Mobile is where the growth is in startups, venture capital portolios, and user activity, according to a post by Fred Wilson, the managing partner at venture capital firm Union Square Ventures and a frequent blogger.

But one of the problems is that third-party reporting services such as comScore, Quantcast, and Alexa are showing flat user growth in the first half of the year, mainly because they aren’t capturing web usage that is “growing like a weed,” Wilson said. He wants a service that measures audiences across mobile and the web. New York-based Wilson is recognized as a leading voice in venture capital circles and he has made some high-profile investments in startups such as Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and Zynga.

“There is a significant shift going on this year, much more significant than we saw last year, from web to mobile,” Wilson said. “It is most noticeable in games, social networking, music, and news. But it is happening across the board, and it presents both great opportunity and great challenges.”

He added, “Mobile native services like Foursquare and Instagram have the most to gain from this transition. Big, feature-rich web apps like Facebook and Google have the most to lose from this transition.” That’s because mobile doesn’t not reward “feature richness” but rather “light services.” Freemium models such as virtual-goods purchases work well on mobile if the shopping experience is well integrated. But display ads aren’t so hot on mobile. Companies that treat the mobile and web experiences differently are likely to prosper. Startups who recognize this could have the upper hand over big Internet businesses that started more than five years ago.

We’d have to agree. This trend is why we’re seeing companies adopt a “mobile first strategy” in apps such as gaming, even though the initial user and revenue opportunity seems lower than a “Facebook first” strategy. Companies such as CrowdStar are shifting their weight to mobile, and startups such as Pocket Gems started with “mobile first.” You’ll be hearing a lot about this at our upcoming MobileBeat 2012 and GamesBeat 2012 conferences on July 10-11 in San Francisco.

[Photo credit: Flickr, philcampbell]

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