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5 Sizzling-Hot Startup Sectors Revealed

The economy may feel frozen, but there are some hot startup sectors that are seeing fast growth and have a low barrier to entry.

A recent IBISWorld report spotlights industries teeming with opportunity for startup entrepreneurs in 2013. But opportunity often comes with risks -- including legal ones.

Without further ado, here are five sizzling-hot startup industries that are worth checking out, and some legal reminders for each:

  1. Social network game development. Growth in the use of mobile devices means more people frittering away their time on social media -- and gaming is a favorite activity, reports Forbes. But remember, the FTC has issued new rules to protect children's online privacy. For example, don't design a mobile app that lacks privacy protections for kids, or your hot startup may end up in legal hot water.
  2. Virtual data rooms. Secure online data-sharing is becoming all the rage for long-distance virtual teams who can't get their dealmakers into a physical room to view confidential documents. To secure the virtual data room, adding an encryption feature is an option -- but it has some potential drawbacks as well.
  3. Online shoe sales. Though more and more shoppers are stepping into the online shoe-shopping realm, the leaders in the industry -- including Zappos' owner Amazon.com and FootLocker -- only have a 16 percent market share, according to the IBISWorld report. But before you hit the ground running in this industry, remember that an Internet sales tax is on the horizon, which could affect your online business.
  4. Digital forensic services. More mobile Internet connections mean more opportunity for data breaches. Revenue for the sector is nearing $1 billion, and the sector is lightly regulated, making it relatively easy to start new firms, reports Forbes. Digital forensics is an e-discovery tool used to retrieve and preserve deleted or fragmented computer files. But remember, forensics investigators must follow search and seizure rules set forth by the Constitution's Fourth Amendment so that digital information retrieved can be legally used as evidence in a case.
  5. Information-technology (IT) security consulting. With high-profile giants like Sony, Zappos, and LinkedIn recently falling victim to data breaches, more companies are looking to beef up their security systems. As companies invest in more technology, the market for security expertise will only grow. From protecting customer data to invasions of privacy, the greatest liability for security consulting startups is, of course, security. With the number of things that could go wrong, the risks of starting a security startup may outweigh the benefits.

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