The most interesting things happening in technology startups are not always the most visible and, in some cases, still sound implausible on paper. Even after Facebook’s bet on virtual reality, most of us can’t picture where it will fit into our business or personal lives, practically speaking.
But no one pays as close attention to up-and-coming trends in technology as entrepreneurs do—whether because they’re looking for potential investment opportunities, new business ideas, or just cool new gadgets that might someday impact their workflow on a daily basis. Curious about which tech trends are the most exciting from an opportunity standpoint, we polled 13 members of YEC and asked them the following: If you were going to invest $1 million today in any one technology or area of tech, what would you choose and why?
Their answers are below:
The wearable technology space is just beginning to take off, and the possibilities are endless. Computer glasses, activity trackers, smart watches and health monitors are becoming more and more predominant, and the market has decades to go before it matures. It’s an area that’s ripe for innovation, and will no doubt spawn billion dollar technology enterprises in the coming years.
- Mark Krassner, Knee Walker Central
Video Advertisement Technology
More and more people are watching video. It would be interesting to track exactly what is it that people are attracted to in the specific video they are watching. Is it the color? The music? The attractive models? Or something else altogether? There are some public companies out there that are starting to do this, but no clear winner.
- Derek Capo, Next Step China
While still young in its development, 3D printing is an enabler of major business shifts. It allows companies to produce just in time (which helps manage cash flow). And it enables fans to customize the product they want, instead of relying on a centralized designer.
- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
Need I say more? All kidding aside, the future is bright for cryptographic currency that is decentralized and can be sent anywhere in the world instantly without approval from an intermediary or exorbitant fees.
- Mark Cenicola, BannerView.com
Virtual reality represents the biggest gold rush opportunity since the app stores on mobile. Oculus VR and others are presenting a whole new kind of ecosystem that truly is a paradigm shift with how we interact with games and media in general. What’s more is that this technology has far-reaching applications that haven’t even been imagined yet on both the hardware and software side.
- James Simpson, GoldFire Studios
There are so many opportunities in and around home automation and we are just at the beginning. The proliferation of connected hardware and wearables will present startups with endless opportunities to reinvent hardware, create apps, and provide services built on home automation and the data it creates.
- Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Technologies, Inc.
There is an immense amount of knowledge residing in universities, colleges and schools. And there are hundreds of millions of people who crave access to that information and knowledge. If someone could really crack the code and devote the time and energy to a life-altering online learning solution, I think it would have huge investment potential and benefit the whole world.
- Luke Skurman, Niche.com
Data collection and processing of large data sets on clusters of commodity hardware has become more and more prominent with the advent of software frameworks like Hadoop. The need for privacy-enhancing technologies to protect consumers and enterprise organizations from malicious collection and data use is growing. I believe this will be the next big market space.
- Phil Chen, Systems Watch
Cold Fusion is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality. Limitless free energy for the entire planet is probably 10-20 years away. Anyone who invests in this technology will not only get a great return on investment if successful, but will also produce technology that could pull our dependency off non-renewable energy.
- Liam Martin, Staff.com
Water Delivery and Infrastructure
I would invest in water delivery and infrastructure. All indications point to our country and world facing huge water issues in the coming decades. I am taking the steps to get ahead of this data and prepare for the opportunity when it comes.
- Joseph P. DeWoody, Clear Fork Royalty
The era of one-size-fits-all has passed. Personalization is key when it comes to marketing and product development, yet technology to enable personalization at scale is still in the early stages. I would invest in personalization technologies, whether it’s a company working in mass customization of goods online or a company using data to customize marketing messages to consumers.
- Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
Education technology is starting to finally attract some of the smartest tech minds, who in the past would have gone in to finance, healthcare, gaming, etc. It’s exciting, still unchartered territory as the school market has always been slow to accept change. Schools districts are now willing to try new and innovative ideas to dramatically alter how our children are taught and learn.
- Tim McHugh, Saddleback Educational
Our cars are still pretty dumb. Yes we have technologies that assist how we drive and tech that even prevents accidents (collision warning systems, etc.). But when it comes to our car’s ability to communicate with our existing devices/wearable tech, we’re just getting started. This is where connected car ecosystems come into play. If you want to play in this game, now would be the time to jump in!
- Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media
Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image: Rawpixel via Shutterstock