Technology 200: Mobile, Interactive Marketing, and Crowdsourcing. Oh My!

The following post is sponsored by Lead411.

The startup space is getting more and more crowded with companies that want to skyrocket to fame and riches, but only a handful actually get there. Each year, Lead411, an information services company, hosts the Technology 200, a list focused on the top revenue-producing startups in technology.

The list is ranked based on the highest percentage revenue growth from 2008 to 2010. More than 600 companies applied, all of whom are based in the United States, are private, and earned over $500,000 in revenues in the year 2010.

The list is getting tighter. Initially, it focused on 500 of the top growing startups, but the company wanted to hone in on the cream of the crop, so it whittled the list down to 200, says Tom Blue, founder of Lead411 and the Technology 500.

“Everyone’s got a top 500 list. But we wanted to see how the top 200 fared,” said Blue, “The higher up the list you go, the more trends you see in terms of what’s helping these brands succeed.”

A Diverse List
The top ranking company on the Tech 200 is inStream Media, a company that connects brands with consumers through multi-channel marketing programs. The company experienced 3,509% growth over the past two years, and brought in $3.6 million in sales in 2010.

Massachussetts-based inStream Media wasn’t the only marketing and advertising company on the list. Also joining it are Spongecell (for the second year running), HubSpot and TubeMogul.

The Tech 200 list is diverse in its industries. It boasts electronics recycler ecoATM, enterprise software support company Rimini Street and social job search tool Climber.com, as well as other companies in consulting, hardware, mobile and more.

“We always love seeing the diversity of who makes our list,” said Blue, “I personally love digging in to each of our finalists’ stories.”

What the Numbers Tell
As part of the Tech 200 application, companies are asked to answer a survey about their marketing spend, ROI and overall outlook for the future. Their answers are indicative of the startup community at large, if not the greater business climate.

Over half of the applicants no longer (or never did) use traditional advertising (think print ads and direct marketing), which speaks volumes about where marketing is headed. The largest number put money into trade shows as a marketing tool (25%).

Despite more companies starting to use social media in their marketing strategy (63% of applicants do), the spend there was surprisingly low, with only 6.9% of the companies’ budgets going into social media. We can glean from this that either they’re not putting as much effort into social media as they could, or that social media’s just a cheaper form of marketing that requires fewer resources.

It’s always nice to see successful startups that got that way without taking on investors. A full 60.2% of applicants have never received funding for their businesses, and 84% consider themselves profitable.

And as far as the future looks, 71.5% of the companies on the Tech 200 think the future is going to get better soon.

Where the Future’s Headed
In looking at the industries that keep popping up on the Tech 200, there are some interesting trends.

1. People are responding to “new media” marketing. Companies like Spongecell are growing faster than lightening because people are embracing advertising that’s tailored toward their tastes.

2. Mobile continues to grow. No one is tired of buying the latest iPhone or Android phone, or buying apps to enhance their lives. If anything, the addition of the iPad to the space created even more opportunity for app designers.

3. Traditional industries are getting a new spin. Climber.com helps job seekers find work. Nothing new about that. But its approach, which leverages social media and content aggregation, makes the process that much easier.

4. Small businesses are an untapped market. While so many companies focus on offering solutions to corporations, small businesses have historically been left behind. But companies like CrowdFlower are catering to the small business market, which helps them grow and keeps small businesses running despite lean times.

5. Consumers want to control their privacy. Not only are we making advertising our own, but we also want a say in who’s handling our data and personal information. Evidon is one of the companies working on privacy and compliance for digital media.

6. The cloud is getting bigger. Now that we can back up and store just about anything on a cloud server, expect to see more startups in this space. Transcend United Technologies and BlueLock are just a few of the finalists working in the cloud space.

More to Come From the Technology 200
The Technology 200 is picking up speed, and will continue annually. See the list of this year’s winners here.

Here are the top 50 finalists from the Tech 200.

1. inStream Media
2. Spongecell
3. Evidon, Inc
4. Climber.com
5. CrowdFlower Inc.
6. Code 42 Software
7. HasOffers
8. FastSpring
9. InContext Solutions
10. BrokersWeb.com, Inc.
11. Pace Computer Solutions Inc
12. ecoATM
13. TubeMogul
14. Slingshot SEO
15. Transcend United Technologies
16. Bluelock
17. SBG Technology Solutions, Inc
18. Three Pillar Global Inc
19. HubSpot
20. One Source Networks
21. SoftLayer Technologies
22. OmniPoint
23. HubPages
24. Varrow, Inc.
25. Acquirelists
26. SEOmoz
27. QStart Labs
28. Tapjoy, Inc.
29. Zilker Ventures, LLC
30. Increase Visibility, Inc.
31. Compliance11
32. Touch Ahead Software, LLC
33. Rimini Street
34. Motionsoft
35. Yodle
36. Cognis IT Advisors, LLC
37. TRAFFIQ
38. Mediaura
39. Virtensys, Inc.
40. Zillow
41. Panthera Interactive, LLC
42. FiberLight, LLC
43. Openwire Solutions
44. Verengo Solar Plus
45. SevOne, Inc.
46. Reliable Government Solutions Inc
47. Tableau Software
48. MediaTrust
49. AutoClaims Direct Inc.
50. Cool Life Systems, Inc.

This post was written by Susan Payton, President of Egg Marketing & Communications. She also contributes to Lead411’s blog.

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