Innovation is happening again...the way it did pre-Internet bubble. There are lots of great ideas emerging. Entrepreneurs are bootstrapping their ideas with their own time and money. They are building working code and web applications, and building a user base, before seeking VC money.
One of the fun things about working on Microsoft's Emerging Business Team is that I get to see lots of new and emerging companies. I have attended several "Emerging Venture" conferences over the past few weeks, and read reviews of others I couldn't attend. Here is a quick list of what I have seen. In a future post I will go into more detail about these companies and the unique things they do.
The last 4 years have been brutal, but innovation is happening again. Lots of new companies are emerging and you can feel the excitement again. VCs are investing again. Life is good.
The innovations are happening in all areas but a few clusters stand out. Search is a hot area again. Social networking, Security, Wireless Applications, Blog tools, and Lead generation are just a few of the areas I am seeing. Examples of companies in each area include:
Jookster - collaborative filtered search, friends network, ranking.
Wink - filtered search, tagging, rating, collaborative filtering
Zoominfo - People search
Tech.memeorandum - Real-time Blog/news clipper service
Sphere - blog search
SearchFox - blog search
TailRank - Blog personalized search/recommendation/ranking engine
Findory - personalized search/recommendation engine
Loomia - Podcast/videocast search
Zvents - local event search
MSN, Yahoo, Google - all now have blog search
Newsgator, Onfolio, and Feedburner continue to innovate
There are lots of other companies in these areas. These are just examples of the companies I have seen in the past few weeks. Do you know of other new companies in these areas? Are there other areas where innovation is really taking off? In future posts I will go deeper into each area examining some of the unique features and technical approaches.