The Next Facebook: 3 Startups To Watch

Hunting for the “next Facebook” may seem as challenging as finding a needle in a bale of haystacks, but if anyone should know what the next Facebook looks like, it is Facebook’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Saverin, who was Mark Zuckerberg’s early partner and featured prominently in The Social Network film as the oppressed shareholder, has backed a new venture called Jumio.  So enthusiastic was Saverin about the company that he said “the last time I have seen such a disruptive idea was actually Facebook.”

Just what is this disruptive idea?  That remains a secret, but a clue was provided by the company, which stated crypicallly:  “You Buy. You Sell.  And Jumio is making everything in between a lot easier.”

While Jumio is still in stealth mode and its potential is yet to be realized, another startup is already growing at a pace that mirrors the growth of Facebook in its early days.  Hundreds of thousands of people have joined SkillPages every month since it launched in earnest in January, making it among the fastest growing social networking companies, even outstripping the pace of growth LinkedIn saw in its early days.  So what’s the big idea behind SkillPages that has so many users joining in a hurry?

In short, anyone with “skills” looking to promote those “skills” is a candidate for SkillPages.  Anyone looking to find somebody with a certain skill-set is a prospective user from the buying side.  Unlike LinkedIn, which is viewed mostly as having a white collar member base, SkillPages attracts both blue and white collar professionals.

It’s especially attractive for small business professionals, who may no longer need to build their own website, find an SEO specialist and figure out how to promote their site; they can just let SkillPages do all the hard work for them.

The third candidate to become the “next Facebook” is Zumbox, which has a great ‘change the world’ idea behind it.

The big idea stems from the horrendous financial performance of the United States Postal Service, which in 2010 lost $8.5 billion and warned Congress it would be broke in 2011 if economic conditions don’t improve.  So how can you save the government $8.5 billion? Go digital!

What if each physical address in the real world had a digital address online?  The idea was so compelling to the New Zealand government, along with the fact that delivery of first class mail had declined 19% since 2001 and will continue to sink by 37% over the next decade in that country, that its post office adopted the Zumbox Platform for Digital Postal Mail.

One common factor in all of these start-ups is that, at their core, they make everyday activities easier.  Jumio attacks the idea of paying/selling goods and services, SkillPages makes it easier to hire or sell professional services, and Zumbox addresses the challenge of the time delay and capital costs of snail mail.  So if you’re looking for the next Facebook as an entrepreneur, investor, or user, start by thinking about what makes life easier for everybody every day.

Gareth Feighery is CEO and Co-Founder of MarketTamer, a stocks and options education company. Feighery has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

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