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October 22nd, 2019

🚨 50+ XaaS Ideas – The $1B+ Water Opportunity – Vote for Our Next Report 🌊

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How to make a service out of everything and why you should focus a startup on water

Happy Tuesday, Trendsters! Last week, after seeing our Signal on airplane cocktail kits, subscriber Ankur Kumar bought the domain airplanecocktailkit.com. We love the enthusiasm and ambition! Also: Trends member Dan Scane shared this Google Sheet that includes links to 100+ niche job boards, for anyone thinking about entering the space.

New this week: Heard of SaaS? We’ve got a rundown on XaaS (Everything as a Service), with dozens of ideas for starting your next business… a Q&A with VC Stuart Rudick, who says billions can be made on water… an overview of where VC money went in Q3… Warren Buffett’s bear market hunch… Plus: Vote on our next story… and more!

Ready to hustle?

01  Signals
Quick snapshots from across the internet of potential trends before they happen.
Cauliflower Snacks graph

Cauliflower Snacks
In an era where health is top of mind, would you believe there’s a product that is vegan, gluten-free, zero trans-fat, and non-GMO that doesn’t taste like cardboard? Vegan Rob creates “puffs” spanning everything from moringa or cauliflower puffs to spinach and matcha chips.

What’s next: As people hop on vegan or keto diets, they don’t lose their affinity for snacking. Companies are creating a new wave of products that replace carbs for vegetables, supporting the growing appetite for chickpea snacks, zucchini noodles, and avocado fries.

Keywords Everywhere graph

Keywords Everywhere
Search Engine Optimization has evolved into a dynamic ecosystem over the years. As the landscape becomes more saturated, professionals look for new tools to elevate their pursuit of #traffic. Keywords Everywhere has gained significant attention since launch in 2017, quickly picking up over 3k referring domains and nearly 1m downloads.

What’s next: Keywords Everywhere provides results, like search volume and cost per click, across a multitude of platforms, including Amazon, eBay, YouTube, and, of course, Google. In essence, the tool allows you to do passive keyword research while you’re navigating the web. Keep an eye out for other tools that provide native insight in the browser.

Dopamine Fast graph

Dopamine Fast
Whether you call it stimulus control or, sigh, dopamine fasting, the startup community is realizing the need to take temporary fasts from the objects and activities that give us quick pleasure. The interest has been strong in California, New York, Texas, and Florida.

What’s next: Therapists have been advocating this concept for years, but a wellness company that includes ideas and tips for stimulus control and dopamine fasting in its practice could stand out.

See the archive of our Signals here and browse through dozens more Signals based on Inc.’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies here.

02  Trends Recommends

Advice:

  • Set “cascading goals” (Entrepreneur): A startup finds more success when every staffer’s goals align with the goals of the people running the company.

Opportunities:

  • Cannabis software (TechCrunch): Perhaps one of the last ways to get in on the cannabis craze is to make industry-specific management software for dispensaries. One startup in this space just got $23m.   

🖋️ Take note:

  • A Warren Buffett bear market hint (Global Macro Monitor): The market cap to GDP ratio, a favorite valuation indicator for Buffett, is at its highest level since just before the dot-com bubble burst.

  • Where to target products for retirees (US News & World Report): Got a business or product geared toward retirees? Hang out a (digital) shingle in Fort Myers, Fla., Lancaster, Pa., or other places considered the best for retirees. 

Overheard:

  • A big idea for audio (GeekWire): “What’s the equivalent of thumbing through your Instagram feed in audio? It really doesn’t exist.” — Google’s Steve Henn

03  XaaS: Everything as a Service

You’ve probably heard of Software as a Service (SaaS). Who hasn’t? The glamorized business model capitalizing on high margins and recurring revenue has taken the tech scene by storm. 

But in 2019, innovators have capitalized and launched just about anything as a service (XaaS). We’ve gone through the A-Z of XaaS to inspire your next venture.

Two important paths:

  • B2B XaaS: Think of a problem multiple businesses face that has too high of a barrier for small businesses to tackle on their own. Solve that problem. From paywalls to onboarding remote workers from around the world, there are many problems waiting for you to solve.

  • B2C XaaS: Think of a commodity that people use often. Make it more convenient for them to access it, every single month. From “below the belt wipes” to therapy, there’s ample room in the open marketplace.

Trust us, you won’t want to miss this one. Read the full report here.

04  Pitchbook’s Q3 Report: An Overview

Each quarter, Pitchbook does the world a solid by dropping its venture monitor report. We decided to do you a solid by parsing the 37-page colossus into less than 500 words.

The summary of the summary?

  • Deal value reached near-record highs, hovering around $100B+ for the second year running.

  • AI, Software, and Fintech were all on pace to reach decade highs in deal activity.

  • Female founders were on pace for a record year of deal activity.

  • SaaS businesses fared better with pricing than traditional tech-enabled businesses.

Read our full summary here.

05   VC Stuart Rudick on why water is ‘the biggest opportunity’

Stuart Rudick got way ahead of the health and wellness craze. He created an investment firm in the 1980s that focused on businesses doing good for the world. 

  • His investments have included Earthlink.net and Muse, which uses a brain-reading headband for meditation purposes. 

Now, Rudick is bullish on water. He believes billions of dollars will flow into companies that ensure clean, healthy water for people and agriculture. “There are ways—it’s called structuring water—to help plant growth, whether it’s indoors or outdoors,” he says. “There are ideas of desalination that are starting to come forward that are more economically viable.”

Read the full Q&A here.

06  Trend Set

Starting this week, we’re testing something new. Here’s the deal: We float 3 ideas by you. The one that gets the most upvotes, we deliver a full report on. Pretty simple.

So let’s get to it… Click on the idea that makes you 🤤:


This week’s Trends send was brought to you by Mark Dent, Steph Smith, and Brad Wolverton. We’d love to hear from you.


Mark Dent
Mark Dent
SENIOR WRITER
Steph Smith
Steph Smith
SENIOR ANALYST
Brad Wolverton
Brad Wolverton
HEAD OF CONTENT
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