What’s the next billion dollar idea?

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A couple of months ago, Facebook acquired the wildly popular photo sharing social network, Instagram, for a cool US$1-billion. Popular yes, profitable? Nope. With zero revenue to speak of, hacker-CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw something in Instagram and its thirteen employees that justified spending a chunk of Facebook’s newly acquired change after its record-breaking, yet troubled IPO.

What’s the next billion dollar idea? It’s anyone’s guess, but here are our favourites.

Pinterest

Pinterest, the social scrapbooking darling has seen its user base shoot past the 104 million mark in March. Just one year ago, the site was managing a comparatively meager 500 000 monthly visits. According to Experian Hitwise, Pinterest has the third-largest traffic number, behind only Twitter and Facebook.

In May of this year, Pinterest raised US$100-million — its third investment — which places the two-year-old social scrapbooking site’s valuation somewhere between US$1-billion and US$1.5-billion.

Spotify

Spotify is now said to be the second largest source of revenue for major music labels, behind Apple’s iTunes.

The buffet music streaming music service has an estimated 10 million European and US users — and counting — thanks in large part to frictionless sharing of its listeners’ musical tastes with Facebook. Three million of Spotify’s listeners are currently paying for the service.

According to the New York Times, the six-year-old company founded in Sweden is currently raising $220-million which will put it at a $4-billion valuation. Goldman Sachs is investing US$100-million in the round.

Flipboard

It’s hard to think of another app that’s managed to generate and sustain as much interest as Flipboard. Earlier this year, Flipboard was downloaded an estimated 8.4-million times with 40% of the popular newsreader app’s readership coming from outside the US — illustrating its global appeal.

An additional five-million users are expected to join the service after launching in China this year, and with Flipboard receiving 500 000 beta shortly after launching its official beta on Android, Flipboard is starting to look like a juggernaut. Instagram reached 27- million users shortly before it was acquired.

Socialcam

The video sharing site is probably best described as “Instagram for video.” With that in mind, it’s not hard to imagine Socialcam being snapped up by Facebook for a billion Zuck bucks. Much maligned, but growing rapidly — by eight million users a week at one stage — and breaching the 20 million user mark — reportedly beating competitor Viddy’s 15-million — Socialcam seems set to blossom.

No exact numbers are available for Socialcam at this stage, but with Viddy having raised US$6-million in Series A funding — and potentially $30-million more — at an estimated US$370-million valuation, things look promising for Socialcam.

Evernote

Note taking Swiss army knife, Evernote was hailed as Inc.’s 2011 Company of the Year and recently raised US$70-million in a fifth round of funding, putting the company at a US$1-billion valuation.

In 2011, Evernote doubled its user base, to 20-million.

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