Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

2022 trends (as reflected by alumni of the 4thly Startup Accelerator).

Everybody has their 2022 trends list. I’m gonna give you one with actual some live examples in action.

In the 18 months since we founded the 4thly Startup Accelerator, we’ve had nearly fifty startups go through the program. Not too surprisingly, looking at their progress so far provides an interesting snapshot of some larger trends going on in the marketplace today.

Trend 1: Consumers have fallen in love with food delivery.
The pandemic plus DoorDash and Instacart convinced consumers that they love having junk food delivered to their doorstep. Chris Clark and Jonathan Friedland co-founded Locale to harness this consumer demand but focus on fresh locally-sourced artisan food delivered weekly. After participating in the 4thly Startup Accelerator they were admitted to YC, raised $2 million in seed capital, then raised $14M from Andreessen Horowitz — all within one year.

Trend 2: Blockchain for use cases other than cryptocurrency!
While most people associate Blockchain with cryptocurrency, there are many extraordinarily powerful use cases for the technology. Tixologi is using blockchain/NFT technology to disrupt the $12 billion ticketing market (sports, concerts, etc). After participating in the 4thly Startup Accelerator they raised a significant seed round of capital and will soon be launching live customers on the platform across the country.

Trend 3: New digital ways of addressing old established markets.
Gold has been a store of value for some 3,500 years. Nothing new there. But Ashraf Rizvi, CEO/Founder of Gilded, decided he wanted to use 21st century technology to make physical gold functional such that it can serve as an alternative to cash for wealth management (for both individuals and institutions). After going through the 4thly Startup Accelerator last year, Gilded raised a 7-figure round of capital, built out a sophisticated technology platform, and the company now has a team of over 70 full-time staff in 14 countries and 13 US states, and is growing fast around the world. Think of it as being the opposite of cryptocurrency — just as digital but safer and more stable.

Trend 4: Fintechs, everywhere!
Fintechs are flourishing right now, as native digital startups are disrupting big swaths of the financial services industry. Last year the three co-founders of Midas went through our program and have now developed an app platform which brings powerful financial services to the informal economy in Mexico (which is more than half the country’s GDP). After the 4thly program they raised a $380K pre-seed round and are now kicking-off a $5M round of financing as they continue to scale the operation. One of the things I love about the Fintech revolution is that it’s bringing financial services to people that traditional banks have never cared about.

Trend 1: Wireless data everywhere!
Diana Gamzina, PhD, entered the 4thly program determined to change the manufacturing economics for wireless data transmission hardware. Her startup, Elve, is now delivering a new approach to manufacturing transmitters that will power the next generation of wireless connectivity (well beyond 5G). Since completing the 4thly program, Diana has raised a 7-figure round of pre-seed financing, built a team of 10 world-class technologists, and they are successfully manufacturing prototypes for the commercial market. You’ll see their technology in action later this year as it enables faster internet access in urban settings and remote locations around the world.

Trend 6: Saving the planet is an excellent idea!
Vandita Joshi entered the 4thly Startup Accelerator with a passion for saving the planet, starting with addressing the huge issue of disposable beverage cups! She’s launched her startup, ZYLCH, and designed the first product: a beautiful, reusable cup! She financed the initial production run with a Kickstarter campaign that was fully-funded within six hours of launch.

Trend 7: Technology for mental health.
Ashley Williams brought to our program a passion for helping young people with mental wellbeing. From her work in Baltimore area charter schools she knew first-hand that developing socio-emotional skills and competencies early tends to predict later life outcomes. So she founded Clymb, raised a half million dollars, and launched an interactive emotional wellness software platform for young people. If we can use technology to help young people to succeed and thrive, that’s a big win for humanity.

Trend 8: AI goes mainstream:
Aniket Malvankar entered the 4thly Startup Accelerator determined to put AI to use for ordinary people. His startup, Oogway, is building AI assistant to help people make better decisions. After building a few alphas to understand what people need from a decision assistant they are now launching and accelerating the development, including an open-source project and a discord community.

There are many other examples, of course. These are just some of my favorites. The point is that anybody can put together their “trends for the new year” list, but ultimately the market decides. These eight amazing startups from the 4thly Startup Accelerator are getting strong market signals that they are well-aligned with what the world wants.

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Silicon Valley guy. I teach entrepreneurship at Stanford, run the 4thly Startup Accelerator, and coach startup CEO’s at Miller Center. Also, I love fish tacos.

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Bret Waters

Bret Waters

Silicon Valley guy. I teach entrepreneurship at Stanford, run the 4thly Startup Accelerator, and coach startup CEO’s at Miller Center. Also, I love fish tacos.

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