These 18 Tech and Startups Trends Will Emerge in 2014

December 19, 2013

1:51 pm

In the world of natural selection, it’s not the biggest, the strongest, the fastest, or even the smartest that wins.  It’s those who can best adapt to their environment.  The same can be said for business.  Blockbuster clung to an old model, giving way to Netflix’s domination.  The newspaper, book store, and music worlds have been flipped on their head, rendering a new wave of industry leaders.

Change brings about winners and losers.  Winning not only requires an understanding of the current landscape, but what it will look like in the weeks, months, and years to come.  To help you win, I reached out to a group of entrepreneurs and thought leaders to share their best predictions for the tech and startup worlds in 2014.  Their insights are below.

18 Tech and Startup Trends for 2014

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Smart Everything

Phones and glasses are just the beginning.  Are you ready for smart pants?  Or smart refrigerators that reorder product for you?

– Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

The Evolution of Startup Funding

I think we will see in 2014 the intersection between fundraising with the tools of the internet like crowdfunding and the traditional players in the capital raising process like investment banks. Traditional firms that played a role in the capital raising process will find their own ways to provide new investing opportunities to their wealthy clients. For better or worse, they will want to provide venture like tech investment opportunities to their wealthy clients for asset diversification.

– Deborah Jackson, founder and CEO at Plum Alley

Genetic Biotech Makes Headlines

Genetic biotech is the research area advancing most quickly today. Labs are combining stem cells with 3D printing to create working heart valves. At will, they’re switching off the genes responsible for diseases like Huntington’s. Huge potential.

– Chris Nicholson, communications chief at Celery

Curation Booms, Subscription Busts

2014 will bring an up year for sites and apps that help make sense of what has become a very noisy web – from ecommerce to content – and a down year for subscription based businesses.

– Aaron Price, cofounder at livecube.co

Fewer IPOs

I predict the movement away from a quick sale and instead towards building meaningful long term ventures. The Facebook IPO did not go too well, Twitter had hiccups while Snapchat won’t sell, even for $3 billion. The true reason for starting a company has never been speed to sale, and together with societal moves towards meaningful jobs, food and overall lives, this seems like a logical progression.

– Fabian Geyrhalter, Principal at FINIEN

Apps Continue to Dominate

It’s no secret that enterprises have begun to adopt tablets with the same enthusiasm as consumers. As the gap in performance between PCs and tablets narrows and form factor options proliferate, the distinction between tablets and PCs will become less important, and it will be more about the apps.

– Doug Winter, founder & CEO at Seismic

More Bootstrapping

What I’m seeing among entrepreneurs in my market (Denver) is that there’s lots of investment money still sitting on the sidelines and lots of entrepreneurs not willing to wait for the money. Unless you are in a heavily capitalized tech market (like San Fran/Silicon Valley), there’s simply not much VC money in many parts of the U.S. And even when there is, many startup entrepreneurs aren’t willing to to give up a massive chunk of equity – and thus control – in their company; in many cases, the trade-off isn’t there yet. So we should expect to see lots of startups continue to bootstrap through 2014 and either fund from within, engage in sweat equity arrangements or go the friends-and-family funding route.

– Jeff Kear, founder at Planning Pod

Closed Social Networks

Lots of brands are trying to capitalize on the trend of the younger generation showing a preference for private and closed social networks for sharing content. Apps like Snapchat and Kik are becoming extremely popular with a younger demographic and now we’re seeing major social networks like Twitter and Instagram starting to offer more private sharing features – as illustrated by Instagram’s direct message feature, unveiled just last week. I think 2014 will result in more platforms looking to advance their offerings, and more brand new platforms, as users seek to have richer conversations with fewer numbers of people.

– Bryan Rasch, Chief Digital Officer at GMR Marketing

Tandem Startups

Most startups will be born out of the influx of co-workspaces and I foresee that this constant stimulus will turn into the birth of more serial entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs will have multiple startups simultaneously – ‘Tandem Startups’ could be a new term for 2014.

– Fabian Geyrhalter, Principal at FINIEN

Alternative Payment Methods

Whatever method takes off – whether it be low energy Bluetooth or near field communication or some other method we’re likely to see business mastering new ways to facilitate capturing guest dollars.

– Dan Bejmuk, co-founder of Dreambox Creations

Continued Proliferation of Crowdfunding

With the new crowdfunding rule as part of the Jobs Act, startups who are not yet familiar must research and prepare to leverage this tremendous funding opportunity.

–  George Deeb, founder and managing partner of Red Rocket Ventures

Clinging to Privacy

As the economy heats up, startups that help us maintain what little privacy we even still believe we have will be hot. Especially in the hiring space.  We’ll need companies like Follr to maintain our digital identity and help craft the story we want to share.

– Adryenn Ashley, Author, speaker & TV Host/Red Carpet Correspondent

Shorter, Vine-like Videos

With the introduction of the short video sharing platform, Vine, long videos are quickly becoming obsolete. Startups should plan to share digital shorts that are fun and engaging for users.

– Katy Lynch, president of SocialKaty

Rise of VoIP

There will continue to be a slow rise in voice communication with the use of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) relative to cellular calling. VoIP allows voice communication through an IP data network as opposed to through a phone company’s network.

– Michael Unetich, President at TIP Solutions

Emergence of M2M

M2M: Machine-to-machine communications are at the heart of the Internet of Things and wearable tech. We’re rocketing toward a world of smart objects aware of their neighboring objects, and able to react.

– Chris Nicholson, communications chief at Celery

Alternate Digital Payments Continued Growth

Bitcoin and digital payments aren’t going away. Bitcoin will meet sales tax requirements in 2014. As things stand today, the sales tax laws loosely say bitcoin transactions are subject to sales taxes. As bitcoin popularity grows, states will get more explicit that bitcoin transactions follow the same laws as other currency like $USD and the rules will become clearer for compliance.

– Mark Faggiano, founder and CEO of startup TaxJar

Increased Focus on Android

With Android picking up steam, startups need to plan to format their website and apps for both iOS and Android platforms.

– Dan Parsons, CEO of Ora Interactive

Quality Over Quantity

Brands have realized quality is more important than quantity when it comes to content. Startups need to plan on creating quality content for the right channels, instead of striving for off-target opportunities just to get their name out there.

– Andrew Cross, account director at Walker Sands Communications

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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