How about this new deal to start the new year: Tell your friends they can get Trends free for the first three months of 2020 by using the promo code NY2020. And when you refer someone, you get a $100 referral bonus.
New this week: Gambling-adjacent opportunities are popping up as new states legalize sports gambling… Why you shouldn’t sleep on brick ‘n mortar retail yet… How to create a remote work equivalent of the water cooler… The game-changing potential of regenerative agriculture… And more.
Quick snapshots from across the internet of potential trends before they happen.
Regenerative agriculture focuses on the health of the soil, rather than growth of crops to the detriment of topsoil. This practice leads to improved watersheds and carbon sequestration, potentially offsetting climate change. In the same way people buy organic produce now, they’ll soon want to buy regenerative.
What’s next: For regenerative agriculture to become widespread, farmers will need livestock and farm management software, as well as soil sensors and cloud-based livestock trackers.
“We need to develop technology that is derived from the underlying principles of regenerative agriculture that address the root cause of problems, such as weeds or pests, for instance,” Benedikt Bosel, chair of a German ecological farm, told the AgFunder Network.
“Stuff we can’t see sensors will notice, making regenerative processes even more regenerative or making the processes work for each farmer.” Finally, marketing for regenerative agriculture will be in demand so this buzzword carries as much weight as other better-known sustainability techniques.
Yet another trend is emerging in the wellness space, but this time it’s at sub-zero temperatures. Interest in cryofacials is heating (freezing?) up.
During these sessions, clients subject their faces to vaporized nitrogen at temperatures as extreme as -160°C. The nitrogen is beamed across their complexion, stimulating collagen production, tightening skin, and causing temporary microcirculation in the area.
What’s next: Splurging on health and wellness is no longer reserved for celebs and the two comma club. The wider public is increasingly willing to spend upwards of $100 for a session of “frotox,” but also seeking new age alternatives to hack their health, including activities like float tanks and near infrared saunas.
Try as you buy… a car? Since its founding in 2013, Carvana has looked to provide a “new way to buy a car” by giving users a 7-day “test own”… akin to a program you might expect from Stitch Fix.
What’s next: Carvana takes the browse/try/buy cycle to a high-ticket item. Look for companies to do the same in other sectors from electronics to jewelry.
How To Capitalize Early on Sports Gambling
Two years ago, Nevada was the only state with a legal sportsbook. Now you can gamble in 20 states, either online or at casinos, and experts believe the US sports gambling market could grow to $80B by 2030, from $1.5B today.
Although established companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill will likely be the only ones to offer sportsbooks, entrepreneurs can get involved in scores of adjacent businesses.
Social gambling apps: Platforms that create competitions between friends and co-workers who are gambling through other sportsbooks.
Audience development and identification for casinos: Casinos are looking for companies to help them find and sustain new sports gambling audiences and to build ads geared toward them.
Gambling-related games and apps: Sportsbooks may be out of reach, but entrepreneurs can still create games of skill, which are likely to become more popular as sports gambling gains more mainstream acceptance.
We discuss more opportunities and explore the fast rise of the Action Network, a 2-year-old website dedicated to sports gambling that earned $17.5m in Series B funding.
The Big Business of Supporting the Multi-Trillion Dollar Retail Business
The retail sector had a rough 2019. But brick ‘n mortar still accounts for 90% of US retail sales. And there are dozens of opportunities for helping ecommerce companies expand into physical locations. They include:
Experimental retail: Create an agency model that works with brands to host events and experiences at retail sites. Brands that focus on engagement and personalization can see up to a 10% revenue boost.
Bridging the divide between online and offline: There’s a vast opportunity to help companies streamline merchandise returns, which cost retailers $300B annually.
Start a retail-as-a-service company: And become a consultant to ecommerce startups trying to make the jump to brick ‘n mortar.
Our 3,000-word report includes a case study of Simon, the largest mall operator in the US. We analyzed hundreds of pages of corporate filings and investments it has made, and came up with dozens of opportunities for supporting the retail sector.
Could Slack be acquired? (The Information): It was just a year ago that Slack went public in a highly anticipated IPO. But Microsoft released a similar product on Office 365, and Slack’s stock price has plummeted by 40%. Amazon and Google are among the potential buyers.
Lambda School’s Jeff Morris’s predictions on everything from student debt to new cities (Twitter): The 2020s could bring about tech leaders establishing their own cities, a more honest “social 2.0,” and flagship offices paired with mostly remote work settings.
Former tech star earns 18% annual returns on ‘real-estate syndication’ (Business Insider). Spencer Hilligoss, cofounder of Madison Investing, has a piece of 3.5k units, earning institutional-quality returns with a crowdfunded approach. (Pro tip: He recommends analyzing data available at city-data.com.)
Another SoftBank investment faces scrutiny (NYT): Oyo, the rapidly growing Indian hotel startup, has been falsely inflating its available hotel rooms and providing favors to law enforcement officials to escape scrutiny. SoftBank recently invested $1.5B in the company.
Using cognitive bias to design popular products (Mobile Spoon): All humans create their own subjective realities based on cognitive biases. Mobile Spoon lays out 84 of these biases and explains how learning about them can aid marketers, product managers, and entrepreneurs.
This startup raised $90m to help turn your trash into fuel (Business Insider): Investors including Bill Gates are rallying around a Sierra Energy technology that could reduce garbage and greenhouse gases.
Buzzfeed goes from layoffs to near profitability (WSJ): Buzzfeed used to get almost all of its revenue from ads. That number is now down to 30%, and the internet company known for its fun, millennial-centric content is nearing profitability by diversifying its revenue streams to include branded kitchenware and affiliate fees for retailers.
SOLVE THIS PROBLEM
How Do You Help a Remote Workforce Stay Connected?
The future of work will be remote, but one of the biggest quandaries of a modern workforce is how to sustain culture and connection across borders.
Despite many efforts to curb remote workers’ feelings of isolation, it still seems like there is no 21st-century replacement for the glorious water cooler chat.
Several companies have tried tackling this problem through: