Silicon stars: 2010's boldface tech startups

From Groupon to Gilt Groupe, several tech startups had banner years that altered our perception of technology and its role in society. Here are a few that captured Fortune's imagination.

1 of 6
Few industries transform more swiftly than technology. Where startup companies in other sectors might need years before they find success, some tech startups can become successful, by some measures, in just four days. (That's how long it took personal profile startup About.Me to be bought by AOL (AOL) earlier this month.)

Nowhere but online can a company stumble upon such rapid user growth or jaw-dropping investment or buyout offers. Because while the Apples, Googles, and Oracles of the world might rule, at least as far as the bottom line is concerned, arguably much of technology's cutting-edge innovation occurs within the tiny confines of a startup's HQ. And tech giant CEOs often rely on these startups to innovate in their way large companies can't, only to snap up their products and personnel with mountains of cash.

As Fortune looks forward to another year of exhilaration and tumult in tech, we spotlight five tech startups that hit their stride in 2010.

NEXT: Groupon
Last updated December 28 2010: 5:31 AM ET
More Galleries
5 biggest share buybacks of 2014 Stock repurchases are booming. These five companies are ready to spend over $79 billion on buybacks. More
10 horrifying corporate mascots McDonald's Happy is part of a long lineage of creatures great and small that shill for products and mortify consumers. Mr. Mucus, anyone? More
5 best cities to launch a career The top spots in the U.S. for new grads to land a job -- and actually enjoy life -- according to financial site WalletHub. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.