Investor Perspectives—Industries to Watch in 2018

  • 3.8.2018

This continues our series of blog posts recapping our January QuickLaunch University webinar on VC investing and what to expect in 2018. In case you missed it, read our first post in this series or download our webinar materials.

In 2017, VC investing focused on certain hot sectors. Artificial intelligence was all the rage with more than $5 billion invested. Cybersecurity also continued to be a popular area with a 40% increase from the prior year to more than $3.6 billion invested. Fintech, as a broad category, saw increasing investment with $6.5 billion invested and genomics funding grew by 142% last year to $2.5 billion.

Below are key takeaways from our recent QuickLaunch University webinar on the hot sectors VC investors are watching in 2018.

“I think there's a lot of promise in AI. But we all started off with this idea of AI platforms, and now we're starting to see more vertical applications of AI which reminds me a lot of how we thought about the cloud when it came out. I see us thinking more about, in the enterprise, verticalized solutions. And on the consumer side, services for millennials that reflect their shopping preferences. We are spending a lot of time also looking at blockchain and everything in the stack, so all the way to cryptocurrencies, security of cryptocurrencies, and blockchain.” Vanessa Larco, NEA

“…the three sectors that we're looking at: AI, digital health, and what we call decentralized labs. That’s a mix for us of blockchain and IoT. And we really see a lot of fields in each of those areas that we're active on. I don't see that switching in the short-term. I liked very much Vanessa's comment that AI has moved from platform to vertical applications. And I think blockchain is still back at the platform stage, although we're always interested to see the vertical applications. And then on digital health, it's really application of AI to all the massive amounts of health data. The opportunities are huge. The barriers are also huge. So, a lot of shots on that are possible there.” Russ Wilcox, Pillar

“I think the areas I mentioned briefly earlier: marketplaces, Fintech, Frontier Tech, consumer, at the end of day we're really looking for that special entrepreneur. We're looking at all these spaces, but it's really that...especially out of our early-stage fund, that entrepreneur that somehow launched something that couldn't be earlier, maybe the one or two person-company. And, you meet that individual and it's just a special person. That is really what we're looking for. We're looking at all the spaces that I think a lot of firms are looking at, probably a little bit more in Frontier Tech. There may be some others. But we're really looking for that special entrepreneur at the end of the day.” Alex Finkelstein, Spark Capital

For insights from our Investor Perspectives series, follow WilmerHale’s Launch Blog and @WHLaunch on Twitter.