The 20 Hot Silicon Valley Startups You Need To Watch

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The 20 Hot Silicon Valley Startups You Need To Watch

20 Silicon Valley Startups To Watch – Business Insider

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melody mcloskey styleseat We hit accelerators, spoke with VCs, and met with entrepreneurs to find hidden gems startups in Silicon Valley.

We selected 20 startups that are on track to become the next big thing.

They’re startups you probably haven’t heard of yet, but we expect you’ll hear a lot from them in the future.

Anyone can build web apps with Flotype.

nowjs flotype

Date Founded: October 2010

Founder: Darshan Shankar, Sridatta Thatipamala, Eric Zhang

Concept: Web technology that enables everyone, from startups to enterprises, to easily build large-scale, real-time web applications.

Location: Berkeley, CA

Funding: Y-Combinator invested $20,000, plus additional financing from others

Why You Should Care: Flotype was a Y-Combinator winter 2010 company. NowJS is its main product.

The startup is just six months old, but it’s on track to generate $1 million in revenue. The founders are young and scrappy too. All three are 19-year-old UC Berkeley engineering dropouts.

“NowJS is doing BIG things with some huge clients building things off them,” a startup executive tells us.

GetAround lets users rent cars from each other.


Date Founded/Launched: September 10, 2009

Founders: Sam Zaid (CEO), Elliot Kroo (Director of Engineering)

Concept: Rent cars from other drivers when they’re not in use.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $1.5 million, including $50,000 for winning TechCrunch Disrupt

Why You Should Care: Renting expensive items, like clothing and apartments, has proven to be a promising business model for Rent The Runway and AirBNB. The same model for cars makes sense.

GetAround took home first place at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt NYC. The team is working on a cool mobile app to accompany the service too. It gives renters a secure set of mobile car keys; no physical set is needed to rent and start the vehicle.

Hotel Tonight lets you book last-minute, overnight stays at discounted rates.

hotel tonight sam shank

Date Founded: 2010

Founder: Sam Shank

Concept: Make a last minute hotel reservation (hip, elegant, or basic) from your phone for a discounted price.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: Raised $3.25 million series A from Battery Ventures, Accel Partners, First Round Capital and angels Rich Barton, Erik Bachford, Brad Gerstner and Hugh Crean.

Why You Should Care: It’s been named “best travel app” by Travel & Leisure, and it has been raved about in TechCrunch, CNET, The LA Times, Forbes and Entrepreneur.

Dekko is an instant Wikipedia page for everything you see


Date Founded: May 2011

Founder: Matt Miesnieks

Concept: Merging reality with technology, we think. The startup is still in super stealth mode, but from this presentation we found, Dekko wants to give users instant information about any place they take a picture of (see photo).

“Nearly all current technical thinking (esp in Bay Area) around augmented reality is treating it as an Information Presentation layer on reality,” says Miesnieks. “This is missing the opportunity entirely. Think “enhancing a real experience”, not “the Web in your CameraView.”

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: Undisclosed amount from Justin Timberlake and Venture51.

Why You Should Care: Dekko could be creating a whole new mobile medium. It’s like an instant Wikipedia page for everything you see.

StyleSeat gives beauty professionals tools to manage, build and grow their businesses.

melody mcloskey styleseat

Date Founded: August 1, 2009

Founders: Melody McCloskey and Dan Levine

Concept: Social tools that help beauty professionals grow and manage their businesses. It helps them easily build booking-capable sites for their businesses.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $700,000 from Chris Sacca, Jeff Clavier, Uber’s Travis Kalanick, Path’s Dave Morin, Garrett Camp, Alfred Lin, Christoph Janz, Othman Laraki, Steve Lee, Paige Craig, Joe Stump, 500 Startups, and Team Europe Ventures.

Why You Should Care: StyleSeat launched at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt NYC and was recommended by a prominent Silicon Valley investor for this list.

McCloskey says the market she’s after is a $40 billion beauty/booking niche; most beauty-related small businesses currently rely on WoM, and that model needs to be brought online.

Fun fact: McCloskey used to date Digg’s Kevin Rose back when she was a brunette.

Kiwi Crate delivers hands-on activities to kids.

kiwicrate arts and craft kids paint Kiwi Crate

Date Founded: February 2011, hasn’t publicly launched yet

Founder: Sandra Oh Lin, Yu Pan, and Yael Pasternak Valek

Concept: Creative, hands-on activities delivered to kids.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: Currently raising a round

Why You Should Care: A VC tells us, “They are about to raise a round, they are oversubscribed, and the team is SICK (sick as in good).” 

Plus, you can never have too many activities lined up for kids; this will help parents keep them preoccupied.

Giftly (Begiftly) lets you send friends customized gift certificates without ever visiting the store.

Tim Bently Giftly

Date Founded: 2010

Founder: Tim Bentley

Concept: Customized gift certificates to any store without actually visiting the store. Here’s how it works: 

“Choose up to 3 places where you’d like to treat a friend. Almost any place works, so go big or go local. Write a personal note, pick fancy fonts, and top it all off with an awesome photo. Then send your Giftly by email or Facebook. When your friend goes to one of the places you picked out, they pay like they normally would. Giftly sends your friend the gifted amount in any way they choose: directly to a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account.”

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $2 million from Baseline Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, RPM Ventures, SoftTechVC, Floodgate Fund, Thrive Capital and angel investors.

Why You Should Care: Giving cash is boring. But Giftly does just that with a personal touch. What’s even better is that small businesses don’t have to be involved in the process. It’s a simple cash exchange; it’s not a daily deals program stores have to sign up for and sign off on.

“I think the main challenge is convincing people that if they use their own credit card they wont be charged,” says one VC. “But Giftly has the opportunity to be incredibly disruptive. Plus they have a great team and good investors.”

SwipeGood lets you round up all of the charges on your credit card to the nearest dollar amount and donate the difference.


Date Founded: 2010

Founders: Anthony Nemitz, Thomas Steinacher, Steli Efti

Concept: SwipeGood rounds up all of your debit or credit card purchases to the nearest dollar. Users can choose to donate the difference to a charity of their choice.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $500,000 from Bebo cofounder Michael Birch and Y-Combinator.

Why You Should Care: SwipeGood merges technology and charities seamlessly. The small suggested monthly amounts make it easy to donate regularly. It’s a good idea for a good cause.

Speakergram makes it easy for speakers to book engagements.

Sam Rosen Speakergram Speakergram

Date Founded: 2010

Founders: Sam Rosen and Dana Levine

Concept: A way for speakers to book engagements and for venues to connect with hard-to-reach people.

Location: Mountain View, CA (a 500 Startups company)

Funding:  Undisclosed amount from David Tisch, Seamless Web founder Jason Finger, and Mike Yavonditte, including $50,000 from 500Startups accelerator

Why You Should Care: Notable speakers, like Foursquare and LinkedIn executives, Jason Calacanis, and Dave McClure, use SpeakerGram to book engagements.

Speakergram could become a must-use platform for celebrities and authors, as well as for more “regular” industry folks. Think Skillshare for speakers.

Simperium helps developers build apps with synchronized content across all web devices.

Fred Chen Mike Johnston Simperium

Date Founded: 2010 Y-Combinator company

Founder: Mike Johnston and Fred Cheng

Concept: Simperium “helps developers build apps that synchronize content across devices and the web.” Its most popular product, SimpleNote, helps people take notes and access them from any web device too.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: Y-Combinator

Why You Should Care: Simperium is growing leaps and bounds. Last spring when Simperium was accepted to Y-Combinator it had 20,000 users. Today it serves more than 15 million daily requests. “SimpleNote has great traction and is a great product,” one venture capitalist tells us.

It seems they have a grander vision for the future too.  “The team is building something very big…much bigger than it looks as SimpleNote,” says the VC.

Sincerely is a fun, easy way to share photo prints via mobile devices. It turns Instagrams into postcards and multiple photos into Photo Booth strips.

Matt Brezina and Bryan Kennedy cofounded Sincerely. PopBooth

Date Founded: April 12, 2011

Founder: Matt Brezina and Bryan Kennedy

Concept: Sincerely makes it easy to send photo prints from mobile devices. Its first product, Postagram, lets users send Instagrams as postcards for $.99. Another product, PopBooth, turns multiple photos into a photo booth-like strip.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: Unannounced

Why You Should Care: Both founders were former Y-Combinator entrepreneurs and Xobni teammates. Bezina founded Xobni; he grew it to 7 million+ installs and $30 million in venture capital. Kennedy founded AppNinjas, the maker of Swype, and sold it within its first 8 months.

Sincerely believes that iPhones are the future of point and click cameras, and that sharing mobile photos should be as easy as it is on Facebook.

Sincerely’s products are catchy too. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler says he’ll be using Postagram all the time. PopBooth’s free iPhone app is currently ranked #73; the free iPad app is ranked #60.

Votizen provides a way for voters to be heard.

Jason Purtorti David Binetti Votizen

Date Founded: 2009

Founders: Jason Putorti and David Binetti

Concept: Votizen “directly connects registered voters and elected officials through social networks.”

Location: Mountain View, CA

Funding: $1.5 M lead by Founders Fund, including 500 Startups, David Cowan, Keith Rabois, Ron Conway, Mark Goines, Founder Collective, Felicis Ventures, PivotNorth, Steve Blank, Eric Ries, Shervin Pishevar, and Tom Shields.

Why You Should Care: Votizen has proved to be a powerful tool that can actually get bills passed via social media. “The startup sprung, in part, from the success of a Votizen-powered Twitter campaign earlier this year that was held in support of the Startup Visa. Thousands of people tweeted their support for the bill, and Votizen actually delivered their messages by hand to the appropriate people,” says TechCrunch.

The founders have a solid background too. Putorti was lead designer of Mint, and Binetti cofounded

Storenvy allows anyone to set up a free e-commerce site.

Janette Crawford

Date Founded: 2008

Founder: Jon Crawford and Janette Crawford

Concept: Anyone can set up an e-commerce store for free on Storenvy and promote products through Twitter, Facebook, and the Storenvy platform.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: Bootstrapped for one year, then raised $1.5 million seed round from Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Charles River Ventures, David Cohen, John Maloney, David Cancel, David Hauser and Siamak Taghaddos.

Why You Should Care: Storenvy wants to become the Tumblr of e-commerce, with free accounts for merchants and a business model based on freemiums. Crawford has attracted some impressive angels and investors, including President of Tumblr John Maloney, who can help the company become just that.

On June 11, 2011, Storenvy hit 5,000 online storefronts.

TaskRabbit makes anyone your minion. Send someone to pick up your coffee or unpack a moving van for whatever amount you’re willing to pay.

Leah Busque TaskRabbit

Date Founded: 2008, formerly called RunMyErrand

Founder: Leah Busque

Concept:  A community marketplace for errands. Post a task and say how much you’ll pay someone to complete it. Another willing user will do it for you.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $2M in seed funding from Baseline Ventures, Floodgate and First Round Capital; $5M in Series A led by Shasta Ventures, followed by First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, Floodgate, Collaborative
Fund, 500 Startups and author Lisa Gansky.

Why You Should Care: TaskRabbit is like Craigslist for a mobile, on-the-go world.  It is for people in need of immediate assistance.

TaskRabbit is expanding nationally too. It will be demoing at New York Tech Meetup next Tuesday.

“The TaskRabbit marketplace is revolutionizing the way people get things done- stranded drivers can find a person with jumper cables in just minutes, florists can get the extra delivery help they need on Valentine’s Day to keep their customers happy,” Sean Flynn of Shasta Ventures tells TechCrunch.

Cruisewise is the Orbitz of the sea. It makes it easy to book cruises online.

Cruisewise Startup Chile

Date Founded: May 2010

Founder: Amit Aharoni, Nicolas Meunier, Steve Davis

Concept:  Cruisewise aggregates cruise trips and information, making the vacations easy to book online.

Location: It is one of the Startup Chile companies, but it is based in San Francisco, CA

Funding: N/A

Why You Should Care: Booking a cruise online is relatively difficult. Even when you use a site like Expedia, you have to call the cruise line at the end to confirm your reservation.

For that reason, only 8% of cruises are booked online. It’s a travel sector that’s in need of disruption. “Cruisewise is going to be big; the booking process is very antiquated,” says a confident investor.

Now check out the hottest companies on the east coast:

claire erica of a kind


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The 20 Hot Silicon Valley Startups You Need To Watch


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