Since Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for $1 billion, speculation over the next billion-dollar tech company is increasingly at the heart of evaluating tech startups. Social networking and mobile apps create value by solving problems that address fulfilling human social needs, and many tech startups focus in these two arenas. Startups that embrace these principles are sure to be the leaders of the next wave of social networking and mobile platforms. No revenue? A limited number of employees? No problem. The next Instagram might not even be more than an idea that is in the works, but a handful of existing tech companies warrant more than a second look as the next billion-dollar tech company.
Pinterest: This virtual scrapbooking social site leads the list of many pundits who speculate on the next Instagram, and it does so with good reason. Rising from virtually nowhere, Pinterest eclipses the well-established LinkedIn as the third largest social networking site. Viddy: Touted as the iStore’s number two photo and video app (right behind Instagram), Viddy allows users to capture and store 15-second videos about their lives and share them through Twitter and Facebook. Spotify: With roughly a third of its 10 million-and-counting users as paid subscribers, Spotify’s music streaming service broadcasts its users’ music preferences via Facebook while providing users a way to listen to hit songs from a catalog of music. Evernote: Doubling its user base in 2011 and named Inc.’s 2011 Company of the Year, Evernote is a note-taking app that lets users streamline notes across computers, laptops and mobile devices. Note-taking in this mobile app facilities the ability to develop, store and act on ideas, agendas and plans. Path: A mobile-only social networking app, Path focuses on creating close, tight-knit social networks. While this app limits connected users to 150 connections, it has reportedly drawn interest from internet giants; Google offered $100 million dollars to purchase the app and was turned down by the owner. Rovio: Developer of the Angry Birds game of world acclaim, Rovio turned the mobile gaming world on its head and is expected to report more than two billion downloads of it games by the end of 2012. Additional revenue streams for this startup also stem from other markets with themed pajamas and plush toys already on the market and a television series in the works.
Whether the next Instagram is one of these startups or one that has yet to grow past the conception stage, one thing is certain. The next billion-dollar tech company must fulfill some human social need by creating a mobile or social networking platform that allows users to move past the structure of their current social landscapes. These social landscapes encompass school, local communities and work; the yet-to-be-determined billion-dollar tech company of the future must provide a way to form connections built around ideas users care the most about and can easily incorporate into their daily lives.
[Image via Geodun]