A much anticipated event at the annual OurCrowd Global Investor Summit is the presentation of what we predict will be 10 tech trends throughout the year ahead, reflecting the views of our investment team as well as input from our global network. In light of this year’s Summit theme, Global Impact, Stav Erez and Eli Nir presented 10 tech impact trends which we believe will change the world for the better in 2019. Before we jump into this year’s trends, have a look at the video below in which we address the outcome of the trends presented at our 2018 Summit:
*Find the video of the full presentation at the bottom of this post.
Let’s dive in! This year’s trends are:
1. Education Gets Smarter
Schools have existed since before 2000 BC. Looking at classrooms today, it almost seems that the technological revolution has skipped the education system. However, we believe this revolution is inevitable due to the increase in connected devices and technologies such as computer vision, AI and more. According to PR Newswire, the EdTech market is estimated to reach $250B by 2020. EdTech startup Sense Education is an example of a leader in this education transformation – it empowers educators to provide personalized feedback on many types of free-answer questions in STEM courses at large scale.
2. Cracking Down on Our Sugar Problem
This year is the year for cracking down on our sugar problem. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.9 billion adults are overweight, and 1 in 10 adults will develop diabetes. A big part of this is due to the overconsumption of added sugars. Sugar has become the number one public health enemy: governments are taxing it and experts are advising us to remove it completely from our diets. Technologies like that of DouxMatok’s are helping us control this epidemic by reducing added sugars by up to 50% while preserving the same sweetness, mouth feel and taste. Companies such as Sweetch and DreaMed are helping us fight diabetes by habit changing and by providing better analytics and faster insights.
3. GreenTech Gets the Green
Dating back to the industrial revolution, technology has come at the expense of the environment. While we achieved creations like the combustion engine, the ecological cost makes it unsustainable in the long term. Luckily for us, technological advancements today are shaking things up. Take Watergen for example – Watergen can extract fresh water from thin air without the usual pollution costs. The water market alone is expected to be worth $915B by 2023. Revolutionizing water production is going to be quite lucrative. GreenTech isn’t just about doing good for the planet; it’s about doing what’s good for the wallet too, and this year we say, “GreenTech Gets the Green”.
4. Give the Data Power Back to the People
In the last few decades the arms race between privacy and the tendency of big enterprises to utilize the data they collect on us has clearly been favoring the side of the enterprises. However, the pendulum is swinging now in the other direction – with regulations such as GDPR and with increased public awareness. Companies such as Cognigo and ITsMine are providing enterprises with better infrastructure to comply with privacy regulations, and data.world is providing better tools to handle, share and socialize data.
5. Bio-mimicking Will Heal Us
We like to think we are the most clever creatures on Earth – but that doesn’t mean we can’t be taught – and nature is a wonderful teacher. Biomimicry is learning from and then emulating nature’s elements and systems in order to solve complex human problems. Even governments have realized the potential of learning from nature instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and are funding bio-mimicking R&D efforts. For example, a new mechanism based on a fly’s ear could spur the next big improvement in the acoustical performance of a hearing aid.
6. Mother Nature Is Angry
Mother nature is angry… and we are going to retaliate. One of the consequences of global climate change is a sharp increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. Events such as heat waves, heavy downpours, hurricanes, fires and floods have increased significantly. In order to mitigate the effects of these disasters, one needs to first be able to predict them accurately. Companies such as Climacell do exactly that by utilizing a set of unconventional sensors, as well as Edgybees, which uses drones and augmented reality technologies to provide first responders to these disasters with better understanding of the situation.
7. Cyber Goes Everywhere
Advances in technology have brought connectivity to devices far beyond computers. Startups are not indifferent to this trend. Take CyberMDX for example, cybersecurity solution for connected medical devices and clinical networks. Now let’s talk about transportation… Every car that hits the road today is connected. By providing an end to end in-vehicle solution, C2A Security makes sure that you asking your car to play your favorite song won’t enable a hacker to take control of your brakes – thus allowing you to keep on singing. And IoT – tampering with an IoT device could cause an entire city to flood, and someone could even steal your payment information from your smart fridge. IXDen and CyberX are making sure your home, city and country, are safe and sound.
8. Farm Data Is the New Fertilizer
Farmers are now adding in another element to fertilizer and water used for crops: data. Whether it’s for overseeing livestock or to provide better analytics before, during and after harvest, data enables farmers to produce larger and higher quality yields. For example, the CropX device tells farmers when and where to water their fields, therefore saving money and water. Overhead images analyzed by Taranis’ AI help us identify crop diseases and limit them. Drones created by Tevel will pick apples and oranges at the perfect timing, and Consumer Physics can analyze what cows are eating in order to produce higher quality milk.
9. Flying Cars Are Taking Off
The carriage, car, train, and plane all embody the human aspiration for better transportation. These advancements are also self-perpetuating; the plane that replaced the ship only increased people’s need to cross oceans more frequently. However, the key issues of transportation still stand: urban density is high, and space for roads remains scarce. Companies are looking to utilize air space for day to day commuting. For example, SkyTran enables on demand vehicles, at extremely high-speed (3X the car) and low cost. It also takes much less physical space than cars on the road. Another example is the hyperloop, which offers a reduced-pressure tube through which pods for passengers and freight can travel at an extremely high speed.
10. Robots Will Eat Your Paperwork
Oxford University estimates that 35% of all jobs will be automated by 2035. A big part of this is due to RPA – Robotic Process Automation revolution. RPA will replace the billions of procedures created by enterprises as part of their day to day routine – procedures that consume a lot of human attention and time. Companies such as Kryon are spearheading this revolution by developing the actual software robots that will handle these procedures without humans in the loop.
That’s a wrap for what we predict to be this year’s 10 tech impact trends – we’ll see you next year with a recap and 10 more trends!
Watch the full presentation below and be sure to check out Cathie Reid’s analysis about it.
Catch the sessions you missed on the 2019 Summit playlist:
About the Authors
Eli Nir – Eli is the Senior Investment Partner at OurCrowd. Eli has been a partner and investment committee member at Amiti Venture Capital and a Board member on Amiti’s behalf in Sckipio and Corephotonics. Prior to Amiti, Eli had been VP for Research and Development and a member of the management in AudioCodes (NASDAQ: AUDC), managing multinational R&D teams.
Stav Erez – Stav is partner at Labs/02, Jerusalem’s seed-stage incubator backed by OurCrowd, Motorola Solutions, Reliance Industries, Israel Innovation Authority, and Yissum Technology Transfer. Prior to joining Labs/02, Stav was an entrepreneur focused on building startup accelerators and helping founders build businesses from scratch. She co-founded SifTech, and also previously was Director of Business Development at OurCrowd.