Don Dodge (from Microsoft's Emerging Business Team):
"The last 4 years have been brutal, but innovation is happening again. Lots of new companies are emerging and you can feel the excitement again. VCs are investing again. Life is good.The innovations are happening in all areas but a few clusters stand out. Search is a hot area again. Social networking, Security, Wireless Applications, Blog tools, and Lead generation are just a few of the areas I am seeing."Don goes on to list a number of new companies in each of the areas he mentions.
Of those Don lists, I'd call out Tech.memeorandum, Newsgator, del.icio.us (two years old last month), Technorati, Bloglines, Findory and TypePad as each having potentially very bright futures ahead of them.
Vive la renaissance!