Virtual reality, start-ups dominate discussions at 4YFN

Sara Pavan

Investment Manager, Amadeus Ventures

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We’ve been hearing about it for decades, but 2016 could be the year virtual reality becomes mainstream if discussions at 4YFN [4 Years From Now] at Mobile World Congress 2016 are an indicator of things to come.

woman wearing vr-goggles

The event, which brought together players from the global start-up community to discuss all things tech from wearables to the Internet of Things, also explored the possible applications of virtual reality beyond the gaming community. One such application that caught our attention were the possibilities virtual reality offersfor the travel industry.

Some key mega trends

Beyond virtual reality, the event also covered some key mega trends that will help us understand the future of technology and guide investment decisions, including:

  • Rapid urbanization
  • Changing demographics
  • Hyper globalisation
  • Accelerated innovation

Investors are looking at technology that addresses these trends, which range from hyper mobility, machine learning, and the Internet of Things to cyber security and neuron technology.

On the start-up front, it appears that the European investment market is still very healthy, compared to the US market, and mainly focused on early stage companies with expectations for a very active 2016.

Discussions at the event highlighted that corporations pursuing innovation cannot ignore start-ups as a source of opportunities to disrupt in their markets. Corporate Venture Capital has been the traditional way to approach this challenge, bringing financial returns, insights, and influence in emerging technologies or business models. However, the complexity involved in the process of investing in a start-up sometimes extends the time and resources required for each operation.

Therefore, corporations are also looking at new models of collaboration with start-ups focused more on revenue generation through the co-development of products, services or markets, rather than on equity acquisition. This approach increases the number of start-ups that could be addressed, and speeds up the process of capturing innovation.

Overall, I enjoyed hearing from all the attendees and found the discussions to be encouraging when it comes to the intersection of the technology and travel industries. Were you at the event? What were your key takeaways?


Mobile, Startups, Events