In any business, where money and time is invested, of course it would be nice to know the future. Knowing what’s going to happen, being certain you’re putting your money in the right place, and having the ability to gauge if that next great idea will actually be successful is pretty much a startup founder’s dream. But given the fact that there are no tech psychics out there (that we’ve met), we have to predict the best way we know how— with data, trends and insight. Especially in an industry that changes so quickly, this has always sort of been the name of the game. Predict where the future of tech falls and you could be the next founder of a billion dollar post-startup conglomerate. In 2007 (practically a lifetime ago by internet standards), Startups.co published an article where 10 entrepreneurs were interviewed and asked about their predictions for the next decade of the Internet. Forecasts ranged from socio-political shifts to a mass focus on niche broadcasters to a huge surge in mobile— many of which we’ve seen come to fruition. And more recent predictions? Bloomberg View published a 2014 article wondering at whether 2016 could be the year for an eventual tech bubble burst. “I think we have another several quarters of dramatic growth left for Silicon Valley and the broader world of tech stocks,” the article’s author, Katie Benner states. “Still, the next bubbly stretch will be dangerous for acquirers and investors, and not just because they’ll be buying at lofty prices. It’s because if it winds up being the tail end of the cycle, those who arrived late to the dance may find themselves in trouble when the music stops and they discover everyone else has left the ball already.” Here at the Hive we have a few of our own predictions for 2016, all of which take root from our own startup experience and from the companies within our ecosystem. — Too Much Funding: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Accepting too much money from investors can be detrimental to the long-term success of any business. In a previous blog post, we even highlighted how this mistake ended up costing our co-founder a billion dollar opportunity. The fact is, when you accept funding or outside capital, you’re essentially giving away pieces of your company. In our co-founder’s case, that equated to losing control of the business and say-so in the direction it took. With the ability to overfund still being quite accessible, this is a trend that we see continuing into 2016— despite the warnings and anecdotes (like our co-founder’s) that are out there. This is one of the main reasons we operate as a lean startup, avoiding the false sense of security that too much cash creates and forcing tough decisions. — An Ad Tech Crash: Although this is something that can be seen even now (9 out of 10 startups fail, after all), we can definitely see most new ad tech companies flopping. Yes, this is partially due to the fact that many companies are created without a true consumer need for their products or services— but it’s also because most of the key players in tech have already been established. The problem then becomes more than the fact that a business has to sustain itself, but that a company may not be able to gain ample market share in order to become profitable. Our prediction? We see this picking up even more steam in the coming year. — Continued Consolidation: As VentureBeat put it, this is due to the fact that "...larger companies are starting to realize the massive opportunity in online, programmatic, and mobile advertising, and small ad tech companies are developing the technologies that will push ad tech through the advertising stratosphere." This is something that we see continuing for quite some time due to the fact that this is a natural byproduct of a growing industry and because, as the article points out, it's much easier to build out existing technology than to recreate the wheel. As the saying goes, the best indicator of the future is the past. This is one of the main reasons we keep trusting our data, believe in discussing (and learning) from failure, and continue to closely monitor the evolving tech world around us. So what will 2016 actually hold? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
Hivewyre