The startup landscape lies heavily on anticipation. Anticipation is needed when defining which trends will fill consumer needs best in the near future or when deciding if a startup can sustain years ahead.
There are many different areas in the startup community that will require you to think ahead and bet on future concepts. I’ve chosen a few trends that will become the most populated startup industries in the coming year. Here’s why the below trends are here to stay:
The emergence of the technological advances in transportation over the past few years has changed the way society operates on a day to day basis. The ridesharing industry is led by companies chasing unicorn status. Uber and Lyft have become pioneers for luxury on-demand car services. Uber has secured a total of $8 billion compared to Lyft’s $2 billion to-date. The next innovative step for transportation will come in the form of autonomous cars.
Google has outwardly been on a mission to perfect autonomous car technology though Telsa Motors is also at the forefront of such a breakthrough.
The validation that this trend will continue even shows through the action of “brand” name corporations. European automakers such as Audi, along with Japanese makers such as Nissan and Toyota have all allocated resources to address the developing market for driverless cars.
GM just recently acquired Sidecar, a ridesharing technology that recently ceased operation due to overwhelming competition from Uber and Lyft. Much like General Motors, more automobile giants are trying to anticipate these trends in order to capitalize on their potential competitive advantage.
Virtual Reality has caught such a public buzz that the term is starting to seem outdated. Yet, 2016 will introduce practical VR technology and products that have turned this niche into a trend.
Now that VR has gone mainstream, there are avenues for both consumer facing products and business enabling software. Since 2014, Google has offered low priced VR headsets that piggyback on your smartphone, through their Cardboard viewer.
There is also a premium class of VR products that serve different problems. Shortly after being acquired by Facebook, Oculus Rift announced their plans to go to market and have just released their pre-sold developer kits. Microsoft also has stake in a premium VR solution with Microsoft HoloLens. HoloLens is a fully immersive virtual reality headset that will be available for $3,000 per headset. Microsoft plans to attract the developer and gaming community as well as solve problems for hands-on collaboration.
Wearables / Digital health
Tracking your health digitally has become common practice. Several pre-installed apps on your smartphone already exist to address those needs. With the ability to solve such peculiar, but frequent problems, wearables will continue to be a huge trend among startups in 2016.
Apple’s Healthkit is a new way to monitor your health and fitness in coordination with all of your other health tracking apps. Healthkit essentially has created a standard dashboard for iPhone users to oversee data from your health related applications.
Wearables also cross the bridge between human behavior and technology. Google Glass’s capabilities offer itself to improve services or professions. Doctors are using this wearable to log electronic paperwork or voice control audio/video recording when necessary. Wearables have initially helped enable the digital health revolution but the usage of such technology could have a myriad of more capabilities in the near future.
Crowdfunding has undoubtedly been a huge trend among the startup community in 2015. Crowdfunding hasn’t so much been the focus of emerging startups but rather their vehicle to early investment.
There are approximately 30 equity crowd platforms in the U.S. at the moment. Much like pitching to potential investors, your crowdfunding campaign is a pitch but to show the value in equity to your audience of investors. Raising capital through crowdfunding has it’s advantages and these pros could become more apparent to startup founders in the next year.
The best startups have been able to identify a problem and present a solution, usually before the world knows it’s needed. These trends will likely represent the U.S. startup community in 2016 and eventually define the areas where we’ll see developing competition moving forward.