CED Trend Watch 2015

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Where will the big opportunities be for entrepreneurs in 2015? Here are three predictions courtesy of CED’s Fortune Teller-in-Residence, and scroll down for an infographic depicting all the top trends we're watching this year:
1. Even if the Sony Pictures cyberhack hadn’t highlighted the issue, the message is clear: Security is the New Black. We’ve spent the past few years transferring data to the cloud, but there aren’t enough enterprise-class software companies focused on security right now. Raleigh is positioning itself as the major hub for data science in the US, with its strong computer science program at NC State and companies specializing in cognitive computing, survey analysis, financial services and predictive medicine, all to be featured at the new Data4Decisions trade show in March. And who knows? Maybe someone working at the National Security Agency-funded lab on Centennial Campus will get the startup bug, take that top-secret clearance, and launch a new company. 
2. Entrepreneurs looking for money to scale their companies likely will consider a new group of suitors. Corporations have boatloads of cash on their balance sheets, and they’re willing to part with some of it to keep an eye on new technologies that could give them a competitive advantage or disrupt their business model. The mating dance for corporate strategic partnerships is different than that for venture capital, as are the expectations after the deal has been signed. Just ask companies like Automated InsightsValencell, and Liquidia Technologies who all scored deals in 2014. Entrepreneurs will need to learn a new type of vocabulary to pitch a deal to this group, and it may not hurt to brush up on some etiquette lessons. 

3. Are you programming your TV through your phone, or talking to your refrigerator? The continued move toward the Internet of Things will mean more interconnectedness between people, devices, processes and data. That means more smart appliances that actively manage reams of data to produce extreme energy efficiency, such as RTP’s Phononic, and huge advances in electronic records linked to tablets and wearables that allow your personal medical history to travel with you, thanks to companies like TouchCare. All indications are that barrier-busting ideas will continue to upend the conventional wisdom of “that’s the way we’ve always done that.” 
Now if only there were a startup that can guarantee I’ll still be keeping my New Year’s resolutions by April!

CED's Entrepreneurial Trend Watch 2015
Credit: Council for Entrepreneurial Development