Top 5: Emerging Company Trends

in Strategy & Trends | by David Capece

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Companies Getting Funding in March

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

Telepresence, baby-safety products, digital assets, and link digging are business ideas getting funding in March. We’ve found companies rolling out new, innovative products as they relate to Sparxoo’s Emerging Trends of 2009. Over the next two weeks we are unveiling our 2009 Emerging Trends package, so we’ve picked companies that are getting funding as they fit into our emerging trends.

1. Maximizer

As we find new ways to trim our budgets, consumers are emerging more savvy than ever.

Time and efficiency is of great importance as we aim to cut costs and strive for maximum impact. Vidyo, scoring $15 million in third round of institutional VC financing, is a telepresence technology where team members can meet in the digital conference room—cutting business space costs and reducing the lag time between the water cooler and the conference chair.

GetWellNetwork is riding the Maximizer trend but in a very different, and kind-hearted way. Anyone ever spending a large amount of time waiting in the hospital for time to heal their wounds will tell you, it’s boring. Time is just a droning white noise that makes hospital life tedious and painstakingly dull. Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation is amongst many other financiers standing behind (to the tune of $10 million in series C VC financing) the GetWellNetwork because they aim to entertain and educate long-stay hospital patients through room televisions. Maximizing hospital stay-time is a meaningful way to educate yourself on your condition and the world outside of your 4’ x 5’ hospital window.

2. Houdini

To break from that straight jacket of work, family and social obligations, we need an escape. Just like the Great Houdini, we need to find that illusion to keep balance between “me time” and “them time.”

Escapism is an ever-growing trend that takes users from a dismal reality to one filled with imagination and wonderment. Whether that escapism means tuning out the buzzing drone of a rail station, or “snack-sized” audio bites for your Blackberry, collectively, we are trying to find a way to escape. Blade Games has captured $4 million in a new VC round of financing, leverages the creativity, personality and talents of their 100-person staff to deliver great digital assets for game developers. With a client list  consisting of gaming industry superstars EA, Sega and Activision, Blade Games has solid resume.

“What was that? I can’t hear you… you’re breaking up,” are words most of us stuck in a crowded area have said. Audience (scoring $15 million in round D of financing), aims to eliminate this annoyance through noise cancellation technology. Escaping from the crowd while in the crowd is how Audience is following the Houdini trend.

3. Private Eye

Our search for the truth has lead us to value realism over idealism, and break down stereotypes to realize the potential in everyone.

Getting to the core of the matter is what the Private Eye trend is all about. Accessible information is how we can dig deeper. Linkstorm, securing $2.8 million in new VC funding, enables users to dig deep into a link to find what they’re looking for. Branded as the “next-generation hyperlink,” simply rollover a link that you want to know more about and Linkstorm will provide numerous links that are relevant to your search. Going down into the digital rabbit hole is one way Linkstorm is following the Private Eye trend.

4. Sensory Mashup

Companies are finding new ways to re-energize products by connecting (A)typical with (C)onvention to get (B)usiness.

Creating interesting ways of experiencing a product is how ngmoco and Buzznet are following the Sensory Mashup trend. Star Defense, Topple, Word Fu and Touch Pets Dogs are a few apps ngmoco, securing $10 million in VC funding (with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers among the investors), has designed for the iPhone and iTouch—both superstar examples of Sensory Mashup products. Buzznet—securing $12 million in its third round of VC funding—scraps the traditional social networking profile by enabling users to program pop culture music and culture into the site. This next generation social networking site gives users to work with multimedia platforms in new and interesting ways—making it a highlight of how social networks are riding the Sensory Mashup wave.

5. Pay Forward

As we reprioritize what is important in our lives, even the secret millionaires can engender goodwill with surprising acts of generosity.

Often news headlines read another baby product recalled because of choking or high toxicity levels. UpSpring wants to ensure their products aren’t in those headlines. That’s why UpSpring Baby is following the Pay Forward trend—providing quality, test/trusted safety products to the market. UpSpring secured $4 million in its third round of VC funding.

Check back all week as Sparxoo shares the top Emerging Trends that will influence business over the next five years.