New York City has become home to some of the most innovative and exciting startups in the world. Here is a list of the 10 most exciting Big Apple startups to watch in 2012. They are transforming industries, connecting the world and creating amazing experiences:
Serial tech entrepreneur Eric Alterman is on a mission to usher mankind into a new era of data connectivity, founding Flow.net in 2010 to do just that. The “big data” platform enables real-time, on-demand stream processing and data sharing across the entire application landscape. Think of hundreds of mobile and web apps simultaneously sharing real-time data on a permissioned basis.
With a team of top-notch engineers and $3.4 million raised to date, Flow has emerged as one of New York’s most prominent and exciting big data companies. Alterman expects 2012 to be a defining year, as a number of Fortune 500 companies are actively testing the product, and Flow is laying groundwork to create an ecosystem of new startups that depend on its platform for core data functionality.
Fab is “the world’s fastest growing e-commerce company,” according to co-founders Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer. With 1.5 million members and 140 employees worldwide, the startup is on a mission to transition the online shopping paradigm from search to discovery. In addition to selling design goods, the site offers daily design inspirations and engages users socially.
Fab recently closed a $40 million Series B round, which according to the Wall Street Journal, values the startup at more than $200 million. According to Goldberg, “it’s just the start.”
LocalVox has created a powerful marketing platform that helps local businesses create strong online presences at affordable prices ($199–$999 per month). The automated portal allows business owners to publish with the click-of-a-button news, events and deal announcements across the entire web – to social media, website, local directory and e-mail newsletter mediums –while simultaneously optimising organic search and Google Places listings.
The startup was launched in May 2011 and has already lined up hundreds of New York City clients including Whole Foods, Chelsea Piers and Sushi Samba. With 90 per cent client retention, LocalVox’s platform is at the helm of retail’s emerging “social-local-mobile” trend. This year, founders David Pachter and Trevor Sumner plan to enter new geographic markets, announce partnerships with several large newspaper publishers, and add 100 or so new hires to the current team of 25.
ZocDoc is the Open Table of healthcare, allowing patients to discover and book visits with doctors based on specialty and reviews. ZocDoc has raked in over 700,00 monthly users to date. Operating in 11 cities, the startup has raised more than $95 million in funding from investors including Goldman Sachs. Planning to add three new metro areas in 2012, ZocDoc is digitizing the medical profession one city at a time.
Voxy is redefining language learning through a hot new mobile app that uses location and current events to teach language on the go. Allowing users to learn bite-size lessons via mobile device, the $4.1 million venture backed startup, which employs 20, currently offers English-learning apps for Spanish and Portuguese speakers. Voxy has ranked the number one iPhone app in Brazil and several other countries in 2011, with nearly a million users combined.
The company, which founder Paul Gollash launched at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010, expects 2012 to be a giant year. Plans include launching a Spanish-learning app for English speakers (and potentially Mandarin too), a VoIP tutoring business, and doubling in size to two million users by mid-year.
Winner of “Best Emerging Tech Award” at CES, MakerBot creates 3-D printers. The $10 million venture backed startup was founded by Bre Pettis in 2009 and has already sold 7,500 printers. On a mission to make 3-D printing accessible to everyone, MakerBot is distinguished from the competition through its open-source hardware and affordability ($1099 for a Thing-o-Matic).
MakerBot employs over 70 people in its geeky Brooklyn headquarters. Its goals for 2012 include bringing on 30 or so new hires and improving product quality and range.
Rock the Post is a free business social network that helps entrepreneurs meet professionals and investors who can help turn their ideas into successful projects by offering funds, time or materials. With the goal of eliminating barriers in business, Rock the Post hopes to open a new era in connectivity between entrepreneurs and investors.
The site, launched in November 2011, already has projects posted by entrepreneurs in over 100 countries and many successful cases. Rock the Post has raised $700,000 in a recently closed seed round and employs a team of six. The startup plans to launch a full site redesign by spring and a Series A round later in the year.
Halay Barna and Katia Beauchamp wanted to become beauty editors that would “curate the clutter” for women – and so was born Birchbox in 2010. Subscribe to the wildly popular service for $10 a month, and receive a petite box of high-end beauty samples every four weeks. After hiring a technical team to help build the site, the Harvard Business School graduates raised $11.9 million last year and have seen users skyrocket ever since.
Recyclebank partners with cities and businesses in order to create rewards for people that recycle. By being green, individuals and families earn points that can be redeemed at a plethora of participating companies, including Whole Foods, Coca-Cola and Macy’s. With an estimated valuation of $100 million, Recyclebank is working to continuously enhance its gaming techniques that have so successfully engaged users and made recycling fun.
The company was founded in 2004 by Patrick Fitzgerald and Ron Gonen, and employs roughly 200 people.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kickstarter was founded in 2009 on a failed venture that propelled a great idea. Perry Chen wanted to hold a jazz concert, but did not have $15,000 to take the risk. He sought help from friends to fund the project, and realised thousands of others were in the same boat. To date, over $50 million has been pledged for 20,371 projects. Kickstarter leaves total creative control in the project owners’ hands, and takes five per cent of donations.
What other New York City-based startups would you add to this list?