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When Eileen Lee is a founder of Cowboy Ventures and one of the best investors in Silicon Valley, published an article on unicorns (privately-held companies with a valuation exceeding $1 Billion), she estimated there were around 39 unicorns at the time. That article was over five years ago, and as of today, there are over 300 unicorns.
Markets move fast, and we can turn our focus on these massive consumer and technological needs and trends that are presenting themselves.
If the unicorn movement changed that drastically in the last five years — imagine where we will be in the next five years. As the leaders of Web 2.0 have gone public and the leaders of the sharing economy have reached unicorn status; big questions about the future hang in the balance.
What industries will continue to grow at significant rates? Which new markets or technologies will burst onto the scene? Where will be value created, captured and capitalized upon?
Massive market opportunities for businesses and benefits for consumers are coming into play at an unprecedented rate.
There are plenty of significant markets that provide ample opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs. This list highlights five industries that will see a massive boom in the next five years.
CBD (Cannabidiol Oil).
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp the cannabis plant. This safe, non-addictive compound is extracted and distributed as oils, candy, tinctures, and topical creams. The compound is added to many more palatable and easily digestible forms for consumption. The market is exploding and stands to be the next multi-billion dollar wellness and health trend.
Why is CBD so popular? The list of purported health benefits from the full-spectrum CBD is astounding.
The health list includes insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, brain injuries, arthritis, diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer, acne, and other significant health issues.
Walgreens and CVS are two of the major companies set to bring CBD products to consumers. While the multi-nationals are positioning for distribution, small businesses are fighting to establish themselves as the top brands in CBD.
Vitalibis, a wellness company is offering full-spectrum CBD oil and soothing creams.
This company has differentiated themselves by pioneering an advanced extraction process that safely extracts the CBD benefits with steam. They have worked tirelessly preserving the CBD compounds, additional cannabinoids and essential phytonutrients. The result is a full-spectrum CBD oil, which research suggests provides greater effectiveness than isolated CBD.
Other cannabis companies and startups are moving quickly to own their slice of the market.
Expect to see massive growth in all areas of the industry — from seed to customer. Also, the recent declassification of CBD from the Schedule 1 drug list will provide research experts and testing authorities a significant source of opportunities to contribute to the wellbeing of individuals. Contributions will continue in medical fieldstudies, and ample business community committments will grow.
Artificial Intelligence (AI).
AI’s compounded annual growth rate is projected by UBS to be 20 percent from 2015 to 2020 already. The potential benefits extend well beyond 2020 as this industry is just getting started.
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to permeate nearly every facet of our lives, including CBD.
We have seen AI infuse almost every industry, from Tesla’s autonomous-driving vehicles to Google’s smart-home assistants. We have witnessed AI in surgery-performing robots and mental health chatbots. AI is already demonstrating its potential, and it seems there are indeed no limits when combining other technologies with the possibility of AI.
The demand for AI professional is exploding.
Indeed reported that the percent of searches using “AI” or “machine learning” increased by over 180 percent. There’s no question that workforce demand is an excellent indicator of what’s to come in the future. As AI continues to evolve and find adoption, opportunities will increase for employees, entrepreneurs and businesses.
Blockchain and Digital Currencies.
Now in 2019, blockchain has been leveled by the bubble bursting.
As the dust settles, the best projects will survive and benefit from consolidated talent and investment, while also benefitting from the infrastructure and consumer awareness built during the bubble.
In the next few years, don’t be surprised to see blockchain technologies and digital currencies enter new markets and find real adoption amongst businesses and consumers. Many projects are aligned with real market leaders, and several projects are ready to become the first widely-adopted blockchain platforms.
The potential for blockchain is as limitless as the internet itself. Entrepreneurs, companies, and investors watching and staying on top of the blockchain market will be the winners at the forefront of trends.
The market moves quickly, so it’s important to subscribe to a cryptocurrency news service, listen to podcasts and educate yourself as much as possible.
Internet of Things (IoT).
Smart home products and IoT technology have already made considerable progress in terms of adoption. Consumer products like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Nest Cam have achieved significant commercial success.
Platforms like Works with Xfinity (Comcast) and Alarm.com bring a fine-tuned cohesive user experiences to customers. This success is impressive, and yet the market has much room to grow with a capacity for other players to make their mark in this space.
- The first primary reason there is room in the sandbox is because the Internet of Things is versatile.
In addition to new products and advancing technology in the smart home, the most significant opportunities for the next five years will be in enterprise IoT, industrial IoT and smart cities.
- The second primary reason for IoT’s exponential growth is because it falls at the convergence of many significant trends.
When are you beginning your smart life?
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make smart home and IoT technologies even better. The convergence of smart cars, smart homes, smart offices, smart cities, smart apartments, smartphones, and wearables will result in a “smart life” that will continue to grow and evolve over the next five years.
There is a revolution happening in transportation, and it isn’t Lyft ridesharing or the Hyperloop. This revolution is based on micro-mobility, and is being led by the scooter movement. McKinsey estimates that the United States market could be worth over $200 Billion by 2030.
Micromobility is the term that describes a wave of new technologies and solutions that help people travel short distances.
These technologies are efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly ways to get from one venue to another.
The scooter boom has already started with startups like Bird, Lime, Skip, Grin, and Spin — placing scooters on the sidewalks of dozens of cities in the United States. Bird has a valuation of over $2 Billion, and Ford purchased Spin for around $100 Million. Bird and Lime have both raised above $400M in less than three years.
At the time of this writing, micromobility startups with profitable business models are clashing with cities and municipal regulations.
However, once regulatory hurdles clear, expect more scale from these startups. The obvious opportunity is to own the brand recognition and drive adoption as Uber and Lyft did with ridesharing.
There are also ample opportunities to help cities and governments with their own solutions by providing mapping, data, and fleet management solutions. Startups and tech companies will clammer to market with infinite, valuable solutions — releasing practical and relevant bits of help and assistance to the public and their customers.
Success goes to the individuals, entrepreneurs and businesses who can identify markets before they reach saturation levels. These five industries are positioned well to grow significantly in the next five years.
No doubt we are seeing the creation of new opportunities for consumers and entrepreneurs alike. Taking notice now will leave future founders and leaders poised for gain and growth in these — and many other invaluable industries.
Editor In Chief at ReadWrite
Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.