The wireless industry has always held great allure for entrepreneurs seeking to make their fortunes in the high-tech world. And over the past year we have witnessed a resurgence of venture capital dollars flowing into the mobile industry, primarily due to enormous interest in mobile applications development. In fact, some investors are starting to compare the frenzy around mobile apps and the mobile Web to the dot-com bubble that occurred more than a decade ago.
According to Brian Wilcove, general partner at Sofinnova Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital fund, investors today have high hopes for mobile startups. "People are buying companies in this space because they want access to the Googles and Apples of the world," Wilcove said.
Of course, not every mobile startup is going to end up being the next Google or Apple. But clearly there are a number of innovative mobile startups with interesting business models that are on the cusp of great success. And not all of them are making mobile applications.
With that backdrop in mind, let me introduce you to the 2011 winners of the FierceWireless Fierce 15 awards. Every year, FierceWireless editors evaluate dozens of the most innovative and smart emerging companies in the wireless industry. Our selections are based upon numerous briefings and interactions we have with companies in this industry every year. To qualify, a company must be privately held, well-funded, emerging (founded in the past decade or so) and have the potential to be a major player in the industry. We prefer the firm to be based in the United States, but if it isn't we expect it to conduct a significant amount of business with firms in the U.S. since that is where the majority of our readers are located.
The 2011 Fierce 15 winners are a diverse group--one firm provides analytics to help operators better understand the growing amount of data flowing over their networks, while another has developed a location-based shopping app that is quickly gaining traction with retailers.
Two things our Fierce 15 companies do have in common are a smart management team and the potential to advance the wireless industry. Check out the firms that we think will be success stories in the years ahead. Click here for the 2011 FierceWireless Fierce 15 winners. --Sue
P.S. Click here to check out all of our Fierce 15 winners from the past eight years.