First up this week is iSkoot, which has created software that puts Skype on a mobile phone. That way, the company says, you can call your buddy list from anywhere. No PC, no broadband line, no cables, no infrastructure -- save for a handset, of course.
If that sounds wonderful, I'm with you. My wife's best friend from childhood is an infrequent Skype user who lives in South Africa. iSkoot should be able to allow them to link up anytime via cell phone. There's only one problem: iSkoot's software isn't yet available on the African continent.
Still, I see plenty of promise in the technology, which is available here, in much of South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Why? I'm logged on to Skype right now with 7.5 million other users. More than 100 million have downloaded some form of Skype software. Talk about a massive addressable market.
Maybe that's why Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW ) co-founder and venture investor Vinod Khosla this week committed $6.2 million to iSkoot through his namesake venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures. (He's also listed as a key advisor to iSkoot at the firm's website.)
Or maybe he finds the prospect of altering the economics of an industry that's growing faster than weeds on Miracle Gro too much to ignore. In China alone, the mobile handset market is expected to grow by 25% to 30% a year. India, meanwhile, is growing even faster; analysts are projecting a 50% rise in new mobile subscriptions during 2007.
Either way, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is surfing an unstoppable wave. iSkoot, along with eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY ) , which owns Skype, appears to me well waxed and ready for the curl. Put this one on the IPO watch list, Fool.
Next up is Wikia, which markets the technology behind the free Web encyclopedia Wikipedia. This week the firm received an undisclosed sum from Amazon to go with an earlier $4 million round of financing from some of the Web's biggest celebrities.
Here's why I'm following up: Enabling community intelligence has been a ripe source for private equity investment over the past year. To date, most of the funds have gone to social networking specialists such as Yelp.com, which collected $3 million in financing last year at this time, and struggling Friendster, which picked up a $10 million cash infusion in August.
Wikis take social networking a step further, making it easy for ordinary users to aggregate knowledge en masse into articles, books, movies, and the like. And for businesses, wikis up the ante by creating a means to easily capture what front-line workers really know -- or, better still, what they think. Eat your heart out, Dilbert. And add Wikia to the IPO watch list, please.
That's all for now. See you back here next week when we continue the quest to find the greatest growth.
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Fool contributorTim Beyers, ranked 806 out of 15,210 inMotley Fool CAPS, didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get the skinny on all the stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool'sdisclosure policyis a rebel on Wall Street.