Like the boys over at TechCrunch, I’ve gotten to like Quora for information mining. There’s a certain content serendipity as well, and it elicits content people who would otherwise not write to publish text (an effect Twitter has as well). Here’s a long answer I wrote to a question asking for interesting startups in Austin, just slightly edited to fit the form here.
There are many “interesting” startups in Austin, where interesting is “less concerned about “success” and more concerned about who is doing interesting stuff,” as Josh Williams put it. Here are a few that come to mind immediately:
- Spiceworks – though getting a bit on in the tooth to be in the “startups you’ve never heard about,” is one of the most innovative companies in the IT Management area. They do several “interesting” things, here are some: add social networking into an otherwise very unsocial and boring area, IT Management, and then use the aggregate of their 100,000′s of active users to start doing analysis in aggregate, and figuring out how to build an advertising and marketing channel for IT admins. Not to mention the feature set and speed at which they deliver. Compared to other (most other) vendors in the IT Management market, it’s astonishing.
- InfoChimps – they’re trying to create markets for data, something very interesting. Democratizing (making cheaper and easy to use) access to data should have “interesting” effects on applications and services companies can offer. Think of the data power Facebook has with all that detailed, every updating demographic data, and start to image what others could do with similar data sets. Most will just use it for Better Junk Mail, but even that is a good market. See my fellow RedMonker Stephen O’Grady’s take as well.
- Riptano – they’re the commercial company behind Cassandra (database), a NoSQL data store. In theory, these kind of data stores will be needed by companies seeking to operate at “web scale,” and how Riptano figures out how to monetize that need will be interesting. So far companies outside of a niche of HPC and neo-HPC needs (Facebook, pharama companies, etc.) haven’t figured out if/when/why/how for NoSQL stuff, and Riptano will (hopefully for them, because “that’s where the money is”) will answer those questions. Also, see my discussion with Riptano’s Matt Pfeil on
- Dachis Group – these guys are a little too well funded to be a “startup,” but what’s interesting about them is the business model for cashing in on Enterprise 2.0…