Yep, there’s a startup for that.
Startups abound in every industry imaginable, particularly as a wave of entrepreneurship seems to have hit this country with a bang. It can seem like there’s already a startup for every product and service imaginable—but startups are still finding new and innovative ways to serve businesses and consumers every day.
Certain industries are crowded enough already, what with the with endless number of companies and startups, but others are going to be growing fast this year. Many of these are in the realm of technology, such as big data and product connectivity, but others, like craft beer, are gaining steam in their own industries as well.
Thinking about founding a startup but don’t know what industry to shoot for? Here are 10 of the hottest industries for startups in 2014.
10 Big Data Analytics
There’s no question that big data is one of the hottest commodities in business as of late. With rampant Internet and mobile use comes seemingly infinite data points, all of which can paint a picture for business about their customers, operations, products and so forth.
Big data can come from retail transactions, social media use, database management and a wealth of other sources, and businesses can use this information—translated into usable analytics by startups and big data professionals—to make their businesses more profitable and efficient.
Startups that can help businesses analyze their data for profitable purposes are needed now more than ever, thus making it one of the hottest industries for startups this year. And big data goes beyond even businesses, as it can serve nonprofit and other organizations as well, such as those who are looking to use water use data to improve the efficiency of water delivery systems in a city or those looking to spot trends in social media to generate better, more relevant news coverage.
9 Product Connectivity
Going along with big data analytics are the need for some of the products that will generate such big data, and that means online-connected products, otherwise known as smart products or the Internet of Things. The rise of smart products and smart cities is upon us, and startups will be called upon to further develop technologies that create better end user experiences and that generate more big data for businesses.
Google acquired Nest Labs, creator of smart thermostats and smart smoke detectors, earlier this year for $3.2 billion. These products provide information regarding use of the instrument to the company, who is then able to analyze this information to allow the product to be personalized and suit the habits and preferences of its user. This is just one of a wealth of companies and startups currently in development and looking to ride the wave of smart technology into the future.
8 Mobile App Development
If you thought there were already enough mobile apps on the market—both iOS and Android reached more than one million apps in 2013—think again. Mobile app development is one of the hottest tech industries at the moment as more businesses and startups think of new and innovative ways to serve consumers and industries via convenient and accessible mobile technology.
This mobile startup trend expands beyond apps themselves into the realm of services that enable various functionalities of mobile apps. Twilio Inc. is one such startup, offering notification technology along with other tools related to mobile apps and their operations. As of last year, it had more than 200,000 developer accounts, including Web and mobile developers, and it landed $70 million in funding.
As the number of mobile users grows, so too will the number of apps be needed to serve their wide range of needs. Mobile app developers will continue to prove that, yes, there’s an app for that.
7 Human Performance Products
With the rise of wearable technology has come a demand for human performance products that are geared toward monitoring and analyzing the health and wellness of their users. For example, fitness wristbands that can monitor the user’s heart rate and exercise patterns have arisen from a number of startups, and more uses for this technology in the health industry are being developed all the time as the trend continues to grow.
Smartwatches, such as Apple’s upcoming model, too are beginning to integrate human performance technology into its functionality, and startups who create these health sensors and innovative applications to enable these features to work will be critical to keep up with growing demand this year.
6 Green Technology
From green construction of housing, commercial, and industrial developments to energy and water conservation, green technology has become a huge industry over the past decade. The creation of eco-friendly, sustainable materials, products, and services meant to conserve resources is in huge demand for consumers and businesses alike as we move further into the 21st century, wherein acknowledgement of the need to protect the planet—and save money on energy costs—is growing by the day.
Green tech startups have become a hot commodity in the past few years as green technology becomes more innovative and pervasive over time. The technology is not only becoming more functional and useful but also more aesthetically pleasing, which is increasing demand by leaps and bounds—and startups are needed to meet that demand.
5 Craft Beer
Craft beer has exploded over the past decade, accounting for 98 percent of the more than 2,700 breweries operating in the U.S. as of the end of 2013. As the demand for craft beer grows, so too has the need for startup breweries who can produce different types of beer to suit consumers’ rapidly changing tastes.
Craft beer is often localized and served by region, since the limit of shipping is six million barrels or less to be considered a craft brewery, and plenty of communities exist that do not have an adequate amount of craft breweries serving their avid craft beer drinkers. Startup breweries will fulfill this need for variety of beer choices for beer lovers throughout the country.
4 Mobile Payments/Wallets
As more shopping transactions take place online and via mobile devices, businesses and consumers are finding new ways to sell and buy goods using mobile payment and wallet systems, such as existing PayPal and Google Wallet. As a result, many startups exist and are in the making to offer other options for making mobile payments a possibility to meet the growing demand.
Square is one startup that has arisen as both a way to accept mobile payments (for businesses) and as a wallet to make mobile payments. According to Apple Insider, both Apple and Google reportedly had internal discussions about making respective offers to buy the company, and Google is seen as the more likely of the two to go through with the purchase. If two companies this big see the benefit in owning such a startup—particularly Google, which already has its moderately successful Google Wallet—then this obviously a ticket into the tech startup world.
Now, with a mobile payments goliath such as PayPal to contend with, this industry won’t be the easiest in which to make it big - at least not at first. But it never hurts to inject more competition and innovation into a market that is becoming bigger and bigger among consumers, and you never know what type of innovation might come along that improves upon and/or takes away from the handiness of a service like PayPal.
3 Social Media Analytics
Social media is still in relative infancy as compared with other established media, but already you can see the profound effects it has had on culture and daily life. Businesses and startups are jumping on using social media to further their business, whether that be through marketing, customer engagement, lead generation, customer service or simply providing a service that uses the tactics of social media to serve some industry or purpose.
With its global, widespread adoption, social media gives us an insight into the lives, thoughts and ambitions of people and businesses across the world. When broken down into data, this information can be highly useful for businesses, and more startups are being founded to address that need for media analytics. We have lots of analysis of television, radio and even mobile use already—now its social media’s turn to step into the limelight.
Just a few months ago, for example, Apple acquired Twitter analytics startup Topsy for more than $200 million. Why? Because Apple sees the value in understanding all of the information that can be gathered from Twitter to be used in any infinite number of ways depending on a business’ pursuits. If Apple sees the value, then other businesses will follow in seeking these services, making social media analytics a hot commodity in the startup world.
2 3D Printing
Today, with 3D printing, printing now extends far beyond words and pictures on a page. Everything from musical instruments and machinery parts to pottery and human organs are now created using 3D printers, which is revolutionizing a variety of industries as a result.
3D printing industry giant Statasys acquired startup Makerbot for $403 million to expand its 3D capabilities from creating professional-grade 3D printers to also including the printing of consumer-facing products. Startups can be founded for both professional and consumer-facing products, so the possibilities are endless as to where startups can begin to tackle this burgeoning industry.
1 Cloud Services
While cloud systems are already being tackled by giants such as Amazon and Google, cloud services have a lot of room to grow and introduce new startups into the industry. The need for cloud services for both professional and consumer use is growing by leaps and bounds as the use of mobile devices is becoming more prominent and people want to be able to access their information and media from wherever they are, whenever they want. Enter: startups.
Whether it’s a service for uploading and storing images, business presentations being created by multiple people or storing protected credit card information, the capabilities of current and potential cloud services vary widely, and startups will find plenty of room to grow and serve customers in a wide range of industries this year.