The Next Big Thing

In search of the next big thing, we look at the Wall Street Journal’s Top-50 American start-ups.

Silicon Valley. (PRNewsFoto)

Silicon Valley. (PRNewsFoto)

Economies change.  Little start-ups become great pillars.  This week, Google became more valuable than Microsoft and Wal-Mart.  Google didn’t exist fifteen years ago.  So what’s the next big thing?  The thing that may drive our next economy?

The Wall Street Journal is out with a top-50 list of the nation’s hottest start-up companies.  They’ve got big ideas, strong funding, huge ambition.  What’s the picture of the future they suggest, for the U.S. economy, for jobs, for fortunes, for you?

This hour, On Point:  we’re digging in, looking for the next big thing for the American economy.

-Tom Ashbrook


Scott Austin, technology editor at the Wall Street Journal, and co-creator of the The Next Big Thing rankings.

Kirk Inglis, chief operating officer of Prosper Marketplace.

Victor Hwang, co-founder and Managing Director of T2 Venture Capital, a Silicon Valley venture firm at the intersection of private venture and public policy. He’s the author of The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley.

David Chao, co-founder and general partner of the venture capitalist firm DCM

From Tom’s Reading List

Here is the Top 50 list from the Wall Street Journal.

Wall Street Journal “The top three ranked companies are all business-product makers: Genband Inc., a supplier of voice-over-Internet-protocol technology to telecom companies; Xirrus Inc., a provider of wireless networking equipment; and Tabula Inc., which makes semiconductors for electronic products.”

Wall Street Journal “The Wall Street Journal’s third annual ranking of the top 50 venture-capital-backed companies shows a crop of contenders that overall are focused less on online consumers than in years past.”

Wall Street Journal “During a period of world-wide financial instability—from the nation’s downbeat economic news to the European debt crisis—most of the companies on the 2011 list have remained unscathed, if not prosperous.”

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