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PROFIT asked speakers at the Digital Media Summit in Toronto to name the best startup and expansion prospects for technology firms today.

NICHOLAS LAKAS, director, Strategy Interbrand, Toronto “Everyone is talking about big data these days, but one thing that’s missing is the ‘why’ in data. Digital computing power has grown exponentially, and companies now have access to a huge amount of data. But there aren’t many players who are analyzing that data to interpret why things are happening. Customers today are really looking for that insight. And investors with Y Combinator and crowdfunding platforms are eager to fund companies that provide it.”

DAVID REIS, founder and CEO, DEI Worldwide, Studio City, Calif. “In the U.S., we have health-insurance exchanges coming in with Obamacare. We’re struggling with how to serve this new model. Canada is in a unique position in that you have many companies that have been providing digital programs to support this type of medical care for a long time. You’ve seen what works, and you have real expertise that we don’t. A well-developed second- or third- generation program that can be easily applied in the U.S. would put you ahead of the curve.”

JASON FALLS, CEO, Social Media Explorer, Louisville, Ky. “The biggest gap I see now is in helping small businesses. There are a ton of technologies out there that can help measure social-media presence and aggregate data about digital marketing. But there are very few that are cost-effective for small businesses—they’re mostly designed for enterprise clients, or have evolved that way. There’s a huge market for entrepreneurs to offer these tools with a focus solely on SMEs. The first companies to do that well will make a lot of money.”

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