Revisiting the Most Memorable Companies of 2008

In December of 2008 I identified 5 start-ups that impressed me during that year (Most Memorable of 2008).  Now, over a year-and-a-half removed from the initial post, I think revisiting these start-ups should be fun.  Using the companies’ website trafficgrowth (from Quantcast), additional financing (from Crunchbase), new customers, and qualitative growth analysis I will create an outlook for each company.  I’ll be using a scale of 1-10 to score each company’s outlook for success, 1 being poor, and 10 being extremely promising. Without further a-do:

Company: Mimoco (Mimobot)
Location: Boston, MA
Website: http://www.mimoco.com
Product: Designer USB Flash Drives
2008 Monthly Website Traffic: ~4.5K Visits
2010 Monthly Website Traffic: ~10K Visits
Financing (After 2008): $N/A, by Cyan & Scott Banister
New Customers: Flight001, Toy Tokyo, Henri Bendel
Growth: Mimoco has added to their product line, including iPhone skins and limited edition figurines.  I’m surprised that their product line of character inspired computer accessories has remained dormant; with USB flash drives remaining as their only functional Mimobot.
Outlook: I believe the real growth opportunities remain in the novelty computer accessory market and development in this space will determine Mimoco’s long-term success.
Outlook Score: 5

Company: Boxee
Location: New York, NY (World Headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel)
Website: http://www.boxee.tv
Product: Media Center Software
2008 Monthly Website Traffic: ~8K Visits
2010 Monthly Website Traffic: ~10K Visits
Financing (After 2008): Series B (08/2009) $6M, by Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures, & General Catalyst Partners (Total Raised: $10M)
New Partners: NHL, MLB, KoldCast TV, Funny or Die
Growth: Boxee has steadily added new content providers, thus making the service valuable to a wider demographic.  They will be releasing a piece of hardware called the Boxee Box in November that will “play HD videos from the web or a local network in 1080p and use hardware acceleration whenever possible. And provide a TV browser experience that can handle almost everything you throw at it, including Flash 10.1.” (Source)
Outlook: Boxee requires hardware to run on your television, which may hinder its adoption, especially now that televisions may be directly connected to the Internet. I foresee a movement to reduce the clutter around the main television screen in a house, and this may hinder Boxee’s success.  Also, the amount of content cable providers offer customers has dramatically increased, making the need for additional content fade away.
Outlook Score: 3

Company: HubSpot
Location: Cambridge, MA
Website: http://www.hubspot.com
Product: Inbound Marketing System
2008 Monthly Website Traffic: Less than 500K Visits
2010 Monthly Website Traffic: ~3 Million Visits
Financing (After 2008): Series C (10/2009) $16M, by General Catalyst Partners, Matrix Partners, Scale Venture Partners (Total Raised: $33.5M)
New Customers: Schwartz Communications, Visible Measures, New York Parking Ticket
Growth: Holy Hockey Stick! Hub Spot has gone from less than 500K monthly website visits to over 3 Million.  They now offer 3 products, but their toolbox for inbound marketing has grown experientially with its Inbound Marketing University (certification), and family of grader.com websites (to grade content scores for corporate websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other online presences).
Outlook: Hubspot’s goal is to be a billion dollar company.  A billion dollars seems outlandish for a company playing in the small business market with plans starting at $250/mo.  I see few barriers for Hubspot to break $100 Million in revenue in the next few years. Look for them to go public in 2012.
Outlook Score: 9

Company: Inigral
Location: San Francisco, CA
Website: http://www.inigral.com
Product: Secure Learning Management Facebook Application called “Schools”
New Customers: Arizona State University, University of Texas – Tyler
2008 Monthly Website Traffic: N/A
2010 Monthly Website Traffic: N/A
Financing (After 2008): Series A (06/2009) $2.4M, by Unknown (Total Raised: $3M)
Growth: Inigral has signed-up a few new customers, but failed to make much traction over the past year and a half. The Arizona State Facebook Application has over 13,000 monthly users, which is a glimmer growth.
Outlook: Colleges may not see the need to pay Inigral for a Facebook Application when they feel comfortable managing educational information via their robust Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard.  I would watch for Blackboard and other LMSs to build their own social integration tools, making Inigral’s future uncertain.
Outlook Score: 2

Company: Igloo Software
Location: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Website: http://www.igloosoftware.com
Product: Social Networking Enterprise Software
New Customers: Blackberry, Deloitte, NetApp, AstraZeneca
2008 Monthly Website Traffic: N/A
2010 Monthly Website Traffic: N/A
Financing (After 2008): No Additional Financing
Growth: Igloo has added an impressive list of names to their customer portfolio and segmented their offerings into 4 industries: Enterprise, Government, Healthcare, and Agencies.  They’ve also built integration with Microsoft SharePoint, Salesforce.com, and Blackberry.
Outlook: Segmenting the target customers should prove to be beneficial for Igloo.  They’ve identified the industries that need social collaboration tools, and are directing relevant messaging to each specific segment.   Also, integrating with other enterprise programs is necessary for success because corporations want streamlined processes.  I foresee Igloo being acquired by a large enterprise software player within the next 3 years.
Outlook Score: 8

Overall, I still feel confident that Hubspot and Igloo Software will be homeruns, the jury is still out on Mimoco, and believe that Boxee and Inigral need to make big strategic moves to stay afloat.  I look forward to looking back in another year-and-a-half to see how they fare.

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6 Responses to Revisiting the Most Memorable Companies of 2008

  1. Cool! Nice update! We’re having a lot of fun, and now have over 3,100 customers and 180 employees. Stop by our new office sometime on a Friday and catch an episode of HubSpot TV. We were also named the #1 best place to work by the Boston Business Journal, and if you are a software developer … we’re HIRING!

  2. thebostonentrepreneur says:

    Mike,
    Thanks for the additional information. Seems like you are really growing fast over there. Impressive.

  3. Hi Eric – thanks for the update! It’s pretty cool that you’ve been following IGLOO for so long. In the last week alone, we’ve been named a trend-setter in online communities by KMWorld, an emerging vendor by CRN and a rising vendor by the creators of the Social Software Matrix. Look forward to hearing your next evaluation!

  4. thebostonentrepreneur says:

    Stephen,
    Congratulations! That’s a busy week! I look forward to continue watching IGLOO grow.

  5. Dan Latendre says:

    Mike… thanks for the write up!! We are seeing lots of traction in 2010 with numerous communities over 35,000 users.

    Integration with 3rd party applications such as ERP, CRM and others will be key for us as we move into specific verticals. The healthcare sector has been booming for us.

    Finally.. we have signed aboard numerous resellers, integrators, distributor and consultants to help with market penetration and solution delivery.

    Again… thanks for the write up.

  6. thebostonentrepreneur says:

    Dan,
    Over 35,000 users! That’s great. I love how you’re taking advantage of so many different distribution channels. Keep it going and I won’t hold it against you that you called me Mike. J/K.

    -Eric (The Boston Entrepreneur)

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