So many Silicon Alley startups who crushed it in 2010, it's tough to pick just ten. In fact, some observers, like prominent local VC Fred Wilson, fear that the amount of money flowing into tech startups is becoming a bubble.
But for now, let's toast to the winners. A more reasonable take can surely wait until we've rung in the new year. Join us in celebrating New York's Most On-Fire Tech Startups...
Kickstarter makes it easy for anyone to create a project and raise funds from the masses. It's novel formula has helped it generate over $20 million in new projects this year, which translates to more than $2 million in revenue.
Just this week, The Observer broke the news that Kickstarter had set a new fundraising record with over $550 K raised for an iPod nano watch. God bless Apple fanboys!
Perry Chen, co-founder and CEO, Kickstarter
A platform for trading illiquid assets, SecondMarket rebounded from the financial crash with a $15 million B round this year. Its role in trading the shares of private companies like Facebook and Twitter has transformed the tech industry and made SecondMarket a constant presence in the press.
8. Snap Interactive
Snap Interactive is the rare NYC startup that has never taken a dime of funding from angels or venture funds. It built Are You Interested into the number one dating app on Facebook the hard way. Now, with 14 million users and growing fast, its got an even rarer commodity in the startup world, actual revenue. The firm is on pace to double it's revenue from last year to more than $4 million dollars in 2010.
[To see the fully illustrated slideshow visit Observer.com]
Hashable is focused on quantifying the social economy -- rewarding users for contributing data about their networking activity. In the three months they've been live the site has collected a who's who of users (Fred Wilson & Mark Suster for example) along with $4 million in series A funding.
Founded in May, 2010, GroupMe is a simple service that lets users create groups for text messaging. It works on smartphones and dumb phones alike, and has been adding users at a rapid clip, along with a $9 million round led by Khosla Ventures.
A startup focused on mapping the "taste graph," Hunch raised $12 million this year and pivoted elegantly from being a consumer facing service to a platform for business. It connected its taste graph to more than 250 million monthly visitors through partnerships with major shopping portals like Gifts.com and Bluefly.
Ok, not technically a single startup, but Betaworks bet big on the real-time ecosystem, (a.k.a Twitter), and boy is it paying off. It's bit.ly link shortener and Tweetdeck client are grabbing a huge share of Twitter's booming activity. Tweetdeck is four times larger than the next biggest Twitter client and bit.ly produces more than half the shortened links on Twitter. That's a great piece of the action on a site now valued at $3 billion.
Square makes it easy for merchants to accept credit card payments through any mobile device. It came out of private beta in November with the news that it is now handling millions of dollars worth of transactions every week. When you consider that Square takes 2.75 percent of each transfer, that means this newly public startup is already generating millions in revenue each year. Hopefully it can put some troubling patent problems continue its strong growth.
2. Bug Labs
There are not many companies in Silicon Alley focused on hardware. But Bug Labs founder Peter Semmelhack hopes to reinvigorate the New York of the 1950s, when Bell Labs made the city an epicenter for hardware innovation. This year his small startup, backed by local Union Square Ventures, went from interesting to on-fire, announcing partnerships with Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, the three largest mobile carriers in the nation.
More users, mo' money, no problems. So far, little friction has emerged in 2010 for this lite-blogging champion. Karp & Co. just raised between $20 and $30 million at a staggering $135 million valuation and recorded 1,500 percent pageview growth over 2009. Word on the street is Tumblr has plans to build itself into a news business as well.
Top: Perry Chen, by Jason Hargrove (Flickr/salty_soul)
Middle: Square by Jorge Quiteros (Flickr Jorge Quinteros)
Bottom: David Karp, Tumblr founder, CEO (Flickr/Web09)
Other Best of 2010 features on Observer.com: