September 18, 2012

Investors often get asked “what areas are you looking at these days?”  It’s a hard question for me to answer.  I’m never that interested in broad areas. “healthcare IT” or “ed-tech” is way way too broad. Those are barely themes.  “Big data” used to kind of mean something, but means much less as  more and more investors are re-investing themselves as big-data experts (and shockingly finding that pretty much any internet company can be called a big data company).

Personally, I think more about specific hunches.  They may or may not line up with a sector.  But sometimes they do.  Sometimes they are fleeting, something that result in specific investments (or even incubated companies).  Here are a couple hunches I have these days…

1. I have a hunch about the gesture control eco-system. I think Minority Report is pretty close to here.  There are some really cool companies enabling this, and an interesting eco-system of developers starting to build on top of it.  The Kinect developer eco-system is one example, but I think there is lots more coming.  Anyway, it’s a hunch I’m going to pursue a bit.

2. I have a hunch about non-computing time becoming computing time. It’s not as theoretical as it sounds. As I’ve said before, the beauty of mobile games wasn’t mobility.  It was that it put a game player in our hands when we didn’t used to play games.  In the same way, the ubiquity of internet devices is leading to all sorts of new computing opportunities at times when we didn’t used to compute (or used computers in different ways).  It’s a hunch.  I saw a company doing in-car gaming.  Some might think it’s a stupid idea.  I think it’s a pretty darn interesting theme when you consider the power of voice control, concurrency, and the sheer number of hours spent in cars.

3. I have a hunch about seed stage investing models.  We’ve seen a trend of more and more interesting seed companies raising bigger and bigger rounds.  I wonder if a different financing path might make more sense.  One that starts with less money.  It might end up in the same place.  But my hunch is always that when investors all move towards the same thing, you land in a place that isn’t quite right for all entrepreneurs, and it’s time to contemplate something different.

We’ll see if these go anywhere, but that’s what I’m thinking about these days.

What are some of your recent hunches?


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