I want to start the year with some higher-level reflection on the venture industry and what I think will happen this year.
1. Fastest to $1B ever
In 2018, Bird shot like a rocket to a billion-dollar valuation.
Without calling out specific startups, we’ve seen this capital flush environment propping up valuations quicker than ever before. Fred Wilson predicts that this era is over, but if we have yet another year of capital moats, then we will very well see a startup receive unicorn status in under a year.
2. Doubled growth in AI/ML startups
Year after year, acquisitions, funding, number of companies founded, etc… have all blown up for a once thought impossible to commercialize field. Now, according to IDC, global spending on AI/ML software will be $50B+ by the end of this year. While a lot of this will come from the big four, large markets grant large opportunities for founders. I believe that these categories of startups will collectively receive $20B+ to refine bleeding-edge research into disruptive tech across all sectors.
3. Interoperability will blossom
Interoperability is the ability for applications and services across different companies to interface with each other (think how you can post an Instagram picture to Twitter by flipping a switch). Given recent years of hardcore refinement in APIs, web standards, and data standards, we need our data and our services to be easily accessible from anywhere for maximized value. Even Apple allows you to see your iCloud photos from a web browser. Due to the maturity of common applications in personal and business life, I believe startups will continue to create a selling point to investors that their service enhances other services to the nth degree. The real contingency here is on the ability to build a strong business plan around this principle as subscription/ads don’t fit so nicely here.
I’ll check back in on these in December!