Internet impact has mostly been felt by consumers and then business, but less in areas like security/safety and healthcare and least in government and regulation.
This was one of Mary Meeker’s first observations in her annual Internet Trends Report. There is something else interesting happening because “consumer” and “business” services are impacting areas like government and safety - Rachio is a consumer device that helps municipal water systems and HandUp makes a new layer of social services possible with direct support from consumers and businesses.
We’ve compiled 5 more observations about Internet trends and their potential impact on cities.
[Startup Candidate] Voltaiq - We’re increasingly depending on batteries, yet there is a lot of room for improvement. One core challenge is collecting and analyzing performance data - Voltaiq is building the tools to make it easier to design and monitor batteries and ultimately make them better.
[Startup Candidate] Mapistry - Policy and regulations can yield great insights and outcomes, but they can quickly add a lot of overhead and costs - Mapistry is helping to take the pain out of compliance, beginning with Storm Water in California.
[Startup Candidate] Caravanserai - It’s easier than ever to work from anywhere, so why do we still have rental agreements that only give us access to one home? Caravanserai wants to change this and lets us change the city we live in every month.
Why Google Is the Most Important Company For Cities
We think Google will be the most important company for cities. It is true that Google now has multiple products that serve more than 1B people. It is also true that 8 of 10 phones shipped in 2014 ran Android.
What is less clear is how much some of today’s most valuable companies, depend on Google – like Uber. Also, acquisitions like Nest are being transformed into platforms to enable capabilities for a next generation of companies.
Google I/O sessions offer a peek into what developers will be using to create the next generation of Urbantech companies.
Astonishing funding trends for the on-demand economy
Often characterized by taglines such as Uber for X, the on demand opportunities have grown for everything from food for parking. Interestingly, nearly 2/3’s of the ideas are founded in California with a further nearly ⅕ in NYC. Also interesting is the rate of expansion of VC funding - setting up operations city by city is not as capital efficient as pure software businesses, then then again there is more cash waiting to help build out the businesses that prove to be rapidly replicable. More here.
Getting Smarter About Insurance
Insurance intersects with the urban environment in multiple ways. Insurers are already benefiting connected devices to understand things like driver behavior but also to respond more intelligently to emergencies like fires or floods at home or assess the impact of natural disasters that impact whole regions.
At the same time, insurers are creating new ways to package risk by offering products like “Cat Bonds”. We’d like to meet more people who are working on innovation in the insurance business, so if you have folks who you think we should meet, please do let us know.
Shaun & Stonly