Seattle is a crucible of technological innovation. The intersection of computer/data science and biological/chemical sciences will lead to breakthrough in a number of industries, and the Emerald City will increasingly be known as a hub for these intersections of change. As we move into 2019, GeekWire polled six venture capitalists from the Pacific Northwest to offer their insight on what to expect in tech for 2019—and investment in Seattle tech continues to grow.
Geoff Entress, managing director of Pioneer Square Labs
Geogg Entress says Pioneer Square Labs will likely make five or six outside investments in 2019 and another six to eight internally through the Lab.
Hottest Technology: According to Entress, cybersecurity will be a large concern, so anything that addresses solutions to cybersecurity will be popular.
Pressing Issue: In line with his hot tech predictions, Entress says privacy will be a big issue.
Gillian Muessig, chief executive officer of Outlines Venture Group, founder of Sybilla Masters Fund
Gilliam Muessig says her firm will make somewhere around eight tech investments in 2019 that will be Puget Sound focused, and up to six worldwide investments as well.
Hottest Technology: Muessig turns to Blockchain for her prediction, saying “more companies will leverage its capabilities to liquify illiquid assets, forming new financial marketplaces similar to ‘stock exchanges’ for new assets.”
Pressing Issue: Not far from Entress’ predictions, Muessig is looking to the security of AI and body part recognition systems, because “once hacked, you’ve been compromised for life.”
Erik Benson, managing director of Voyager Capital
Voyager Capital has made four investments every year for two decades, and Erik Benson does not expect that to change in 2019.
Hottest Technology: Benson says streaming data will be the most popular technology in 2019.
Pressing Issue: For Benson, it’s immigration.
Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Venture Group
Madrona Venture group will likely make ten venture investments and a few seed investments in the new year.
Hottest Technology: According to McIlwain, the time has finally come for hybrid cloud computing.
Pressing Issue: McIlwain echoes some concerns in privacy and security, but focused on regulation as a whole and the implementation of “data privacy and protection policies.”
Andy Liu, founding partner of Unlock Venture Partners
As is the case with Madrona Venture Group, Unlock Venture Partners too is expected to make ten investments in 2019.
Hottest Technology: Liu is looking at how big data will be applied to older, analog industries.
Pressing Issue: Our algorithm-driven social media environments, are concerning Liu, who says “whatever our beliefs are, we are being fed more of the things we want to hear (fake news or not) and we engage more and more with people who are like us. Technology can and should play a role in that changing narrative.”
Corey Schmid, Seven Peaks Ventures
Seven Peaks Ventures is expected to make six or seven tech investments in 2019.
Hottest Technology: Schmid says it will be about striking a balance between personalization (and our desire for technologies that understand us) and transparency (and our fear over too much big data). “The human-tech balance seems to be tipping too far afield,” says Schmid, “so I’d expect to see regulations, consumer driven controls, and trust play a very starring role in 2019.”
Pressing Issue: On the flip side, Schmid expects consumers to be asking about authenticity and trust. While tech will bring efficiency and ease to our daily lives, it will necessitate control and regulation to protect consumers.