Every year, different interests emerge in the tech world and hype is often generated around them. Anyways, the process of building viable ecosystems is harder and requires time and efforts. At the beginning of the decade were social networks followed by daily deal platforms and aggregators trying to exploit the group buying business. 2012 and 2013 were the years of mobile payments platforms and crowdfunding.
In the meantime, the global effort to build the mobile app ecosystem has been made. The above mentioned trends represent only a few of the areas in which venture capitalists worldwide have bet during the latest years. But the tech world is dynamic as anything else and interests appear and disappear quickly. Given the above, which are trends raising or growing fast in 2014? Let’s have a look at Bitcoin and wearable tech, two big things affected by excessive exposure. For both, it seems like that vc investments in the infrastructure behind them have been following (exaggerated?) hype.
For Bitcoin, 2013, without any doubt, was the year of beginning. In the tech world, leaders and operators started and kept on speaking about (and using) it. A lot of money has already flowed. According to recent figures, 33 bitcoin startups (Coinbase, Circle, Ripple to name a few of them) developing exchanges, wallet and banking and payment processing platform and mining activities have raised $87.5m in venture, seed and crowdfunding from US (85%) and Asian markets (mainly China and Singapore).
In 2014, in an effort to bolster the complex framework and avoid frauds, facts have shown that focus is now shifted on infrastructure. As evidences of this, CoinSeed announced a $5m investment in BitFury Bitcoin mining hardware (following the raise of $7.5M) while the Mastercoin Foundation launched a $30m call to support Mastercoin-based projects and startups (read here). To understand the development of the sector, Swedish venture capital firm Creandum recently launched the The Bitcoin Database. In addition, trading platform Coinsetter has just raised $510k (read here).
More than $100m has been raised through crowdfunding sites (such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter) to develop glasses, watches, wristbands and other accessories to be notified, track fitness, monitor heart rate, etc. Vcs are investing millions in products and the technology behind them.
Overall, we are waiting for the Glass Collective, the initiative by Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to provide financing and support entrepreneurs developing apps around Google Glass, as well as highly expected products such as Oculus Rift. The latest deals have shown an interest about the framework at large and not about products directly. For example, backed companies include – OneFold, a Menlo Park, California-based mobile and wearable data focused analytics and visualization platform, which closed a $400k seed round of funding (read here); and – Lemoptix, a Lausanne, Switzerland-based provider of MEMS-based micro-projection solutions for embedded applications in the consumer mobile and automotive markets (read here).
Given the above, how long does it take to transform opportunities into viable and reliable ecosystems? Difficult to say but it seems clear that consolidation requires time, capital, attempts. Some players come in and others come out. It takes patience, actually. Rome wasn’t built in a day.