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Quick snapshots from across the internet of potential trends before they happen.
“Buy experiences, not things,” they say. OK, chief. How about a dose of some multiplayer VR?
That’s what Sandbox VR is serving up, leaving people wide-eyed. Sandbox offers an immersive, full-body experience that focuses on a social experience priced at $48 for a half-hour session.
The company is a trifecta -- building their own tech and content and operating retail spaces. Plus, their NPS is (pre 2015) Apple-level: over 70.
What’s next?Where other entertainment companies are struggling -- Dave & Buster’s took a21% hit earlier this year -- Sandbox VR got a $68m Series A and an $11m follow-on round from asuite of A-listers, including Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry.
(If you’re wondering how they did it, they set up a pop-up.) With 3 locations in the Americas, Sandbox will be expanding to 16 by the end of 2020. Sandbox’s founder Steve Zhao has ambition to create a“new movie industry.”
Before saying, “Ew, gross,” remember that half the population menstruates. That’s what some business peeps like to call a big ‘ol TAM. Innovators are saying goodbye to the stigma by developing healthier, eco-conscious alternatives to shoving a piece of cotton “up there.”
What’s next? People bold enough to tackle industries with a stigma naturally have less competition. And the people brave enough to ask the question, “Can we do better?” are getting ahead.
Menstrual cups are among the products where women are “taking back” their bodies and launching products designed to serve them.
Who else is taking back their industry? Heidi Zak at ThirdLove, as she revolutionizes the $15B bra industry. She’ll be one of our keynotes at Hustle Con.
Pretty soon you’ll wonder why it took so long for mung beans to become ordinary in North America. These sweet-tasting beans can be used in any meal calling for beans or as a paste. The mung bean will be featured in more and more recipes and articles next year.
What’s next: Mung bean’s future as a product is likely in paste or as a key ingredient in new plant-based protein products. We have much more about the future of protein below.
See the archive of our Signals here and browse through dozens more Signals based on Inc.’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies here.
We analyzed 1,000 Shopify businesses, unlocking the platform’s secrets for success
Canadian giant Shopify’s stock has grown tenfold in the last 3 years. The platform powers millions of merchants worldwide, enabling them to sell online with ease.
But this is not just a tale of enabling a few small sellers: Shopify companies include shoe mogul Steve Madden and DTC tycoon Allbirds. And then there are companies that turn a billion dollars you probably haven’t heard of, like Australia’s JB Hi-Fi.
Want more? For each of the Shopify stores, we pulled estimated annual revenue (where available) and analyzed which tools they use to drive business.
Among the obvious tools are Google Analytics, Facebook pixel, and Cloudflare. Many of the top 100 also use Campaign Monitor (53%), Klaviyo (37%), and Hotjar (25%). Some other neat tools you may have not heard of:
PS: Fun(ny) fact from the research. Allbirds owns the domain Allbirdssucks.com, which redirects to Allbirds.com. Not sure why, but we like it.
Protein’s billion-dollar future
A contradiction about protein: Almost all of us are getting enough of it, but around half of Americans and British say they want more protein in their diets.
It shows: In the next few years, global revenues for the protein ingredient market are expected to rise from ~$50B to ~$70B, according to the B2B research firm MarketsandMarkets.
Two areas are primed for growth:
Plant-based proteins (besides soy): Many of the products in the fast-growing plant-based market are soy-based. But buyers are expecting the next few years to feature products made of numerous other plants and grains, including Mung Bean (see Signal above), avocado, hemp seed, and pumpkin.
Chicken protein supplements: It’s not just Muscle Milk and protein powder. As active lifestyles become more common, protein has become a favored ingredient in sports drinks.
Contrary to the rise of plants, chicken-based protein supplements are still favored above dairy and plant, according to Cypress Research. For 63% of fitness enthusiasts, even chicken-based drinks sound good.
The competitors in this market are still fairly thin. Chikpro is one of the only major chicken protein powder companies, and its product is available in powder form -- not as a ready-to-drink beverage. Ready-to-drink beverages are expected to be the fastest-growing segment in protein supplements.
At Trends, we believe in the power of connection. Maybe that friend of a friend of a Trendster could be the reason your business gets funding. Or you meet your next cofounder at an event in your home city. The possibilities are endless.
So we’re trying something new. Add your name in this glorious networking sheet, and let us know where you’re at, what you need help with, and what our badass group can do for you. Flip over to the “Locations” tab to see where people live.
Rethinking suburban office spaces
As young workers have cozied up to urban amenities, old suburban office spaces feel like relics of another era.
Given high prices in the cities, this line of thinking is changing. But to prepare for a new generation of workers, offices need major upgrades. Some 14% to 22% of suburban offices are considered obsolete.
How do you serve people wanting to go suburban?
Develop a modern suburban office park.
Introduce coffee shops, restaurants, cafes, and other amenities to existing structures.
Outfit existing structures with updated technology.
Solve This Problem: What to wear in the winter
Last week, we asked you to tackle the future of commuting. We highlighted your best answers here, including opportunities for exercising and networking with fellow commuters (or check out the discussion in the FB group).
This week: It’s that time of year when nobody knows what to wear to prepare for the weather. It’ll be chilly outside and warm inside -- and if you’re on any kind of public transit vehicle good luck not dealing with widely varying temperatures.
Is there a better way to either program what we should be wearing depending on the temperature and the various places we’ll visit during a day? Or is there a better way to dress than through endless layers? Let’s talk about possible ideas in the Facebook group.
This week's Trends send was brought to you by Mark Dent, Steph Smith, and Brad Wolverton. Let us know what you think by hitting the Smileys below. We read every one of your suggestions, and your feedback helps shape our work.