YEC Shares 14 Favorite Startups to Emerge in 2012

December 23, 2012

2:00 pm

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

This week, Tech Cocktail asked, What’s your favorite startup that emerged in 2012 and why?”  Their responses are below.

1. Pinterest

Even though it started in 2010, Pinterest did not hit mainstream until early 2012 when it nearly exploded into the world of crafts, fashion and DIY. Who knew that pictures of kale burgers, puppies dressed as pumpkins and leaf bowls could help Pinterest become the 4th largest traffic driver worldwide? Pinterest is going to lead the way in image-based browsing and has already converted many women, including yours truly, into Pinterest-a-holics.

Vanessa Van Edwards, Author and Techpreneur at Science of People

2. Zapier

I absolutely love Zapier because it allows different apps (and also startups) to talk to each other, without the need to program APIs manually. It’s easy to use, and it’s helpful for other entrepreneurs and online business owners. What’s not to love?

Nathalie Lussier, Creator at The Website Checkup Tool

3. HotelTonight

HotelTonight has changed the way that I travel. Having great deals on quality hotel rooms in most places that I travel for fun and work has allowed me to be more flexible.

Paige Brown, Co-Founder and CEO at BookingMarkets

4. Dark Sky

I don’t know their story, I don’t know their deal, all I know is this paid iPhone app warns me when it’s going to rain BEFORE it rains. It’s mind-blowing weather magic.

Derek Flanzraich, CEO and Founder at Greatist

5. FundersClub

I don’t have the insider knowledge and I’m not at a point in my career where I have the expendable capital to start to making big Angel Investments. Insert FundersClub. They enable any accredited investor to leverage the Web to help fund private companies and startups with as little as a $1,000.

Ryan Stephens, Founder at Ryan Stephens Marketing

6. Mightybell Spaces

The new Mightybell platforms is awesome for creating intimate groups around similar interests, passions, locations, and more. It is so well designed and intuitive to use. We’re only just beginning to see how many applications there are for the platform, and I’m excited for what 2013 brings.

Natalie MacNeil, Producer & Entrepreneur at She Takes on the World

7. Udemy

Udemy is my favorite startup that emerged in 2012. It’s the best site that I have found that allows you to take courses and teach courses on pretty much anything. Their user interface sets them apart as it is pleasant and easy to use as well. As an instructor, they give you a lot of help to set up courses and they make it super easy to pay instructors as well.

Lawrence Watkins, Founder & CEO at Great Black Speakers

8. Kickstarter

My favorite startup that really emerged in 2012 is Kickstarter. It’s a crowdfunding source for artists and other creative individuals. It has raised more than $250 million to fund 24,000 projects. I like it because it takes crowdfunding all the way down to the individual, who can fund their project no matter how large or small. Also, the projects you read about there are much more than just a few lines of text. People in need of funding can post videos, among other things, so potential donors really get a good idea of what they’re contributing to.

Andrew Schrage, Co-Owner at Money Crashers Personal Finance

9. MoviePass

The best way to tell how excited you are about a startup is to see how willing you are to share them with everyday people. Ever since I became an early member of MoviePass, I find myself whipping out my member card and bragging about it to my peers. Needless to say, jealousy quickly ensues. After all, MoviePass is single-handedly trying to disrupt the movie theater industry by offering an all-you-can-watch monthly membership that is as simple as checking in and swiping a card. If you’re a movie fan, it’s a concept to take advantage of.

Logan Lenz, Founder and President at Endagon

10. Square

Square is my favorite. They’re transparent, innovative, and massively disruptive. They literally are changing the way the world looks at payments. Plus, they’re from Missouri, which naturally means they must be awesome.

Brent Beshore, Owner/CEO at AdVentures

11. Uber

Request a cab, set a location, get picked and get out the car without pulling out your wallet? Did the person that made this app give Jack his beanstalk beans?!? Seriously the UX of Uber’s app should be copied for every transaction-based app.

Mike McGee, Co-Founder at The Starter League

12. FancyHands

I found myself bogged down on a daily basis with research and administrative tasks, especially as my startup “grew up” into a full-fledged company. We considered hiring a personal assistant, but never felt we could justify a full salary for that role given our company’s small size. FancyHands fit the need for personal assistants perfectly. I was able to delegate not just business-related tasks, but even personal ones that would normally occupy my time. Since starting with the service just last month, they have already made ~60 phone calls on my behalf and spent nearly ~4 hours on the phone with vendors, customers, etc. This especially helped me when I was out of the office on travel and needed to coordinate meetings for the future. I also find it makes me more thoughtful about delegation.

Andrew Montalenti, CTO at

13. Wave Accounting

My favorite 2012 discovery was Wave Accounting. It’s a for businesses. We use FreshBooks for our invoicing, but needed a better solution to track expenses. This integrates with our online banking and allows us to track how our money is spent.

Matt Wilson, Co-founder at Under30Media

14. CoinBase

One of the more interesting new companies to emerge in 2012 is CoinBase. CoinBase breaks out of the “just another app” mold, seeking to become the ‘PayPal of BitCoin’ — BitCoin is a revolutionary new digital currency first introduced in 2009 that has the potential to disrupt money as we know it. While there has been some barriers to BitCoin adoption, CoinBase has the opportunity to put it on the fast-track to legitimacy as the de facto international currency.

Nanxi Liu, CEO at Enplug

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When Zach Davis isn’t getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail’s Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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