in an easy-to-implement way which opens up all sorts of new retail-style opportunities on sites like Facebook. It also shows off PayPal’s new APIs, which make in-app purchasing possible.

CloudKick Logo

13. Cloudkick.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? Because it helps you monitor your cloud computing servers on Amazon and Rackspace (#1 and #2 in cloud hosting). It helps you visualize your bandwidth allowances and other important metrics and a lot more.

Blippy Logo

14. Blippy.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? This is the weirdest choice that I made and seems very stupid on first look, but this system that lets you share your credit card (and other) purchases with the world makes sense in what it potentially enables: crowd buying and predictive buying. “Hey, we notice you visit Safeway every five days, did you know that you can save x amount if you switch to our buying club?” Now it doesn’t do that. Yet. But this is definitely a concept you should watch, especially after Quicken bought Mint which did similar stuff with credit cards, but not in a public way. But I’m not so sure I want you to see what I’m buying. I signed up anyway.

Expensify Logo
15. Expensify.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. No videos available. Why is it important? I hate expenses. In fact, this whole post really started as a way to procrastinate on doing my expenses. This system makes expenses easier and more automatic. Big win for me. Trend? That we’re going to share even more info with public in future than we can ever imagine. What are the benefits and costs of doing that? We’ll find out together in 2010.

RedBeacon Logo
16. RedBeacon.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? This TC50 winner helps you get price quotes and book appointments with local businesses. Is this what will take Web 2.0 into bedroom communities around the world? Good chance it is.

CitySourced Logo
17. Citysourced.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? Because government is being forced to do more with less. How can city managers know where to spend their meager resources to better improve their communities? You can tell them with the mobile app Citysourced has created.

Spotify Logo

18. Spotify.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? Instant music. No downloads. Who needs to steal music anymore? Just type in your favorite band’s song into Spotify and it starts playing nearly instantly. When I first saw it I was floored. Not out in USA yet, but VERY popular in Europe and will be released within months here.

Plancast Logo
19. Plancast.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. No video available. Why is it important? This service, which lets you tell your friends what your plans are for the future, has instantly become San Francisco’s tech geek social calendar.

Evri Logo
20. Evri.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? This system helps content producers present a better UI to navigating other articles on the web. This helps profitability through more pageviews and more time spent on site and also increases search hits. The newspaper industry needs more ways to help their business, this is one, along with Apture, another company that is proving new UI to content navigation.

Square Logo

21. Square.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? When you go to an Apple store you’ll notice they don’t have cash registers. Instead the salesperson comes to you and lets you complete the transaction with a hand-held computer. Square does that for the rest of us using an iPhone and a little add on for the top/headphone jack.

Aloqa Logo
22. Aloqa.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? Because Aloqa is building a platform for mobile phones around your location and it shows you favorite hotspots, friends, vents, and recommended bargains nearby. But it’s the platform part of this that has me interested so companies can add their own apps in easily which makes this different than, say, Yelp.

Nimsoft Logo

23. Nimsoft.
(Crunchbase entry). They aren’t yet on Twitter (bad!). Videos: Part I, Part II, Part III. Why is it important? Because more and more of our applications are built using cloud-computing blocks. A piece on Amazon. Another on Rackspace’s Cloud. Yet another on Google or Salesforce. Yet you are in control of none of it, so you need to know the state of each. Nimsoft shows you that status. By the way, this company isn’t really a startup, founded in 2004, but this product entry is totally a new direction for the company and I wanted to call it out.

Oneriot logo
24. OneRiot.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? Because more and more of our life happens on the real-time web ala Twitter and Facebook and other services and we need search to make sense of it. I expect that they’ll face sizable competition this year from Twitter or Facebook or both and it’ll be interesting to see if they can stay ahead and do something spectacular. I picked them because they are the strongest of the independent real time search companies, but there are a few others out there too and we’ll be watching the pack in 2010 to see what happens.

Wildfire Interactive logo
25. Wildfire.
(Crunchbase entry). Twitter account. Video. Why is it important? Because Facebook got dramatically more important in 2009 to tons of businesses thanks to its wild growth and Wildfire helps businesses build promotions for those companies. Plus it was a Facebook Fund winning company, so is interesting to watch.