Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Y-Combinator Sam Altman's Future Predictions

From this week's Econtalk podcast

Sam Altman, president of startup accelerator Y Combinator, mentions three interesting startup investment trends:  wearables (it's inevitable that we'll all have computing devices that we wear), bitcoin (which he views a bit pessimistically, except for the block chain idea), and this one:
Health care: That is an area I think we're seeing great development, after having been ignored for a long period of time. Most investors interestingly enough are still not paying a lot of attention. And probably in two years, when some of these health care companies get successful, there will be a true flood of investment into this space, and it will already be too late.
Before the emergence of cloud-based computing services (like AWS, Azure, Rackspace, etc.), operating a server farm was an expensive hurdle for any new internet business. Similarly, interesting health-related products need access to expensive wet labs in order to put together their inventions. But the cost of lab time is plummeting, thanks to super-cool bioinformatics software plus robots that can make the lab work much more efficient, and now there are new ways to borrow time from other labs:  Science Exchange, QB3, and soon many more.

Of course, regulatory hurdles make the health + biotech businesses tricker than plain ole software, but that will get easier too. Innovation finds a way.