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The Next Big Thing In Tech?

Friday, January 29, 2016

By Alex Donn, Director of Developer Relations,

A couple of friends and I were at dinner while at CES 2016 a couple of weeks ago and having a lively conversation around work culture, time efficiency and which apps we had on our various phones. The conversation segued into “The Next Big Thing” with interesting insights and observations.

While the sharing economy and messaging apps are used quite heavily (Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Line, Car2Go, ZipCar and many others), these apps have spawned side industries such as remote door locks (August Lock), temperature monitoring (Nest), surveillance and even on demand cleaning services (Handy).

What I love about these mobile apps is that communications is at the core and there are a number of ways that can fit into the picture. From basic messaging to full on video, Kandy can easily be dropped into an app to facilitate communication. These apps we use today are just scratching the surface of what is possible. As the ecosystems around the sharing economy and messaging apps mature, we should start to see tertiary businesses spring into existence as consumer demand grows for new and innovative services.

Check out this excellent set of interviews by Stanford Business School to gain more insight from venture capital veterans and what they see coming down the pipeline. And here is a quick bullet point breakdown mind dump for those of you who don’t have the five minutes to watch the video:

Robert Siegel - General Partner, XSeed Capital

  • “Mobile computing is still in the early stages” - New businesses around communication between people and between business & customers. Line, Whatsapp, Uber & Airbnb are examples of how mobile has disrupted traditional businesses.
  • “What we are learning about the human body is nothing short of spectacular” - Individualized drugs,

Trae Vassallo - Investor & Advisor, Private

  • “Computing platforms built on homes, cars, buildings & even the body” - “Dumb” devices will make the transition to “smart” just like the phone did back in the 2000’s.

Alan Chiu - Partner, XSeed Capital

  • “Machine assisted services and products” - Automated robots that are just intelligent enough to help humans do things faster to increase the human increase output. is a great example of an AI that knows just enough to take meeting setting off your hands.

Jillian Tohber Leslie - Founder, Catch My Party

  • “Anything that saves time” - Instacart, Google shopping express. After using Google express for a couple of months Jullian was hooked on the service and happily paid once Google started charging monthly fees.

Peter Ziebelman - Co-founder, Palo Alto Venture Partners

  • “Automobile Market” - Many hours are spent in the car. Opportunities to address consumer issues / problems like scheduling, communication, dry cleaning and other life issues.

Mark Leslie - Managing Partner, Leslie Ventures

  • “The best ideas are the ideas that no one knows they want until after they see it” - Uber is a great example of this. Come up with more ideas like Uber.
  • “Technology will continue to change the world” - Yes.

There is a lot to look forward to as exposing the API becomes the standard, and no doubt we’ll see new markets created and current industries disrupted. I’m confident that our hackathons and upcoming connected experience tour will help bring out some of these ideas. Stay tuned...

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