Successful startups are difficult to achieve, so how do we improve the odds of getting traction and picking the right industry to launch a business in, one that won't be overtaken by robots (unless the startup is about building robots) or one that won't require a major pivot?
Well, help just arrived in the form of a new report from small business financial solutions company Fundera. The company analyzed a mixture of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and investment and market research firms to create a top 10 list of industries that will "likely be around a decade from now, growing fast, and generating strong profits."
Note that these aren't the biggest industries, just the fastest growing, most lucrative ones. The list (which follows) includes industries with forecasted growth rates between 118 and 135 percent and a projected 10-year stock growth rate between 56 and 296 percent.
Best sub-industries: Autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, and smart cities
This includes driverless cars (a projected $3.6 trillion industry) and anything to do with them as well as businesses that would take advantage of related changes to urban planning.
9. Real Estate
Best sub-industries: Online brokerages, online design services, and real estate tech
The report points out that the real estate industry has been slow to innovate, which means it's poised for disruptors to arrive on the scene. The bulk of the growth (closely linked to construction, which also made this list) will come from agents (people or mechanized), property managers, property rentals, and other people and companies providing related services.
Best sub-industries: Fintech and cryptocurrency
You won't be competing with me in this industry anytime soon, as I still don't get what the hell cryptocurrency is. That said, smarter cats will prevail by launching startups to partner with or compete with financial institutions like banks and brokerages--something that is already happening with new companies like OnDeck and Fundera.
Best sub-industries: Hotels and sustainable food providers
The hospitality industry, which includes hotels, restaurants, and leisure, has been under attack by startups gone berserk like Airbnb, which now has four million listings worldwide, bigger than the five largest hotel chains combined. It has created more forward-thinking hoteliers ready to partner with startups that can help them compete in the new world (or creates the opportunity for a new business to compete directly with Airbnb and VRBO).
Best sub-industries: Residential housing, big infrastructure, and construction tech
The opportunity lies within construction technology to enable more efficient building and in the field of residential construction itself. A McKinsey study predicts that by 2025, a third of the world's urban population will struggle to get safe, secure housing, opening up an unprecedented opportunity for efficient, affordable housing options.
5. Consumer Retail
Best sub-industries: E-commerce, pop-up retailers, and personalized retail
The report indicates the key here is to create businesses that successfully combine online with brick and mortar selling. I can tell you from my experience in the consumer packaged goods industry that the fastest-growing retailers had figured this out.
Best sub-sectors: Gaming, virtual reality, and streaming television
Perhaps no other industry is changing faster than the media industry (think what Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services are doing to traditional TV). Within this, video gaming and virtual reality are also seeing explosive growth.
I can personally attest to the justification of this as playing Adventure on my Atari 2600 is about 10,000 clicks down from losing all sense of time and reality while playing the hyper-realistic Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The point is, good business to be in in some form.
Best sub-sectors: Oil and gas, mining, fracking, and sustainable energy
This industry has three built-in advantages: calls for more sustainability and efficiency, public policy issues, and increases in demand with population growth. This should give you energy for the energy industry.
Best sub-sectors: Biotechnology, health data management, and personalized health
Look in the dictionary under diversified and opportunity and you'll see the health industry. The report advises aspiring entrepreneurs to "focus on convenient, personalized, and data-driven health to compete with traditional healthcare facilities like hospitals and primary care practices (which are facing closures and declines in profitability)."
Best sub-sectors: Cloud computing, machine learning/AI, and big data
Number one with a (futuristic, advanced) bullet is technology, probably to no one's surprise. The report encourages small-business owners in this space to "focus on making their product or service user-friendly to break out from a world of gadgets and to give customers seamless experiences that save them time."
So start with this list to jump-start your startup success.