At the beginning of the second VC talk at WSJ Tech Café, Ben Rooney asked the three VCs what are they most interested in right now. The thread running through the answers was that mobile technology is where it’s at in terms of the ‘next big thing’, innovating, and making serious hard cash. Rather than talk about billion dollar industries, trillion dollar industries are what VCs are looking at – education, health care, energy and food, transportation, and communications. The commonality between them all is that mobile technology dissects them all and is innovating how we approach these industries. Come to think of it, this is what first drove me towards working in the mobile agency sector – the opportunity to work across a number of industries and innovate with the latest technologies.
Mobile is inherently ‘disruptive’
Barry Maloney of Balderton mentioned the term ‘disruptive’ ideas are what excites him – the Betfairs, Wongas, Hailos, and MySQLs are all tangible examples the VCs repeatedly referred to when discussing in light of disruptive ideas. Disruptive ideas are ones that bring a new approach and a new solution. The mobile industry lives up this need for disruptive and innovative thinking in its agile and dynamic nature. Due to the iterative nature of the many of the leading products in mobile – think the iPhone, OS platforms, mobile apps – new releases with updated features and functionality are inherently innovating and disrupting how consumers and developers approach these products. In turn, these products are impacting every industry that VCs have their hand in, forcing the mobile issue so to speak.
Innovation is the thread of every conversation in mobile
To provide an anecdote, I luckily have the opportunity to consult and pitch to a cross-section of industries on mobile technology on a regular basis – ranging from egaming to automotive and everything in between. A regular line of questions asked is what have you done that is innovative in mobile? How can we innovate what we do in mobile? What are my competitors doing that is innovative? What are the latest features and functionality in the latest iPhone 5 or Android OS release that we can use to innovate our existing mobile product? The people who are working in the mobile and emerging technologies space are bread into this mode of thinking of how we can approach mobile products differently on a continuous basis. It is this approach to products that mirror Barry Maloney’s sentiment of wanting to see ‘disruptive’ ideas that he can invest in.
What I see as the next frontier in mobile attracting VCs
Having just left Miguel Milano (President EMEA at Salesforce) talk at WSJ Tech Café this morning I am reminded of how ‘enterprise-grade solutions’ permeates the mobile industry I work in. It is apparent to me that everyone is striving to achieve that enterprise-grade level status that attracts the VCs in droves. So whilst enterprise is not really the next frontier in mobile – it is already here – it is an area where opportunities are abound for start-ups in the mobile industry. Coming up with an enterprise-grade idea/product in mobile that has a solid revenue model, short sales cycle, and applicability to a number of industries is something that every VC would listen to. Easier said than done.