February 27, 2016 News

The It-List: 10 Start-Ups to Watch in 2016

These hot companies are about to seriously shake up traditional industries. Here are the 10 startups to watch in 2016.

Reversing a downward cycle that began in 2010, U.S. startup activity ascended last year, according to the 2015 Kauffman Index.

The entrepreneurial activity increase in the 2015 Index represents the largest year-over-year increase in the last two decades, giving rise to hope for a revival of entrepreneurship.

Top sectors in start-ups? Security is a big one. As is alternative power and open enterprise ventures in transportation and social networking. So who is leading the pack? Take a look at ten start-ups that are already making waves and have strong potential for blazing trails in 2016:

Related Article: Boom or Bust? The Impact of an Economy Driven by Startups

Security

The emergence of cyber security startups has continued unabated as entrepreneurs vie for corporate customers seeking new technologies to battle ever increasing and innovative attackers.

The expertise of these new companies range from various improvements to encryption products to analyzing the wealth of security-incident data gathered from networks to gear that detects the potentially malicious wireless activity of Internet of Things devices. Based on the continued interest in these startups from venture capital investors, these companies will continue to proliferate.

DroneShield

John Franklin, an aerospace engineer, is the man behind DroneShield: a Washington D.C.-based startup that wants to warn you when drones are approaching. Franklin started his project on IndieGogo a couple of years ago. Now, with $150,000 in venture-capital funding, DroneShield has created a number of products for drone detection.

DroneShield’s non-invasive technology works by sensing the unique sound signatures that drones produce during flight. Because it is designed to not be dependent on traditional radio frequency detection, the system can alert users of devices that would otherwise not appear on radar due to their size.

DroneShield’s non-invasive technology works by sensing the unique sound signatures that drones produce during flight. Because it is designed to not be dependent on traditional radio frequency detection, the system can alert users of devices that would otherwise not appear on radar due to their size.

Red Canary

Red Canary is a Denver-based company founded by CEO Brian Beyer in 2014. The company name invokes the proverbial canary in the coal mine that warns miners of poison gasses. The company offers a service necessary to many businesses–– human analysts who sort through security alerts to eliminate false-positives before alerting their customers to the danger. The cost and scarcity of qualified security analysts puts in-house staffing beyond the budgets of businesses of varying sizes. Red Canary’s focus is on analyzing security event data and it delegates gathering that data to other vendors–– Bit9+CarbonBlack for endpoint sensors and threat intelligence from Threat Recon, Farsight

Red Canary’s focus is on analyzing security event data and it delegates gathering that data to other vendors–– Bit9+CarbonBlack for endpoint sensors and threat intelligence from Threat Recon, Farsight Security and Bit9+CarbonBlack’s Threat Intelligence Cloud, in addition to its own threat intelligence.

Niara

CEO Sriram Ramachandran brings his extensive dossier with Aruba, Juniper, Netscreen and Neoteris to the Niara table to develop a security-event analyzer that correlates events that could be signs of attack, assigns them severity scores and issues alerts.

The upside for customers is the analyzer takes input about events from existing security platforms, enhancing their usefulness. The goal is to provide very necessary screening and prioritizing of events for human security analysts to check out rather than going through them manually–– an overwhelming task. This platform could help businesses better deal with the security information they already gather without having to drastically increase hard-to-find security staff.

The name Niara means haystack in Spanish, and has no particular significance relating to what the company does–– pretty smart for a company in the security business.

Open Enterprise

We live in a world where, in a period of a few hours, a developer can modify a Google Calendar to allow a colleague to add a Starbuck’s coffee order to a meeting invite that can be picked up by Uber and delivered to a client’s office five minutes before a scheduled meeting starts.

As companies seek to transform around the principles of human-centered design, they need to plan for the reality that most human work extends beyond the boundaries of their business model.

The possibilities and consumer expectations will only grow more sophisticated and more complex. While there is a very real threat of market share loss to companies who miss how to design and build for this trend, the market opportunities for those who embrace it will be profound.

Split

With Uber, Lyft, Getaround and Bridj, does D.C. really need another on-demand ride app? Split, a new ride-sharing service out of start-up incubator 1776, thinks there’s room for improvement. Unlike the other services that have made a name for themselves in the District, Split is homegrown, from a team of local entrepreneurs. And instead of the kind of ride-hailing service made popular by the likes of Uber and Lyft, Split is focused on “smarter shared rides.”

In other words, it’s an on-demand carpool that’s more convenient than public transportation but less expensive than a taxi. Fares range from $2 to $8 because, founders say, users are always sharing a ride, which cuts down on cost.

Overall, Split seems to be a very affordable transportation option in DC. Similar in most regards to Lyft and Uber but with the promise of reduced prices at the cost of possibly having another rider hopping into the car with you. Keep watching, this tech model is poised to move into other cities.

sensewhere

Move over Google and Apple, there’s a new tech giant in town. Chinese Internet giant Tencent, the maker of WeChat, has pinned down a strategic investment with indoor mapping startup sensewhere, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based indoor mapping technology company. Sensewhere provides hyper-local and indoor positioning solutions that drive location-based services on mobile devices.

Sensewhere’s technology provides location information in areas where there is little access to satellite GPS data. Instead, it relies on signals like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The company said Tencent’s investment will allow it to quickly scale up the development of its indoor location database because it plans to integrate its software with all major apps made by Tencent and its affiliates. Indoor mapping is worthy of tracking this year and next.

Related Article: Tactical Startup Growth Hacks That Never Stop Working

Slack

San Francisco-based Slack took Silicon Valley’s startup scene by storm, reaching a whopping $2.8 billion valuation in less than two years. According to an article by the New York Times, Slack is the office messaging app that may put an end to email.

Slack has a few unusual features that make it perfectly suited for work, including automatic archiving of all your interactions, a good search engine and the ability to work across just about every device you use. Because it is hosted online and is extremely customizable, Slack is also easy for corporate technology departments to set up and maintain.

Its work-communication app isn’t just for messaging coworkers–– it can do a lot of different things, from getting automatic Twitter notifications to calling a Lyft cab or looking up restaurants nearby.

Slack now has 1.7 million daily active users, up from 1.1 million users earlier this year. It said it was adding $1 million worth of new contracts every 11 days back in February, so it’s likely those numbers are up as well. Behind Slack’s rise is co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield and his grand vision for the future of the office. He is betting that solo work is on the wane and that as all of our jobs become more complex, more and more creative and technical feats will be accomplished by teams rather than lone practitioners.

Social Networking

As long as there are people wanting to meet people there will be room for improvement in how connections are made. eHarmony and Match.com got the ball rolling, but the ever-evolving world of human interactions requires a little more creativity. Here are two start-ups that have put their own creative twist on networking.

Bumble

Bumble is an app that flips traditional dating upside down by letting women make the first move. Whitney Wolfe, a Tinder cofounder, created Bumble not long after she left that company.

Bumble, like Tinder, uses profile swiping to match singles in the same town. But on Bumble women make the first move, and men who receive a match have 24 hours to respond before the match disappears. When same-sex couples get matched on the app, either party can make the first move.

Bumble launched in near the end of 2014, and it’s approaching 1 million downloads. The app has over 5 million conversations started by women, over 1 billion swipes, and 15 percent week-over-week growth. According to a recent article by Business Insider, Bumble is the best dating app out there.

Conspire

If you want to meet someone you don’t know via LinkedIn, there’s no good way to do it. So two data scientists who met at Stanford, Alex Devkar and Paul McReynolds, founded Conspire to help you get introduced to anyone you want to meet.

Conspire uses your email account as the basis for a game of “Six Degrees of Separation.” Sign up, and it analyzes your email. Then enter the name of the person you want to search and it finds someone in your contact list to introduce you, examining that person’s social-media connections. It may even find multiple people to help introduce you. Then it will recommend the best choice.

Conspire uses a smart algorithm to figure things out like the multiple email addresses of the same person. The founders say it operates at 95% accuracy.

Alternative Power

Creating cleaner and cheaper power sources is serious business. A recent gathering of world leaders in Paris unveiled a new pledge to dramatically increase public and private clean energy innovation. Dubbed

Dubbed Mission Innovation, the initiative will see 20 countries committing to double their investments in clean energy research and development over the next five years. Here are two powerful start-ups already in action.

Transatomic Power

Founded by MIT nuclear science graduates, Transatomic Power is seeking to turn nuclear power into something most everyone will feel good about. The startup has designed a nuclear reactor that would aim to produce electricity using existing nuclear waste, helping rid us of one of the major issues associated with conventional nuclear plants. The Transatomic reactor design would also not be prone to melting down, according to the company. And of course, the reactor would have the same environmental benefit of being carbon-free as existing nuclear power designs.

Transatomic Power co-founder and CEO Leslie Dewan said the company is aiming to break ground on a demonstration facility within five years and have it operational a few years after that. “For the nuclear industry, it’s very fast-paced,” she said. This past February, the startup raised $2.5 million in new funding from investors including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.

This past February, the startup raised $2.5 million in new funding from investors including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. Read more about how this startup “got $2.5M to develop the nuclear reactor we’ve been waiting for.”

Ice Energy

Using electricity to make ice at night, when electric rates are lower, and melting it to provide cool air for the building during the day is what Ice Energy offers as a cheaper alternative to running air conditioning in the hot afternoon when electric rates are high. The company recently won its biggest deal with Southern California Edison, which wants 25.6 MW of service from Ice Energy systems across different locations.

Related Article: 14 Newsletters Startups Should Subscribe To

Ice Energy’s proven Ice Bear® system is the most cost-effective and reliable distributed energy storage solution for the grid. The Ice Bear delivers up to six hours of clean, firm, non-fatiguing stored energy daily and is fully dispatchable by the utility. Ice Bear projects are job engines, creating long-term green jobs in the hosting communities. CEO Ice Energy’s Mike Hopkins describes the basic technology as simple. Let’s just say ice is really hot right now.

As we venture into 2016, keep in mind Yogi Berra’s old saying, “the future is not what it used to be.” Entrepreneurs who not only embrace change, but help define it are the ones to watch.

 
January 1, 1970 |
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The It-List: 10 Start-Ups to Watch in 2016
 
January 1, 1970 |
Event
The It-List: 10 Start-Ups to Watch in 2016
 
January 1, 1970 |
Event
The It-List: 10 Start-Ups to Watch in 2016
 
January 1, 1970 |
Event
The It-List: 10 Start-Ups to Watch in 2016

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