Friday, March 11, 2011

What has promise to succeed?

This week The Wall Street Journal ranked what it thought were the top US venture-backed companies with promise to succeed.

Some of the trends in what they chose are a bit telling about where our future is headed. Half of the companies were related to media, web or communications technology. Meanwhile 20% of the companies were healthcare related either bio-tech or healthcare management.

Most telling, was that 32% of the companies dealt with issues of data protection, data processing and security. As every individual has access to the internet and the ability to create and publish content of their own (damn those pesky bloggers!) the data generated is overwhelming. Interestingly when you combine the need for organized, actionable data with trends of personalizations and communication you get something like Yammer - one of my favorite companies on the list. Yammer is a new tool that creates a corporate or organizational social network aimed at allowing people to connect and transfer information quickly and securely. In office environments where more people are on the go, working from home or collaborating with people in other offices all over the world--- it's important to get the productive communication flow right.

There were some glaring category omissions from the list, namely companies aimed at improving education and the environment. These are two categories that could use new ideas and innovation and the support of venture funds and the Washington Post. I did not note any companies on the list that were aimed at improving education. There were three that improve the environment. The last, again a personal favorite, is a bit of stretch in terms of how environmentally friendly it is. Etsy is an online vintage and homemade marketplace. The rationale being that reusing vintage items or valuing handmade goods will eventually reduce our consumption and manufacturing of new goods that require new resources. Like I said, it's stretch!

Which company from the list get your vote? What areas do you think we need more development and investment to improve our future?

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