Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds big money for storytellers and plenty of green for green firms.
First up this week is SnapJot, a company that helps scrapbooking enthusiasts such as my wife take their craft online. According to the company's website, its goal is to help customers transform keepsakes into digital stories that will last forever. That's achieved by uploading photos, videos, and writings to a personalized site. It sorts of reminds me of the slide shows my uncle and grandfather would assemble when I was a boy.
But there's more to this than mere nostalgia. The technology behind the idea is impressive. For example, one of the chief problems with scrapbooking is that it requires long hours of organization. SnapJot address that by using the time associated with each "scrap" as an organizing principle. Chronological stories are assembled automatically. Knowing my wife as I do, I can imagine this feature alone could be a major stressbuster.
SnapJot also has all the markings of big business. Founders Steve Douty and Steve Zagerman are respectively veterans of Hotmail, now a division of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , and Ofoto, which is now a part of Kodak (NYSE: EK ) . They're treating this like you would any other Web startup -- by going out and raising money. VentureWire reports that the pair recently secured an undisclosed amount of series A financing from early-stage venture firm Amicus and investor Ron Conway, who VentureWire says was one of the first backers of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) .
I can understand why. In fact, I wonder whether it will be long before the giant Internet media companies like Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , which already owns photo-sharing site Flickr, make a bid for the firm or a competitor such as OurStory.com. Online scrapbooking would offer users yet another reason to keep from wandering free of the comfy digital confines that portals have come to represent.
Next up is ... green, as in green power. It continues to attract ever-increasing wads of similarly hued moola. VentureWire reports that funding for firms working on renewable energy increased to a six-year high of $513 million in the first quarter. That's a 50% year-over-year gain, and it mirrors enthusiasm seen for energy stocks -- and, for that matter, funds. The PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (AMEX: PBW ) exchange-traded fund has beaten the market by more than 7% since joining the Motley Fool Rule Breakers portfolio in April. Don't be surprised if more such opportunities avail themselves in the next 12 months.
Why all the hubbub, you ask? How about new interest in energy efficiency at both the Federal and state levels? As just one example, California's public utilities commission has agreed to cough up $3 billion to bring more solar power into the electric grid, and the IRS is offering any homeowner up to $2,000 in tax breaks for solar-sourced improvements. Those types of incentives for efficient energy will continue to trickle down into the investment arena, so keep a watch on other companies that serve to benefit from this trend.
That's all for now. See you back here next Friday when we continue the quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
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Fool contributorTim Beyersneeds to clean his office before he can begin the search for clean energy. Tim didn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.