This list lets you inside the mind of Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.
One of, if not the, most prominent VC groups in Silicon Valley has revealed the hottest tech trends changing the world right now. For those wondering, that firm is Andreessen Horowitz and we’re referring to no other than its “16 Things” list. The breakdown, which highlights the most investable spaces at the moment, unsurprisingly includes Internet of Things, digital health, crowdfunding, and security — a couple of areas in which we know a little something about.
“We don’t invest in themes; we invest in special founders with breakthrough ideas,” Andreessen Horowitz writes. “Which means we don’t make investments based on a pre-existing thesis about a category. That said, here are a few of the things we’ve been observing or thinking about.”
While the list — which includes several themes that were evident throughout the CES 2015 show floor — will likely change over time, it does provide a nice glimpse into the firm’s thinking at the start of this year. Just in case you don’t feel like clicking through and navigating a16z in its entirety, here’s a brief overview of those breakthrough areas.
“VR will be the ultimate input-output device. Some people call VR “the last medium” because any subsequent medium can be invented inside of VR, using software alone. Looking back, the movie and TV screens we use today will be seen as an intermediate step between the invention of electricity and the invention of VR. Kids will think it’s funny that their ancestors used to stare at glowing rectangles hoping to suspend disbelief.”
Sensorification of the Enterprise
“For enterprise, the value of the sensors is in being a shortcut for the user interface, potentially even replacing typing so we can concentrate on the easy, fun, creative things.”
Machine Learning and Big Data
“The key here is in more automated apps where big data drives what the application does, and with no user intervention.”
Full Stack Startups
“The old approach startups took was to sell or license their new technology to incumbents. The new, ‘full stack’ approach is to build a complete, end-to-end product or service that bypasses incumbents and other competitors.”
“The next step in containerization is treating the datacenter, with all its containers, like one giant computer or server. Many applications today are really just distributed systems: Applications aren’t necessarily confined to just one container.”
“Tomorrow? To understand your personal diagnostic data, you might soon depend more upon an iPhone app developed in a garage than on your local MD.”
“We’re continuing to see tremendous innovation in marketplaces. The first generation of net companies saw a few big horizontal marketplace winners like eBay and Craigslist. But entrepreneurs are continuing to create the next generation of online marketplaces.”
“There are two things now driving the security industry: (1) The bad guys are already inside. (2) New platforms — cloud and mobile — have arrived… Both are forcing a different set of technologies, and the creation of new kinds of companies.”
Bitcoin (and Blockchain)
“The clock has just begun on Bitcoin’s acceptance more broadly. Crash or no crash, we should expect a significant increase in the level of institutional adoption this year. Specifically, a large number of companies will put together groups focused on what Bitcoin means to them.”
“Endpoints aren’t just phones; they could be wearables and other small devices and screens connected to the internet. Beyond the devices themselves, it all adds up to a massive amount of compute power. The next decade of computing will be about doing something with it.”
“Crowdfunding is going somewhere it never has — into the mainstream. That, in turn, will change all sorts of other things.”
Internet of Things
“Something often overlooked when we talk about all the shiny new connected gadgets emerging out of the Internet of Things is what happens to all the old things. I’m fascinated by the power of adding multiple sensors to old things and then connecting them to the Internet…. With the IoT we’re headed to a world where things aren’t liable to break catastrophically — or at least, we’ll have a hell of a heads up.”
“What we do know is that online video is far from done… so it will be interesting to see what even a little competition will do here.”
“Insurance is all about distributing risk. With dramatic advances in software and data, shouldn’t the way we buy and experience our insurance products change dramatically? Software will rewrite the entire way we buy and experience our insurance products — medical, home, auto, and life.”
“The rise of the hyperscale cloud datacenter has now made this job much harder as developers have had to hack together tools and complex scripts for pushing code to thousands of pancake servers. This complex cloud infrastructure — coupled with the growth of the DevOps movement today — has opened up many opportunities, starting with helping developers and companies to manage the entire process … to much more.”
“The goal is not to fail fast. The goal is to succeed over the long run. They are not the same thing.”
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