May is a month of rebirth and new beginnings. It's a time when flowers are blooming, trees are flowering, and young bucks lock horns in battle over the privilege of choosing a mate. Those kinds of biological imperatives are a bit masked in the super-refined atmosphere of Silicon Valley, but it's safe to say that betrothal is on the minds of many a young company these days. They're complex emotions, to be sure, but they find their truest expression in a question that flits across the mind of many a traveler on Route 101 or, if articulated, is done so only in whispers: "How do we get bought by Google?"
After all, despite all the buzz surrounding new companies in the space that's been dubbed "Web 2.0," you don't need a business degree to see that many of their executives and financial backers are banking on an exit strategy that involves swooning into Google's embrace or that of some bigger, wealthier firm -- especially if the alternative is having to find a way to actually make money off, say, mobile blogging (Twitter), family tree building (Geni), or social networking (umm…take your pick).
That's why we here at InfoWorld have always felt that May is a good time to take a survey of the land and size up some of the new companies and technologies that are clashing horns in Silicon Valley, Route 128, Research Triangle Park, and elsewhere.
Last year, for example, Contributing Editor Galen Gruman brought you Tech Startups to Watch, which highlighted 15 technology startups with an interest in the enterprise. (Galen will be revisiting some of those companies later in the month). This year, InfoWorld is going one better and is designating May the Month of Enterprise Startups (MOES), in which our writers and editors will bring you a new enterprise startup each day for the month of May -- 31 in total.
Why enterprise startups, you ask? There are lots of reasons. For one thing, young companies that sell into the enterprise space tend to get lost in the media stampede toward trendy operations like Facebook and megadeals like Google's $1.65 billion offer for video sharing site YouTube in November 2006. That 10-figure deal symbolized much of what this next wave in technology was about: the Web, youth, media, and content sharing. But the froth over those deals obscures an equally important transformation that is happening in the enterprise, where Web- based applications and collaboration are transforming the way that work is done.
After all, the massive YouTube deal overshadows a host of smaller Google acquisitions with more enterprise flair -- CRM software maker NeoTonic in 2003, 2Web's Web-based spreadsheet in 2005, and Upstartle, makers of the Writely online word processing program.