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DAVID TISCH: I don’t know about you, but I am going into next year really energized by all of the innovation that I see in technology today. This extends beyond the boundaries of just my computer monitor and smartphone and includes creativity taking place in hardware and other tech-enabled arenas as well.
In one famous (and now maligned) moment of 2012, it was suggested that there are ‘no more great ideas left.’ I feel just the opposite. I think there is no limit to the innovation we will continue to see.
So the question is, what forms will that innovation take in 2013? I think we are in for an exciting year ahead:
The Internet will become fun again. When was the last time you had real fun on the Internet? Exactly. We are past the first wave of social gaming, we all understand content sharing, and we all “like” friends posts on Facebook…but is any of that really fun? I don’t think so. Coming soon: new games, new social applications and new immersive experiences will create true joy for web and mobile users. We are at the point where the internet needs some new toys, and I for one can’t wait to play with them. And no, ‘Poking’ is not the answer.
Technology transforms your everyday places. The majority of us spend most of our time outside of work in two places: the house and the car. Technology has yet to truly penetrate either of these spheres in a meaningful way. We are now at a point where connectivity, cheap and easy hardware and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets can lead to technological innovations in the home and car that have practical life applications. For a great example of this, check out SmartThings.com (full disclosure: I am an investor). They are on to something big and they are not the only ones.
See what other startup mentors have to say about the top startup trends for 2013.
Connectivity, quantified self and the body. Sensors and smartphones allow the body to become another vehicle of connectivity. These possibilities open endless opportunities for entrepreneurs to ‘plug’ into real life in ways never before imagined. Already some very powerful experiences have emerged around running and fitness (which I don’t really do well). The excitement for me is around extending this to all aspects of our physical lives, and using technology to improve our health and the way we live. Easily installable and accessible monitors and sensors allow for the aggregation and processing of massive amounts of data that will unlock new discoveries to allow the human platform to evolve. I can’t wait.
Offline retail finally plays catch-up.The retail experience is stuck in the 1980s. E-commerce continues to put more and more pressure on brick and mortar stores. Additionally, online-only retailers will continue extending their brands offline catalyzing even further innovation in the offline world. I expect this is the year that physical retailers really start to modernize. They need to. This will take many forms, from innovations in merchandising, pricing, customer service and loyalty programs to hopefully the launch of new offline retailers that start with a modernized experience. But what excites me is seeing the online advantages brought offline, such as curation, personalization and the connection between online and offline in one singular experience (in-store pickup, delivery, local inventory). Innovation will also occur behind the scenes, in terms of inventory management, robust in-store analytics and customer intelligence. If this doesn’t happen fast, say goodbye to many of the big box brands you have come to love.
Crowdfunding of startups doesn’t emerge.Venture capital itself is not immune to disruption, but I do not believe that crowd funding sites that allow anonymous investors to pour money into startups that sound cool is a lasting trend. Investing in startups is really hard and most people lose most of their money most of the time (including the best VCs). Having investors on your cap table who understand the high likelihood of loss and behave predictably when this occurs is underrated. New investors not prepared for this will cause headaches, or worse, bring down the company. Access to early stage capital is not the limiting factor for startups and pooling together momentum-driven capital to fund 18 months of web development is not a value add. Having experienced investors who can help your company grow is more important in the hard times than the good ones. Crowdfunding projects and products is awesome, but the jury is still out on crowd-investing.
(Read more from startup mentor David Tisch.)