Ten Companies to Watch in 2011

Friday Jan 7, 2011 by Keith Cline - Founder, VentureFizz

Admit it... you still have the mental energy for just one more list of prediction about 2011, right?  Well, we have saved the best for last. 

Announcing our inaugural list of (drum roll please...) 10 Companies to Watch in 2011!

This is not an exhaustive list as there are a number of exciting companies in the Boston area, but here are ten companies that definitely have our attention.

We know you have an opinion or your own picks, so comments are welcome below!

I know what you are thinking.  SCVNGR is such an easy pick, as they just announced a new $15M round of funding at a speculated valuation of $100M.  SCVNGR is on a quest to build a game layer on top of the world and they are winning.  SCVNGR is everywhere... whether it was signing up new partners or having Seth Priebatsch (Founder & Chief Ninja), profiled on CNN.com

 

Care.com is a consumer web company that is focused on all things that have to do with "care" - such as child care, elderly care, pet care, etc.  They just raised $20M in a series C round of funding last October.  Do you know what $20M signals?  GO TIME!  Growth and customer acquisition.  I actually caught one of their TV ads last week (yes, I was actually watch "live" television).

 

Performable's CEO and Founder, David Cancel, might know a thing or two about analytics.  He was the Founder and CTO of Compete in Boston, which was acquired by WPP.  Web analytics is a critical piece to every company's ability to track user behavior on a site and make strategic decisions to improve the experience... and ultimately increase revenue.  Performable is filling the gap for companies that are not interested in over-spending on a solution like Omniture but need a more robust solution than Google Analytics.

 

Acquia is following the same very successful business model of other open source technologies like JBoss (acquired by Red Hat for $350M) and MySQL (acquired by Sun for $1B).  Acquia is built around Drupal, which is an open source content management system.  Enterprises like Warner Bros, WhiteHouse.gov, and Forbes are turning to open source solutions like Drupal as the backbone for their websites and Acquia is in a solid position to lead the race.  They are also offering a SaaS solution for small to mid-sized customers who are interested in using Drupal.

 

Not only is WHERE one of the most successful location based mobile apps out there, but last month they had a huge win.  They were awarded a patent which gives them legal protection against the use of geofence in the delivery of applications, content, and mobile coupons.  WHERE is building out their own ad network, which will surely help them capitalize on the rapidly growing location based services industry.

 

Based on technology that originated at MIT, DataXu provides a real-time media management platform for digital advertising campaigns across online, mobile, and video channels.  Online media buying has evolving throughout the years and DataXu's next generation platform allows advertisers to capture high value advertising at a lower cost.  This is a rapidly growing sector and DataXu has the experienced management team and technology to take a leadership stance in the DSP market.

 

Recorded Future is a search engine that allows you to search for specific events either in the past, present, or future.  The best way to understand the product is to check out this video on their YouTube channel.  The company is founded by Christopher Ahlberg, who was also the founder of Spotfire (acquired by TIBCO). 

 

Gemvara is a rapidly growing player in the mass customization market.  Founded by Matt Lauzon, Gemvara allows consumers the ability to create and order their own customized jewelry through Gemvara's website.  Last year, they had a pivot moment where they focused their energy on a direct to consumer model and it has paid off.  According to numerous reports by TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and BostInnovation, they are crushing their numbers. 

 

Based on the success of group buying sites like Groupon, Social Commerce really started to gain a strong foothold last year.  Swipely is a purchase-sharing site that uses a social layer to promote the sharing of products purchased.  The company's founder is Angus Davis, who was also a co-founder of Tellme Networks (acquired by Microsoft for ~$800M).  Swipely is also one of the recent startups that have launched in Providence over the past year or two.

 

Krush is a startup that is operating in stealth "private beta" mode at the moment.  From what we can tell, they are building a product where people who consider themselves trendsetters, can turn their social networks into fame and fortune by predicting the next big trends or as they put it "start a krush."  Gina Ashe, Alexis Kopikis, and Alan Osman are all the founders of the company.  Krush was one of the companies that pitched at the Open Angel Forum and according to SEC filings, they raised an initial $2M round of funding.

 

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