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Where Should VCs Invest?

Where Should VCs Invest?

If you are a VC and you are unclear where to invest, then this post might be of interest to you.

Some Disruptive Technologies and ideas that start-ups might be working on or for which you might want to assemble a team include:

Alternative networks

WiFi and 3/4/5G have their limitations. Any alternative networking technology that can change complete industries is probably a good pick. An example would be LiFi.

Networks as a Service – Software-Defined Networks – Openflow

This area is very hot at the moment. Today’s networks are very hard to configure and manage, they are very tightly coupled with hardware, and they cannot be extended easily. Think:

  • Anything that makes Software-Defined Networks/Openflow easy for mass adoption is going to be a winner.
  • Anything that allows enterprises to buy a box once and get the network software later based on day-to-day business requirements, e.g. think about appstore for Openflow.
  • Anything that links Openflow to the Cloud.

M2M Disruptive Technologies

  • Printing electronics to make sensors cheaper.
  • Battery-free electronics to make sensors more mobile and less expensive to maintain.
  • Auto-discovery sensor mesh networks to avoid paying expensive 3/4G subscriptions.
  • M2M appstores to allow people to reuse the work others did.
  • Super-easy M2M APIs/PaaS. Look at Pachube as a model to beat.

Cloud Disruptive Technologies

  • Niche SaaSification in which applications that are only used in small niches can be offered as SaaS subscriptions in a global way.
  • Plug-and-Cloud Equipment for Hybrid Cloud & Exposure (Single Sign-on, Internal data sources, Internal integrations) – on-site equipment that allows enterprises in an easy and secure way to expose their internal assets to the Cloud, e.g. employee single sign-on, secure exposure of company data, secure exposure and easy integration of company applications.
  • Plug-and-Play SaaS integrations that allow multiple SaaS offerings to be easily integrated without programming.


Mobile PaaS = mobile GUI drag-and-drop designer + no-programming back-end systems like Usergrid + plug-and-play integration with external and enterprise APIs + enterprise mobile app / SaaS stores + BYOD-made-easy solutions (some elements are optional).

Big Data / Data Analytics

Visual data miner as a service

Big Data PaaS (easy tools/APIs for complex big data operations like mood analysis, natural language processing, etc.)


Kaggle type of services but for other domains e.g. competition to create the easiest/best mobile interface or API.

Kaggle + Kickstarter => competition together with crowdfunding. Who can build the best solution for this problem gets their venture funded.

Nail-it-then-scale-it/Lean Startup type of crowdsourcing in which ideas get tested (e.g. paper prototypes, business model discovery, etc. before actual prototype) and funding is delivered bit by bit. Ideally with stock options of the funders in the new venture.

Enterprise/Consumer Telecom

Managed enterprise software-defined networks or BYOD – services that help enterprises to maintain their networks or devices that employees bring along in a managed way, hence no experts need to be hired and the service is pay-as-you-go instead of CAPEX.

Cloud + Set-up Boxes – Appstores for ADSL/Cable Modem set-up boxes, SDKs to manage large sets of consumer’s set-up boxes, etc.


These are just a handful of ideas. If you want more or need more detail, let me know at maarten at telruptive dot com. Also, if you are in need of an external adviser or executive in a new venture, let me know…

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[This post originally appeared on Telruptive and is republished with permission.]

  • Consultant

Maarten Ectors

Cloud & Disruptive Innovation Thought Leader, Telruptive
Expert in Telecom and Disruptive Technologies
Maarten Ectors is the Head of Cloud and Disruptive Innovation in Europe at Nokia Siemens Networks. Maarten helps telecom operators to understand disruptive technologies (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, mobile SaaS, big data, NoSQL, predictive analytics, machine learning, collective intelligence, M2M, ...