The buzz surrounding a startup might not guarantee success, but it can help when it’s time to find funding. Now a company that offers tools for monitoring the startup scene has released a ranking of over 25,000 startup businesses according to their “impact and importance”–in other words, how much buzz they are generating.
Topping the list are familiar companies like the social-networking sites Facebook and LinkedIn, and the video-hosting site Hulu. The other companies in the top 10 are Etsy, Twitter, Yelp, OpenDNS, Mahalo, Kayak, and Blip.tv. Companies that have jumped up the rankings over the past month include Care.com, a source for local caregivers; Reply.com, a place to buy or sell online clicks; and Quantcast.com, a site that generates statistics of websites’ traffic. One of the biggest movers is the PowerPoint-presentation-sharing site SlideShare.
Last year, the company behind the new list, YouNoodle, launched a tool designed to predict how much money a startup would raise, based largely on the background and business connections of its founders. The Startup Predictor tool employs information inputted by users to come up with a three-year value for a startup before it has received significant funding.
However, the idea that a software program could do the same job as an experienced venture capitalist was met with skepticism last year from some observers.
YouNoodle’s new ranking system assigns startups a popularity ranking based on a measure of their media influence and online attention. The company’s software tracks media activity by gathering information from press releases and news outlets. It also measures social traction by monitoring activity on Twitter, blog aggregators like Technorati, and investment-focused sites like AngelSoft and CrunchBase. The approach is more automated than the user-generated market-style prediction systems employed by sites like the Industry Standard and Killer Startups to forecast startups’ success.
“There’s about a hundred billion dollars a year that’s changing hands around investments and startups, [but] there’s no standardized scores for startups, entrepreneurs, VCs, and so on,” says YouNoodle cofounder Bob Goodson.
“It’s a really cool tool,” says Eric Hill, director of product and design for the Industry Standard, which has about 6,000 users participating in its startup prediction market. “Any prediction market is really a barometer of the current news cycle,” he adds.