What if you could invest in any startup on the map right now? It’s an irresistible “what if,” isn’t it?
After all, savvy entrepreneurs spend just as much time eyeballing other successful — and up-and-coming — companies as they do evaluating their own market position. To get a sense of which companies are (or will) be making the biggest splashes this coming year, especially in terms of technology, I asked a panel of successful young entrepreneurs the following question:
If you could invest money in any tech startup in 2013, what would it be and why?
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Here are the 14 companies — some just getting started, some with an already-impressive track record — that young entrepreneurs are keeping an eye on in 2013:
Buzzfeed creates high-quality engaging content at scale. I love what they are doing, and I think they will revolutionize the way companies spend their advertising dollars. They are leading the shift away from PPC spend to sponsored content, and executing extremely well. – Sunil Rajaraman, Scripted.com
I would invest my money in Udemy. This 500 Startup company is changing the landscape of e-learning. They make it easy for everyone to teach what they are good at and also learn something new. – Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers
3. Codename One
If I had to choose a startup to invest in this year, it would have to be Codename One. This company is the first to have developed a platform that app designers can use to create mobile applications that can be used across all major operating systems. I expect them to experience significant growth in 2013. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
The biggest barrier to entry for both consumers and big business to the cloud is security concerns. TeleSign (ranked 23rd on the Deloitte Fast 500), is helping 8/10 top web companies implement 2FA for their users. They’re crushing it, and who wouldn’t want to be along for the ride? – Michael Costigan, Michael Costigan, LLC
Clarity.fm is a tech startup that helps connect people over the phone. Clarity.fm’s design and user experience is seamless, and truly does help to connect people to the expertise or skills that they need for a fee. Clarity.fm’s focus currently is business-to-business, but they could expand. Furthermore, Clarity.fm has an integrated social benefit — people can donate funds earned to charity too. – Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
So many companies have tried to disrupt the ancient business card, but nobody has yet to completely solve the problem for the masses. I feel that Feathr has the right approach and technology to make the business card obsolete in the matter of a few years. – Logan Lenz, Endagon
Affinity.is just launched is already showing huge signs of success. They’ve done a brilliant job of monetizing social media influence in a scalable way — something a lot of companies have tried to do unsuccessfully. – Martina Welke, Zealyst
If I could invest in any startup this year, it would have to be Square. They’ve disrupted a multi-billon, if not trillion-dollar industry, and always put the users first. Jack Dorsey is one of the smartest figures in tech, and I would invest in anything he does next. – Daniel Brusilovsky, Teens in Tech Labs
Supercell, the Finnish gaming company behind titles such as “Clash of the Clans” and “Hay Day,” is growing revenue at a record clip and reaching a whole new set of gamers. – Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa and 99designs
Found is a San Francisco-based startup founded by two ex-Microsoft employees. It allows you to instantly find files across your Mac, Evernote, Dropbox, Box, Gmail, etc. Basically, it’s an integrated personal search platform. I would invest because I believe in their team which has built an elegant solution to a pain point shared by most individuals, the mark of an incredibly successful company. – Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
12. Front Street Media
Front Street Media has developed a system that makes mall shopping significantly easier by allowing you to check what each store has, and the best part is, it isn’t just a phone app. But it is an interactive screen at malls. – Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group
Stripe is solving a huge pain for developers by making it easy for companies to accept credit cards on the web. It’s a business with a potential to become huge. And the founders are some of the most talented people in the business. – Ben Lang, EpicLaunch
Dwolla is a payment network that’s cut out the complicated, expensive, and decidedly old-school credit card networks. It’s not a complete payment replacement yet, but this kind of disruptive tech — solutions that bypass the institutional companies of yesterday — is exactly where the market is going. – Josh Allan Dykstra, Strengths Doctors
Image Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images