Like all of you we’re sure, we at GCT are busy closing out some last items, reflecting on 2015, and looking ahead excitedly to 2016. In doing so, we thought it would be fun to asked our companies what they thought the BIGGEST thing that happened in 2015 was, and what the BIGGEST things to happen in 2016 would be. What do we mean by “BIGGEST”? We left that up to them to decide. Their responses were entertaining and insightful and often boiled down to a few major themes:
- Space. We all got to see Pluto, found out there is water on Mars, are watching a fully privatized space race heat up between the likes of Virgin, SpaceX and Blue Origin, and NASA is now accepting new astronaut applications. These developments, coupled with the growth in cyber warfare and geopolitical competition over higher-orbit satellites all point to space becoming more and more interesting.
- The Paris Climate Change Accord. Most notable perhaps was the US’ involvement within it and the seeming, final “turning of a corner” with regard to American public opinion on the issue.
- ISIS and the Migrant Crisis. In particular, folks remarked on ISIS’ impressive usage of technology and the Migrant Crisis straining the definition of the “nation state.”
- American Politics. The sustained popularity of Donald Trump has to say something about the Republican party/state of the country, and the high likelihood that a major political party will run its first female candidate at the top of the ticket are certainly big developments. Not to be forgotten in a wild year – the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.
- Artificial Intelligence. AI is firmly on everyone’s radar now. OpenAI has captured our community’s attention in very short order.
Not surprisingly, predictions for 2016 mirrored notable developments of 2015. Our portfolio companies were also quick to point out that their inevitable meteoric success will be a pretty big deal in its own right. While we certainly share the enthusiasm and optimism, we thought we’d stick to the more broadly notable predictions:
- Space (again). The prediction we saw here a couple of times was that alien life will be confirmed to exist or have existed at one point. The practical ramifications of such discoveries would likely reverberate across society, challenging foundational arguments of a number of organized religions.
- Deflation/Correction of the Tech Bubble and increase in M&A activity. The venture investment market seems to be in “pause” mode. We’ll leave it to other blogs/prognosticators to opine on 2016, but our founders did have some fun predictions for M&A:
- Google buys Yahoo or Twitter
- Apple buys Ford
- Salesforce buys Slack
- Climate Change. Paris Accord aside, we’re likely to start seeing more effects to go along with the particularly balmy December we’ve been experiencing.
- New Science. CRISPR is gaining increasing attention for its potential to cure disease (thumbs up) and modify genetics (uncertain which direction to point thumb). The disproving of one pillar of Einstein’s theory of relativity – namely that “spooky action” at a distance has been proven true – should have a number of implications, perhaps most notably on the emerging field of quantum computing.
- Global Turmoil. Several of our founders fear another major conflict. Antarctica seems to be capturing folks’ attention, too. Others see opportunity in disruption – most notably new remittances solutions to handle the more than $600 Bn predicted to cross borders to developing nations in 2016.
- The Next US President. But of course, this is never not a big deal.
As for GCT itself – we spent 2015 growing into our mandate. We have 8 truly incredible corporate partners, and 6 amazing growth partners. We have an incredible portfolio of companies building not only fantastic, ground-breaking technologies but also a vibrant, supportive, inclusive community. We take not only immense pride in the work we’ve been able to do over the past year, but also feel immense gratitude. This is fun. And we have a number of exciting developments already lined up on the horizon for 2016 so stay tuned…
Last, so as not to lose focus on what really counts, here’s wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season and all of the best in the New Year.