Who will be the young software players and startups to watch in 2013, and why? We recently asked this question of our industry observers and received a variety of predictions.
Big Data, business intelligence, and analytics space
Guy Smith, chief consultant, Silicon Strategies Marketing: Without naming specific companies or founders, the players to watch will be the Big Data geeks. Advanced analytics are the next phase in wealth generation via info tech, and the Big Data folks that bridge petabytes and BI will make some good coin.
Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies and founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace: There are many, but one worth watching is SiSense in the analytics market and Apprenaissance in the mobile environment.
Howard Dresner, president, founder and chief research officer, Dresner Advisory Services, LLC: As the business increases their influence in the purchasing process, vendors that emphasize ease of purchase, deployment, use — and time to action — will be the winners in 2013.
Joe Cordo, CMO, Extraprise: A player to watch is Appature as they have already built unstructured capabilities into their campaign management platform.
Dave Peterson, Chris Lochhead, Al Ramadan; co-founders and partners at Play Bigger Advisors: Andreesen Horowitz-funded Good Data is changing the agenda from business intelligence to monetizing business data. They are fully charged and ready to bash the legacy BI market and deliver a new way for CEOs to monetize their data. (Full disclosure: they are a Play Bigger portfolio company.)
Cloud and mobile space
Lincoln Murphy, founder and managing director, Sixteen Ventures: While industry-wide trends like Big Data and mobile will continue to drive innovation and be interesting to investors, the players to watch are the new cloud-native startups in each market. They should be seen as a threat to the status quo and should expose an opportunity that existing players in those spaces might have missed or overlooked. These startups could indicate a change in market dynamics including an acceptance of cloud offerings that incumbents need to pay attention to.
Andrew Hay, chief evangelist, CloudPassage: Anyone taking traditional enterprise software needs and re-exposing them as a metered, API-driven service is a software player to watch in 2013.
Kevin Cox, vice president corporate marketing, Actian Corporation: Facebook will be the new hot software company to watch. Their work in the user ID and security log on services is a real eye opener, and door opener. The integration with iOS is another stunner.
Dave Peterson, Chris Lochhead, Al Ramadan; co-founders and partners at Play Bigger Advisors: Despite some toe stubbing in HTML 5, the category battle is starting in 2013 for who owns the new development tools of choice. Expect Adobe and Microsoft to feel pressure from up-and-comers like Xamarin, Sensha, and other HTML5 tool and platform vendors. In the battle between native apps and HTML apps look for Google Chrome book-like devices to boot to HTML5 as opposed to an OS. Watch companies such as Mozilla and the Chrome platform to drive this agenda.
Zach Nelson, CEO, NetSuite: NetSuite has a unique perspective on the technology landscape because so many high-profile software startups and young companies run our cloud business management software. For example, Square is transforming payments by enabling merchants to use smartphones and tablets to accept credit cards at physical points of sale. Airbnb provides a digital accommodations marketplace that people use to rent out their homes or spare rooms like a hotel. Marin Software grew its revenue 1,274 percent between 2008-11, providing digital ad management for more than 1,800 advertisers and agencies and ranking No. 26 on Inc. Magazine list of top software companies.
Two more predictions
Steve Schmidt, vice president corporate development, Flexera Software: Intelligent device manufacturers will take the stage in the upcoming year, acting more like software vendors. This is because embedded software is becoming more important in the manufacturing space because hardware has become so commoditized. Software increasingly is becoming the differentiating value proposition through its ability to control function, capabilities, etc. While all industries are being impacted, you will see this especially in the medical industry, building automation and networking.
Dave Peterson, Chris Lochhead, Al Ramadan; co-founders and partners at Play Bigger Advisors: The flash-versus-disk war is on as companies compete on performance versus scale. Will hybrid or pure play win? Watch for companies like Nimble Storage and Pure Storage and the big players like EMC to drive the debate.