10 Hot Start-ups Thriving This Year

Posted by on August 21, 2008 in Business Management, Business Start Up Advice, Business Technology [ 4 Comments ]

2008 is not even three-quarters of the way home, and already the Internet sector has seen some significant startups work their way into the public eye. An economic downturn and weak credit market have not kept these companies from continuing their quest to be “the next big thing.”


This young data analysis company looks to change the way we analyze information and predict future problems. The tech team at V-Kernel has developed a series of proprietary algorithms that collect and compute data from virtual machines (servers) and then determine whether or not there will be conflicts within that data in the future. The company will help businesses effectively use virtual servers to bill their clients more accurately.

37 Signals

With its groundbreaking Basecamp software already making project management easier for small businesses around the world, 37 Signals has set its sights on bigger and better things with its open source web application Ruby on Rails. Instead of piling on more and more features, 37 Signals keeps things simple, adding only basic features to their products that enhance usability. The company currently maintains only a handful of employees, but look for that to change as their software continues to grow in popularity.


The more serious sibling of social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, LinkedIn helps individuals network with those within their industry or who need their services. Despite a much smaller user-base than Facebook, the company still forecasts revenue of $100 million per year (compared to $150 million for Facebook). With a redesign in place, watch for this company to make some serious movement in ’08 and beyond.


Slide is a tech company that is proud to play both sides of the fence. Developing widget applications for social networking destinations and their rival, stand-alone websites, Slide is like the weapons supplier in a battle that looks to rage on for years to come.

Perceptive Pixel

Taking the touch-screen into the 21st century is the goal of this two-year old startup company. Already known throughout the world for the groundbreaking work on CNN’s election coverage (the company designed the data-filled, eye-popping technology used by the anchors to deliver polling results) Perceptive Pixel has recently scored a top-secret contract with the Department of Defense. And although the terms of that deal are secret, the company itself won’t be undercover for much longer.


The Spanish start-up Fon is a firm believer in the axiom “give and you shall receive.” Tired of paying for WI-FI all over town, the company’s tech gurus have developed a system that allows home WI-FI users to “share” their connection with the world in exchange for free use of the overall network. If the Fon network becomes a world-wide affair like the company’s founders hope, that trade-off should turn out to be a sweet deal.


You don’t have to be crazy to take on Google at its own game…but it helps! Luckily, the team at Powerset is as ingenious as they are nuts, and have developed a search engine technology that utilizes real language to put search terms into the proper context within a sentence. That means more effective searching for the end user, and a more targeted advertising stream for businesses.


Loopt combines social networking with GPS technology to create an application that lets people know where their friends are and what they’re doing. You can even set alerts that announce when people on your friend list have closed to within a certain radius of your position. Creepy concept, but one that incorporates enough social media and blogging to make this company one to watch.

A123 Systems

This fast growing maker of lithium ion batteries is revered among the “green” business community because of its partnerships with the top electric car makers in the world. Simply put, as the automotive world moves forward and becomes more fuel efficient, A123 will be there to power the journey.


Perhaps the most innovative start up to watch in 2008 is 23andme. For a small price of $1,000 this company will provide you with a detailed breakdown of your DNA. Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself will be there. It could be a boon for those individuals at risk for hereditary illnesses or those seeking more information about their origins. 23andme even plans a social networking hub to match you up with those who share your characteristics.

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