Fun Friday: What Is Exciting These Days In Tech and Startup Land?

I figured I’d follow up a post taking a shot at the AVC community with one that should engage the AVC community, including me.

And what better to talk about than what excites us these days?

It is no secret to the regular readers that it is hard for me to get excited about the current state of tech and startup land. David said as much in his comment yesterday.

With the exception of blockchain stuff, which seems very early and not yet investable except for fools and the foolhardy (me), I am struggling to find things to get excited about in tech and startup land.

So, let’s all jump into the comments and talk about what excites us about tech and startups right now. Not yesterday, not last year, not five years ago, right now. And if its your startup you are excited about, that’s cool, but please don’t turn the comments into a pitch fest. That’s my life already ๐Ÿ™‚

#entrepreneurship#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    The disruption of the food mafia is a personal focus for me.I believe that a major issue with health care is that it serves disease management rather than prevention through encouraging healthy living.Fix the food world and you start to fix a lot.Unleash innovation locally without the steel trap of the FDA and you start a freer market movement.Today besides the FDA certs and restrictions, we have a small number of monster brands who own the world. You have a smaller number of chains (like Whole Foods) that own streetside distribution. You have a even smaller number of major distributors like UNFI who own perishable distribution.The answer lies in online to realtime logistical answers like Amazon Fresh though we all love to touch and shop and fraternize over shopping.No one is winning. No one has figured this out.Where can we look for a solution here?Tech, community, local first are the answer here in some combo.

    1. fredwilson

      yessssssss. our investment in LaRuche [] which is “etsy for hyperlocal farmers markets” is a piece of this. but of course, this is a complicated and important problem that will require many efforts to come together. what are some examples you like?

      1. awaldstein

        Three responses as I’m rushing to an early meeting.I like what is being done on the supply side as a model.Joanne (I believe) has an investment in an open non-gmo seed market and there are small pockets of changing the supply of meat, density focused protein crops. Change the supply and it bubbles up though this disrupts the quality not the distribution piece.On a distribution side the hyper local like LaRuche I think has legs. Local as an answer makes sense on the sustainability piece and on the community connection model. And once proven it can be stamped out and scale.Pure tech/science. My mantra is how to you solve the problem of world hunger without destroying the planet aka making larger quantities of quality food at scale. Need to look at the stuff i found on larger scale hydroponics as the new ‘farm’.AndI like what our friend Charlie is doing from a different perspective. Doesn’t disrupt distribution but it ties social change to a healthy food answer and that is a step in the right direction.

        1. Jeff Parkinson

          In the vein of trying to scale hyperlocal, check out Fresh Nation. Taking available, but unorganized data and enabling brick and mortar to order from local farms as they would any other vendor.

          1. awaldstein

            will do thanks!

    2. Humberto

      this is hard. having build a food business before, if you want to succeed you need at least to be integrated in a supply chain which is even more consolidated than the ready to eat and retail food brands themselves

      1. awaldstein

        I own a food business and know the ins and out of the business very well. Knowledge by fire.The piece to focus on is that you need to jump the brand piece. Right now brand is the process and the answer.You build them, you sell them to the big mafia bosses, they go to hyper manufacturing and they become just like everyone else.How do you break that? How does local driven by tech and community change that dynamic?

        1. Dan Moore

          We are working on one piece of the solution, a marketplace to let food businesses find commercial kitchen space more easily, as well as to let other organizations with commercial kitchen space monetize. Link in my profile. (Hope that is not a pitch!)It’s an interesting business because it is tied to identity, margins can be super thin, and it is consolidated, but at the same time there’s tremendous waves of innovation happening at a very small scale. We just presented at/went to Foodbytes and there’s a lot of interesting things happening.

          1. awaldstein

            Glad to chat. Know this market/issue very well. Its an expensive [email protected]

          2. Dan Moore

            Sure, I’ll shoot you an email.

          3. Drew Meyers

            Kitchens are one of the categories my friends at focused on

          4. Dan Moore

            Thanks Drew, definitely seems like letsmake and thefoodcorridor are playing in similar spaces.

        2. Nick Devane

          I work at a food incubator kitchen (225 food businesses in market) and we spend a lot of time looking at ways to unbundle this copacking, distribution, and marketing piece for smaller brands. It’s an extremely hard system to break and not a lot of capital available to smaller outfits because of the risk/return profiles. Not wholly dissimilar to the studio systems of the 20s/30s. In NYC for instance you have little access to any small-batch copacking or HPP facility at any reasonable unit run (people dont want to switch over lines). Distribution costs 15-30% of your revenue and marketing is an unknown.The sector as a whole is picking up a clip rapidly, both in new businesses and consumer demand. You are right though, without some disruption big brands will M&A and retain current status.

          1. Dan Moore

            Nick, would love to connect with you. Or, if you are going to NESAWG, one of our cofounders, Ashley Colpaart, is attending.

          2. awaldstein

            The world my investment company works in in NYC.Difference from the Hollywood studio systems was that they owned the theatre chains.The mulitier system is a bear to navigate and end up with any margin.

          3. Nick Devane

            Would love to have you come check out the kitchen. I think you’d enjoy it. Given what you wrote above.

          4. awaldstein

            I know the incubator model too well unfortunately Nick.Shoot me a mail and we can decide whether it is worthwhile to connect.Thanks!

    3. William Mougayar

      Good one Disrupt them all

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        Yes! Healthcare too!

    4. pointsnfigures

      Arnie and I agree on this 1,000,000 percent. If there is a place Americans can come together it’s food!

      1. awaldstein

        Knew you would chime in here!Fix food, lionize local, make health and wellness a mantra and you start to fix a lot of major issues like healthcare.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Yes. End farm subsidies, let the market sort it out. End quotas and let farmers choose. Ease regulations on sales so more people have access. Let the Uberization of farming begin.

        2. Nick Devane

          The system that lead to medium/large format farming is so hard to unbundle back to small scale organic/local farming. We went from small family-owned operations to corporations. It’s damn hard to bring those families back.

    5. Mac

      Biotech. Let’s take your thoughts on disruption and the FDA and “unleash” biotech. Researchers and manufacturers who are developing and producing new drugs to cure diseases like cancer, HIV, and neuromuscular illnesses such as Alzheimer’s are crucial to health care.Let’s clear many of the barriers and hurdles and attract more investments and thus more innovative startups as well. The answers and solutions are within our reach. As a ‘boomer’, I’d like to see us get there quicker. ๐Ÿ™‚

    6. Jess Bachman

      I agree a lot with this. My family watched Forks over Knives on @JimHirshfield:disqus reccomedation and it really changed the game for us.No one wants to be on medication and so many bad food decisions are made from ignorance and decades of misinformation.We recently signed up for a local Rhode Island veggie box and its been great. I always tell myself, “I should go to the farmers market more” but never do. Now it comes to me which fits in with my Amazon Prime lifestyle. We need more of that, and not just for the affluent as well.

      1. panterosa,

        Are you in RI? My friend runs Edible Rhody. I have not read it in years but did their color palette all matched to produce colors for 4 seasons. Was so fun.

        1. Jess Bachman

          Yes I am, just moved. I am pleasantly surprised by the food scene here.

          1. panterosa,

            It’s not bad. Fellini’s is always on my route. New Rivers. Al Forno when someone else is paying. Black Pearl in Newport on a fall day for a bloody and soup.

      2. awaldstein

        I believe this is really the truth.I’ve change large pieces of my life around this an am better for this

    7. Richard

      There are a few headwinds, Babyboomers as they age eat less and less and Millenials (the other large demo) are grocery shopping less that other generations. According to federal data, last year consumers between the ages of 25 to 34 spent an average of $3,539 on groceries, about $1,000 less than what the same age group spent in 1990.

    8. Chris Franz

      If you are looking for food disruption with a social aspect (but still for profit) check out FoodMaven ( I have been impressed with their model. They take nearing expiration food from groceries, that is normally thrown in a dumpster and broker it to restaurants and commercial that use it right away. Anything not purchased goes to community food banks. I hate the waste in food so this one was a win for me.

      1. awaldstein

        Will do thanks!

    9. Donna Brewington White

      Huge! So many layers ripe for disruption.My son switched from a computer science to 4 year degree program at a culinary school. My imagination is whirring with the possibilities of that combination. Especially since they aren’t just learning to prepare foods but nutrition and food as a science…even touching on agriculture.

      1. Peter Beddows

        Wow @donnawhite:disqus, that switch must have given you the heeby geebies – or something like that – as you no doubt initially worried about whether or not your son had a truly creative genius mind within him or perhaps was experiencing a moment of temporary (hopefully) insanity given how important we all have now come to view that it is to have computer background in our back pocket?Nonetheless, I wish him every success in this choice: Certainly a great potential for eventually being his own boss, having his own business and a claim to fame.Perhaps not quite in the same vein, but this does remind me of how my own parents reacted when I dropped out of college to join a UK rock band. However, I did return to “normalcy” eventually and ultimately did go back to college albeit that I have often wondered since then, where would I now be today had I stayed with the band given the success of my then compatriots, and contemporaries, such as Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart and several others of whom you may have heard of hailing from the UK.Gave me little satisfaction, back in 1989 – the last time my parents visited me in CA – to point out that Mick Jagger was not only still performing but that the Stones where actually playing a concert right here in the US that very week.

  2. kenberger


    1. fredwilson

      c’mon. give me something to join you in being excited about!!!

      1. kenberger

        I’m comfortably divided in my outlook these days as I roam the world for killer undervalued tech:- About 50% on super forward thinking tech, let’s call it “magic”. Could be space travel or Hyperloop stuff (although it doesn’t seem like Hyperloop is the actual winner), coffee and alcohol replacements (how do we not really have these yet?) There will always be tons in this category for sure, albeit with enormous failure rates for business, technical, or regulatory reasons.- And 50% on ideas that are “backward looking”– forget trying to boil the ocean on every swing, there is such a huge surplus of amazing services and products already out there that the world has yet to really process and extract serious value from. How about the fact that airline prices have collapsed, I can (and def do) run all over the world on little budget, find very reasonable accommodation at last minute, and have 4G connectivity in a huge swath of the world? Tons of value to mine under this scenario.Here is an incredible list, MUST READ. I found it because I keep meeting with great co’s who have been appearing on it (Gogoro scooters of Korea, Mondo in UK, and a few others I can’t mention). It keeps me very inspired:…For example:#1 is an example of futuristic “magic”: Spiber. Artificial threads based on spider DNA.#21 is an example of “backward-looking”: IGROW- Utilizing underemployed farmers and underutilised land to build the world’s largest farm.

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          Thank you for sharing this list. There are some really interesting companies in it. I’m fascinated by the open source prosthetics and also the portable clean/renewable energy products.

        2. Susan Rubinsky

          If 21 is done with fair trade/human rights ideals, this could be really powerful. Especially if it could disrupt crops like coffee and chocolate which are primarily harvested by slave labor.

  3. Emi Gal


    1. fredwilson

      yes, but that’s a generic answer. where in AI? where is there defensibility/differentiation that startups can leverage?

      1. Emi Gal

        Take any industry that’s information-heavy (healthcare, logistics, education) and apply AI. AIs will become exponentially better than humans at anything information-heavy, given enough training data. As for defensibility / differentiation – algorithms are arguably a commodity once published (and all recent AI innovation has been published), so it’s about having the right data (and lots of it). IMHO, startups will need to offer value with products that generate data, and use that data to train their AIs.I have no examples yet, mainly because I think it’s a bit too early.

      2. Twain Twain

        Here in AI. This is an embeddable ML chip that’s been invented in the UK and will be commercially available.The visual data processing happens on the chip rather than in the Cloud which makes it much more efficient. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…I was speaking with one of the founders about what would happen if such a chip was embeddable in traffic lights and/or white canes to help visually-impaired people see oncoming traffic. The vision recognition could be combined with voice from Siri / Alexa so the traffic lights / white cane could give street crossing directions.This type of dynamic data and ML processing isn’t something that can be done by GE Predix IoT or Siri-Alexa.Another use case would be in personal safety tags attachable to kids’ clothing. The chip could be connected to parents’ phones and trigger alerts if the vision AI detects that someone is showing anomalous behavior, i.e. going out of their path to come over to bother the child.

      3. ShanaC

        raw AI is boring. AI in things is where it gets interesting

  4. Bala

    I thought this talk was very interesting – Artificial Intelligence at work – a very different approach to AI. http://events.technologyrev

  5. Vitor Conceicao

    I think that we are in a kind of hiatus in the tech world. The changes brought by the networks and mobile wave have already reached a plateau and the next wave which should be in AI, Smart Homes/IoT, Block Chain and VR/AR are still in the very early days and we are still waiting for new experiments to start growing.There is probably some effect of the over funding of the unicorns which has been overcrowding the media and talks in the last couple of years leaving little space for smaller and more revolutionary startup ideas.I think this will change in the next couple of years as this new wave gets under way.

    1. fredwilson

      correct. that is where i am anyway.

  6. Humberto

    What i am excited about:- new types of homes. pre-fabricated, co-owning, co-sharing. people want to be mobile but want to have guaranteed shelter too. There must be some solution for this.- banking. we need a debt equivalent of bitcoin through blockchain identities (credit scores) and contracts. i had a great credit score in portugal, went to the US and couldn’t buy anything. then i had a great credit score in the US, came to Germany and had to go back to zero. this makes no sense- bicycles. they are amazing. everything about bicycles is cool!- drones and robots for deliveries. The last mile is capilar but expensive. robots will solve this.- easy programming for all! take some power back from DevsWhat i am not that excited atm, but which will sooner or later become interesting:- VR. i can’t believe we’re going for awkward helmets and glasses.. also, apart from industrial, gaming and explicit content, don’t see killer apps yet. also expensive. check back in 5-10 years- IoT. sure, sensors and machines and stuff. but the moniker is too ample.. it’s not a thing, its a million things.- Governments locking in parts of the internet. we need a solution for this- Content not being truly global. You’d be amazed to know how small the choice of digital movie releases is in Europe. The iTunes Store and others are a joke here when compared to the USs. Also way more expensive, and with many delays over new releases.- AI. For quite some more years I think it’ll be a feature of products, and a better way of “programming”.

    1. Vitor Conceicao

      You are right IoT is to ample. I’m more excited at the Smart Home aspect of it, but there is a huge business opportunity for industrial applications as well.The problem with for the Smart Home world is that it still lacks a standard that everybody follows. As long as you need separate apps and remotes to control everything it will not work. Whoever wins the spot as the main aggregator in this space can become the next Google/Facebook/Apple.

      1. Humberto


      2. Susan Rubinsky

        I think we are at an interesting juncture where a whole lot of individual apps/products/software can be consolidated to make the whole pie in many industries. Consolidation isn’t as sexy though as the next big thing.

    2. Nigel Walsh

      see my comment above re IoT – I love it, but its a means to what it enables – in my world, thats insurance which has a huge opportunity to be disrupted and is with InsurTech

      1. pointsnfigures

        Insurance has a lot, and I mean a lot of potential for innovation-and blockchain will be a big part of it.

    3. fredwilson

      wow. i am so with you on all of this.

      1. Zachary Reiss-Davis

        Amen — comments like that one by @tallberto:disqus are the best possible evidence for why you shouldn’t turn off your amazing community (per your post a few days ago, @fredwilson:disqus )

        1. Humberto

          Yes. @fredwilson:disqus, please don’t turn it off. As a second thought, maybe Disqus can solve this.

    4. panterosa,

      do you include houseboats or floating houses in co-shared mobile shelter? or airstreams? or more elaborate tent-like structures?

      1. Humberto

        I think those have different problems, especially those on the water. Infrastructure and scalability seem hard.Tent-like structures are already a reality for holiday and living in many warm weather places – from mexico, brasil, รญndia (goa) etc and some parts of europe (Comporta, near Lisbon, is a luxury natural reserve holiday spot built with this in mind).For the moment I’ve bought many books regarding construction of fixed, expandable and mobile housing with shipping containers. It’s a fascinating topic, and what you can do even for the high quality segments is remarkable

        1. Vasudev Ram

          Interesting, didn’t know about this area. Sounds potentially fun and useful. I had seen an earthship some time ago. It looked like the Thumb House in this article:

    5. Vitomir Jevremovic

      Very nice list indeed. Exciting. Though 5-10 years window on your not-exciting tech is much quicker then penetration of home-mobility or credit-blockchain-tech or drones-flying-around-your-city. VR and IoT are happing today, but are hard to believe in until they become believable, but then winners are already on thrones.

      1. Humberto

        err, you’re probably right. ๐Ÿ™‚ but i meant it as getting exciting. I do honestly believe that VR is too much hype for now. Hopefully AR will take over soon.And If i’m wrong, i’ll be very glad too

    6. William Mougayar

      very well said !

    7. Akin Sawyerr

      I like the prospect of block-chain solutions acting as a platform for interoperability of identify management, credit assessment, and contract enforcement.The technical innovation is here, now for the hard part of developing business models and applications that meet the needs of under-served customers

    8. Kirtan Patel

      Hi Humberto, we’re working on what we believe to be the next evolution of pre-fab homes over at Cover. (

      1. Humberto

        cool! i’m going to check it out!

      2. Drew Meyers

        How long you been at it?

        1. Kirtan Patel

          Hi Drew! We’ve been working on the idea/design for ~2 years.The past 6 months has been prototyping and manufacturing.

          1. Drew Meyers

            Got it, thank you. The website looks good.

          2. Kirtan Patel


    9. Drew Meyers

      “- new types of homes. pre-fabricated, co-owning, co-sharing. people want to be mobile but want to have guaranteed shelter too. There must be some solution for this.”Indeed, lots of cool stuff happening related to the future of homes/housing.

    10. Andrew Wheeler

      Breaking out IOT and looking at certain industry segments gets exciting – digital substations, manufacturing drives and robotics are going to be huge – I wrote more about it here:

  7. rdavidmullins

    I’m pretty excited about what we are doing at oolipo. http://www.oolipo.comWe are creating a technology and publishing platform for the creation of mobile storytelling. Basically, a platform leveraging native mobile technology and democratizing tools for a community of storytellers to create stories that parallel Pokรฉmon Go.As advertisers and brands keep yapping about storytelling but can’t find the proper expression or format in which to execute on this need.I’m a big fan of the intersection of technology, story and community, so that’s why I did this.

  8. Sebastian Aldasoro

    Well, I’m excited because Latam is starting to get noticed globally by investors and some of the companies created in Argentina have gone global and started showing in major tech publications in the last months. The pace of investment is growing a lot and our entrepreneurial ecosystem is getting better (level of entrepreneurs is increasing). I’m also excited about blockchain stuff (Argentina is a sort of mini hub for this) and I’ve lately seen argentine companies such as, which provides digital signature on the blockchain and seems interesting. And well, maybe this is too personal, but I’m excited because I’m exploring how to start managing my first syndicate next year (with mentors support) so I can start as a micro VC ๐Ÿ™‚ You all have a great friday!

  9. Vinish Garg

    Personalized healthcare is something to watch. There are not many players around who can curate, store, analyze, and guide consumers on their personal well-being for “medicines and drugs, foods, and life style” combined, to help consumers make informed decisions for their lifestyle and habits.As for the skills, ‘visual storytelling’ should be interesting. Whatever is next in technology – AR/VR/AI/bitcoins, marketing will be the key and people skilled in visual storytelling should be driving campaigns.

    1. fredwilson

      i am with you on healthcare. it is one of the areas that i am spending time on.

      1. mikenolan99

        I’m now an entrepreneur in residence at Optum/UHG… I’ll tell ‘ya – it’s a blast working inside the 6th largest company. I’m working with about a dozen medication adherence tech companies – think smart pill boxes. It’s a fast growing segment. Connecting the data from in-home devices to large provider, payer and patients electronic medical records is challenging – but promises to help keep people living at home longer, lower readmission rates and give peace of mind to connected family caregivers.

        1. ShanaC

          hey, can I talk to you about this, I have tons of questions about HIPAA and GINA because of an idea I have

        2. Vinish Garg

          Mike, I saw UHG products and services, tremendous work. Shall we network on LinkedIn [vinish dot garg at vhite dot com]?

      2. Donna Brewington White

        What do you think of what Heal is doing?

  10. Atit Danak

    I am super excited about INDIASTACK – it is a set of API’s managed by Public organisations developed by iSPIRT volunteers with links to Digital India Initiative & JAM to fuel Innovation & Entrepreneurship.There is a strong Govt push to make India paperless and cashless. And has lead to initiative like – UPI (architecture and a set of standard APIs to facilitate the next generation online immediate payments leveraging trends such as smartphone adoption, increasing penetration of mobile data, Indian languages interfaces), – Digital Locker ( standardized mechanism to issue government documents to Aadhaar holders in electronic and printable formats, store them, and make it shareable with various agencies) and – Aadhaar (objective is to collect the biometric and demographic data of residents, store them in a centralised database, and issue a 12-digit unique identity number called Aadhaar to each resident. It is considered the world’s largest national identification number project.)What this means is:- Opening bank account in under 5 minutes- Building new investment and savings product which are online first- New business models for both bankers and brokers- Paperless application for govt grants, loans, etc- Quick switch between loan and insurance productsI believe this is just the starting.

  11. JimHirshfield

    I’m interested in exercise tech. Would like to see better heart rate monitoring and software. Not just tracking, but training optimization… tell me what it means; what I should do with the data.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      This is one of those areas where consolidation of the slices to make the whole pie could really work, despite it not being very sexy.For example, I have been dreaming of a solution that ties all my exercise data together and one that does it meaningfully. I cycle, spin, swim. Why are there all separate apps to track that but none that tie it together?Also, none of the apps are robust enough even for the one thing they are tracking. I’ve tried practically every cycling app out there. Why don’t they pull in real-time weather data to accurately calculate my data? When I’m cycling into a 16 MPH wind, the app is not recording this as a rigorous workout when, in fact, it is.Some of this problem goes back to the shift in startup culture where people have become so centered on Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that they forget about the whole experience. MVP holds my attention for a second. Maximum Viable Product is what interests me. Otherwise, it’s just all noise and I’m far too busy to pay attention.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yes, somewhat myopic behavior, I suppose. But there’s also the problem of these devices trying to be everything to everybody. Example, at a high level, is trying to be an athletic device AND a smart watch. We’re headed in that direction, but the offerings leave something to be desired.

      2. Matt Zagaja

        Not sure what you mean by recording as a rigorous workout, wouldn’t that be reflected in heart rate readings?

      3. Lawrence Brass

        I don’t know if there is weather data with enough granularity and freshness to achieve what you want. An instrument mounted on your bike could do that, measure wind speed relative to the bike, something like a pitot tube as the ones used in aviation, or electric resistance based. I haven’t seen anything like that for bikes.. and I want one. :)Your heartbeat and cadence can tell more about the rigor of your workout I guess.We are building a tracking app with a twist (who is not) so I am very interested in your reviews of existing tracking apps, specially for bike rides, to check if we are getting the expected functionality right.

          1. Susan Rubinsky

            But it still doesn’t do everything I want. I want all my exercise and daily health data united into one interface where I can look at different correlatives. I mentioned in another thread here today, for example, that I want it tied into my data at Clue which tracks a woman’s menstrual cycle. Exercise and other lifestyle choices all affect your body. I want all the info together. I want to run scenarios on what activities, in conjunction, have positive affects on my body and which have negative affects on my body. I want to know what outside forces (like wind, as mentioned, affect things circumstantially). I want to see it quantitatively. The way everything is siloed now, I have to look up data in several different apps then tie it together myself in a database. And then I’d have to create some kind of interface (in Tableau Public probably).It all reminds me of Microsoft Bob software from the mid-90’s. It promised a whole new world of united disparate data, but the reality was a manual nightmare. History repeats itself. Maybe we are automatically, rather than manually, collecting the data now, but it’s hardly meaningful.

  12. Nigel Walsh

    I’m an insurance guy and while I love all the IoT/connected stuff – IE Connected Home, Car, Self – what I really think is exciting is when someone will be brave enough to bring them all together under a smart city/smart life perspective and give ME an all risks policy that doesn’t entail having 10+ different policies based on specific products or lines I need covered. We have the capability and the data. It just needs a brave enough carrier to stitch them all together.. Many would even pay a premium for the convenience.

    1. pointsnfigures is investing in this sort of thing.

  13. Aryeh Mergi

    IOT for smart homes, cars, consumer, medical, everywhere..And its going, like the internet and mobile in the last 20 years, to drive new waves of tech and startups all over (AI, Comm, Platforms etc etc)

  14. Gregoris Kalai

    One of the industries that underly all of business is recruiting and for some reason the business of recruiting is still sick in the early 2000’s. We at Relink ( are here to change that.We comb through massive data sets and are able to recommend candidates to certain job listings via API. We use machine learning to train our dragons (ie algorithms) and integrate directly with all ATS systems.TLDR; Just like Netflix recommending movies based on your preferences, our products recommend people to jobs and jobs to people. We sell these products as a service via APIs.

    1. Dan Moore

      I just don’t see how applying big data to recruiting really helps unless you are tied into outcomes down the pipeline. That is, until you have a feedback loop saying person A is successful at company C, person B wasn’t, and plugging that back in.Don’t know anyone who is doing that.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      As someone who has applied for jobs none of this matters until I don’t have to re-enter my resume into another proprietary system at a place for the 100th time. I thought LinkedIn was supposed to bring the time to apply to near instant but companies have not adopted it in their regular HR system.

  15. Pam Dillon

    I’m excited about AI, new forms of machine learning that are for the good. People and machines have really begun to evolve together, and our best future belongs to those who combine human expertise with the power of technology. They can be found in the arts and sciences, where people are imagining a tech future that makes us more rather than less human.

  16. Nikhil Kapur

    Fintech for the unbanked is a personal fancy. Investing in emerging economies you realise banks are never going to touch these people due to hogh operating costs, but a lot of them (or at least some one in a group of friends) now own cheap smartphones which is their only gateway into the formal economy. Super excited about two of our portfolio companies (Ayannah and Kudo) solving this in Philippines and Indonesia. Blockchain should be able to take over these solutions at some point.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, but hard as we’ve tried, we have yet to find something here that we can get comfortable with. it’s a real problem that should have a for profit solution.

      1. Nikhil Kapur

        What causes discomfort for you? Scalability/Margins? Not sure about the unbanked in the US but the unbanked in emerging economies are usually part of some sort of an informal economy. I think a startup can, with some effort, tap onto that informal ecosystem and bring about real change for the betterment of the people (lower fee, standardization, accesibility). This is what both out portfolios are doing right now.

      2. mikenolan99

        I’ve interacted with the team at – very, very bright folks – great tech backgrounds, experience in building solutions. Ping me if I can connect some dots. Their payment solution combines ACH trust that is pre-arranged, app driven – with a social element.

        1. conorop

          Definitely a solid group there!

  17. Avi Eisenberg

    I’m excited about e-commerce. I know that it’s kind of an “unsexy” business, but as a seller, I see first-hand how unoptimized the existing system is in several ways:1. Pricing is fragile. I know people who make a living simply buying items directly from Amazon when the price goes down and reselling once the price goes up. If even Amazon hasn’t nailed pricing (if there’s room for people to do that, clearly pricing isn’t optimal), there’s a ton of room to innovate.2. Relatedly, consumers often pay more simply because they don’t know about other places to get it for less. Before I started selling, I kind of vaguely thought that all stores had around the same prices for everything: sure, there might be a 20% difference here and there, but not much more. A year and 100k in monthly sales later entirely based on buying retail and selling retail, I no longer think so.Businesses like that have significant costs (shipping the items twice, once to get it and once to send to the customer, and 3 times with FBA; marketplace fees; return costs, etc), so for it to be viable (and it is), there needs to be far more significant differences in price, and there are. I’ve sold plenty of units for 3 times what I paid.Recently I’ve been trying to help with #2 with a startup called I Can Price It. ( We’re like Priceline for Amazon: you can name any product and any price and if we can meet the price, you get the item. Given the large disparity in pricing on many items, we can very often find significant savings, and we have plans to source wholesale once there’s enough demand for specific items/brands, partner with existing sellers with large catalogs, retailers, etc.

    1. Susan Rubinsky


    2. awaldstein

      small brand ecommerce especially in the clothing and luxory goods business is really exciting I agree. Mack Wheldon is breaking down the doors of this now.

    3. Kent Karlsen

      Here is a tip to add more business to that idea. This is where I think Europe beats USA (more entrepreneurial pricing). I don’t want to be arrogant, but this is my experience. Feel free to disagree on this strategy. Even chain-stores have different pricing under the same brand. So excatly the same item, sold by the same brand, but stored at a different shop – has a different price. I can’t reveal actual facts as I was hired as a consultant, but we talk about BIG price difference like 30%, 250% and even upto 450% different price on VOLUME products being sold every day. This is a big retailer in Europe. So, what if you twist your focus from reducing price, to optimizing profit and give excellent service like free home delivery etc? That was my advice to the chain-store. When people in SHOP A are willing to pay 30% more than SHOP B – why not increase price in shop B and add focus to better customer service? Next year was adding apx. 300 million extra profit (bottom line) just on entrepreneurial price focus (increase price, give excellent service)! This will not work everywhere, and of course it depends on business and what kind of products being sold.

      1. Avi Eisenberg

        That sounds like something only doable once you already have a large business, or large investments (like Jet).In your scenario, I would be selling to people who would otherwise buy from shop A, charge them a bit less, I would buy from shop B and pocket the spread. There is always going to be such inefficiencies in the pricing market as long as different people that don’t communicate set prices in different places, and the market is large enough that this will continue to be possible.I mean of course the end goal is to become the next Amazon and have the ability to charge higher prices and increase profit, but I need to start somewhere and competing on price is a relatively easy way to get started. Even just what I offer now, only buying retail, can be a 9 figure business. Once I get there I can think about raising prices and competing on other aspects like you mention.

        1. Kent Karlsen

          I agree. I think you need to control the logistics in some way to do the entrepreneurial way with pricing. If you manage to develop the next generation sales protocol (with added intelligence on services and delivery) you can be the next Amazon ๐Ÿ™‚ I was thinking that maybe doing business with physical shops can help you with new opportunities increasing price and you charge the difference for saving customers time. But of course that require a different approach than what you maybe was thinking of. There are many people wanting to pay extra just to save time and make you fix it for them.

  18. LIAD

    a cleansing and uplifting post and comment thread. way to go.

    1. fredwilson


      1. Donna Brewington White

        I see what you did there. ๐Ÿ™‚

      2. ShanaC

        thanks for doing this

    2. Martin De Saulles

      my thoughts exactly – this is what I like best about the AVC comments/community

    3. Anne Libby

      Yes, this is where the community shines.

  19. William Mougayar

    Healthcare, definitely. Bots too. New energy solutions. Lukewarm on AI, ML & VR.

    1. Gregoris Kalai

      @wmoug:disqus I expect a better list from you! You are just listing markets now. I am going to push you for solid markets, startup names.

      1. William Mougayar

        Haha. You’re right. I’m taking it easy in Amsterdam ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. awaldstein

          Terrific natural wine scene. Lots of friends in the city.

          1. William Mougayar

            Actualy, we just tasted a Riesling from Maasvallei.

        2. mikenolan99

          Rented a houseboat through Air Bnb for my family in July – love that town. Download the museum app for either/both the Van Gough or the Rijksmuseum – both a very cool piece of art-tech. Self guided tours, several “paths” to choose – cool multi media.

          1. Anne Libby

            +1 for the Van Gogh museum. When I visited while working for a Dutch company, a colleague practically pushed me out the door early one day to go visit.

          2. William Mougayar

            thanks. just did van Gogh and noticed the smartphones they hang on your neck for the guided tour. even took a selfie with the man.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          3. Twain Twain

            I kick myself that my friend and I went to Amsterdam for 2 days after I won some tickets for the ferry over & overnight accommodation and …We didn’t go to any of the art galleries or museums!!!

          4. ShanaC

            looking good!

      2. Susan Rubinsky

        Energy is it. Transportation too. You almost don’t even need to say more. If disrupted, these industries could also help solve the big divide in the country, all the way down to the little guy. And, of course, whomever does it with big clean/renewable powers, wins the golden ticket.

    2. Twain Twain

      The problem with bots is they need AI+ML and Natural Language understanding to work properly for the bots to work properly.*

      1. William Mougayar

        true, but not all bots need AI+ML.

  20. Dale Allyn

    While perhaps a bit “dry” security is a big issue and needs much more attention. This includes web services such as e-commerce, banking, plus mobile payments, but probably most important: improved policies and practices surrounding the rapidly growing IoT. Too many “smart” devices are really dumb when it comes to their security (witness recent DDoS attacks in recent weeks via IoT devices).And there’s opportunity in providing security updates/hardening services to millions of websites and web services; from personal and small business sites to huge corporate web services.

    1. Dan Moore

      I had lunch with a friend who has focused in security for the majority of his career. He is now looking for a second career, in part because “no one is ever happy to deal with the security folks”, and being that guy was bringing him down.Lots of need, though.

      1. Dale Allyn

        I can sure appreciate your friend’s frustration or dismay. The fact remains that moving all web services and data management to more secure designs is not going to be optional.Google ranks pages which are served over HTTPS higher priority; in January it will begin warning visitors to non-secure pages. Data breaches and various hacking fiascos dictate that we all do a better job in this area. Fast and sloppy will get very expensive, and in some cases already has.Traditional data security services have been packaged and presented in a way that feels like very bitter medicine, such that it is avoided as long as possible. This needs to be modified.

        1. Dan Moore

          Hadn’t heard that about Google, but good on them.

          1. Dale Allyn

            Agreed. Good on them. And I have some work to do on some of my sites which suffer from deep neglect. ;)The warnings will be in the Chrome browser. But search results will affect all browsers. Later, I expect we’ll see a notice regardless of browser (after the click on the search result, prior to loading the new page).

          2. Dan Moore

            > And I have some work to do on some of my sites which suffer from deep neglect. ;)That’s funny, I was just thinking about two of my sites that are going to need some serious love before this transition, unless I’m OK with google dinging me.

  21. awaldstein

    I’ll throw out two others:-I believe the key to much is local. And the key to local is small business and the key to small business is support/loans for them that mirror (and I know the issues of course) what we have in tech. Local markets don’t exist without this.-Smart cities? Clueless about what this means except for unfettered access to fast connections. Everything in the city is about me/you/people. Understanding and harnessing the human side of whatever Smart Cities is, is key.

    1. pointsnfigures

      How do we get local? Enable individuals to freely engage. Make it simple, seamless. Totally agree with you. We shouldn’t have situations where a town is totally dependent on one big corporate factory, when it leaves, the town shutters and the public infrastructure remains and has to be propped up by fewer taxpayers (or no taxpayers).

      1. awaldstein

        Running. I’ll post on this

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      Oh, hell, yes! I’m glad you said that about Smart Cities. How to make it about the people is key.

    3. Susan Rubinsky

      Also, if we had let big banks fail, there probably would be a lot more small banks now which have always been the source of funding for small/local. With interest rates so low, the big banks have no interest in small/local. They also don’t care. When it’s the small local bank everyone cares, even the bank. How to fix it? I don’t know.

      1. pointsnfigures

        yesss, and please repeal Dodd-Frank. That bill/law killed a lot of community banking.

    4. Vasudev Ram

      Only read a bit about it, but if interested, have you checked out what Singapore has been doing on the smart / connected city front, for some years? With your ex-Creative background, you must have contacts there … or know about it already.

  22. The Heasman

    Virtual Reality. And not just for gaming & socialising.VR for healthcare training.VR for real estate viewings.VR as a new form of “escape” similar to holidays, not as video games.VR as a form of communication, both personal & business.VR in education: chemistry, biology & physics will be so much more engaging in VR.VR in construction & architecture.The potential of VR to augment so many industries excites me.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Elegant, unobtrusive AR has a lot of potential.

    2. Ronnie Rendel

      VR for the Enterprise! I’m surprised no one in the AVC comments is talking about Enterprise. Is this a community bias?

  23. jason wright

    Excellent course correction. Autopilot is no substitute.

  24. pointsnfigures

    I am really excited by a lot of the stuff I am seeing in financial plumbing. I am also really interested seeing some of the things that create new niches in financial products that allow people to invest in really really creative ways. I also am excited that previously high end tools are starting to democratize so non-accredited investor people can take advantage of them.

  25. Girish Mehta

    Wonderful post Fred to change the mood of yesterday.Will be reading today’s comments with a lot of interest.

  26. Tom Labus

    Cortana, Siri and voice. It’s just the beginning. It could change the design and interfaces for phones and all our devices.

    1. Twain Twain

      Agree, but Cortana+Siri+GoogleAssistant et al still needs the AI community to solve the Natural Language understanding problems:* https://www.technologyrevie

      1. Tom Labus

        Big difference in Cortana over last year. But let’s hope the language can be done

        1. Twain Twain

          True. We used Cortana API in March in a hack to detect emotional reactions to, of all things, a Trump political speech. LOL. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    2. fredwilson

      i agree. we are poking around that area a lot right now.

  27. Martin De Saulles

    I’m not an investor but my experience of watching friends and family (young and old) use smartphones and only tapping a small fraction of their capability indicates an opportunity for someone to create an easy-to-use interface/skin for Android – I’ve seen several people recently with phone screens that were barely visible – they did not realise they could change the brightness. Not sure what the business model for this would be but there is a need for it.

  28. jason wright

    The instantaneous language translator.Not the phony Pixel phone, which is not tech. It’s a legal defence strategy.

    1. awaldstein

      See what David is doing on a unilanguage for feedback at Veespo. Game changing.

    2. mikenolan99

      Babel Fish…. coming soon to a galaxy near you.RIP Douglas Adams

    3. Twain Twain

      The language problem is the hardest piece of the puzzle in AI:https://www.technologyrevie…The beating games thing (Chess, Jeopardy, Go, Starcraft etc) is relatively easy because games are about logic and probability.Kirsten wrote about the subtleties of language used by commenters online and, well, the AI simply isn’t up to understanding those subtleties and a lot of our data and existing frameworks for NatLang understanding would have to be re-engineered.

  29. David Semeria

    I don’t want to re-open the can of worms, but I think a major problem to be solved is with dialogue between “opposing” factions. And I don’t mean on AVC, or in the States, or in the UK and EU. I mean at the *global* level.A sort of Wikipedia for ideas and debate.As Albert has discussed widely, social media tends to create information bubbles which only serve to reinforce our existing views. Historically, a good newspaper, magazine, or TV channel would inform in a balanced and ethical manner, but as we all know, their relevance has declined.I think it’s a massive pity that all this technology we have created tends to divide rather than unite people. My company has been working on fixing this problem for several years, but we have just scratched the surface….

    1. awaldstein

      I think you have put a solid dent in it not just a scratch David!But yes, communications and connections are where things happen.But need to say that I believe that one solution, one language if you will, can address the needs of local and global as well, if it is correct.None of the issues around food and health, smart cities, and on can be solved unless what you are referring to is in use.

    2. Twain Twain

      Re. “a sort of Wikipedia for ideas and debates,” a friend created DebateGraph which has been used by the White House, the UK government and other institutions.* https://uploads.disquscdn.c

      1. David Semeria

        Wow, that’s really interesting — thanks!

        1. Twain Twain

          :*). David Price, one of the co-founders of DebateGraph, and I had long conversations back in 2009-10 about how to do better For-Against structures and how the crowd can rate various for-against positions to arrive at sensible Points of Action.For me, QUALIFYING something and understanding the why+how of decision paths is something that hasn’t been done comprehensively or coherently by technology (yet).The quantification part has been pretty straightforward because of the way frequency counts of data inputs and things like conjunction analysis is code-able.Still … the qualia has to work alongside the quanta.Take, for example, feedback on content — and you’ll get this because you shared previously that your startup is Veespo. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…Now, whilst emotion buttons are better than 5-stars, I’m also aware they run into problems. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…The can of worms of how the Trump digital campaign succeeded and proper debate was, sadly, drowned out is pretty straightforward.Pro-Trump bots knew how to game the quant biases (ramping # frequency counts) and network effects of the social media platforms.If the AI had had better qualifying tools, a lot of Trump bots’ content would have been filtered out and neutralized.But, of course, Zuckerberg and Jack et al couldn’t be seen to remove those Trump-bots. With Taybot’s nonsense, MS had to remove it.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…@wmoug:disqus — Safe would be to build narrow bots, e.g. “What’s the weather in XYZ?” or “Book me a table for 6 at restaurant ABC.”Pushing the frontiers and solving important problems is, “How to build bots that can detect and STOP the spread of racism, sexism and xenophobia by other bots?”@ccrystle:disqus was right yesterday and he’ll be right tomorrow. It’s up to every single one of us to “stand up to the emboldened bullies, misogynists, racists, and bigots. It’s a tough, big job these days, but silence enables more.”If Silicon Valley’s brightest and best don’t improve the AI-ML, then those Trump-type / ISIS / fascist bots will continue to be able to do what they do.The exciting thing about tech is we can indeed build those anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-xenophobia bots to fight back against the bad bots.

          1. David Semeria

            Super, super useful! Many thanks.

    3. feargallkenny

      not sure tech is the answer here – The in person factor was missing in this cycle Maybe simlpe old school exchange programs where you do rural “plunges” for city dwellers or vice versa – like the erasmus college programs in europe

    4. Drew Meyers

      How do you convince people they should care about deeply understanding opposing viewpoints? The information is out there, it’s the desire that seems to be lacking.

  30. Grace Horwitz

    In my mind most of the major innovations – at least the really impactful and exciting ones – will come from the developing world. As someone mentioned earlier, financial inclusion leveraging the proliferation of mobile phones and new sources of passive and active data is interesting but hard to make a bet on. What I’m most amped about is Internet and energy connectivity for off-grid consumers. There is a massive untapped market that is waiting to be served, consumers are spending tons of money on really poor alternatives, and people are screaming for innovation. It’s hard to watch so much money, talent and effort continue to flood into the Silicon Valley tech plateau when there is such massive potential here.

  31. falicon

    Here’s what I’m investing in these days (with my time, money, and passion):1. People – always have, always will.2. eSports – I tweeted this out a week or two ago, but I’ll say it again. The industry feels like where fantasy sports was in the late 90s. There are already millions of people *really* into it, and yet very few in the mainstream have noticed it…when they do (in the next 3-5 years it’s going to explode into something massive). Right now, it’s the golden age for the hobbyist and those are always the most fun/interesting times in an industry.3. IOT – I include a lot of the really interesting things happening with voice in this category (because it’s really just an alternate interface and very important to things that don’t have screens or keyboards directly attached). So stuff like Alexa, while annoying that it’s controlled by Amazon, is a ton of fun to play with and build for right now. I also think it’s really interesting to think about and play with the idea of tiny bits of data from millions of of “things” and what can be done with that (think about how ants thrive in the world <– that’s where we are at with our i.o.t. right now!)4. Blockchain – As much as it pains me to say, Trump getting elected and all the fear/uncertainty that brings to the world level may just be the very thing that blockchain technology needed to go big. Tech that can’t (really) be controlled or oppressed by those in power may be our only way forward…it’s still very daunting to work with and understand right now, but it’s importance and staying power are already *very* clear.5. Sports and coaching. Many of you already know that I’m a huge sports nut and have been (slowly) trying to build/figure out the right approach for my own project. For me, sports and coaching are ultimately about building and shaping character and that’s why I think it’s both insanely interesting and important. There is a lot of interesting things happening with video technology in this realm right now.6. Music for marketing. I list it as #6, but really it’s my main priority these days as it’s the focus of my “day job” as CTO of We are building a very interesting and unique data set around sound and how it can best be used for marketing purposes. Right now we are in a stage where we learn something super interesting and unique at least once a day (and we are making money)…it just doesn’t get any more fun than that! :-)7. Oh yeah and brevity…I would *love* to learn how to be brief in my communications and thoughts these days! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Dan Moore

      IoT has the possibility of creating a star trek like future: “microwave, fix me a glass of Earl gray, hot”.But someone has to have skin in the game to make the devices secure, and to keep the so. My computer gets hacked: big problem. My door lock gets hacked: disaster.

      1. Dale Allyn

        I agree. I posted a similar comment below.

    2. awaldstein


      1. falicon

        Yeah – we started the company a year ago April. We have a handful of really high profile/active clients and it’s been going great/been a ton of fun!

    3. ShanaC

      any interesting music recommendations?

      1. falicon

        We mostly test custom stuff (specifically made for commercials) and generally shorter clips (since most ads are 30-45 seconds at most)…but we have tested a few mainstream things for clients that have the interest and budget to lic. that sort of thing (not surprisingly they all test pretty well).But depending on the emotion/feelings, the target audience, and other branding attributes you are interested in…we have lots of recommendations for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Wow, congrats on the new venture, Kev!

      1. falicon

        Thanks! Reminds me we are over do for a catch up too!

  32. aminTorres

    Something I am excited by and I wish you were is the distribution of resources and innovation.

    1. Matt Zagaja


  33. panterosa,

    My RISD friend artist Brian Kane just made this with his students at RISD in rapid prototyping and AI class he started.I’d like to see more experimentation like this. Even though I don’t need a talking fish, I realize others do :)…

    1. mikenolan99

      Triple double awesome…

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I love that this is your friend!

      1. panterosa,

        :)I bet you’d like the Meatwater guys too!

  34. Kent Karlsen

    New technology itself is interesting, but what really makes me interested in tech/software is the opportunity of changing business model (low hanging fruit) or better creating a new protocol of sales (which is hard to do). I believe in a big change coming to online consumer shopping the next five years. eCommerce will just be commerce – mixing physical and online shops more natural. Mixing new protocols, video, local delivery with microstorage/pick-up-points done by available resources (cab drivers, robots, hyperloops – which actually was used to deliver physical documents through tubes at factory plants).

  35. Mike Cautillo

    Excited about some of the interesting options that peer to peer networking may provide, by connecting individual investors/traders with one another, providing them with an alternative source of opportunity. There may come a time, where all investors/traders alike can directly access and participate to/with any portfolio of their choice.

  36. Cyrus Adkisson

    I think the movie industry is ready to be Warby Parkered.

  37. Karen Cahn

    Instead of complaining about the election, our startup is taking action by providing a crowdfunding platform for women-led businesses and their creative ideas. There’s FUN in CrowdFUNding!!! So go shopping and support women entrepreneurs this holiday season!

  38. Vitomir Jevremovic

    VR is a kind of transition toward more universal AR solutions. Applications are serious but network effect is not yet obvious. From medical, educational, scientific, communication.. many options that are not gaming and are finnancially very lucrative.. And a creative challenge. Investors are still concerned on business models, but in two years time when there is more traction, and new devices, it will become obvious it was/is a revolution.

  39. Daniel Olshansky

    Everything involving augmented, virtual and mixed reality!

    1. Vendita Auto

      My retirement home might not be so bad then : )

  40. karen_e

    It’s exciting to pitch opening the second branch of a friend’s art gallery. And, buying a distressed company in my sector. Two complementary startups at once, why not?

  41. Vendita Auto

    Liking Cross River Bank/Almond route to the markets If I could I would invest.Loving E Musk Power Wall – Solar Roofing ManufacturingLiking IoT Siri & Alexa have public trust. The economies of scale will allow for the brand/s to accept partial transfer of risk within government guidelines.Liking Insurance commercial [Tech Disruption] big data and analytics where coverage will be traded on a day by day or even minute by minute. Some international insurance brands will be on the endangered list.My history is longer than my future What a great time to be around : )

  42. Frank W. Miller

    Now I don’t want you to take this the wrong way. What I mean is I don’t know you personally so this comment should be interpreted as business not personal. I know of lots of interesting things going on in computer science but I would never tell You (as in you’re a VC). Following along my comment a couple months ago about staying away from the Universities, I don’t want you or your brethren to ruin them.

  43. Daniel Vogel

    We are seeing lots of incredible use cases for Bitcoin in Mexico. The traded volume is still tiny by most accounts, but the use cases are incredibly encouraging!Mexico is a country where roughly 70M people don’t have bank accounts and 80M+ people don’t have access to formal credit. As such, we see people turning to Bitcoin to do things like e-Commerce payments (talk about young males buying stuff on Steam!), receive remittances (still tiny, but promising), and even as their first investment (we have more active users in our exchange than the Mexican stock market).I need to properly write an article about what’s going on in Mexico and Bitcoin. I think this serves as my first inspiration!

  44. LaVonne Reimer

    Perfect!!! Decentralization in business model and architecture. On the model side, there are three that overlap/intersect IMO. Internet/digital identity approaches that enhance privacy (i.e., how do we verify identity, reputation, and trust in cyberspace without surveillance). Project VRM, Doc Searl’s community of nerds looking at ways to put people in charge of their engagement with big companies and others. Platform cooperativism (conference at the New School underway as I write this). Architecture that enables these themes to play out in real-world solutions to real-world problems–HITL (human-in-the-loop and, heck, SITL, society-in-the-loop, see Joi Ito), a form of interactive machine learning. Personal data stores. And I’m sure more. My fascination with this area is around technologies that allow people to connect as equals when the context is to earn or prove a credential. Art and science. The name of my current company (which I almost never use compared to the dba of Lumenous) is Descant. It is a musical construct that reflects this notion of art and science. Underlying choral work sets a structure to the piece while high tenor or soprano innovates atop it. They could be distinct from each other but are simply amazing when they play off each other so you think now that’s a whole greater than the sum of the parts. Modern jazz is an extension of the model. This all relates to my “now is the time” comment on Wednesday. We can use systems like this to solve really big problem in spite of how the next trinity of political leadership plays out. My specific area is small business credit. Specifically, disrupting the centralized authority model of the credit bureau. I know others working on similar solutions in other domains. It has a bit of the anarchist vision of side-stepping government but with a very strong communitarian twist.

  45. Jake Baker

    I really want to buy and then sell a commercial real estate asset to a blockchain/DAO/Ethereum style structure. I think distributed asset ownership of this sort is interesting. Blockchain has historically been all about the app and computing based problem solving, but I think there is something very interesting about shifting the ownership of a hard asset to this area. Some of this feels like “me too” hopping onto a buzzword, but the idea of simplifying the early DAO “let’s be a whiz bang venture crowd angel fund” thing into just “let’s own a stable cash flow producing hard asset” and perhaps experimenting with governance and control concepts is quite interesting to me.I’m also personally/professionally actively involved in clean energy applications with regard to the ownership of commercial real estate, particularly how emerging financing models can fund both a very wide variety of “heavy” equipment and energy projects but also “light” smart technology and wire-up the building to be even smarter in the future. At its core, its all about massively improving net operating income.Across a lot of these, the excitement is about the application of technology to existing “dumb sectors” as opposed to fundamental new innovation. I’d personally much rather find the business model to increase the deployment of solar panels 10x than spend time on a moonshot small nuclear reactor…

  46. Aaron Loring Davis

    I started my first internet company in college – 1997. was for when you didn’t want to groove wrong, groove right! Theatre listings, bars, resturaunts…even hacked together some 486 intel boxes to push stills over 56k modems so one could see if there was a nice crowd in the place before heading out. It was fun, but hard to make any money and I threw in the towel after a couple years.I owned another business (brick and mortar) as a solo founder/employee that was consistent and growing slowly but steadily. I said goodbye to the internet for 5 years.I not make that mistake twice.patio11 sums it up best:***There Is No Future For Scarcity(This section owes more than a little bit to Naval Ravikantโ€™s thoughts on leverage, most succinctly captured here.)There is no conceivable future in which Internet-enabled firms are less numerous than e.g. insurance agents, which the US alone has ~450,000 of.There is no conceivable future where it becomes harder to make products people are willing to pay for than it is in 2016. The technologies will change, but Rails is now the lower bar of how productive a software platform can be. Getting your physical product manufactured by a contract factory in China is within the capacity of college students in the first world; that or similar capabilities will only get more broadly distributed.There is no conceivable future in which it gets harder to charge people money than it is in 2016. It cost $250,000 and six months of integration to charge a single credit card online in 1999. By 2006, that was down to hundreds of dollars and weeks of effort. In 2016, the integration can be done in a morning and the costs have likewise cratered. We will not forget how to do it.There is no conceivable future where the network-effect businesses we use to reach customers โ€” Google, AdWords, Facebook, the App Store, Twitter, Kickstarter, Alibaba, etc โ€” collectively retreat in the number or aggregate affluence of the potential customers they can address. (See footnote.)There is no conceivable future in which the number of people connected to the Internet shrinks. There is no conceivable future where smartphones become more exclusive products than they currently are.There is no conceivable future in which the percentage of transactions consummated online decreases from its present ~1% in the most connected economies. The number of transactions worldwide will rise, by orders of magnitude.These fundamental economic forces will continue bringing down the cost of starting new businesses and increasing the potential impact they have, even at very low levels of capitalization. We will see an explosion of them.***I am so dang excited about the opportunities that abound. They really are everywhere!!!

  47. Nicholas Osgood

    Being in the drone space, I’m still very bullish about the possibilities on both the consumer & enterprise level. Looking at what has happened with the GoPro Karma and GoPro Hero Cameras, drone hardware in itself I don’t think will last without creating a platform for engagement, something that GoPro failed to do with their Hero cameras. The consumer drone costs are significantly dropping and I believe we’ll continue to see the proliferation of consumer/prosumer drones (full disclosure: I’m at DroneBase which is a USV portfolio company). There is still a blue ocean out there and its exciting to be a part of it.

    1. Leigh

      Speaking of blue ocean and drones, that’s what I’m excited about – the new opportunities for existing/emerging tech (unmanned systems in the air, at the ocean’s surface, and underwater) to come together to form more powerful solutions that give us instant access to ocean data. With it we can tackle climate change, food security issues, national security issues, all of which will have a major economic impact. (disclosure: I work at Liquid Robotics and am bullish on the ocean and drones)

      1. Nicholas Osgood

        That’s really interesting! I looked at the website. I definitely can see how your service/tech can help out in Enviro Assessments, O&G, etc.

  48. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I’m really excited about Apple’s Touch Bar.Kidding!Anything to do with space exploration and travel. It lights up the kid in me, as the Apollo program is amongst my earliest memories.Things like Platform Cooperativism that have people bringing about fundamental societal change for good using tech.The continuing unbundling of education and what it means for leveling the playing field.Your kids’ generation. They’re amazing and will save the world.Any time I need to feel inspired, I pick up a copy of Popular Science. Humans are doing amazing things.

  49. Shyam Subramanyan

    A lot of the tech mentioned here are interesting to me personally, but they all seem to be first world problems – “problems” that addresses how the elite spend their disposable income.I wonder what kind of tech can help out the other 50% that is left behind now which shows in the election of Donald Trump. It’s not food in a box that’s marked up by 100% from a trip to the grocery store. It’s not AI bots. It’s not IoT.This comment thread feels like a bad echo chamber that we’ve put ourselves in.Can tech really help the people left behind?

    1. Nicholas Osgood

      This is a valuable point. As a counter – wouldn’t you say that some of the social networks have given “those left behind” a voice or another form of communication.

      1. Shyam Subramanyan

        Yes, a voice that helped elect a demagogue, who is seen as the only way out of the mess they are in.

        1. Nicholas Osgood

          Or those stuck in Mosul risking their lives by providing news + intelligence to the outside world.

    2. Drew Meyers

      Couldn’t agree more. Way too many people spending way too much time/money on 1st world problems.IMO, community is the single best way to move people up the income/opportunity ladder. It’s a years/decades process though — there is no way to shortcut it, since time is the only thing that truly builds community.

  50. Julian Raphael

    Reading the comments, many things mentioned are exciting but most of it sounds pretty much like the typical US/SV startup echo chamber. There is a lot of *really exciting* stuff happening outside of the US:- FinTech in Europe: the EU is pushing a massive regulatory change for open banking APIs that will also harmonise all of European retail banking, with tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs. All happening 2017/2018/2019.- Gov-/Fin-/InsurTech in India: like @atitdanak:disqus said, everything about the Digital India initiative is crazy exciting, especially in the recent light of the government’s efforts to fight black money. There will be giants build on top of these protocols. Already happening.- The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: globally, billions of people still live in poverty in 2nd / 3rd world conditions but for the first time they are reachable via mobile phones. Hardly anyone truly serves their needs, because hardly any founder with a network or VC has even a remote idea of how these people live their life. Already happening.Besides that, most of the really mind-blowing stuff is happening in BioTech, MedTech, SpaceTech, AgTech and CleanTech. I’m tired of Social & Commerce, which dominates the tech narrative in the West so much…

  51. Richard

    Skilled Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living Facilties, Home Health are soo ready to be improved

  52. Mark Reed

    OTT video and live streaming is pretty hot right now. Broadcasting is being disrupted rapidly.

  53. David Goddy

    I’m excited about ed tech, and specifically my startup No pitch here, but I think we’re onto an insight that is common in B2C but which is not in ed tech: help large numbers of people do more effectively and quickly what they already want to do. Most innovative ed tech demands that teachers and students and parents replace their positive but flawed behaviors with new behaviors that have no better results but are shiny and new and cost a lot. We are helping them use their existing assets to get kids to read more.

  54. aneela

    I’m excited about the tech/entrepreneurial community in Minneapolis, MN. I moved here from NY 5 years ago & would not have started my mental health / wearable device company, The friends I’ve made here have always been willing to lend a hand, help make connections and give us feedback. I’ve watched this city grow in so many positive ways and I can’t wait to see what the next 5 years holds for not just startups, but also the community at large. #strongertogether #minneapolis

    1. conorop

      Your presentation at Minnedemo was one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen in some time! I’d love to connect with a fellow founder in the Twin Cities.

  55. Kerim Baran

    Food, Healthcare, Energy, Education, MicroFinance. I think a lot is happening in all of these areas that are very very exciting. Basically, old oligopolistic insitutions (who have lost touch with humanity) are being attacked by local, independent, humanistic startups. But these are not the kind of startups that most VCs would want to invest in. I can see how most of these kinds of startups are not exciting for a venture capitalist like you, Fred. Mainly because you have to invest in platforms that have oligopolistic elements to achieve above average returns for your invertors. Unfortunutely, I do not see a role for the old VC model in the new world order. The current capitalist financial model lacks the humane elements of taking care of people. Solve that and you will create a better for the world. Bitcoin, Blockchain, etc. might help us get there… and then you can have your cake and eat it, too… ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Ben Longstaff

    I’m excited aboutLogistics engines and self driving vehicles becoming a real world protocol/s like http for moving things around that don’t currently make economic sense.3D printing for use in areas after a natural disaster where the cost to import a replace is prohibitive and slow but to print replace part that is good enough is only a few dollars.VR for programming / technical debt collection.

  57. Telman Yusupov

    Improving lots of lives and saving lots of them through MUCH better decease and ailment diagnostics.This is one area where the current advancements in statistical machine learning and IOT devices can make a significant difference today by:- providing more accurate diagnosis than any human physician possibly can- proactively detecting early stages of serious deceases so that they can be managed or addressed much earlier- identifying new pandemics before they become widespread- finding new treatments- providing better healthcare to more people through improved efficiency.If there’s a champion with deep enough pockets to sponsor such an initiative, the rest of academia, industry and public will join in once results are evident.

  58. JaredMermey

    I know the guys referenced in general is interesting (especially outside of where Uber plays). Convergence of autonomy, electrification and digitalization has put vehicle at inflection point. Finding less capital intensive plays that fit that criteria is hard.

  59. Chris Phenner

    Apple/Google/others have done a nice job with mapping the outdoor world; mapping the indoor world is happening via platforms like Micello with precision and simplicity that continues to impress and surprise me — only a few billion square feet to go!

  60. David Bloom

    Nothing more exciting than Energy tech. Solar City + Tesla is amazing. And, sadly for the VC industry, the continue decrease in the cost of launching a startup is super exciting. It is easier and easier to build a business with less risk. A lot of problems will be tackled by smaller companies instead of mega startups requiring multiple rounds of funding.

  61. Michael Thompson

    neural interfacesparticularly for AR and VRnot excited about people who now thinks it is prescient to say that AR/VR is overhyped, ten years away, etc…

  62. Gideon Arom

    Prefabricated building with home components large enough for mid-sized/luxury homes and even residential buildings, rather than just the unimpressive manufactured homes that are mostly made today.Maybe this can fix the housing crises!

  63. Jim Ritchie

    The reimagining of how business apps are built and used.FULL DISCLOSURE: This is what our team at has been working on for the last year.Today almost all business apps consist of an SQL database, some business logic/rules, accessed through a forms based UI (usually poorly designed). We are building a business sales app, I’ve been a multiple VP of Sales in the software space, that is built on a core of ML/NLP services, with reactive and real-time APIs to present and consume data, and with multiple user interfaces including natural language (text and voice) and a more consumer friendly UI design with smart context sensitive menus.That is what I’m excited about.

  64. Steve Goldman

    Lots of early stage companies in digital health, biotech, cancer therapeutics are the “here and now”. Fueled by advancements in genomic sequencing, ML, AI, and the talented scientists at the great research institutions around the world using these advanced tools to solve big health problems. For example, unique liquid biopsy technology for circulating cancer cell (CTC) detection is an absolute “game changer” in managing and curing cancer. Very exciting stuff!

  65. Brandon Kessler

    I’m excited about Emotech, or at least that’s what I call it. Technology that brings people together, that motivates people, that understands some of our weaknesses and helps us mediate them, that focuses on self-improvement whether it’s at home or in the workplace. It’s a combination of technology and psychology.It’s out there a little bit with meditation apps, with work and personnel-improvement apps, with some slack bots that make us more happy and productive, and with some little bits of AI. I think there’s a demand for technology that makes us better and happier, rather than just connecting us.

  66. Sebastian Wain

    I am excited about the nonsexy/not-so-scalable software development service and consulting startups. While it is early for blockchain startups to be successful it is right now the moment to sell this kind of services. I am not talking about the cheap outsourcing option but someone who can create and modify a cryptocurrency (e.g. segwit), build sidechains, infrastructure and apps.This kind of service companies monitor the market with less risk.

    1. Drew Meyers

      Less risk, but less upside.

      1. Sebastian Wain

        Sure, but the odds are against you.

  67. Jane with a Mexican last name

    I’m really excited about eSports. Have you been to any tournaments Fred?

    1. fredwilson

      a bunch with my son about a decade ago

  68. jason wright

    Artificial Stupidity.A huge market tech can crack.

  69. Ronnie Rendel

    I’m still very excited about Bots and AI. Google making AI within arms reach of almost any developer. CRM systems dashing to leverage AI to minimize (eliminate?) data entry for sales people?Yes, I’m working on this, but not in CRM, rather building CEO dashboards for the freelancer enterprise. But it’s not about me – it’s about AI’s potential to redefine user experience in the enterprise.

  70. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    The IoT market is going to mature.Currently big engineering companies misunderstand thinking IoT is about analytics and intercommunication as a layer of a technology stack. (ie wide and thin)I believe its about narrow and deep vertical AI.IOW – your lawnmower does not NEED to communicate with your washing machine, but it would be cool if it knew when it needed to summon the strimmer, and had an authorised bot it could use to place small contracts on your behalf eg to arrange buy a blade sharpening service.

  71. Donna Brewington White

    Sometimes the best “new” is a reinvention of the old. Been helping to build the team over at Heal, Inc., bringing back the doctor house call. Such a simple concept but such complex execution at scale.It made perfect sense to me as a consumer but what was surprising is how meaningful this concept is for many physicians.Anyway I might have missed this client opportunity if not for the discussions at AVC around disrupting healthcare. (Keep the comments!)Still think there is a lot to be done with health/healthcare, nutrition, feeding people and educating them, freeing them to expand their horizons, connecting them. Hardly new topics but we haven’t fully tapped the potential.

  72. Adam Sher

    I am optimistic and hopeful for healthcare treatment. Personalized medicine has the potential to benefit anyone in the world. I’m picturing the maker-bot version of medicine, where you can “print” labs/medical supplies/treatments. I would take this to the extreme, and am hopeful for the singularity.

  73. V Tyree

    P.S.: Hey Fred, Thanks for asking. Wow, where to start… Nanotechnology, graphene, what the next “battery” technology will be, quantum computing, spinal tech for spinal cord injuries, new Alzheimer drugs, microbes that digest plastic, and the photos that have come back from Pluto… Be well. v

  74. Pete Griffiths

    I have two areas to offer as incredibly exciting1. MEDICINE !!!We are entering a completely new paradigm for medicine and the early results are incredibly promising.All previous medicine fell into one of two paradigms:a) manual trade akin to plumbing or carpentry – all surgery for exampleb) poisoning – pretty much all drugs. The hope is that they do more damage to the disease than the patient.We are at the cusp of a new paradigm – programming and bug fixing.We are starting to understand enough about important systems that we can intervene and leverage them. A great example is engineered autologous cell therapy (eACTTM) technology that harnesses the power of a patientโ€™s own immune system to target and kill cancer cells.Basically, the T cells exist to kill ‘bad’ intruders so the question is why they don’t, for example, recognize and kill cancer cells. So up until recently we cut out cancer and poisoned it. But now we extract the patients blood, separate out their T cells, reprogram their T cells to recognize the cancer, grow the new cells and infuse them back into the body. It’s a completely new way of doing medicine.2. MATERIAL SCIENCEThe combination of advances in physical chemistry and computationally sophisticated modeling is enabling the creation of lots of new materials with exciting properties.

  75. Marissa_NYx

    The smarter folks in my team get excited about the prospects of social -emotional learning in education (tech). I’m still getting my head around it & the different ways it can manifest . It’s not just a product or product feature but a principle, a competency, a paradigm and a pedagogy . I’d like to think of it as personal “smarts ” that could build or at least support , maybe nudge , student resilience & positive capacity . This is a different generation of software not just the model of right /wrong answers which most adaptive software does today (and totally suck at ). For me, I get excited about learning software that is designed for the human factor . Social emotional learning is one example . Another is learning design which respects student autonomy , voice & choice where learning is viewed as a social endeavor to engage , immerse & develop skill & acknowledges effort and success.

  76. Aashay Mody

    Technologies that I’m most excited about:1) AI/Deep learning: AI is already a big part of our lives in subtle ways with image recognition in photos, text suggestions in email, and new human-computer interfaces with the likes of Alexa and Siri. AI could become the single-most important technology of our lifetimes.2) VR/AR: Yes the current versions of the products are not pretty, and most of the use cases are around gaming but there are some encouraging signs, like this legally blind man being able to see clearly:…. With AR, we are further away but Snap’s Spectacles appear to be an early hit if reports are to be believed.3) Transportation: With advances in self-driving tech, companies attempting to make the Hyperloop a reality, and supersonic flight coming back on the radar, there’s a lot going on in this space.4) Wearables/IoT: Wearables have earned a bad rap this year for lacking a killer, useful and sticky use case and we are probably in the trough of disillusionment right now. But I think the most successful wearable companies will be those that focus on the medical space where the use cases are not just useful, but necessary.5) Biotech: I am particularly excited about where nootropics i.e. cognitive supplements go over the next decade. This space certainly has my attention and I’ve been dabbling with these “smart drugs” along with intermittent fasting, but will they catch the wider imagination?6) Blockchain: There’s enough said about the opportunities in this space in this community so I won’t add too much more. I am very encouraged by this ongoing experiment:…7) Drones/Robotics: Consumer drones are cool, but commercial drones are where the real opportunities are at (think construction, oil/gas, agriculture etc). “Self-flying” drones would also make them far more adoptable.

  77. Ana Milicevic

    The areas I’m interested in now are:1) Scaled automated assistive systems – from tools like Textio that help us better communicate w/ one another through voice assistants like Alexa & Cortana to autonomous driving. Machines enhancing humans in every sphere of life is extremely exciting.2) Food tech – everything from large-scale farm automation & crop improvement through to urban farming/kitchen/fridge farms that can disrupt the food supply chain and ensure better access to quality, unprocessed sources of nutrition.3) Biohacking – from CRISPR gene editing, through embeddable technologies, to hacking Epipens, heart valves, tissue growing, surgical material, etc: basically medicine & engineering coming closer together and pulling in adjacent disciplines.4) Solutions that address elements of climate change – this is by far the greatest threat we are facing and we’re not taking it seriously. In the vacuum of leadership at government level, the private sector will need to come up with incremental solutions fast: everything from coastal erosion prevention, addressing coral bleaching, over-fishing, through pollution clean-up, air & water filtration, improvements in recycling/material re-use w/ minimal waste to clean, renewable energy.Similar software approaches will benefit all. It’s the intersection of software and the material world that I am increasingly interested in.

  78. Dana Hoffer

    Infrastructure… but probably a post for a different community ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. ShanaC

      I’ve always through an interesting problem was “If you could design a programming language that would work for 100 years, what would it look like” primarily because sensors and infrastructure is a big problem

  79. ShanaC

    -Bio and Health p1. Things have got to change, and change is coming because people are starting to demand it. There are going to be broad opening for a wide variety of new technologies because patients and doctors have to communicate better in order to (ironically) not see each other (or at least see them for totally different reasons)-Bio and Health p2. There are a lot of fundamental problems in biology and healthcare that really are also ginourmous math/comp sci problems. as we solve one we’ll solve the other, and it will be interesting to see how the fields play out in other areas that are not 100% related.-AI – a lot of the reason it seems unexciting is apparently a lot of the core math is being published literally every day, too fast to do as much as people would like with it. It is going to take some time for really great applications to settle out from it-Design – with AI comes interesting design issues. Plus, there seems to be a movement now to actually discover a new design language across medium (not just web) which will make it interesting for hardware and everyday objects.-Purchasing/commerce. While there is an overall focus on food here, there seems to be fundamental shifts in what a store is for vs what a website is for. (where food is one of the more obvious ways this is changing). Broadly, this also means there will be shifts across every piece of the logistics cycle, with technology to match-Farming/GMO (not food, just the farming) – we’re just starting to see a pushback on what exactly is the point of a GMO, and some of the first GMOs are being bred and brought to market for nutrition and flavor in a small locality rather that mass farm factory thing.-CRISPR9/CASE Ignoring the patent issues for a second, in order to make CRISPR9 work (particularly in humans/for humans), we need to know a lot more about the human genome and how it works. We are really short in understanding that right now, and the only way to make massive breakthroughs (my guess) is to do this computationally.

    1. Twain Twain

      Humanistic AI.Early on, I decided to make my system work on an omni-media basis with a unified design and code stack.None of that app for tablet (3 lots of design and code: Swift for Apple devices, Python for Android devices, C# for MS .Net) then a website; each with different databases that then need to be joined into one for the ML. That’s how AI sector currently does it and it’s really inefficient.So I coded something different from that.

  80. Mike Onsing

    It’s hard to get a good policy to scale up while creating intimacy. This is a neural network concept that I’m working on. Lots of the dynamics in this election as outlined by the Silicon Valley Friday podcast today Paul Martino laid out some insights into why the data matters and transparency in communities

  81. Mauricio Macedo

    Elon Musk’s companies’ videos of things he’s working on like a car driving itself and a reusable rocket are pretty exciting to watch IMOTesla drives itself…SpaceX has landed its reusable rocket on a drone ship…As is his interview on Wait But Why about how technology could help mankind avoid extinction is a very long but great readSpaceXโ€™s Big Fscking Rocket โ€“ The Full Story…It’s exciting to think on how much we’ve advanced over the last 200 years and how the advancement is accelerating, 10 years ago iPhone didn’t exist and now Apple has sold a billion units!

  82. Tristan Louis

    Right now, for me, it’s a couple of things:1. IoT: The introduction of inexpensive sensors with some compute power attached to a cloud for data purpose reshapes a lot of business. So there’s a lot to do there. 2. Transportation: Drones and self-driving vehicles will reshape the whole transportation industry. There will be lost of losers in there but a couple of winners. 3. Conversational interfaces: Amazon echo, twitter, text messaging, chatbots are all wiring a new way to interact. Again some major changes there as interfaces purely become about the interaction.4. Alternative energy: solar, batteries, wind, wireless power. There seems to be a lot of exciting new developments there to solve global warming related problems. Also, any other “green” type solution that reduces waste is interesting to me. 5. More of a meta-trend that covers all the above: physical becomes digital: software and hardware merging into a continuum, with little lines delineating whether it is a traditional business or a digital one. Basically, traditional models that think of themselves as non-tech companies but use tech to advance their purpose. 6. Everything 3D printing: From meats and organs to houses and shoe soles, 3D printing is slowly moving us closer to an exciting point where mass customization becomes standard.

  83. oxidegeek

    How about 15 Terawatts of solar deployed by 2040, for a total cost of $9.8 trillion?

    1. oxidegeek

      Couple more data points for reference:World primary energy use: ~12TW (105,000 TW.hours – taking out losses and non-energy parts)Revenues of top 20 oil & gas companies: ~$4 trillion (in 2015)Straight line projection to 2040 for oil & gas revenues: $92 trillionProjected yearly solar manufacturing capacity by 2020: 100GW/yr (which is the part that needs to be accelerated)Of course, storage (batteries) and electrification of transport proceed in parallel to this.

  84. I_AM_IBN

    I’m new to the start-up/tech world (call me the rookie) but have found it an encouraging space because of it’s optimism, tenacity and defiance of the status quo. Sadly I see that waining in some areas (Topic for another post). What I’m excited about are things substantially challenging the way we exist (I know these are all broad areas);1. Alternative Energy and related space: We continue to build a world that is energy intensive and current path we’re going down is going to get us into some serious trouble. Finding more efficient, safer and sustainable means of energy to power our world is crucial.2. Food: The world isn’t getting bigger (finite space) and there are more people each day (more mouths to feed). The current food environment needs to be rethought from the amount of food wasted each year to what we consider food. Efforts like Impossible Foods excite me 3. Healthcare: As @awaldstein mentioned we live in disease management world instead of a prevention world. So much has been said and written on this, but I’m excited about the technologies that are improving lives and saving lives4. AI: I don’t know much about this field. Trying to learn as much as possible (any recommendations appreciated). I think this has the potential to challenge our humanity and existence. Maybe not in the near future, but one day.5. Teleportation (ala Start Trek transporter) – Kidding / Not Kidding. History has shown science fiction become reality on a long enough timeline. I want to throw that out there as a dream, because this would change our entire perspective on transportation and matter.

  85. Mark Essel

    AI: love seeing the shifts and applications and explosion of machine knowledgeVR: this or some virtual variation is the future of fantasy story telling, design, building, ranged communicatingFactories building factories building products: expansion on the idea of Elon’s Giga factoryRobo Assistants: Health aids, stuff like Mike Rowe’s Dirty JobsGenetic Modification: I wanna dial up my old man’s metabolism and energy. Hope this will happen soon without horrific side effectsAsynchronous Information Systems: tapping into public data and applying structure, order, and redistributing timely relevant knowledge

  86. Javier Granda

    I think nowadays what’s exciting in tech and start ups is about what can be achieved in emerging markets in terms of inclusion and connectivity. New ways to let people easy and cheaply access technology that can improve their daily lives is really exciting and in some cases has opened up new innovation models that can be applied in developed countries as well.

  87. Drew Meyers

    I absolutely love what Kiva’s doing in the US market: US operations are really focused on “community financing”, rather than microfinance. It’s all related, but a $10,000 loan isn’t really a micro-loan.

  88. David Pethick

    I’m excited about one thing – energy.The transition to different fuels is going to be hugely innovative. Four reasons:* Data – cheap sensors allow us to collect a lot more data across a grid than ever before, and drive optimisation on much higher resolutions.* Carbon – the world is moving rapidly toward low carbon (gas) and zero carbon (renewables and perhaps nuclear) fuels. These other fuels have unique characteristics.* Distributed – solar has opened up distributed generation, shifting value from transmission networks to distribution networks. A portfolio of power generating assets looks very different in 2020 than 2000.* Storage – battery technologies change a fundamental assumption about electricity. Other than hydro, we haven’t been able to store electricity cost effectively. Now we can, and on a distributed basis.Disruption in the energy markets will see me through to the end of my career. It’s going to be a lot of fun.Dave P.

  89. Quinn Murphy

    The disruption of the telecommunications/Internet industry. With the rise of companies like SilverIP, Everywhere Wireless, Layer3 TV, Zoom Connects intersecting with the move away from cable and landline phone usage, it’s amazing that cities like Chicago are trending towards moving away from the “Big 3” companies altogether.

  90. Per Hansa

    Mortgages are very exciting. who is doing the best remains to be seen.$10 trillion market (10x the size of the student loan market). Incredibly low industry NPS.…existing players doing new things:- encompass is rolling out an API for their loan origination system- fannie mae is coming up with ways to make the application process faster by verifying income and assets at source and, in certain cases, waiving the need for an appraisal (which can take up to 15 days)

  91. awaldstein

    Buy me a train ticket to Lancaster and i’ll come drink coffee then wine and brainstorm with you and the team if you’d like.I grew up in retail.If this continues as nothing but a pure brand play like it has since cave people days, disruption can’t happen at any meaningful way.You can win. You can build a brand and sell. You even–I believe this–build a small profitable business and support a dozen families but dunno if that changes the world in aggregate.(I did the delivery thing the other day–holy shit!. Plowing through traffic and issues and parking and tickets and waste on every front.)

  92. Susan Rubinsky

    This point about B2B software is spot on and not just in this market, in many markets. Big opportunity here.

  93. Dan Moore

    The problems with the operations apps is exciting to me. While I don’t think those businesses are vc fundable, reworking them so they are modern, mobile, and more tuned to current business practices will squeeze more productivity out of the economy. Call me boring, but that gets me excited :)Considering the larger question, I do think the deployment of internet technologies across the entire business world will:1. Destroy jobs2. Create new ones3. Be much more about the operation than the vision4. Grow the economy5. Be exciting

  94. Eric M. Seitz

    YES! The going to market experience is missed, in a delivery based food business.How about bringing the customers closer to indoor vertical grow facilities? One could offer year-round production and purchasing of crops, somewhere that a suburban consumer can come in and see what goes into the growth of their hydroponic veggies.What a perfect way to put empty Circuit City stores to use.

  95. Matt Zagaja

    I mostly love grocery shopping, but Trader Joe’s on Sundays can be a bit stressful. I usually hit up TJ’s for my Staples and then there are certain things I only get at Whole Foods where I go for my relaxing grocery shopping.

  96. sigmaalgebra


  97. Robert Metcalf

    Ah, the smells. Reading your comment, it dawned on me that my weekly Whole Foods trips are nearly devoid of smells. Hmm. That’s a contraindication for the quality I think I’m buying!

  98. awaldstein

    Ties in the mess and morass and possibilities of IoT.Has to wherever it touches inventory.

  99. falicon

    Train ticket? I’ll pick you up and drive you there — if I get to hang out and listen in while you two talk about this stuff! (serious).

  100. panterosa,

    There is a plan hatching which may interest both of you around patterns and food and healthy eating. Can share on email if interest.

  101. JimHirshfield

    R O A D T R I P !!!!!!!!!

  102. Donna Brewington White

    You could sell tickets for this.

  103. PhilipSugar

    And I will pick you up and we can go eat on the Chesapeake. I will have to ask permission to use my wife’s denali

  104. bsoist

    I was thinking the same thing. ๐Ÿ™‚ @ccrystle:disqus @SixgillBlog:disqus

  105. awaldstein

    Hydroponics is interesting I agree. Who is doing something there of note at scale?

  106. Robert Metcalf

    And BlockBuster video locations!

  107. Eric M. Seitz

    I put quite a bit of research into this a number of years ago. I recall that Holland, Japan, and Germany all have long-established, large scale operations. There are a couple of outfits in the US’s Midwest that are producing year-round crops on the large scale. Some go beyond hydroponics and involve aquaponics as well.Much of the indoor tech has been developed to meet the needs of the marijuana growers. With the US-wide trend towards legalization of MJ, I would guess that demand for current and improved systems is going to be off the charts.This will bode well for food producers, as the required equipment and science is going to get more and more attention.

  108. Nick Devane

    Not quite at scale, but my buddies Miles and Ryan have a full aquaculture system running the HVAC area of the old Pfizer building in Bedstuy. They currently grow about 300 tilapia and several thousand clam shells of micro greens 24/7 on a quick recurring basis. The thesis is they can put these farms in underutilized space anywhere.

  109. Gerald Buckley

    Scissortail Farm in Tulsa. Hydroponic. Vertical plotting. Venture backed. Certainly at scale… they’re supplying regional retail all day, every day.

  110. Twain Twain

    The inventory problem.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…There’s an IoT solution for retail clothing I’ve had parked for about 18 months I’d like to return to.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…*…@wmoug:disqus — It would be a lot more fun and less exhausting than being the outlier in AI/ML and disagreeing with Professors of AI about data quality and natural language frameworks, lol.Plus I’d get to go to fashion shows.

  111. Eric M. Seitz

    I couldn’t agree more, that well cared for food from outdoor soil is best. But, to provide decent quality produce to the masses, affordably, I think LED sunshine and nutrient rich liquid nourishment are necessary and effective.We’ve been living in Reno, NV for the last several years. My guess is that, other than onions and garlic, 99% of our produce comes in by truck from California. And our minimal, but wonderful, local food producer scene only does well for several months of the year. Tough to grow much in our somewhat inhospitable and very dry climate.

  112. PhilipSugar

    I so agree

  113. ShanaC

    Yes and no. I get the feeling we need to know more about produces’ microneeds (and ours) in terms of nutrition.

  114. Nick Devane

    Some pretty cool companies coming out here. Hunt’s Point NYC is the place to build it, if there ever was one.

  115. Susan Rubinsky

    I go to Farmer’s Markets on the weekends then fill in what’s missing ftom TJ’s on another day.

  116. Susan Rubinsky

    Yeah, there is a whole lot of unsexy in there to most but I find it exciting too to think about operational change.

  117. Dan Moore

    Absolutely some big issues. The obvious analogy is AirBnB, but there are definitely some unique challenges. We’ve done enough research and piloting to believe we can crack the nut.

  118. panterosa,

    I love those local setups with plants and fish.

  119. Nicholas Osgood

    “Did we just become best friends?!”

  120. JimHirshfield

    I don’t know. It’s so hard to tell on the internet.

  121. Susan Rubinsky

    That’s really interesting. I think it would definitely have mass appeal. Imagine everyone in spin class spinning with the world!

  122. awaldstein

    smart answer, thanks!

  123. Alex Dunsdon

    Oh that’s great news. I’m an early investor ๐Ÿ™‚

  124. fredwilson

    LaRuche is doing great. its infinitely scalable because it is only software. hosts use the software to create their own markets and select the farmers to participate in them. farmers use the software to get their orders and bring them to the markets. customers use the software to order the food they will pick up at the market.

  125. aks

    how why when? wth?