Yesterday we selected our Best LittleCo of 2010, the light blogging service Tumblr. In this post we select a company that we think has the potential to be Best LittleCo of 2011. Next year we're expecting a lot from data-centric companies and one in particular. This company provides a platform for developers to create location-aware applications: SimpleGeo.

This is the 7th year that we've chosen a Most Promising company. Looking back at our results, we've hit the mark sometimes: for example, Feedburner in 2004 and Digg in 2005. Other times our picks have been accurate on the trends, but flew wide of the dartboard when it came to picking the successful companies. We chose sync app Sharpcast (now SugarSync) in 2006, but DropBox is better known now. We chose Brightkite in 2008, which ultimately lost out to Foursquare in the battle of the check-in apps. However, we think we have a winner here in SimpleGeo!

SimpleGeo comes out of Boulder, Colorado - one of the most innovative startup scenes in the U.S. currently.

As ReadWriteWeb's Chris Cameron explained in May, SimpleGeo evolved out of an earlier company: CrashCorp, created by SocialThing founder Matt Galligan and former Digg Chief Architect Joe Stump. The original plan of CrashCorp was to create mobile games using augmented reality, but the young company soon learned that the hardest part was developing the back-end geolocation infrastructure that would support their applications. Thus was born SimpleGeo.

Location has been a big trend of 2010. Foursquare, Facebook, Google and others have developed successful products using location data. The idea behind SimpleGeo is to be a platform for others to utilize location data.

Back in February, before SimpleGeo had launched, the company claimed to be indexing more than 1 million location-based objects every hour.

Although we think SimpleGeo has a lot of potential, we should note that geolocation is a very crowded field. As Marshall Kirkpatrick explained last month, SimpleGeo is competing in some way with entrenched enterprise geodata megaliths like Esri; slow-baked open source standards-based technologies such as OpenGeo; hip startups like Locationlabs, Factual and Foursquare; BigCos like Facebook and Google; and free open-source geodata backed by big mapping companies.

As a sign of things to come, earlier this month SimpleGeo launched into public beta two free application programming interfaces (APIs) that offer a large amount of information about 13 million places in the United States. This information will be available for free, forever, to anyone building an application that needs local context.

Let us know in the comments if you agree with our choice for Most Promising company for 2011, or whether you think another company should've been selected.