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10 Predictions for the Tech Industry in 2020
It’s that time of year again! Annual tech, startup and funding predictions for the coming year.
However, before we look ahead, let’s first take a look back at the 2019 predictions. I must say that unlike a few other years I seem to have nailed the 2019 picks, but have a look and let me know if you agree!
Now the reason why you are here — what lies ahead in 2020? Without further ado here are some shots in the dark that needed to be etched in digital stone – on the internet – forever.
The Podcast boom continues and begins to cannibalize other forms of media. The larger music providers Apple and Spotify continue to support creators and new shows but like the app ecosystem, many will come and go. New products and features built by third parties to support the podcast rush will continue to 2020 and Spotify will continue its M&A mega push, that is until they get acquired next year.
Amazon will experience its first stumbles. It still gets to 10 percent of overall ad spend but look to see some negative headlines on Amazon in 2020. Through a data breach, poor performance in its ad business, consumer frustration, Amazon hits turbulence but of course, will survive and be just fine.
Tech entrepreneur Chris Cunningham launches C2V Capital Partners – Business Insider
Marketing entrepreneur and veteran Chris Cunningham is starting a private investment fund called C2V Capital Partners with 25 media and technology investors including Complex’s Rich Antoniello, Beeswax’s Ari Paparo, and OpenSlate’s Brian Quinn.
The fund is an extension of C2 Ventures, Cunningham’s 5-year-old angel investment firm that uses his experience to help startups.
The fund has invested in four startups so far and plans to invest in two more this year. The average investment runs from $150,000 to $250,000.
Technology and marketing entrepreneur and investor Chris Cunningham has recruited a group of media and tech executives to help startups get off the ground.
Five years ago, he started C2 Ventures to angel invest in startups like Arbor and credit card company Petal at the pre-seed and seed rounds, using his own startup background to help new companies. Now, he’s applying that model more broadly, raising $10 million for a new fund backed by media and tech veterans who will also advise founders.
It’s become something of a tradition for me to look at the year ahead and predict where the industry is headed. Part of that process involves looking back at the trends that dominated last year and looking to see how much of that momentum will continue into the New Year.
And, what a year it was. Companies like Amazon and Netflix continued to assert their dominance, while others faltered in the face of heightened scrutiny (I’m looking at you, Facebook). On top of that, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented and virtual realities (AR/VR) have continued to develop rapidly, to the point where voice assistants and other smart gadgets have become commonplace.
It can be hard to keep up in the face of such innovation, but here’s what I consider to be the top issues and trends facing the tech industry in 2019.
2019 is the year of the consumer
My favorite tech movement of 2018 has to be the steady growth of companies focusing on direct-to-consumer products. Allbirds, Casper, Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, Netflix, Peloton – the list is endless. So many of the best brands nowadays are choosing to go straight to the consumer, instead of having to rely on middlemen and third parties. What do these brands all have in common? They all know how to talk and listen to their consumers, and they don’t rely on suspect adtech to do it.
In 2019, consumers will take back control of their data, and start becoming choosier about the brands they interact with. People will start participating more with the brands they love in a personalized way, which in turn, will allow them to get more value out of the interaction.
“Know Your Shit Before Walking Into a Meeting” with Chris Cunningham
I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Cunningham, active tech startup investor and founder of C2 Ventures, a privately-held investment firm with a focus on consumer, data and financial techs. Chris and C2 Ventures provides seed capital and hustle to early-stage companies both directly and via limited partnerships. C2 Ventures’ current portfolio includes 15 investments, three of which have been acquired or returned a multiple for the investors.
Jean: Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share your story about how you got into the VC space?
As a serial entrepreneur who has started multiple companies over my career, I was perplexed and frustrated with how broken the current venture model works for early-stage companies. The harsh truth is founders fuck up a lot and mistakes are made which, in short, allows start-ups to fail but it doesn’t have to be this way.
I believe the delta between first-time founders and institutional capital is too wide. Founders need a middle layer of support to help them drive their business forward and avoid classic mistakes. Let’s face it, the first two years of a start-up’s life are tough. To survive and thrive, you want hands-on, head down, get shit done investors and advisors on your side.
I didn’t see anyone in the space thinking like this, so I started investing myself four years ago and today have a 7X return over the industry standard 2.5X. We don’t just invest, we work beside you. Today C2 Ventures is the industry’s first operator-run, early-stage investment platform.
How in-car tech will give new meaning to 'mobile commerce'
U.S. drivers are responsible for $212 billion of spending during their commutes, but carmakers have to overcome skepticism from consumers and advertisers about connected cars.
"Mobile commerce" has a new meaning as more drivers pay for gas, order food and see offers from brands while using the digital dashboards in their connected cars.
It's also not clear how third-party app developers will fit into in-car platforms, and whether consumers will want to spend time searching for apps that don't come pre-loaded on a digital dashboard, like music streaming services.
"I'm going to say that car platforms won't be a major channel for app discovery," Chris Cunningham, founder of C2 Ventures, said in an interview. "Maybe a handful of apps will be pre-installed but for new apps in different verticals, the App Store via your iPad and mobile will be the primary discovery for new apps."
5 Things I Need to See Before Making a VC Investment, with Chris Cunningham
“God forbid if the CEO had to step down or got hit by a bus could I step in and run the company.”
Chris is the Chief Revenue Officer at Unacast, the world’s largest network of beacon and proximity data, connecting the physical world to the digital for online retargeting and attribution. Unacast is a Norwegian startup that recently raised $5M in series A funding. Chris is an active tech start up investor and founder of C2 Ventures, a privately-held investment firm with a focus on consumer, data and financial techs that provides seed capital to early stage digital media companies. C2 and Chris’s limited partnership with Techstars and Bowery Capital include 13 current investments, one of which — Arbor.io — was recently acquired by LiveRamp. Chris has been named one of the “Most Important People in Mobile Advertising” by Business Insider, as well as being an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 2 years in a row. He’s been a featured speaker at International CES, Cannes Lions, IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting, dmexco, and f.ounders. He is a contributor to CNBC and Bloomberg TV via on-screen appearances, and is former co-chair of the IAB Social Media committee and Native Advertising Task Force.
Hipster internet favorite Reddit may have to lose its edge to go public
Questions about the social news aggregation site Reddit going public have been swirling for years — but the move seems more definite than ever, after CEO Steve Huffman saidit could happen by 2020. Now the questions is: What does the company need to do to get IPO-ready?
Reddit, which declined to comment to NBC News, is clearly prized by some major investors. It scooped up $200 million earlier this year, reaching a valuation of $1.8 billion, and is beloved by users: Analytics service Alexa rated it as the eighth-most popular site in the world. Plus, it’s shown it can stand the test of time, at least by internet standards, having been around since 2005. But the bare bones site has always been a bit of an outlier, and it’s been a hotbed for controversies (like the 2014 celebrity photo hack, six months after which Reddit enforced its photo sharing guidelines).
“Reddit can count big numbers in users — but that doesn't mean it's conducive to brand advertisers, which is generally a key monetization metric,” Chris Cunningham, CRO at Unacast and founder of C2 Ventures, told NBC News. “In addition, advertisers like safe and predictable content and Reddit is not that, which puts its ad business at risk.”
After Moat Deal, New York City Ad Tech Pats Itself On The Back
Many New York City-based ad tech leaders saw Tuesday’s acquisition of Moat by the Silicon Valley titan Oracle as a testament to the city’s distinct startup ecosystem.
The Moat deal was a victory for the city and “a validation of the tech scene here,” said DataXu CEO Mike Baker, a prolific ad tech angel investor, in an AdExchanger Talks podcast this week.
Baker’s sentiments echoed other New York ad tech founders and investors after Moat’s acquisition was announced.
“SaaS startups are much harder businesses to get off the ground in terms of revenue, and it’s something New York City startups have done more effectively than others,” said Chris Cunningham, Unacast’s CRO and founder of the seed-level investment firm C2 Ventures. Redwood giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon have world-setting advertising businesses, “but they don’t know the ins and outs of how agencies and brands work like people in New York who are really in the trenches.”
Narrative simplifies the buying and selling of online data
We hear a lot about our online data being bought and sold by advertisers, but Narrative founder and CEO Nick Jordan said the actual process remains “incredibly cumbersome.”
And he should know, since he’s spent years in the adtech world, most recently as an executive at Tapad. Jordan explained that from the data buyer’s perspective, you have to go out and strike “one-off” deals with a long list of different providers — as he put it, “There’s no one-stop shop.” And if you’re looking to sell data, you’ve got to figure out how to package and price it.
“There’s a pent-up demand for folks looking to buy data, and a pent-up supply of people looking to sell data,” he said. “For the data economy to have less friction, we need to give tools to both the buyers and sellers to help them find each other easily and let them easily integrate with each other.”
That’s what Narrative is providing, with a marketplace where data buyers can browse different sellers and bid on their data, and where sellers can manage all of their transactions.