The Next Technology Paradigm and Why I Joined HP Ventures
Ever since the US government became Microwave and then Silicon Valley’s first customer in the 1950s, it has been the epicenter of worldwide technological innovation. (I’ve written on this topic in detail previously here and here.) After a couple of decades of world-changing growth; the PC era replaced semiconductor. The Internet became the focus area after that, making the subsequent social wave possible. Gradually, demand for electronic and mechanical engineering skills was replaced by software development and moved to the sidelines of cheaper regions in the US and Asia.
The mobile era, birthed with the introduction of the iPhone, is now largely coming to a close as well. The barrier to entry is low. The technology stack needed to launch just about anything, is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection and laptop. Every sizable market niche is filled and smart investors have already shifted their focus to what’s on the horizon. This doesn’t mean that investment in mobile will cease or that an occasional massively successful company won’t be created, but you’d have to be living under a rock to not notice the growing drumbeat of innovation in the next technology paradigm.
With every passing day, it is becoming clearer that 3D Printing, IOT (Internet-of-Toasters as my good friend Sri says,) VR, AR, and AI are the next set of puzzles to solve. This wave is different from what we’ve seen in Silicon Valley for the past two decades and the skills required are far beyond software development. Silicon Valley may very well regret giving up the hardware engineering talent and manufacturing capability it once had.
Other regions may finally have the opportunity to be the next Silicon Valley and it won’t come from replicating its magic, but from lining up their own unique skill sets and resources for what’s coming down the pipe. Asia is a known player, but Eastern Europe (Ukraine and Poland in particular) is also not far behind.
This brings me to some big news: I’ve joined the newly formed HP Ventures.
With an initial investment of $538, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded arguably the first startup in a Palo Alto garage in 1939. Today the company (after the November 1st, 2015 split-off of Hewlett Packard Enterprise) has over $57B annual revenue, 50,000+ employees, and distributes its products into 170 countries.
The HP Ventures team is supporting exceptional entrepreneurs globally with not just investments, but manufacturing and distribution that no traditional investor can provide. Our primary focus is on 3D Printing and IOT, both because we see civilization-changing innovations on the horizon and for the value-add we can offer to the entrepreneurs.
The first generation of 3D Printing technology has helped makers manifest their imagination into the physical world. What we’ll see in the next 5 and 10 years has the potential to fundamentally disrupt mass manufacturing of just about any product, logistics, ecommerce, construction, and even our own human bodies. Incredible potential that is almost too mind-blowing to picture.
IOT is making every object we interact with intelligent and connected. From smart homes that make our lives safer and more convenient to personal health monitoring devices that make us super human. From connected and autonomous transportation to smart cities that will improve everything about our urban environment. Our world is quickly changing, and bit-by-bit, IOT companies are putting together the pieces of our future matrix.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most talented people leading us into this amazing technological wonderland future – both on the HP team and the entrepreneurs I meet every day all over the world.
Stay tuned for lots of exciting technology and products we’re going to help introduce to the world.
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