This is the 4th year in a row I’ve curated an annual prediction list for Forbes. Last year’s list is here.
It’s gotten bigger and better every year with a fantastic collection of participants – and this year is no exception. I really appreciate their involvement, as it helps all of us when we each share our best ideas.
Unlike a lot of prediction lists which show up at this time of year (in increasing numbers each year it seems), this is the only “Sleeper Ideas” List for 2015. A sleeper idea is something that few people see coming ahead of time, but then later goes mainstream.
Most of the participants on the list are entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, hedge fund managers or other market participants. I asked each of them to think about trends, stocks, or private companies that are “sleeper ideas” to watch for going into 2015.
Here they are (in no particular order):
1. Airbnb. Again. They had an amazing 2014 but 2015 may be even bigger. They are poised for the kind of break out year uber had as will the sharing economy.
2. Xiaomi. May be on track to be biggest smart phone maker in the world.
3. Obama. Will start to be recognized for actually caring about innovation in tech and govt.
4. Climate change. Everyone will wake up and realize this is the only issue that actually matters. There won’t be any other issues without a planet.
Horace Dediu, founder of Asymco.com, @hdediu
2. iPad. Not as a consumer product but for the Enterprise. The iPad grows up into a solid product for business while being replaced by phones in consumer “jobs to be done”.
3. Blockchains. Not as a currency but as a way to create/manage contracts.
4. So-called sharing economy. I don’t like the word “sharing” because sharing implies giving and in all these instances people are selling resources. I would rather brand this phenomenon as maximizing utilization or the allocation of resources which are under-utilized. Software and communications have made it possible for cars and housing but what else could be covered? How about capital itself? Why can’t capital surplus be allocated to capital deficits with an app? What would that do to those institutions which claim this role today?
Matt Maloney, Founder and CEO of GrubHub, @M3aloney
In 2015, I think it’s going to be all about making meaningful connections with customers. To do that, companies need to concentrate on perfecting their operations and focusing on how they are serving their customers. A few companies that are doing that well now and will see more success in the next year are:
- Shyp - Shyp is disrupting the shipping industry and making it easier than ever for people to ship items.
- Casper - This company is rethinking how we buy mattresses and doing it in a way that makes it simple to buy a product that historically has been a pain to purchase.
- Shinola - Incredibly designed utilities for men handbuilt in Detroit Michigan.
- Belly - Helping independent businesses connect with loyal customers in a more efficient way.
Bill Gurley, General Partner, Benchmark, @bgurley
Two on the industry and two on investing.
1. The industry will increasingly recognize two different version of Android — Google’s “locked-down” or “closed” Android which Google can control and monetize, and the competing “open” Android ecosystem driven by firms like Cyanogen and Xiaomi. This may be the single most important issue in tech.
2. I anticipate that many interesting alternatives to YouTube will emerge. There is so much left to do in video — it feels like we are only scratching the surface.
3. People will begin to realize that having a “billion” dollar private market cap (based on a single one-day investment) is quite different from having a proven market cap that trades every day in the public market. Many of the “presumed” winner’s business models will fail to pan out (along with their valuations).
4. One of the reasons our industry is cyclical is that people unknowingly take on increasing amounts of risk over time. Investors today are willing to invest at higher prices, with lessor terms, increasingly in companies with less scalable business models and lower revenue quality. This trend will continue in 2015 until it one day abruptly ends.
David Kenny, Chairman & CEO of The Weather Company, @davidwkenny
The Internet of Things will drive an Internet of Observations. We saw this already with Waze for traffic, and we are now collecting mid-atmosphere data from aircraft to improve weather and turbulence forecasts. I think that citizen journalism will become a bigger part of news. I really like Burst as a next generation video journalism tool. And I think GoPro is at the very early stages of becoming a media and publishing engine. And the possibilities for health data through wearables and smartphones is huge.
To view the entire article, click here: Forbes 2015