The Greater Boston Mobile Cluster Quiz: Answers and A Bit of Commentary

8/31/09Follow @bbuderi

Maybe it was the new mobile friendly version of Xconomy (at m.xconomy.com) that we launched a few weeks ago. Or maybe it was just the fact that I’ve been on the road a lot lately. But in any case, last Thursday I had mobile on my mind and so rummaged around data from Mobile Monday Boston to craft a quiz on the Greater Boston Mobile Cluster. The quiz put forth five questions about local mobile companies and investment trends over the past year and a half or so. Today come the answers and a very small bit of commentary or perspective.

1) About how many companies are there in the Boston mobile space?

Reader responses:mobileq1

Correct answer: 250

Commentary: Most folks underestimated the number of mobile companies out there. In January, when MoMo Boston released its year-end report for 2008, it only counted 180, so maybe our voters were thinking of that. But if the new figure is at least fairly accurate, and Mobile Monday’s Kate Imbach is clear that it’s really only a guess at this point, it means we’ve seen a 25-30 percent gain in the number of companies so far this year. Keep in mind that starting a “company” in the mobile space does not mean you’ve won venture funding. It’s often possible to startup with no investment money at all, especially in the case of company developing iPhone apps, say.

2) Which sector of the Boston mobile industry has the most companies?

Reader responses:mobileq2

Correct answer: Applications

Commentary: This is a vague category, I know, as it overlaps some of the others. But that’s the way MoMo breaks it out. Our voters almost got this one right, choosing advertising as their very slight first choice, with abut 15 percent of the total. Advertising, voice, marketing, and content are tightly grouped behind applications.

3) Which of the past six quarters saw the biggest investment in New England mobile companies?

Reader responses: mobileq3

Correct answer: Q1 2009

Commentary: Maybe people are still a bit pessimistic, thinking we still haven’t caught up to last year. But from the dollar figures, it was all about Q1 of 2009, when some $215 million was raised by 11 companies.

4) What has been the largest venture investment in a New England mobile company so far in 2009?

Reader responses:mobileq4

Correct answer: $28 million

Commentary: This was an April funding round for Wilmington, MA-based Lilliputian Systems, which is developing fuel cells for powering mobile phones and laptops. A stretch perhaps to call it a mobile company—but MoMo does, and I warned you on Thursday that batteries were included (in the quiz).

5) How many companies have received venture investments from January through July of 2009?

Reader responses:mobileq5

Correct answer: 20

Commentary: The MoMo stats run through the second quarter. We’ve added two investments we tracked in July: a $3 million round for UDS Directory and $1 million A round for Apperian. Both companies are based in Boston.

I’m sorry to say that not once did our readers’ top choice correspond to the correct answer. This may just be an indication of how quickly the sector is evolving. The good news is that most of you didn’t cheat and look at the stats on the Mobile Monday site.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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