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Random Thoughts

So for at least the next couple of days, we’re in that weird time period between reflection and anticipation, closing out last year’s unfinished business and preparing for the next year’s challenges.

As I reflect and anticipate, a few random thoughts come to mind I thought would be fun to share.

Some phrases I collected in 2016 are:

The highly alliterative “Cultured poultry”, which is growing meat in machines – it’s not a new idea, nor does it sound particularly appetizing IMHO, but it’s an idea that has certainly been gaining momentum.

“Battle of the Buzz” – In 2016, more than half the states have legalized marijuana for certain medical conditions, and more than half a dozen states legalized recreational use. With craft breweries and craft spirits already disrupting the landscape, the alcohol (and pharmaceutical) companies, are terrified they may lose more market share and have bankrolled the fight against legalization.

And then there are established companies like Constellation Brands considering embracing the weed.

“Aging in place” –  By 2050, I will have joined the more than quarter of the US population who will be 60 and older. For several years now Venadar has observed emerging companies innovating products to enable a higher quality of life for aging adults. The rationalism is that seniors will be more active by addressing everything from mobility, nutrition, safety, home environment and social aspects. Move over Clapper and Life Call, CES 2017 boasts the following, many of whom are addressing the needs of older adults:

  • Health & Biotech – 510 exhibitors
  • Wearables – 881 exhibitors
  • Smart home/Appliances – 1108 listings
  • Personal Privacy and Cyber Security – 108 exhibitors
  • Robotics – includes 341 exhibitors

Asset light – To be a manufacturer, you don’t need machines, or HR, or an office… or employees for that matter. Companies that employ nobody, yet the owner soars – however, some worry it won’t help job growth.

What other things did I find scribbled in my notes that clients and prospects talked about…?

2016 Driveway moment – Favorite story on Marketplace:

Cottage cheese wants to be the new Greek yogurt

Ellen Byron was interviewed about her article “Could Cottage Cheese Ever Be Cool?” wherein cottage cheese manufacturers are hoping that new flavors like cucumber & dill, or maple & vanilla, as well as lower sugar and high protein will bring cottage cheese the same level of attention as Greek yogurt.

Several years ago, we recommended that a client invest in Greek yogurt.  We observed an emerging trend of high in protein, on-the-go snacks and meal replacements, etc.  As of 2014, Greek yogurt  accounted for over 50% of the U.S. yogurt market, compared to about 4 percent in 2008. Our client passed on the opportunity, and has since told us they regretted the decision, never wanting to be “greeked” again.

Based on our work, we know entrepreneurs are typically 3-5 years ahead of major corporations in addressing new market opportunities. If you are only seeing the things investment bankers and VCs are shopping around, are you really seeing the right things? The best things?

What are we anticipating? Folks here at the office are looking forward to helping our current and future clients create venturing arms and connect with the entrepreneurial community, as well as the next season of Stranger Things, Luke Cage and Better Call Saul…