Startup Opportunities for 2012

by Chuck Stormon

What a month January 2012 was! I started Jan. 2 by publishing Start Fast!, then flew off to Vegas to speak on Content in the Cloud at CES (4 minute video review of some of the coolest stuff from CES 2012), then launched the StartFast Venture Accelerator (we opened Applications on January 17), and then launched a new SaaS called MediaCloud with simultaneous demos at the NY Video Meetup and the Sundance Film Festival on January 26. This is the first time I”ve had a few moments to put my thoughts down on what I think will be hot startup opportunities in 2012 for software, mobile and internet ventures.

  1.  Advertising gets personal and startups that capitalize on this will do well in 2012 – “Consumers are generating everything from their own entertainment to their own advertising (and often they are one in the same). All these messages are highly personal, driven by the passion of individuals. More than ever, the personal side of ad:tech is about marketing for the people, by the people – and what role professional marketers have to play in this”. –  Rohit Bhargava, Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy & Marketing, Ogilvy Public Relations
  2. HD is the new SD –  With my super-thin wall mounted Samsung 55″ LED TV, I can”t stand to watch the “fuzzy channels” as my wife and I call anything that is not 1080p. Well that was so last year! My freaking iPhone shoots 1080p.  4K is the new 1080p. Cameras for shooting 4K are available for $5,000, which is within the reach of just about anyone who wants one. Software and SaaS applications for processing, transcoding, rendering, colorizing, storing, sharing, streaming, monetizing and just about anything else you can do with 4K video are going to be hot in the years to come. If you”re wondering where you can play that content, there”s already an 8K TV.
  3. Siri is just the beginning. We”ve entered the era of using our voice, hands, eyes – heck our whole bodies as input devices. Keyboard, mouse, touch-screens are already “quaint” (Hello Computer). Every application under the sun is a candidate for retooling with voice, gestural, and other new input methods ala Oblong (Brad Feld”s post on this one)
  4. Flash is dead. Long live HTML5! I”m a fan of HTML5. Works like an App but it”s in a browser. I hate Flash and I”m not the only one who does. It can”t die soon enough for me (sorry YouTube). There are too many startup opportunities here to enumerate (some mobile app opps). .
  5. 3D Gaming. We”ve all been subjected to an effluvium of bad 3D movies. Those glasses give me a headache. Well say goodbye to the glasses with new 4K 3D TVs. Immersive 3D gaming experiences are coming to smartphones and other handheld devices as well.Opportunities and challenges for startups abound.
  6. Please make my TV work again! Back in the day, before advanced tech, my TV worked great. I turned it on and flipped the channels until I found what I wanted. Why do Smart TVs suck so bad? Will startups fix the current horrific SmartTV user experience?
  7. Yes, yes. Social mobile. Facebook”s IPO will open even more opportunities for the Instagram”s, FourSquare”s and Yelp”s of the future. Startup opportunities abound.
  8. Apps in the real world. Sensors (like accelerometers; GPS receivers; cameras; RFIDs; temperature sensors, bar-code readers and more) are everywhere and give applications a way to know automatically what”s going on in the real world and with users. Crunching, mining and monetizing this data is a huge opportunity for startups.
  9. Social games. We”re still at the beginning of this powerful trend. Who knew we like to play with others? And ? Yikes. games please (
  10. The one nobody thought of. Except if you think of it, and make a startup success, then next year everyone can copy you! But be sure that you”re not the copy-cat. Here”s some practical advice. Here are a bunch someone already thought of. Here”s some market research.

Well I guess my New Year”s resolution about not writing trite top-ten-list blogs just went out the window. Cheers!