World’s Most Innovative Technology Start-ups for 2011



Catharine Smith and Bianca Bosker of The Huffington Post published a slideshow of the 31 most innovative start-ups as visionary technology pioneers of 2011 by the World Economic Forum, selected from over 300 nominations in more than 12 countries. Here’s a rundown of their list with descriptions coming from the respective sites’ narrative or source-article.

1. Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so.

2. Novacem has developed a carbon negative cement where more CO2 is absorbed during production than it emitted. Novacem’s long term goal is widespread global adoption of its cement, significantly reducing cement as a source of CO2 emissions.

3. Layar shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of the real world as seen through the camera of your mobile phone. It works by using a combination of the mobile phone’s camera, compass and GPS data to identify the user’s location and field of view, retrieve data based on those geographical coordinates, and overlay that data over the camera view.

4. Scribd is the largest social publishing and reading site in the world on the web and mobile devices. With it, you can easily turn any file — such as PDF, Word and PowerPoint — into a web document and immediately connect with passionate readers and information-seekers through connected sites such as Facebook or Twitter and search engines such as Google.

5. A pioneer in developing and implementing next-generation lighting solutions, Digital Lumens is combining LEDs, networking and software into a single, integrated system. Its next-generation, LED-based lighting systems deliver 100% of the light for 10% of the energy cost, reducing customers’ lighting-related energy use by up to 90 percent.

6. Aster Data created the first massive parallel procession (MPP) data warehouse architecture that allows applications to be fully embedded within the database engine to enable ultra-fast, deep analysis of massive data sets. Companies using Aster Data include Coremetrics, MySpace, comScore, Akamai, Full Tilt Poker, and ShareThis.

7. Adimab’s integrated antibody discovery and optimization platform provides unprecedented speed from antigen to purified, full-length human IgGs. It enables its partners to rapidly expand their biologics pipelines through a broad spectrum of technology access arrangements.

8. Ecovative is working with nature to replace unsustainable plastics and foams with natural composites. Using innovative new materials and radical new technologies, its EcoCradle™ protective packaging and Greensulate™ insulation perform at least as well as current state-of-the-art synthetics, but at a lower cost to everyone and the environment.

9. Atlassian is an Australian company that makes software development and collaboration tools which helps teams deliver products faster, from concept to launch. Its products are free to try, our pricing is published online, and you can buy directly from our website or through one of our many partners.

10. Ion Torrent has pioneered an entirely new approach to sequencing by marrying simple chemistry to incredibly powerful, proven semiconductor technology. The result is a sequencing system that is simpler, faster, more cost effective and scalable than any other technology available – all based on a well-characterized biochemical process with no proprietary chemistries or optics.

11. Ferrate Treatment Technologies was founded to invent, develop, and commercialize innovative water and wastewater treatment technologies based on its proprietary iron chemistry platform. Its synthesis process and reactor system allows it to manufacture “Ferrate” on site.

12. Medicine in Need or MEND applies emerging and advanced delivery and manufacturing technologies to drug and vaccine candidates for diseases of poverty. MEND believes that the best solutions to the global challenge come from broad and transparent collaboration amongst very diverse groups, including the substantial inclusion of emerging research and capabilities in the developing world.

13. Flexoresearch Group Company Limited was founded in 2007, starting as a technology entrepreneur incubatee of the Thailand Science Park incubator programme, with a vision to become a leading innovative, research and development company, serving Thai pulp, paper, printing and packaging industries. See article.

14. GetJar is the world’s second largest app store with over 1 billion downloads to date, second only to the Apple App Store. Its open market approach allows GetJar to deliver applications for both feature phones and smartphones across all major platforms such as Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, iPhone and Symbian among others.

15. Molecular Partners established a robust platform to discover and develop DARPin-based medicines. Drug candidates targeting indications in ophthalmology, inflammation and oncology are being developed by Molecular Partners, with a lead DARPin in clinical Phase I/IIa.

16. Knewton is developing the industry’s most powerful adaptive learning engine, customizing educational content to meet the needs of each student. Whereas traditional classrooms and textbooks provide the same material to every student, Knewton will dynamically match lessons, videos, and practice problems to each student’s ideal learning arc.

17. Neuronetics, Inc. is a privately held medical device company focused on developing non-invasive therapies for psychiatric and neurological disorders using MRI-strength magnetic field pulses.

18. On-Ramp has developed the first wireless system purpose-built to efficiently connect billions of hard-to-reach devices in metro scale and other challenging environments. Operating in unlicensed spectrum, its innovative signal processing technology finds weak signals even in high noise environments, resulting in extreme coverage, high levels of immunity to interference, and a significantly lower cost to deploy and operate a system.

19. OPOWER is an energy efficiency and Smart Grid software company that helps utilities meet their efficiency goals through effective customer engagement. Using cutting edge behavioral science and patent-pending data analytics, the OPOWER platform enables utilities to connect with their customers in a highly targeted fashion, motivating reductions in energy use, increased program participation and overall customer satisfaction.

20. NetQin Mobile Inc. or “NetQin” is a global leader in mobile security services – holding 64.8% of the Chinese mobile security market share. delivers proven mobile security solutions based on the cloud-computing model, including anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spam, privacy protection, data backup and recovery, as well as data management – to more than 55 million users in more than 200 countries and regions worldwide – to protect them against mobile security threats which will result in financial loss and privacy compromise.

21. Ostara has developed a new generation of wastewater treatment systems – a nutrient recovery solution that creates value from waste by recovering nutrients from wastewater and transforming them into revenue-generating, environmentally-friendly commercial fertilizer.

22. Quintas Renewable Energy Solutions Ltd. is a Nigerian company where its energy generations sources come from Solar, Wind, Biomass, small Hydro-Turbines, depending on the appropriate renewable energy sources available in the environment of its clients. It uses the best engineering practices to harness, manage and distribute renewable energy at an affordable cost and with minimal negative impact on the environment.

23. ReputationDefender has grown to be the world’s first comprehensive online reputation management and privacy company. Its goals are to SEARCH out all information about you and your family throughout the Internet and present it to you in a clear, easy-to-understand fashion, provide DESTROY assistance, helping to remove, at your request, inaccurate, inappropriate, hurtful, and slanderous information about you and your family, and deliver CONTROL over how others are able to perceive you on the Internet.

24. TaKaDu provides a Software-as-a-Service solution for monitoring water distribution networks. TaKaDu gives the utility unprecedented control over network events in real time, using state-of-the-art statistical and mathematical algorithms.

25. Tendril is a leading energy management technology provider that provides energy management software, hardware and services for both consumers and utility companies. Its platform gives utilities and their customers the power to solve today’s energy challenges together, consisting of both utility and in-home products and applications.

26. SecondMarket is an online platform with a team of market specialists that helps buyers and sellers transact in illiquid, restricted and alternative assets. It’s free to sign up with more than 15,000 participants, including global financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity firms, corporations and high net worth individuals.

27. Dutch company Topell Energy has developed a cutting edge process for the production of high value solid bio-fuel from woody biomass. This process is generally known as torrefaction and the solid bio-fuel is usually referred to as torrefied biomass.

28. Spotify is a new way to listen to music – any track you like, any time you like – with 8 million tracks and counting. To listen to its live tracks, you need to download its program in your computer or your mobile phone.

29. Transonic is working tirelessly to help solve one of the world’s greatest issues: energy efficiency. It’s mission is to inject super fuel efficiency technology into global vehicle fleets that transform our energy foundation into a low carbon future.

30. Vortex has developed its innovative cash dispensing module that does not use any conveyor belt and hence is much less prone to cash jam problems and also consumes very little power. It is able to provide either the entire solution or only the ATM, based on the customer needs.

31. OpenDNS is the leading provider of free security and infrastructure services such as integrated Web content filtering, anti-phishing and DNS. It enables consumers and network administrators to secure their networks from online threats, reduce costs and enforce Internet-use policies.

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