The 12 Startups Everyone Is Talking About In Silicon Valley

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Photo: Matt Lynley for Business Insider

Like clockwork, there’s usually a new batch of startups everyone is talking about every month or so.Sometimes they’re older startups that are finally finding their feet. Sometimes they are just coming out of an incubator like Y Combinator.

Either way, everyone is pretty excited about them.

We spent the past week hanging out in Silicon Valley. Here are the startups people are talking about right now.

Hipmunk is the cleanest flight search startup out there.

Year founded: 2010

Space: Travel and lodging search

Why it's buzzing: Hipmunk is already one of the most popular travel search sites. It has a slick interface that sorts out which flight or hotel is the best with metrics like 'agony' and 'ecstasy.'

Card.io completely removes the need to type in a credit card number.

Year founded: 2011

Space: Payments

Why it's trending: Card.io is flat out cool. Instead of having to type in a credit card number or swipe it across a connected dongle, you just take a picture of the credit card to process a payment. It's one of several approaches to knocking out payments.

Waze is one of the most useful apps out there.

Year founded: 2008

Space: Traffic tracking

Why it's trending: People in the valley will tell you Waze is something that is actually useful, compared to a lot of the apps that are coming out now that seem to just tack on a new feature to their daily lives. It's one of those startups that actually solves a pain point.

Buck is a pretty quick way to pay for stuff.

Year founded: 2007

Space: Payments

Why it's trending: Similar to the excitement about Square, Buck is another way of streamlining payments. When you pay for something once with a Buck-enabled merchant, it remembers your credit card information so you don't have to enter it again. You just use the app to make purchases with a few taps.

Circle is like a more elegant version of Highlight.

Year founded: 2010

Space: Location-based discovery

Why it's trending: Highlight generated a lot of buzz heading into South by Southwest, but hit some growing pains with a few bugs and battery life issues. Circle does something similar, but has a much cleaner interface and has investors in the valley salivating.

Skout just raised a ton of money.

Year founded: 2007

Space: Location-based dating

Why it's trending: After being at death's door, Skout turned around and raised $22 million from Andreessen-Horowitz and others. That came after it changed itself into a location-based flirting app.

Exec has one of Silicon Valley's top entrepreneurs at the wheel.

Year founded: 2012

Space: Crowdsourced task completion

Why it's trending: This is the third company started by Justin Kan, who previously founded Justin.tv and then handed the reigns over to new CEO Emmett Shear. Instead of using an auction system to find someone to complete a task, you hire one of Exec's specially-picked professionals.

Postmates is great for short-range deliveries.

Year founded: 2011

Space: Delivery

Why it's trending: Postmates was a big topic of discussion when it launched at TechCrunch Disrupt last year. It seems that excitement hasn't died out yet. It taps into an existing big network of couriers that just used Craigslist and makes it way more efficient.

Socialcam, a spinoff of Justin.tv, is a top-ranked free application.

Year founded: 2012

Space: Video sharing

Why it's trending: It's the equivalent of Instagram for video. You can take short clips and apply filters to them and share them pretty easily.

Getaround is an idea no one thought would work.

Year founded: 2011

Space: Car sharing

Why it's trending: No one thought people would be willing to rent out their cars. Now Getaround has a fresh new office and is growing like crazy -- and it builds all its technology in a lab in-house. Founder Jessica Scorpio hopes to keep a billion cars from hitting the road.

You'll find people using Grindr everywhere.

Year founded: 2008

Space: Location-based dating

Why it's trending: Ignore the stereotypes, first. But Grindr is one of the most-talked about apps in the San Francisco Bay Area because it's widely used. It's a location-based dating app for the LGBT community, thought a lot of its users don't use it for exactly that purpose.

Klout is another app that people actually check.

Year founded: 2008

Space: Online reputation scoring

Why it's trending: Love it or hate it, everyone checks their Klout scores in the San Francisco Bay Area. When Klout throws a party, everyone has to wear a badge that has their Klout score on it.

That's what they're talking about this week...

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