It’s no secret that the Internet has been rather fertile playing ground for a whole generation of successful start-up companies. We all know what the first web bubble felt like. Remember Webvan? Or Friendster? The capitalization of those companies trickled down to the advertising community and brand image firms, as many agencies bloated during those years. When the game was over and the inevitable shakeout came around 2002, I had several strategists calling me every week — some of them pure hucksters, anxious to land their next gig.
What’s interesting is the way that these business start-ups seem to be accelerating again. It seems that I am reading about new tech start-ups almost every day. Our account manager directed me to post questions and answers on GPlus.
Relatively new, GPlus is a community where professionals, academics and entrepreneurs can meet and share questions and answers on relevant topics. The company states that its mission is to provide a place for people to engage with like-minded individuals in ways they haven’t considered, start new conversations, ask the important questions and suggest ideas online or even in-person. We actually posted a few industry-specific questions and I was surprised at how responsive and helpful people were. If you have strategic (or even tactical) questions about how to market yourself your company or product, it’s a great forum to get expert advice.
The New York Times featured a great article on Gilad Elbaz, formerly of Applied Semantics, the founder of Factual, and an investor in 30 other tech start-up companies. His new company, Factual, is an open-data platform and community that seeks to maximize data accuracy, transparency, and availability.
Big data is a hot topic these days and there appear to be many companies working to position and capitalize on the impending opportunities. In the course of history, information has never been captured and aggregated at such an astonishing rate. With the existing social media and still more communities being formed online, there will continue to be an overwhelming amount of data. I can imagine whole new professions springing up around data analysis in the coming decade. I am a parent of teenagers; if your sons and daughters like statistics and are analytically inclined, rest easy.
Since 2008, Factual has been harvesting billions of facts and cataloging them. This includes “listings of 14,000 wine grape varietals, of military aircraft accidents from 1950 to 1974, and of body masses of major celebrities.” Even the odd or unusual facts are important.
Aiming to build its mobile offerings and become less reliant on Facebook, Zynga recently acquired OMGPOP, a mobile game company. The company said on Friday that it is planning a second round of financing, selling $687 million in stock.
Albeit a much smaller deal, the tech investment company, Sequoia Capital, recently invested $10 million in Songkick, a new online service that alerts fans about local concerts by their favorite artists.
On yet another site for those passionate about design, Fab.com has pivoted from an unsuccessful social network for gay men (1 year ago) to a social shopping site for design-oriented items, on the path to generating $100M in revenue in 2012. Facebook is driving some of that growth, although mobile apps launched in October account for 40% of Fab’s usage.
Expect more of these start-ups and more capitalization to fuel their growth, as communities are carved up into increasingly niche audiences. Communities are made of people and people have diverse, varied interests and needs. The desire in place, as are the channels and the investment capital; all that is needed are the entrepreneurs with relevant, smart plans.
Tags: acquisitions, entrepreneurship, Fab.com, Factual, funding, GPlus, investments, OMGPOP, Songkick, Tech startups, Zynga
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