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The Herman Trend Alert: Venture Capitalists’ Top Tech Trends Of 2018

We see innovation, especially in start-ups, to be growing quickly, as a result of many factors, not the least of which is the availability of funding for these ventures.

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Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at http://www.hermangroup.com/archive.html

Photo credit: iStock.com/akindo

Venture capitalists (VCs) are always on the lookout for cutting-edge technologies. When we saw this article in Fast Company, we had to share the content with you. VCs who invest in start-ups are obviously a perfect group to ask about the top tech trends. Some of the trends are new, others are building on known technologies. This Herman Trend Alert focuses on the insights from three VCs featured in the article.

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The human side of AI

First Round Capital’s Hayley Barna is interested in using AI to give people “superpowers,” including helping the stylists at StitchFix, a personal shopping service, to make better suggestions to their customers. Barna also is interested in blending the physical with the digital, e.g., digital companies creating pop-up experiences or bricks and mortar businesses establishing digital portals.

Prospects abound in e-sports

We were happy to see that Accel’s Vas Natarajan highlighted the opportunities in E-sports. With the rise of a new platform called Twitch, there has been an exponential increase in the identifiable audience for global gaming. Twitch alone has 45 million viewers per month. Now the market is not just the tens of millions of core- to mid-core gamers, there is a huge additional audience of spectators. Natarajan believes (and we agree) that this multiplier effect will prompt the appearance of many “new product and company opportunities.”

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Making genetics work for healthcare

We have often talked about personalized medicine being the future of healthcare. Venrock’s Bryan Roberts sees that over the next 5 to 10 years, we should expect to see “more data-based, more genetic-based information being included in [our] interactions with [our] providers, whether on a generalized basis or in response to specific disease issues.” Doctors will have much more information on which to base treatment decisions, because we will know much more about the associations between genetic markers and reactions in the body.

Synthetic biology in consumer products

By far, the most fascinating to us is the trend named by the Roche Venture Fund’s Karl Handelsman. For a while now, we have had clothes washing detergents that worked well in all different temperatures. What makes these cleaning agents work so well is the “evolved and engineered” enzymes. Handelsman also talked about rice that that has been engineered to “lose its resistance to cold” but gain 20 percent in metabolic efficiency. Given the warming trend in many areas that grow rice, we could see this product doing very well in some climates.

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Our Brave New Technological World

There are many other trends mentioned in this article, we just took our favorites. We see innovation, especially in start-ups, to be growing quickly, as a result of many factors, not the least of which is the availability of funding for these ventures.

Special thanks to Fast Company and the VCs who contributed their insights to the article. To read the entire article, click here

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