This guest post is authored by Mark Bivens. Mark is a Silicon Valley native and former entrepreneur, having started three companies before “turning to the dark side of VC.”
He is a venture capitalist that travels between Paris and Tokyo (aka the RudeVC). He is the Managing Partner of Shizen Capital (formerly known as Tachi.ai Ventures) in Japan. You can read more on his blog at http://rude.vc or follow him @markbivens. The Japanese translation of this article is available here.
Years ago I started publishing an annual list of technology predictions from global venture capitalists. By design, I deliberately prioritize VCs beyond the usual Silicon Valley household names, whose voices were not necessarily heard on the world stage.
For this season’s set of predictions, I am again pleased to be able to give the floor to an all-female cast of investors, who in my opinion are poised to make a disproportionately positive impact on the venture ecosystem this year.
May 2022 bring us further enlightenment. Happy new year !
Yumiko Murakami — MPower Partners, Japan
ESG investments, which showed record growth in 2021, will continue to gain momentum in 2022. At the same time, criticism of greenwashing will increase, and the quality of ESG investments will be questioned in 2022.
ESG has so far been focused on listed companies. This year, ESG will begin to be introduced to the private market in earnest.
Tonna Obaze — Harlem Capital, NYC, USA
I believe the world will continue its Web3 evolution with blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, & NFTs. However this year, the focus will not be awareness but more mass adoption. I’m excited to see new players emerge who make Web3 accessible for everyone — those who communicate concepts in plain language to help the “non expert” understand and those who build infrastructure to make onboarding seamless. Once upon a time, only few had access to computers and even fewer had them within their homes — Apple sought out to change that and make computers accessible to everyone. Time will tell who will step up and do the same for Web3.
Emiko Takeda — Monex Climate Impact, Japan
I personally expect a lot of interesting innovation in sustainable food. For instance, I see projects which transform empty sea urchins, traditionally a scourge of algae vital to sea life and a headache for fishermen, into highly-prized sea urchins for sushi based on an all-natural alimentation program. Another example is a project producing delicious plant-based cheese alternatives from sticky rice by employing koji malt often used in Japan for fermentation of miso and sake.
Abi Muhammed—Tech Nation, UK
2021 was a remarkable year for European startups, with a record $100B of capital invested, 100 new unicorns (Atomico Report 2021), but there was still a lack of investment in underrepresented founders, the biggest disparity was towards founders who self identifies as Black. We still saw incredible funding deals to UK Black founders, i.e. Marshmallow and AudioMob. My prediction for 2022 is that we will see more UK Black founders being funded by micro/solo funds, ex-founder turned angel investors or international institutional funds.
Mai Iida — D4V, Japan
2021 saw the rise in new content driven by individuals and communities (think NFTs, EdTech cohort programs, Japan’s “Oshikatsu” or fan activities in pop culture, etc). The diversification of opportunities has put creators in a strong position to pick and choose what is best for them. People are also revisiting their way of work and life, such as the “Great Resignation” in the US, choosing a career that suits their lifestyle best. In 2022 I look forward to seeing these two trends merging – we may see more people choosing novel ways of work, treating their hobbies just as seriously as their so-called “actual” jobs. This is an interesting and hot area for startups to contribute their innovative ideas.