I have just been looking at VentureWire’s recently unveiled FastTech50 list of innovative startups which they have put together ahead of their conference in November. The list was pulled together after reviewing ‘hundreds of startups in the VentureWire database’ and ‘about 2,000 nominations on Twitter’, and with the help of an advisory panel which included names from Accel, Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, and I was looking to see which sectors the judges think are hot. (In my experience most lists like this are compiled with a reasonable amount of integrity, although there is the odd one where the price of admission to the list is the price of a ticket or stand at the conference…. I hope this isn’t one of those.)
The first thing I did was group them into categories:
Putting 50 companies into five groups like this is always a bit challenging, and there were a couple of awkward ones here, e.g. putting education tech company Knewton as an enterpise app, but at a high level this tells us where the innovation happening. The takeaways for me from this chart are that there is less in consumer than a couple of years back, more in infrastructure software, and that hardware continues its decline. I would expect those trends to continue for the next year or two as well, not that hardware has much further to fall :).
Next I looked within two larger groupings for themes. The standout conclusion here is the large number of infrastructure software companies which provide solutions for scaling in the cloud, many of them focused on storage. However, the fifteen consumer companies were all over the map, with the closest thing to a theme being the presence of two search related companies Chomp and Greplin.