Recap From “Startups: What’s Hot, What’s Not (2018)” Today at WIC

A summary of my talk at Women in Consulting lunch meeting today on “Startups: What’s Hot / What’s Not (2018).” Includes slides and links to sources.

Startups: What's Hot, What's Not
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Startups: What’s Hot, What’s Not (2018) at WIC

I presented a summary of research and few key public reports from Pitchbook, PWC, CBInsights, Startup Trends Index, coupled with our perspective from Bootstrapper Breakfast and other conversations with Silicon Valley startups.


  • VC investment (dollars) at record levels in 2017 after lower levels in 2016. Deal count lower but Angel deals harder to track and may be undercounted.
  • Unicorns: Class of 2018 (termed coined by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures in TechCrunch Nov-2-2013. Unicorns: Billion Dollar Ventures)
  • Start Trends Index (as of Mar-12-2018)  Trends and their scores
    • Digital Payments 20%
    • Autonomous Vehicles 12%
    • Cloud Computing 10%
    • Internet Of Things 10%
    • Robotics 9%
    • Big Data & Analytics 7%
    • Cybersecurity 5%
    • Augmented Reality 5%
    • Virtual Reality 4%
    • Wearables 3%
    • 3D Printing 2%
    • Mobile Payments 1%
    • Speech Analytics 1%
    • Nanotechnology 1%
    • Home Health Monitoring 1%
  • Regardless of whether self-driving cars arrive in five years or 50 (my estimate is closer to 50) cars are undergoing a radical transformation and represent a cluster of significant markets for startups. [slide 12 from “Unbundling the Automobile“], updated info at “State of Autotech in 2018
  • Focus on IoT: more sensors mean more data
    • Data centers will become much larger and more virtualized
    • Many more firms need Devops to manage SaaS infrastructure
    • Manual reports replaced by real time information
    • Spreadsheets replaced by visualization / dashboards
    • Mirror Worlds, Digital Twins / Cyberspace everting
    • IoT means many traditional businesses will be running SaaS data center
    • IoT unlikely to have a pervasive horizontal platform
  • Retail Struggling
  • Focus on female founders: last three slides from Pitchbook’s “Who’s leading the charge for female founders.

Event Announcement for Start-Ups: What’s Hot, What’s Not

Start-Ups: What’s Hot, What’s Not

Startups play an important role in the Silicon Valley economy. Startup expert Sean Murphy weighs in on technology startups to give us his verdict on which technologies will have a major impact and which ones are stagnating. He will summarize startup trends and explore how they connect to the Silicon Valley ecosystem including consultants and other professionals who are impacted by growth in Silicon Valley.

Our Speaker

Sean Murphy has taken an entrepreneurial approach to life since he could drive. His firm, SKMurphy, Inc., helps early stage startups and consultants market and sell their products and services. His clients have offerings in electronic design, artificial intelligence, web-enabled collaboration, proteomics, text analytics, legal services automation, and medical services workflow. Prior to founding SKMurphy,Inc. in 2003, Mr. Murphy has worked in a variety of roles for more than two decades: software engineer, engineering manager, project manager, business development, product marketing, and customer support. Companies he has worked directly for include Cisco Systems, 3Com, AMD, MMC Networks, and VLSI Technology. He has a BS in Mathematical Sciences and an MS in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford.

SKMurphy Take:

I really enjoyed giving this briefing at the Women in Consulting lunch meeting today. It was an informal setting and really more of a roundtable conversation, I have not tried to summarize all of the Q&A which made up about half of the time, but I had promised to post the deck for the audience and show sources and figured I might as well make this public. I am happy to give an updated version of this to your Silicon Valley group if you have members who work with (or compete with) startups and would like to use data as a point of departure for a serious conversation about the what’s hot and what’s not.

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