How did I do on Hot Startups to Watch of 2010?

So, back in January I wrote about the hot startups to watch of 2010 in two blogs (part I, part II). Here’s the list, and how I did.

First, I missed some of the biggest new startups.

What big wins did I miss?

1. GroupOn. Now valued at $6 billion after being in business just 18 months.
2. Flipboard. Came out in July and was named Apple’s favorite iPad app. (I did have first video of them though).
3. Soluto. Came out in May and won Techcrunch Disrupt. (I did have first video with them, though).
4. Instagram (and competitors Path, PicPlz). Tore it up in December.
5. Siri (which I named as hot in another post, a week after it shipped Apple bought it for about $200 million).
6. A slew of mobile startups like Rovio, who makes Angry Birds.

I’m sure I missed lots of other hot startups, too. Got any?

ReadWriteWeb named their top 10 as (in no particular order, they said, except they published them in this order):

1. Instagram.
2. Quora.
3. Flipboard.
4. Chatroulette (I don’t see how a company that has failed the way this one has should be on such a list, other than they got lots of people to use it for a short time).
5. Rapportive. (I picked Gist which shipped earlier and now does same as Rapportive).
6. Diaspora. Give me a break.
7. Hipmunk. Yup, love this company.
8. LearnBoost.
9. Square.
10. InDinero.

I don’t really agree with RWW’s list, but it’s out there.

So, how did I do?

1. Boxee. Finally shipped Boxee Box, but is largely perceived as struggling against Apple and Google. Tie.
2. Aardvark. Bought by Google. Win. (Google hasn’t done much with it since, which is why I didn’t count it as a big win).
3. Foursquare. Has stayed on a tear. Win.
4. Nextstop. Bought by Facebook and shut down. Tie (if something has deep value it doesn’t get shut down).
5. Rippol. Hasn’t done much. Fail.
6. Waze. Just closed a huge funding round and saw significant gains this year. Big win.
7. Gist. Closed a decent funding round and has gotten lots of kudos. Win.
8. Kynetx. Haven’t heard much about their platform. Fail.
9. Tapulous. Sold to Disney. Big win.
10. Posterous. Continued to see traffic go up and closed good funding round. Win.
11. PointAbout/AppMakr. Right category, but not right company. Fail. (UPDATE: “The AppMakr guys contacted me and let me know about some great traction they’ve gotten this year that I wasn’t aware of (including a $1MM raise). You can find it on their Crunchbase profile: I’m withdrawing the ‘fail’ to see how they do in 2011.”)
12. Payvment. Closed funding and hot space. Win.
13. CloudKick. Rackspace bought them. Big win.
14. Blippy. Closed funding round, and interesting company. I’ll count this as a tie, though, because I haven’t seen much mainstream pickup yet.
15. Expensify. Closed funding round, just shipped new version. Love this company. Win.
16. RedBeacon. Closed funding round, well regarded in marketplace. Win.
17. CitySourced. Has won a lot of city deals, seems to be doing well. Win.
18. Spotify. Roaring across Europe, still hasn’t come to US yet. Win.
19. Plancast. Has become the calendar for geeks, not sure it’s moving into mainstream yet. Win.
20. Evri. Bought Radar Networks, got some more funding. Win.
21. Square. I’m seeing them more and more places. The wine show I was at this year had them everywhere. Win.
22. Aloqa. Acquired by Motorola. Win.
23. Nimsoft. Named to hottest Silicon Valley Companies list, acquired by CA for $350 million. Big win.
24. OneRiot. Shut down its real time search portal. Fail.
25. Wildfire Interactive. Got $4 million in funding. Win.

So, that’s:

Four big wins.
14 wins.
Three ties.
Four fails. Not too shabby. Especially since some of those could turn into wins, like Kinetyx.

Who’ll be on my list next year? I bet that some of those on this Quora list will be considered.


15 thoughts on “How did I do on Hot Startups to Watch of 2010?

  1. Hey Scoble, hope your having a great xmas so far. Just wanted to pick up on “I’ll count this as a tie, though, because I haven’t seen much mainstream pickup yet.” – to be fair, hardly ANY of these guys have got mainstream pickup yet. Instagrams got, what a million users? Truth is, the reason the big guys are worth £££ (or should I say $$$) is because they’ve got tens of millions of users. Just a thought!


  2. Great list. For 2011, I’ll be watching braintree, zimbio, adgrok, and my own company OpenChime. OpenChime is picking up where local search falls short, skipping the phone number, and taking users’ requests directly to local businesses. In the process, OpenChime is building the world’s largest database of unlisted prices and custom quotes– something you can’t find with redlaser or amazon.


  3. Great list Robert and good results. I look forward to seeing what you choose for 2011 and watching the darkhorses as well. Thanks for sharing. Look forward to your next lists.


  4. Love this list, but can you describe what criteria you used to select them and then judge their success? Thanks!


  5. Robert, we appreciate being named a hot company to watch by you in Jan 2010, and would like to know why you remarked “Right category, but not right company. Fail.” I’d like to ask you to reconsider your position, as you may not have followed our explosive growth throughout 2010.

    AppMakr has been used by leading brands like Newsweek, National Geographic, PBS Newshour, Manchester United, Maclife, US Congress, US Coast Guard, political representatives & candidates, and thousands of others.

    Our hockey-stick growth since our Jan 2010 launch has been tremendous, and we’ll have some big announcements at CES in Jan 2011. A great group of Silicon Valley investors invested in us this year:

    And here’s a great Lifehacker article about us:

    Our proprietary ‘App Quality Index’ predictive algorithm can effectively predict whether an app will be accepted or rejected by Apple before it’s submitted, saving app creators time and frustration.

    And AppMakr has a fully automated app builder that compiles native code from a DIY interface that anyone can use without needing coding experience.

    We’ve also been named twice as a Top 100 company twice by OnMedia, as well as ranking #11 in the top 500 in Lead411 technology list (Venturebeat story here: and we’ve worked with clients as diverse as Disney, GM, OnStar, and other Fortune 1000 enterprises.

    We enable brands large and small to communicate with their userbases through a very personal distribution channel that users carry in their pockets, and we’re just getting started.



    Daniel R. Odio
    Co-Founder & COO,


    1. Daniel, just looked at your site. Fantastic homepage. Would be interested to see how your app could help us out, we run a fashion aggregator. dm me your email via twitter?


  6. Hi Robert. We enjoyed your list but it’s a bit harsh to say fail for OneRiot when the company has executed a really strong pivot. OneRiot is now exclusively focused on helping brand advertisers and media companies reach a targeted audience of social influencers across a network of leading Twitter apps and social media properties. The pivot from a realtime search company to a social advertising network was based on heightened demand from advertisers to reach the right audience on the social web, and our unique ability to deliver – through a combination of realtime social technology, distribution partnerships and a smart team.

    For more information on our advertising network, please read our recent Q&A with AdExchanger:

    Now our revenue is ramping, our products are performing, and we’re hiring to keep up with demand. I hope you’ll reconsider our position on the list?

    Thank you, Robert and please let us know when you are visiting Boulder, Colo. again. We’d love to see you.
    Courtney Walsh


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