Friday, January 23, 2015

The 16 Trends Andreessen Horowitz Is Watching

From Quartz:
Andreessen Horowitz reveals the 16 trends it’s closely watching
It’s hard to predict what startups Andreessen Horowitz wants to get behind. The venture capital firm—arguably one of the most influential in the tech industry—invests in about 1 out of every 100 deals that come its way, making decisions not based on particular themes or topics, but rather people and ideas. That’s fine and dandy, but it’s not much to work off of for entrepreneurs, all of whom are inclined to believe they’re on the cusp of the next big thing, when they’re raising money.

Pulling back the curtain a bit, partners at Andreessen Horowitz recently revealed 16 trends they’re closely watching. The list is likely to change with time, but it at least provides a snapshot of the firm’s thinking at the start of 2015.

1. Virtual reality
Chris Dixon: “The next few decades of VR will be similar to the first few decades of film. Filmmakers had no idea what worked and what didn’t: how to write, how to shoot, how to edit, etc. After decades of experiments they established the grammar of film. We’re about to enter a similar period of exploration with VR.”

2. “Sensorification” of the enterprise
Scott Weiss: “For enterprise, the value of the sensors is in being a shortcut for the user interface, potentially even replacing typing so we can concentrate on the easy, fun, creative things.”

3. Machine learning and big data
Peter Levine: “Even though the early applications tend to show up in industries where data scientists have typically worked, machine learning as a property of all applications—especially when coupled with an accessible user interface—is democratizing who, what, and where this kind of real-time computing and learning can happen … and what great new companies can be built on top of it.”

4. The full-stack startup
Dixon: “[F]or end users, full-stack startups deliver a much better experience, because they have complete control. It’s the difference between buying a beautiful, pristine Apple product versus a crappy Frankenstein PC cobbled together from dozens of vendors.”

5. Containers
Levine: “Containers are another way of isolating an application from the underlying hardware. They’re objects that serve the same purpose as a virtual machine—instantiations or clones of the host operating system with a self-standing, self-executing application inside—but they also provide bare-metal performance, because there’s no virtualization layer between.”...MUCH MORE
And from Andreessen Horowitz:
16 Things
We don’t invest in themes; we invest in special founders with breakthrough ideas. Which means we don’t make investments based on a pre-existing thesis about a category. That said, here are a few of the things we’ve been observing or thinking about; we’re especially grateful to our founders/companies, and the entrepreneurs we meet with everyday, for their insights here…

[For other trends we’ve covered already elsewhere, please see our series on mobile eating the world (with lots of charts!), you bet your SaaS, and government x tech.]