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Sony Innovation Fund 2020 Predictions: Ushering in the Next Wave of Startup Innovation and The Rise of Canada and India

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Gen Tsuchikawa, Chief Innovation Officer, Sony Innovation Fund

Ushering in the Next Wave of Startup Innovation and The Rise of Canada and India

With the ever evolving tech landscape, change is inevitable - from 5G to drones, there is plenty on the horizon for 2020 and beyond.

In this post, Gen Tsuchikawa, Chief Investment Officer and CEO of Sony Innovation Fund, discusses the trends he sees in store for the new decade, as well as two up and coming tech hubs poised to rise.

5G: Not the End - The Beginning of the Next Wave of Startup Innovation

As 2020 gears up to be "year 1" for massive roll-outs of 5G networks in US, EU and APAC, this will raise an interesting set of challenges for start-ups as 5G will require a structural overhaul of the technology stack above the wireless link alone. Similar to how the datacenter became a software battleground and spurred a whole new breed of start-ups on this new fabric (e.g. containers, DevOps), 5G opens up a nearly blank slate for start-ups to truly innovate for delivering the promises of 5G to the many connected vehicles, venues and sensors.

A Drone Comeback Fueled by Regulations and Commercial Adoption is Coming

While many recent reports state "the end" of the drone VC bubble, we believe this space will once again pick up speed in 2020. We are only now finally unlocking the true potential for drones by putting together the appropriate regulation for fully-automated flights. 2020 is also gearing up to be the year when many large enterprises are moving beyond the trial phase into full commercial adoption of drones within their complex workflows. 

Tech Hubs To Watch: Canada and India on the Rise

Canada -- will attract increased investment and continue to make the  region a fertile ground for both B2B and B2C start-ups due to the combination of top academic talent (notably in AI and other Deep Tech fields), competitive cost structure and proactive R&D government grants. 

India --  development of physical infrastructure and digital infrastructure, an evolving investor landscape, and significant increase in M&A also creates an attractive environment for early-stage venture funds to back deepTech companies and freshly-minted start-ups specifically targeting the "Next Billion Users" of India.


About the Author

Gen Tsuchikawa 

Gen Tsuchikawa is the Chief Investment Officer and CEO of Sony Innovation Fund, the venture capital arm of Sony Corporation dedicated to investing in and engaging with promising early-stage companies. Gen has spent 15 years at Sony. Prior to Sony, he spent 20 years in the finance industry in companies such as Merrill Lynch. He holds a BA from Hitotsubashi Uni in Japan, and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.


SIF has invested in over 50 startups around the globe, a few whom you might recognize: Drone startup Matternet - which recently partnered with UPS for medical deliveries, LANDR , an AI-powered music platform described as "the greatest thing to happen to DIY recording since the home multitrack recorder" and DefinedCrowd, which provides training data for AI applications for companies i.e., Mastercard, BMW and Yahoo! Japan. Last summer SIF announced, Innovation Growth Ventures (IGV) in partnership with Daiwa Capital.  Through IGV, they'll invest in large follow-on rounds and late-stage deals in the fintech, AI, and robotics sectors, while SIF will continue to invest in seed to early-stage startups.

Published Monday, January 13, 2020 7:20 AM by David Marshall
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