30 Startups To Know Now

by David Weir

What's in the book?

David Weir of 7x7 profiles the 30 startups that have the potential to transform the way we live our lives.

    • The Startup World's SF Boom
    • Funding From Y Combinator
    • Community & Utility Startups
    • Consumer Services Startups
    • E-Publishing & Content Management Startups



Over the past few years, a new technology-driven entrepreneurial boom has exploded in and around San Francisco. Thousands of ambitious companies are emerging, bootstrapped and often with just a few employees at first, to challenge business as usual in industry after industry, from food to health care to education to media and beyond.

Collectively, these startups have the potential to transform the way we live our lives.

This boom doesn’t really have a name. But it is centered around the convergence of several different technological trends, including social media, location-based technologies, and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. It also has a lot to do with data – collecting, sifting, and interpreting data about how all of us use the new technologies we are increasingly dependent on.

That this boom without a name is occurring during a severe economic recession has a certain irony. Could it help generate new jobs, especially for those whose industries and professions have been so badly disrupted?

Well, yes and no. There are plenty of jobs for engineers and designers, and an increasing set of opportunities in sales as well. But not so many employment chances for everyone else.

On the other hand, local businesses stand to benefit directly from new tools and services that help them connect with new customers, and the overall more efficient use of shared resources (collaborative consumption) holds the promise of helping to reduce our collective carbon footprint as well. There is a palpable sense of hopefulness about the future that you can’t help but pick up on when hanging around so many entrepreneurs, and we hope that some of that rubs off on you as you go through this book.

Who knows? Maybe by reading about the efforts of others, you’ll be inspired to start your own company. If so, please let us know about it.


David Weir is a journalist and the founding editor of 7x7 magazine.

A former editor of Salon, Mother Jones, and Rolling Stone, Weir has authored three books and hundreds of articles for The New York Times, The Economist, The Nation, and worked as a content executive at Wired Digital, KQED, and a series of startups.

A long-time journalism professor and media consultant, Weir has taught at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and San Francisco State University. His 7x7 technology blog features stories of up-and-coming startups, some of which are shared with you here.


Rebecca Meissner, director of enterprise products at BranchOut and a former recruiter herself, says this benefit extends to recruiters as well, which will become apparent as they try out the new Recruiter Connect platform just launching this week.

“The depth of the network we can provide via your Facebook friends does not contain all that much overlap with LinkedIn, actually. Because we have many more job categories represented. For example, we have some 87,000 store managers at BranchOut. And the other day, someone from J.C. Penny told us it is hard to find Santas to hire for the holiday period. Well, we checked and we currently have 160 Santas available for hire.”

The way BranchOut works from the consumer’s perspective is: when you sign in to the service, the company imports only your work history and education information from your Facebook page, not all of that other personal stuff, like which music you like, your baby pictures, or how your kid’s soccer team is doing.

“What we take is only the relevant information for a professional network,” says Merritt. “And you also can choose to add one photo of your choice to your BranchOut profile page.”

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