The obvious focus for investing in the coming year is anything that supports living and working at home. I never enjoyed investing in the obvious.
I view the world through the lenses of technology accessibility. Once the technology becomes accessible enough for founders to take advantage of, startups are created.
Luckily, running startup accelerators means you get a firsthand glimpse into exactly that. What are the nascent technologies founders are playing around with? And what can they do with it?
Reflecting on the past year, I have seen two sparks that are worth watching in 2021.
Blockchain pitches that are not about coins.
Blockchain has long been a theme for me. However, every year disappoints. The people who insisted on paying with bitcoins have vanished. And the first widespread consumer adopted blockchain app remains elusive.
Still, this year was the first time the pitch decks did not centralize around a token and used complicated blockchain language. Instead, the focus was on the customer’s needs. This development has been long awaited. I see it as a strong indicator that blockchain is maturing as an infrastructure. Consequently, we should see a lot more startups leveraging blockchain technology in 2021.
Protein extraction from low impact plants.
In 2019, researchers from DTU in Copenhagen extracted protein from plain grass. Protein extraction from plants is nothing new. However, the plant matter. The most common plant-based protein is soya. The problem with soya is its relatively large environmental impact.
But grass is not growing where protein is needed the most. But the extraction technology pioneered by the researchers at DTU could be applied for other types of plants. Among them the cheap and plentiful casava. This year, we saw just such a startup in our program. This could be a sign of a tsunami of protein extraction from local plants. The benefits are potentially both in terms of costs and the environment. And cheap and nutritious protein could underpin a new generation of functional foods. Perhaps already in 2021.
Happy new year, everyone.