There is definitely a flurry of innovative new startups that are coming out of nowhere to capture the technology space. There are so many of them around but a only a handful will go on to become the next Facebook or Google. The Economic Times has carried an article of the top startups of 2012 which includes Pinterest, Dropbox, Airtime etc.
We will look at 5 startups which we feel are going to be the hottest ones this year and why.
With a short span of 2 years there is no doubt in our minds that Pinterest is the next biggest thing to social networking after Facebook and Twitter. The concept is simple – ‘Pin what you love’! The pins are very high quality in terms of content and the visual way in which the site is designed makes it the top social networking site for the artfully inclined. Pinterest was earlier attracting a lot of women but the sign-ups and activities are slowly coming back to normal in terms of gender. Pinterest did see a drop in traffic recently but this is not that bad if you look at the fact that many people who just wanted to try the network out due to the hype are now leaving it. The service still has a core, dedicated community of active pinners. Retail brands and businesses are very excited about this social network as it provides them the perfect demographic to create outreach for their brands. Pinterest is reportedly thinking of raising funding which will value it at $1 billion.
Path is not really a social network. It is more like an online journal which you can use to share your life experiences with a select group of close friends. The biggest differentiator for the social network is the fact that it is completely mobile. This is very good considering the fact that your data and sharing is all very personal and always with you. Facebook and Twitter do have the same functionalities. This is a perfect app for those people who only want to connect with a select few people. Dave Morin, CEO of Path left Facebook 2 years back and started developing Path currently valued at $250 million.
Airbnb is going to be the biggest disruption to the global Hotel Industry. This somewhat old startup (set up in 2007) had the perfect timing when it gained recognition in the USA during the recession and has recently captured the attention of many travelers worldwide. AirBnb allows users to rent someone’s home halfway across the world for a cheap price which can range from $10 a night to $5000 a night depending on the location and property. The company has been very successful this year and boasts some awesome figures. Check them out below:
The company has become one of the few American startups to enter the billion dollar valuation club and will grow even further if the company grows its presence worldwide, destroying the traditional hotel industry as we know it.
Square which has 1 million merchants is Jack Dorsey’s ( Twitter co-founder) second successful venture which started in early 2010. Square makes it easy for small time merchants and businesses to easily carry out credit card transactions using a small dongle that is attachable to iPhone, iPad and Android. The applications are provided by Square free of charge but the company charges merchants 2.75% on every credit card transaction. Besides the main Square app, the company has also introduced two new apps called Card Case and Register. Card Case allows customers to view the merchant’s menus, carry out mobile payments, receive virtual receipts and discover other ‘Square merchants’. Register aims to replace old credit card terminals and cash registers while providing merchants with a savvy way to bill customers.
Dropbox is one of the true pioneers of cloud storage and offline access. The brilliant service and the innovative idea helped get the startup a heavy list of enterprise customers as well as many personal users. Last year, Forbes ran a story about how Dropbox was one of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley. Founded by MIT students, the company has soared many new heights with every passing year to become a formidable force in cloud storage with competitors like Box, Sugarsync, iCloud, Skydrive and now Google Drive. Google Drive is the only competitor which Dropbox needs to worry about and that too only in the matter of pricing.
Dropbox was approached by Steve Jobs so that Apple could acquire the company for $800 million but the the offer was turned down! Dropbox’s current valuation could be around $5 billion or more. This year, Dropbox and HTC have tied up to give HTC One series customers 25Gb of space free for a year. A similar deal has been inked with Samsung for its Galaxy G3.
We will have to wait and see how it competes with Google’s Drive and who stays on top.