10 Hot Startups to Watch

Five years ago, Facebook was new, YouTube had just launched and Twitter didn't exist. Now imagine, as a marketer, if you had gotten an early heads up that these platforms would become powerhouses. What if you were the first person to walk up to the CMO and say, "We should really be investing in consumer generated content and social networks." You'd be a hero. When you know what's coming up next, you can build campaigns that don't follow your consumers but are already at the destination when they get there.

The secret to being this psychic? Paying attention to startups. I'm not recommending you spend your experimental budget on a library of phonetically spelled company names led by recent college grads. But by looking at the overarching trends in cutting-edge businesses, you can be ready to react when the time comes to put money down.

One of the best sources of high quality startups is seed venture firm Y Combinator. At the end of August, it hosted one of its semi-annual Demo Days. This is when the newest companies from its fold get exposed to the public, and of course, other investors. It was when I perused this list of unfamiliar company names and snappy descriptions that I realized how important it is for marketers to be aware of these up-and-coming gems-and up-and-coming trends in digital.

Full article via huffingtonpost.com

Featuring GinzaMetrics, AdGrok, GazeHawk, Brushes, Koduco, FutureAdvisor, InDinero, The Fridge, MessageParty, and FanVibe.

Welcome Alexis!

We're happy to announce that we've appointed Alexis Ohanian as YC's Ambassador to the East. He's going to be based in New York, and he'll be talking to potential YC applicants and representing us at events all along the Atlantic Corridor.

We've known Alexis since before Y Combinator even existed. In fact he was part of the reason we started it. He and Steve Huffman came up on the train from UVA to hear the talk at Harvard that led to Y Combinator. I had coffee with them afterward and found myself thinking "These guys could actually pull it off."

Their startup, Reddit, was in the first YC batch in the summer of 2005, and was acquired by Conde Nast in 2007. It's still one of the best known of the companies we've funded. Since leaving Conde Nast in 2009, Alexis has focused on his social enterprise, Breadpig, which has generated over $150,000 for charities.

We've always loved Alexis, and we're delighted to have him back.

Anyone on the East Coast thinking of applying to YC should feel free to ask him any questions they have about YC or the application process (alexis@ycombinator.com).