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The Six Start Up Trends To Watch In 2018

Louise Ramsay details six top trends start-ups should be aware of this year The Six Start Up Trends To Watch In 2018

In business terms, the world is shrinking on a daily basis, opening up the potential for international trade for even the smallest of companies.

The rise of the internet means start-ups are no longer confined by geography to a local market, but can export across the globe - opening up evermore opportunities for entrepreneurs in 2018.

The ability to identify a country with significant growth potential alongside enough stability to support a growing business is a key skill and an important step in potential success.

Look out for other start-ups that have made a success of branching out into developing markets and do your research. Can your business feed into a global trend that has yet to take off in other countries? How can you best capitalise on these opportunities? There’s lots of help out there for canny business people, not least from the Department for International Trade.

Anything AI

You may think artificial intelligence is a flash in the pan or that it’s going to transform the future of the human race. Whatever the reality is, there’s no doubt that we’re in the midst of an AI revolution. While people-like robots are yet to trump what us Homo sapiens can naturally do, there are all sorts of smart devices out there that are changing the way we go about our daily lives.

From the voice activated Amazon Alexa to the use of fingerprint recognition technology in everything from mobile phones to school lunch payment systems, AI is already in evidence in most people’s lives.

Time will tell how prevalent AI will become, but until then AI is going to be hugely important in the life of a startup - whether this be by creating, selling or utilising it to run more effectively.

Internet of things

Now you’ve got your head round AI, ponder IoT. Expected to consist of around 30 billion objects by 2020, it’s the network of items, including devices, vehicles and appliances, which can exchange data through network connectivity.

In terms of the home market, it’s the ability to synchronise smart devices to make life better (or depending on your opinion) worse for us humans. The aim is that AI will work with machines to allow them to work autonomously - or at least semi-autonomously - driven by a desire for convenience and efficiency.

Some IoT devices are already enabling consumers to programme their devices without the need to learn code. But the potential for this technology goes way beyond the home market.

Take, for instance, UK-based startup Pavegen, which has installed smart tiles in Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle. When commuters step on the tiles, energy is created and Pavegen transfers this energy into powering the street lights above.

As IoT develops, the race will be on not just to deliver technology to consumers, but also in how products and services are delivered using IoT to customers.

Plant-based foods

Vegan is the 2018 buzzword. If you didn’t know, a vegan diet is one free from any animal derived products, including dairy - meaning that everything you eat comes from plants. Once viewed as a fad adopted by outsider hippies, vegan is now so mainstream Tesco has just launched its first own brand plant-based range of foods. And who doesn’t know at least one person who embarked on Veganuary?

As the vegan trend continues, unless food-based businesses are specifically focused on non-vegan products, plantbased choices will become an essential element in any food-based business plan.

Just think how gluten-free foods have come to prominence within the marketplace, despite the majority of people not being allergic to gluten, and you might get an idea of how huge this trend could become.

Blockchain

Blockchain is looking to take off in 2018.

An emerging information management technology, it allows data to be recorded and transferred in a way that’s not just safe, transparent and auditable, but also resistant to outages. The biggest difference to existing technologies is that the data isn’t stored in just one place, but across however many computers are included in any network.

Incredibly powerful, it’s already changing the way banking is done, with the potential to speed up transactions and take costs out of the system. For instance, transferring money abroad could happen instantaneously and be free of charge.

This has an obvious knock-on effect on the ability of start-ups to easily trade internationally - promising to boost overseas business opportunities.

Nutrition and wellness

Healthy eating and wellness has always been a major driver for business, but as ever trends for what’s hot and what’s not have shifted for 2018.

Spices are the latest big news in health - with turmeric in particular making the headlines. The jury is still out on how beneficial it actually is, but it’s claimed to have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as a whole host of other benefits.

Low FODMAP diets are also creeping into the picture - the acronym stands for foods high in a carbohydrate that can cause indigestion.

The popularity of exercise and nutrition trackers is also going to continue to grow, with more intriguing features, such as the ability to track sleep patterns and connect this with other events in your day to day life. Read more like this

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