Savvy founders don’t just focus on iterating their own products – they look to other industries and niches for inspiration and opportunity as well. Whether you’re looking for new ways to scale growth or simply trying to figure out where the competition’s headed, staying nimble is key.
To find out which industries tech founders should look to next, I asked a panel of 13 founders the following:
What is one industry (or niche) tech founders should be exploring now, and why?
1. Predictive data
Big data was all about the storage and processing of large data sets. Increasingly, it is about new ways to deliver customer value. Recommendation engines, predictive suggestions, and smart filtering are all at the heart of next-generation user experiences.
2. Thought leadership
Differentiating yourself as a credible tech founder is important. You should be looking into how to position yourself as a leader in your tech space. It will create opportunities, decrease sales barriers, and build credibility around your company to create a catalyst to your growth.
– John Hall, Influence & Co.
3. Marketing automation
Explore marketing automation; it’s changing the way small and large companies do business. For example, one of my companies was run almost exclusively by marketing automation software, had only two employees and sold for seven figures. The software allowed for us to stay lean while increasing our value.
– Benji Rabhan, ConversionCore
4. Sponsored content
Sponsored content is a great way to increase your visibility, position your brand as a market expert, and create buzz around your brand on social media. It’s also an innovative way to build sales leads by incorporating a pull strategy rather than a push and a way to build pools of potential customers.
Rather than retargeting users that have been to your site, you are able to retarget anyone who has read about your brand through sponsored content. Google also rewards sponsored content when disclosed correctly, so it will increase organic traffic to your site as well.
– Sarah Ware, Markerly
Can users who speak other languages use your product? After English speakers, Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic speakers are the biggest users of the Internet. Translating your product into other languages opens up your business to more opportunities and bigger markets!
– Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.
Fashion is one of the last industries to be hit with a tech revolution. We still have major brands that produce designs, put them on a boat, and are hopeful that they will sell out six months later during the next “season.”
Tech can help with demand-planning, crowdsourcing, and logistics. There are huge opportunities you can take advantage of. The fashion business and small fashion brands are enabling us to compete with the big players.
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
7. Augmented reality
Augmented reality and the digitization of the physical world around us via image-recognition technology is the new frontier. We’ve come a long way from our early days, and with Google Glass on the market, it’s only a matter of time before AR becomes a part of our day-to-day lives. As my co-founder likes to say, augmented reality today is equivalent to the Internet in 1995. We’re truly on the cusp of some exciting times!
– Jessica Butcher, Blippar
8. Consumer health
The consumer health and wellness space has always been lucrative. But it’s now on the verge of exploding because people are exponentially taking their health more seriously. Consumers can also be more discerning thanks to the Internet, which allows them to access nearly anything at any time.
– Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
9. The food industry
I think there is a lot of opportunity to disrupt the food industry. Our country has a serious food problem concerning where we get our food and how we consume it. We could introduce a different health angle about how we shop and consume food. I feel technology could make it so much smoother and make us much smarter about our food.
– John Meyer, Lemon.ly
10. Infrastructure-related products
In the same way that Stripe built technology products for other tech companies, infrastructure-related products in developing markets are a huge opportunity. It’s why I visit India twice a year to meet young entrepreneurs and find out what’s going on there. If you can build the roads for startups and charge tolls on those roads, your business will grow with the community.
– Rameet Chawla, Fueled
Because most everyone has high-speed Internet, the shift from in-person to virtual personal training is imminent. You can get videos targeted at specific muscle groups, age ranges and genders all for free (or a small fee) online. There are also meal plans that cover every dietary restriction imaginable. The market for a company that combines everything (fitness, diet and lifestyle) into one multi-platform culture is huge.
– Liam Martin, Staff.com
12. Customized advertising
The future of TV advertising includes advertisers buying TV spots that are targeted to users based on their previous viewing behavior. This way, a 20-year-old tech entrepreneur will never see Viagra spots on his TV. Instead, he’ll see plenty of gadget ads and small business legal advice service spots.
– Yuriy Boykiv, Gravity Media
13. Wearable technology
We have gone from desktops to laptops to smartphones. The natural progression will bring devices small enough to fit in your watch, in your glasses or on your clothes, but they will be powerful enough to run decent software. The use challenges are immense, but whoever gets this right will be very successful.
– Ioannis Verdelis, Syntellia
Listen to this post as audio, courtesy of SaveToListen.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.