Any company who leverages technologies of IoT (Internet-of-Things or, as some call it: Internet-of-Everything), mobile, and big data and analytics, is using Cloud computing. The future holds a shift toward a richer, effective and convenient user experience. A user interface (UI) must-have is ‘Mobile First’, which usually goes hand in hand with Cloud platforms, where the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources go through digital networks, web, satellite, cellular, etc. The apps are accessed and run remotely, on a cloud server that provides computing power and resources to the apps.
What is the state of the Cloud market today?
Byron Deeter from Bessemer Venture Partners presented an overview this morning at Orrick’s TotalAccess Program event. He reported that cloud computing is on the rise agian, after a slight decline in the first half of 2014. Projections of ROI in 2015 are anywhere from multiplier of 1 to 16.2, with a median of 5.4 times. In private markets, multipliers have been even higher.
Generally, Cloud has three levels of classifications, from top to bottom:
- The top layer with various apps – this is the API layer
- SaaS platform (Software as a Service)
- Infrastructure providers, at the base
Nowadays, there is money in Silicon Valley and the ever present big question is what to invest in? What are the trends?
Silicon Valley technology companies attract venture money now than anytime since the dot-com boom. No doubt it is a good time for entrepreneurs. Period. In the first half of 2014, venture capitalists invested $7.1 billion in startups and privately held tech companies. In this time frame, investments have exceeded deals for all of 2013, leading 2014 to become one of the biggest in venture investments since 2000.
We are in times of game changing shifts: mobile and Cloud are like tsunamis, disrupting most industries, generating new revenue streams, and creating many jobs. Further, Cloud goes together with SaaS and Mobile, inspiring younger people to ‘do their thing’ and explore the entrepreneurial realm even in the college years.
Cloud companies are subscription based businesses. Examples include Box, Docusign, Trulia, Apple Pay and other wallet-apps. Salesforce is a SaaS platform, which falls under Cloud computing; LinkedIn is 80% SaaS; and there are numerous players with applications in Healthcare, Cleantech, and the vast energy sectors, which all rely on Cloud infrastructure.
In healthcare, the regulatory environment is restrictive. Coupled with archaic systems and the chaos of legacy systems and databases, the industry is facing challenges in transitioning into the digital world, social media, interactive patient engagement, mobile, and more. However, in past years healthcare has been going through breakthroughs in managed care, digitizing patients’ records, communication tools, etc. Stakeholders have ‘opened up’, from physicians to hospitals to healthcare institutes. For example, patients today have access to their medical records, lab results, personalized preventive health resources, and can communicate with their doctor via email or through a proprietary and secure form of a social media platform. Going digital and near-real-time enables practitioners, researchers and officials to focus on public health and perform predictive care for large populations in this vertical.
Similarly, in the green technology domain Cloud-based applications are utilized to capture end-user energy transactions, customer behavior, and more. Utilities and smaller players use such data for energy management, Demand Response, energy efficiency applications, building performance optimization, and much more. For example, oPower collects usage data of each household in entire neighborhoods and displays consumption statistics, providing visibility to all customers. Electric vehicle (EV) network operators and service providers utilize cloud and mobile technologies when it comes to collecting data, location-based apps (GPS apps), or for charging stations, for example. Apps let you know where is the nearest available public charge station when you need ‘juice’. Recargo’s PlugShare is a charging station locator app. ChargePoint provides an EV charging network with several services, presenting real-time data to drivers and in car navigation units. All of these platforms utilize Cloud, mobile, web, big data and analytics models.
Investors and business leaders note a positive call in the current tech business environment:
The markets are picking up, presenting more opportunities than in the past decade. In addition, scaling prospects are better than ever.
When you look at MBA, and even undergraduate college programs, a growing number of business school graduates pursue the entrepreneurial track and found their own companies!
More startups can afford to stay privately held and delay going IPO. Such startups create new jobs and build stronger teams.
A new Tech center at SFO – San Francisco International Airport
Last week, San Francisco International Airport announced the opening of a new space for travelers to convene, network, explore collaboration and, and perhaps, find business opportunities. Inspired by the Bay Area start-up culture and the Silicon Valley incubation climate, it’s a great idea to provide a facility where all travelers can convene, share and discuss technology, business, economy, and exchange ideas. If not at an airport, where would you find thousands of business executives, government officials, thought leaders, innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and travelers from all over the world and from all walks of industries cross each others’ paths?
The space is named ‘Converge‘ (#Converge@flySFO”) and is located in the International Terminal at Boarding Area G, on Level 3 near Gate G93. It is free, includes a free wi-fi connection and is open to any travelers holding boarding passes for flights in Terminal 3 or the International Terminal in Boarding Area G.
Converge is linked to hashtag #Converge and the tag @flySFO, allowing SFO to connect all interested parties via the Airport’s social media channels. For more information visit www.flysfo.com/converge.