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No one knows for sure what will happen in the technology world this year. But venture capitalists have their finger on the pulse better than most, so we reached out to a handful of Seattle-area investors to get some predictions for 2018.

Most agree that Amazon’s stock will continue to rise and that cryptocurrency will be overhyped in 2018. Some are bullish about voice technology; in-home deliveries; and IoT devices. All agree that there will be 2-to-4 IPOs in Washington state this year.

We ran this survey for 2017 and it’s fun to see how the predictions fared last year. Some were spot on — for example, Lighter Capital’s Molly Otter predicting Amazon’s stock to end up at $1,200 — while others were way off, like Madrona’s Tim Porter picking the Mariners to win the World Series.

Here’s more from our six VCs:

Len Jordan, managing director at Madrona Venture Group

Number of IPOs in Washington state in 2018: 3

Number of new investments your firm plans to make in 2018: 12-to-16 — “We are seeing incredibly talented Northwest entrepreneurs launch companies focused on multisense (voice, AR/VR applications), IoT/robotics, intelligent applications and next-generation consumer products/marketplaces. We will continue investing in early-stage companies at an aggressive pace and are also happy to see accelerating activity from strong and diverse investing firms partnering with us as we scale existing portfolio companies.”

Google’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,102.23 now): $1,200

Microsoft’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($88.19 now): $100

Amazon’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,229.14 now): $1,500

Apple stock close on 12/31/18: ($175 now): $175

What will be the hottest technology of 2018: “New IoT devices. IoT is no longer a single category — it’s like gravity, it’s everywhere. 2018 will be a year when new consumer (vehicle, home, wearables, entertainment) devices take off and industrial use cases thrive where automation, measurement, control and management create new economic benefit. Vertical use cases in agtech, drones, transportation, healthcare and even ‘older’ industries like energy and manufacturing may surprise people and lead some of the early broad deployments. New platform opportunities for management, telemetry, security, privacy, provisioning, communication and analytics will start to get traction creating opportunities for both the large incumbent computing platforms and new agile entrants.”

What will be the most overhyped technology of 2018: “Many cryptocurrencies (as distinct from underlying blockchain technology, which is very interesting).”

How will the political climate affect the tech industry in 2018: “Technology, automation and globalization have the paradoxical power to displace and create enormous economic opportunity for citizens. When we commit to investing in a system that helps both companies and individuals with the resources, operating freedom, education and skills they need to succeed in a rapidly-changing environment, then we will address some of the economic issues that divide too many of us.

Unfortunately, 2018 will not be a year when thin policy platitudes and temporary programs will yield durable long-term results that address the growing issue we have with a disappearing middle class. We are fortunate to work in tech, we should challenge ourselves to secure a broader and more diverse level of participation in the innovation ecosystem.”

Advice to startups for 2018: “Think big but focus first. The most successful companies have a broad vision for the future of their company and a maniacal level of attention on the pain point, use case, efficacy and customer satisfaction of their first products. In a 2018 market with many well-financed companies, it will be as important as always to pair long-term vision with near-term clarity and execution.”

Other bold predictions for 2018 in tech, politics, sports or anything else: “The Seahawks, despite a tough 2017, get healthy, return to the playoffs with some new faces and the earth returns to its proper rotational axis as a result. Go Hawks!”

Julie Sandler, managing partner at Pioneer Square Labs

Number of IPOs in Washington state in 2018: “My bet is on three: OfferUp, Remitly, and Rover. In other words, 2018 quiets the naysayers who contend that Seattle doesn’t grow game-changing consumer companies anymore.”

Google’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,102.23 now): $1,200.00

Microsoft’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($88.19 now): $100.00

Amazon’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,229.14 now): $1,600.00

Apple stock close on 12/31/18: ($175 now): $173.22

What will be the hottest technology of 2018: “Hard not to look in the direction of new crypto-driven applications and platforms.”

What will be the most overhyped technology of 2018: “AI/ML will continue to be hyped up much in the way it has been in 2017, but now in ways that will miss the point. For entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors alike, there is now a basic assumption that elements of AI/ML should underly every single application that gets built. And in the MVP to boot.”

How will the political climate affect the tech industry in 2018: “Despite efforts of tech companies (read: Facebook), I suspect there will unfortunately be continued accelerating of political polarization: one nation, two perceived realities of this administration, and two completely different pictures of ‘fact.’ I also anticipate deeper focus/discussion in the tech community around how to systematically empower (and alleviate the disempowerment of) women, minorities, and underrepresented groups in leadership, entrepreneurship, and across organizations.”

Advice to startups for 2018: “Keep focusing on your customers – there are more ways to understand them than ever.”

Other bold predictions for 2018 in tech, politics, sports or anything else: “Major overhaul of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018.”

DFDJ’s Bill Bryant.

Bill Bryant, partner at DFJ

Number of IPOs in Washington state in 2018: “2017 was unquestionably disappointing from an IPO perspective, especially in light of the receptivity/robustness of the public markets for those brave enough to take the plunge, like Redfin (up ~ 30% since its IPO). I’m predicting a bumper crop of public debutantes in 2018 (four of the following six): Docusign, Avalara, Avvo, Smartsheet, A Place for Mom and Adaptive Biotechnologies.

Number of new investments your firm plans to make in 2018: “DFJ will make 8-to-10 new investments, as we have each of the past five years. 2-to-3 of these will be in Seattle (we completed five new Seattle investments in 2017 including Pro, Outreach, Xealth, Loftium and Azuqua).”

Google’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,102.23 now): $1,234.56 — “Weakness in their core ad business and increasing government regulation/scrutiny is offset by investors factoring in Android gains at the expense of Apple, Kubernetes and Google’s self-driving vehicle moonshot.”

Microsoft’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($88.19 now): $100 — “Azure continues to gain relative share in public cloud; Microsoft buys Salesforce, SAP, or Workday; Microsoft makes a major splash in healthcare.”

Amazon’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,229.14 now): $1,201.92 — “As much as I admire Amazon and its incredible performance, the business has become too diverse and complex to manage — the parts are more valuable than the whole.”

Apple stock close on 12/31/18: ($175 now): $120 — “Seriously, what has Apple introduced in the post-Jobs era that is truly innovative? A watch? The third-best voice-assisted home speaker? Apple is effectively harvesting its past but lacks clear growth drivers in the markets of the future: AI, AV, healthcare, public cloud, security, enterprise, smart cities, space, AR/VR.”

What will be the hottest technology of 2018: “Conversational computing, voice assistants and practical use of AI changes how we interact with devices and the world around us. Genomics applied to personalized medicine. Biohacking. Ubiquitous IoT made real for consumers.”

What will be the most overhyped technology of 2018: “Blockchain/crypto/ICOs. Blockchain might have utility if it can support orders of magnitude more transactions than is currently the case, but crypto and ICOs are in Tulipville.”

How will the political climate affect the tech industry in 2018: “Politics and policy have never had more impact on the tech industry than now, including protectionist trade policies, immigration, tax reform, efforts to regulate stock options, privacy, climate change and much-needed government scrutiny over Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. Facebook and Google will face increasing efforts to regulate them like a public utility.”

Advice to startups for 2018: “Every decade since the 1960s has produced massive tech companies. The 60s ushered in Intel and Samsung. The 70s brought us Apple, Oracle and Microsoft. The 80s gave birth to Dell, Adobe and Cisco. The 90s bore Amazon, Netflix, Nvidia, Alibaba and Ebay. The 00s introduced us to Google, Facebook, Baidu and Tencent, while the past decade has spawned Uber, AirBnb, SpaceX, Palantir, Tesla and WeWork.

Aspire to be one of the few iconic, enduring companies that historians write about when they document the period 2018-to-2028.”

Other bold predictions for 2018 in tech, politics, sports or anything else: “Seattle overtakes Boston, Austin, L.A. to become the unquestioned No. 3 startup geography behind Bay Area and NYC. Three new micro VC/seed funds focused on the Northwest are formed. Amazon buys a pharmacy chain like Walgreens or Rite Aid, a European grocery chain like Waitrose, and a leading logistics/3PL company. The Huskies make it to the CFP and win their second national championship. LimeBike wins the Seattle bikeshare market. Alaska Air buys Virgin Atlantic to expand its international footprint.”

Dan Levitan.

Dan Levitan, co-founder and general partner at Maveron

Number of IPOs in Washington state in 2018 (candidates): 2-to-3.

Number of new investments your firm plans to make in 2018: 4-to-6 cores and 20 seeds — “very exciting time to invest in disruptive consumer businesses!”

Google’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,102.23 now): $1,200

Microsoft’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($88.19 now): $100

Amazon’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,229.14 now): $1,500

Apple stock close on 12/31/18: ($175 now): $175

What will be the hottest technology of 2018: “In-home delivery will start to become widely accepted.”

What will be the most overhyped technology of 2018: “Cryptocurrencies will crash at some point in 2018.”

How will the political climate affect the tech industry in 2018: “Washington D.C. and European countries begin the breakup of big tech as we know it.”

Advice to startups for 2018: “Take the money because eventually this cycle will turn.”

Other bold predictions for 2018 in tech, politics, sports or anything else: “M&A activity reaches historic levels; Robert Mueller is Time Person of the Year (thanks to my friend Scott Galloway for this one); UW basketball program continues to gain local respect.”

James Newell, partner at Voyager Capital 

Number of IPOs in Washington state in 2018: 1.5 in Information Technology — “I’ll guess Avalara will be one and I’ll give us 50 percent of Docusign since they are technically headquartered in San Francisco but have such a significant presence here. With the amount of later-stage private capital available, the IPO market won’t be robust despite a solid stock market.”

Number of new investments your firm plans to make in 2018: 4-to-5 core investments and perhaps a few seed deals.

Google’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,102.23 now): $1,215 — “Still extremely well positioned across their key products and recent focus on fiscal responsibility makes Wall Street happy.”

Microsoft’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($88.19 now): $92.5 — “Satya’s master plan continues to play out as Azure continues to slowly gain on AWS.”

Amazon’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,229.14 now): $1,200 — “Amazon is an absolute monster, so I would never bet against this company. The stock price this year will just take a breather to let earnings catch up with price after years of torrid growth.”

Apple stock close on 12/31/18: ($175 now): $190 — “at least once per year I look at Apple’s financials to remind myself how incredibly profitable this company is. Remarkably, the multiples still look cheap!

What will be the hottest technology of 2018: “Applied artificial intelligence. Nearly every pitch we see today tries to wedge ‘AI’ or ‘ML’ into the presentation regardless of whether they are using it to make meaningful impact on their customers. 2018 will be the year we see AI making the long-promised impact on mainstream products and business processes.”

What will be the most overhyped technology of 2018: “If you believe Bitcoin a technology rather than a method of speculation, I’ll say Bitcoin. The blockchain has tremendous potential but the mania around cryptocurrency is a distraction from finding real applications for the underlying technology.”

How will the political climate affect the tech industry in 2018: “There will be a chilling effect on large M&A in the tech industry given the confusion about what will see review by antitrust regulators. Beyond 2018, limiting immigration is going to hurt the US tech ecosystem by keeping talented people out of the country.”

Advice to startups for 2018: “It sounds simple, but just get a product to market and get feedback from customers. I meet a surprising number of founders who struggle to ship a product because they either mistakenly believe that it must be perfect prior to launch or they have an irrational fear that someone will steal their idea/IP. The market feedback is invaluable for setting product direction and is critical in the initial stages of a company.”

Other bold predictions for 2018 in tech, politics, sports or anything else: “Bitcoin Classic closes on 12/31/2018 below $5,000. The Seahawks trade their first-round pick (18th overall) for two 2nd round picks and a 3rd round pick. Ratings for NFL games falls again in 2018 by more than 5 percent. Chris Peterson leads the UW Huskies to an 13-1 record but the Pac-12 misses the CFB playoff again. Democrats will be unable to overcome an unfavorable electoral map and Republicans control both the House and Senate coming out of the ’18 midterm elections. Cable TV loses more subscribers in 2018 than they did 2016 and 2017 combined as cord cutting accelerates.”

Geoff Harris, partner at Flying Fish

Number of IPOs in Washington state in 2018: 2 — Rover, Accolade.

Number of new investments your firm plans to make in 2018: 5-to-10

Google’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,102.23 now): $900

Microsoft’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($88.19 now): $78

Amazon’s stock close on 12/31/18 ($1,229.14 now): $1,450

Apple stock close on 12/31/18: ($175 now): $130

What will be the hottest technology of 2018: “Augmented reality.”

What will be the most overhyped technology of 2018: “Augmented reality.”

How will the political climate affect the tech industry in 2018: “POTUS-generated Twitter traffic breaks the internet due to lack of net neutrality regulations. Sad!”

Advice to startups for 2018: “First and foremost, delight your customer. Focus your fundraising on achieving a significant milestone, not on months of burn.”

Other bold predictions for 2018 in tech, politics, sports or anything else: “Tom Brady gets his sixth ring.”

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