What happened to startups in 2011? E-commerce and mobile payments continued to grow, and group buying startup Groupon went public. Facebook, the biggest social network around, expanded in a huge way, announcing Timeline, frictionless sharing and a settlement (finally) with the FTC. It also swallowed up many promising startups, including group messaging service Beluga, social network-enhancing service Friend.ly and software company WhoGlue.
The mixing of social gaming and mobile payments, social network alternatives to Facebook, consumer cloud storage and apps that actually make you feel productive (read: not like you’re just wasting more time online) came out on top as just a few of the most important startups of this year.
This year’s top 10 startups list is a combination of companies that launched in 2011, and others that gained considerable attention. We chose these startups based on how they’ve changed or disrupted their niches and how they’ve influenced trends this year and for the year to come. They are listed in no particular order. Take a look after the jump.