Author: Paul Armstrong.
2017 is seeing a lot more IPO activity thanks to a quiet 2016 and an improving appetite thanks to political and economic pressures lessening.
In a sea of new startups and increased funding activity, these are Forbes' picks for big things in 2017 and 2018:
1) Real-time Smartphone Webcams by Look App
When I read the description for this app I finally saw a future I had imagined for many years. Essentially, Look enables you to utilize someone's smartphone if they are near the place you want to see (and they are part of the network). I met the CEO out at Slush and I think there's real potential, especially considering the year the media is about to go through and the recent CNN/Beme acquisition. Look out for a deep dive on LLM from me over at Reuters very soon.
WHY IT'LL SUCCEED: Lots of interest in live video, technology is already available and there are lots of use cases.
2) Walkie-Talkie Messaging by Marco Polo
Snapchat, Facebook and others all have messaging offerings but none really started out with voice, Marco Polo did. While the app does also have Snapchat-esque drawing features etc there is something still to be said for audio-first as we move towards a post-Siri and post-Alexa world.
WHY IT'LL SUCCEED: Funt to use and seeing real traction in the important demographic (teens) per Techcrunch.
3) Drone Healthcare by Zipline
With two billion people lacking adequate medical care around the world, there's money in fixing most elements of healthcare. Zipline delivers vaccines, medicines, blood and other elements to the areas that are hard to reach because of poor terrain or infrastructure gaps. Already working in Rwanda, Zipline is an affordable system that means "national-scale coverage is achievable from a single home base" which is attractive to a lot of governments out there.
WHY IT'LL SUCCEED: $85 million in funding so far as well as a vocal cheerleader in Sequoia's Matt Huang.
4) Easy shipping by Shyp
Even though there is limited coverage at the moment, Shyp has a lot of potential. People come to you and handle all your shipping (SF, LA, Chicago, NY right now only)? Sold. This could save large businesses thousands of dollars every year and also enable a raft of small businesses who find shipping costly and time-consuming.
WHY IT'LL SUCCEED: People hate shipping, aren't brand loyal and the industry is ripe for disruption.
5) Low-mile insurance by Metromile
65% of U.S. drivers alone don't drive more than 200 miles per week. Insurance has long been an industry I have pipped as ripe for massive disruption. Metromile has snagged around $200 million in funding so far and 2017 will be a big year for them thanks to
WHY IT'LL SUCCEED: Insurance is an industry nobody likes and many resent paying for (until they need it), evolution rather than revolution (often much easier to gain traction with) and it fixes the biggest issue - getting better info to make better risk predictions.
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Best of 2017: