This report from Gartner presents the top ten technology trends that organizations can exploit. These include AI, conversational platforms, cloud, immersive experiences, and blockchain. For this week’s posts, click on the paragraph links. >>>
Sramana Mitra: Where in the grand spectrum of possibilities, in which markets, which segments do you see venture-scale brand opportunities in?
Tod Francis: I hate to dodge this question, but I think it’s actually hard to sit here and say this category and not that category because it’s about how the entrepreneur sees the execution and how they provide great value to the customer.
I’ll give you an example. >>>
Sramana Mitra: I hear a theme in what you’ve described – creative ways of playing the gaps or issues in the financial services market. I want to ask you for your thoughts on the small business financing market. I know OnDeck, to some extent, plays in that market for a particular category of companies. Lending Club even borders on a little bit of that market although it’s primarily consumer lending. >>>
Ira Weiss, General Partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners based in Chicago, talks about venture activity in the MidWest.
Sramana Mitra: So your hypothesis is that a lot of these surplus IT workers with different levels of IT expertise will get absorbed by, at least a portion of them, the startup ecosystem – the technology startup ecosystem.
Mohit Gulati: I would refrain from using the word will get. I would use the word should get if they are open and willing to be absorbed. An older person typically carries a lot of baggage about his expectations in life. When you work with younger people, you need to come with a clean slate. Only when you have a clean slate do you grow. >>>
Sramana Mitra: One of the things that I’d like to point out is we work with people at a very early stage. It’s not always viable to start with your own product. This is where the parallel with the department retail business comes in. If you look at the P&L’s of department stores like Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s, they sell other people’s brands. Then in the basics category, they sell their own brand. I have been in this business, so I know this inside out. This is how a lot of people start – acquiring customers and then building their own brand.
In the Internet, there’s a company that’s doing a good job at this. That’s Nasty Gal. They started as an eBay seller. She was selling sassy vintage clothing. She started doing that on eBay. Now, she’s doing her own brand.
Sramana Mitra: It sounds like one of the strategies your firm is following is analyzing a macro trend and making multiple bets on that industry.
Warren Weiss: We’re trying to go deep in certain areas. We see this is a decade of the CMOs and so CMOs will spend more time to automate a business. We hear a lot about Big Data. It’s really about big results, not Big Data and so things like marketing technologies and financial services are two spaces that we’re primarily interested in diving very deep on. >>>
Sramana Mitra: But there are two or three different trends that need to be parsed within that one. Is there is a job loss phenomenon that is going to happen in the white-collar because of the IT industry, which is one of the biggest growth drivers in India for a while now. As the IT services model is coming to a head, where does that labor pool go? I wonder if that labor pool could be absorbed within the SMB sector, which would give a huge boost to the SMB sector. >>>