Grab your popcorn and Twizzlers, because 2011 is already shaping up to be an exciting year to watch startups and giants do battle for market share and big ideas. If you’re not sure which companies to look out for in the coming year, our writers and editors have submitted their expert picks below.
What do you think? Did we miss any promising tech companies (new or established) that you see making a big splash in 2011? We want — nay, demand — your forecasts in the comments below.
This Chicago-based design firm finished off 2010 by completing the most successful funding campaign in Kickstarter history. Its TikTok+LunaTik iPod Nano watch conversion kits raised more than $940,000 from more than 13,500 backers and garnered the kind of attention that should help launch this company to new heights in 2011. The gadget accessories market has a new player.
~ Josh Catone, Features Editor
2. StumbleUpon ()
OK, so StumbleUpon has been around since 2001, so it’s not new to the scene. But with Digg ()’s fall this year and StumbleUpon’s planned release of premium features and publisher pages early this year, it has the potential to scale and be exposed to more users. And considering it’s a big source of traffic for many news sites, it may start investing its time into figuring out how to leverage the site further and connect with its community on the site.
~ Vadim Lavrusik, Community Manager
3. Amimon, Inc.
This Israeli company has perfected its wireless HDTV system over the past years. Imagine plugging a tiny USB device into a laptop, and then displaying its output in full 1080p HD resolution on a monitor 100 feet away, with no lag. Amimon has already introduced one of its own products, but the big deal is the presence of its superior wireless HD standard (known as WHDI, or Wireless Home Digital Interface) chips built inside numerous other products, such as laptops, projectors, TVs and set-top boxes.
~ Charlie White, Senior Editor
4. Bloom Energy
If there is any company poised to revolutionize the energy market, it’s Bloom Energy. The Bloom Energy Server (a.k.a. the “Bloom Box”) changes inputs like natural gas or oil into clean, reusable energy. It’s actually a dynamic fuel cell that creates energy through a chemical reaction. The company has raised more than $400 million to date and is testing its technology with Google (), eBay, Wal-Mart and others.
~ Ben Parr, Co-Editor
Its recent outage notwithstanding, Skype has been on an impressive run since its breakup with eBay. Usage is at record levels, and features like group video chat and deep Facebook integration have reminded us that Skype is a top tier consumer and business web company. In 2011, the company is likely to go public, and with it, face a whole new level of scrutiny and expectations. Google will also continue to gun at Skype with enhancements to Google Voice () (free U.S. calling for Gmail users through 2011 is an obvious sign of that), making the company all the more intriguing to watch.
~ Adam Ostrow, Editor-in-Chief
With $30 million in funding in its coffer and increasing content curation (not to mention 14 book deals born from its blogs), Tumblr could be shaping up into a much more organized — and ad-worthy — hub for entertainment. We’re interested to see if the company spends that money wisely — and how.
~ Brenna Ehrlich, News Editor
The connected device ecosystem is still evolving, in large part because of the battle over control between content publishers, device makers and consumers. Clicker is managing to avoid the battle itself and is instead focusing on making it easy for users to find content, irrespective of what service that content might use. The company recently branched into recommendations and has mobile apps, supports Google TV and the Boxee Box and has a killer web app.
~ Christina Warren, Mobile & Apple Reporter
inDinero is looking to replace much of what accountants do for small businesses, giving them a real-time financial overview of their company in the process. It changes how you track cash flows and expenses. It’s funded by Y Combinator and star angel investors and led by savvy entrepreneur Jessica Mah, who graduated from college when she was 19.
~ Ben Parr, Co-Editor