Day by day, venture capital keeps on backing startups which try to leverage technology to disrupt traditional industries, increase productivity, further advance “new” sectors and move their boundaries. As usual, something new, capable of attracting vc money massively, has emerged in the latest months, as well. Let’s have a look at some of these “waves” considering the ones that can continue to excercize their power in the next few years.
As attacks have become more intelligent and larger, the interest in cybersecurity, at both consumer and corporate level, has grown. According to CB Insights (read here), 2013 was a record year in the level of funding and deals with $1.71bn invested in in cybersecurity companies. In 2014, the trends has been similar. Among the most interesting startups, Okta, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of identity management solutions, raised $75m in Series E financing (June 2014) while Centrify, a Santa Clara, CA-based provider of Unified Identity Services across data center, cloud and mobile, raised $42m (in May 2014).
Within the digital health space, interest of vc firms has been for companies operating in telehealth and platforms to get on-demand access to healthcare. Among the most active, Doctor On Demand, a San Francisco, CA-based healthcare service that provides Video Visits with board-certified physicians, closed a $21m round of Series A financing in August 2014; Practice Fusion, a provider of a cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) platform, acquired Ringadoc, a provider of patient-doctor communication tools.
Vc funds have also showed a consistent interest for companies leveraging sensors in mobile devices and data to track health and wellness including heart or sleep rate, blood glucose, calories, steps, etc. Considering the still unexploited capacity to analyze data and the arrive of the Apple Watch in 2015, the trend is predictably destined to continue to grow. As an example, $502m were invested in the first eight months of 2014 vs $362 of 2013 (read here). IoT Investors, especially corporate vc firms, are massively supporting Internet of Things companies, which aim to connect real life objects to the Internet for use in several fields such as home automation, energy management, healthcare monitoring and tracking. In this area, Samsung Electronics recently acquired SmartThings, a platform that connects the Internet to everyday items (supporting more than 1,000 devices and 8,000 apps created by device makers, inventors, and developers) for approximately $200m. Several startups that make platforms for developers to develop IoT applications have also been supported.
Particularly attractive are startups operating in the HR management field. In the recruiting space, recently backed companies include Jobvite, a provider of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) recruiting solution featuring social, mobile, video tools and data analytics to engage and hire candidates, which has just raised 25m in Series D financing; and The Resumator, a provider of a platform, collaboration tools and real-time analytics designed to simplify the recruiting lifecycle as well as to stimulate strategies, mobile talent pipeline management and data to guide the process, which recently raised $15m. Focusing on programming, HackerRank, which operates a social platform for hackers to improve their skills and for companies to streamline their recruiting process, recently raised $9.2m in Series B funding. On the side of employee management, Jostle, a cloud-based platform for organizations around the globe to engage their workforce, aligns teams and amplify culture, just raised $2m from private investors.