Incubator Groupthink Or Real Innovation?

Listen to 160 seed companies at eight startup accelerators and what do you learn?

Christina Cacioppo tried to answer this question in a Union Square Ventures blog post this morning. What she discovered is that incubators, such as Y Combinator or TechStars, function as useful barometers of the opportunities Internet entrepreneurs find exciting.

Here are the two big trends she observed:

Software as a cottage industry. Young companies are delivering pieces of code, or components, that developers need to build and run Web applications as online services. Think of companies such as Parse, building tools for mobile apps; TightDB, a database for big data; and analytics company ReportGrid.

Disintermediation of employers. Why labor for one company when the Web allows professionals to promote their own businesses? This is what Opez does for hair stylists and the like; SideTour for local guides and local experts; and InterviewStreet for programmers.

Whether these trends have legs or reflect groupthink is for you to decide. Certainly, it seems, they stimulate passion.

Cacioppo joined the firm last year and is part of its investment efforts. Here is a link to her post.

(Photo by Arcurs/Shutterstock)