New opportunities abound to attract funding in 2017

Good businesses will always attract funding, but remember the cycle to go from investors to actual cash in the bank takes time.

Funding will become harder to raise than it was in the previous years, but corporations will also get more creative about how they conduct business with start-ups.

As a result of geopolitical uncertainty globally, particularly in the U.S., it’s going to be harder than ever for start-ups to raise capital. It’s likely that most US venture capitalists (VCs) will wait to see what the election means for them, and in terms of foreign resources and import/export, if the US slows down on investment, the rest of the world will slow down also. Good businesses will always attract funding, but the cycles to go from investors to actual cash in the bank will take longer.

That said, this also means that we’ll see a move from large, global corporations to working more and more with start-ups, developing innovation labs or funding arms and the like. In 2017, we’ll see more and more large companies and corporations tap into start-ups as a resource. The onus now will be on start-ups to step up their game in preparation, streamlining their processes and getting serious about the way they conduct business if they want to leverage these kinds of opportunities.

SMEs will go big on data in the wake of rising customer expectations, turning data-related start-ups into a commodity.

Consumer and corporate customers are getting used to fast, tailored services that anticipate their needs before they even have them. As a result, businesses can’t turn a blind eye to customer behaviours in 2017 – they will need to develop constant, faster feedback loops to provide the level of engagement and customisation required by today’s market or risk the bottom line. Across the board and internationally, SMBs are realising more and more that in order to win this kind of customer loyalty and remain competitive, they need to be better at collecting and interpreting data. This means data-related start-ups will become a commodity in the next 12 to 18 months, across all industries. Those that can leverage data to provide an experience or benefit to end-users based on predictions of what will appeal to them will have the most significant opportunities down the line, particularly across travel, entertainment and health verticals.

This will be a particularly exciting area for Australia in the coming year because when it comes to big data, service predictions and anticipating the needs of customers, this region is already ranking high. We’ve seen, and will continue to see, many market-leading initiatives from the start-up community and banks in particular, making this an area of high growth and one to watch in 2017.

Enterprise market saturation yields new alliances, creating massive opportunity for start-ups and SMEs.

In the next year or two, the oversaturated enterprise market will mean new alliances between huge enterprises – think Apple, Microsoft and big banks – and it will be interesting to see how these bigger players form new entities, teams or mergers. This will create cracks and gaps that are perfect for start-ups and SMEs to come in and fill. Because smaller businesses are typically more agile and able to take risks, this great enterprise collision will mean massive opportunities for those willing to jump in and grab them.

Stephane Ibos, CEO and Co-Founder, Maestrano

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