2011 was the year of the tech IPO. Even in the absence of actual offering, a huge community of investors were satisfied just to speculate about the what ifs and the how much of companies like Zynga (ZNGA), Groupon (GRPN), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Facebook. There was discussion of a potential bubble, and then another on why the bubble was not important. Having exhausted the 2011 and 2012 slate of IPOs, it seemed time to introduce a few more novel ideas to the table by identifying some of the best tech start-ups of last year that may have swung by under the radar. After all, the best tech start-ups of today could be the IPOs of tomorrow.
Zaarly-Want someone to clean your apartment? Ask a neighbor on Zaarly. Zaarly is similar to Craigslist but deals but with more of a geographic focus and an of-the minute attitude. Zaarly is great not only for people hiring but those who need to make a couple of extra bucks. Instead of plastering the neighborhood with posters about a dog walking business, the person can simply head to Zaarly and wait for a neighbor to contact them.
Oink-Sometimes it’s not enough to simply know about the restaurant, you have to get the inside scoop on the menu items too. This is where Oink comes in. Oink was started last year by Kevin Rose the founder of Digg and could potentially threaten to dethrone Yelp by giving users an easy way to rate everything from coffee to hamburgers at their favorite and least favorite spots.
Goodsie-Goodsie doesn’t have the networking aspect of either Oink or Zaarly but instead powers the individual. Goodsie helps users to create and maintain and easy, inexpensive e-commerce site with basically no knowledge of programming. The economy is ripe for entrepreneurs as it becomes more difficult to find a traditional job at company. Goodsie helps people with good ideas for stores to get up and run with them, without pause.
SoJo Studios-Sometimes people get so lost in games that they start to seem like reality, for Sojo, that’s actually the case. The company name stands for Social Joy and champions the mission to encourage people to play online games that have an observable impact on the world outside the basement. Users are able to create fake farms and landscapes but in SoJo’s Wetopia they earn joy instead of virtual currency. The result is that when Joy is spent in the game, Sojo makes a donation to one of the charities it partners with in order to make the virtual a reality.
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