On the Open Innovation team at Samsung SDS Research America, we endeavor to engage companies that need shepherding within Samsung in ways that often culminate in a go-to-market partnership and reseller agreement; a strategic corporate investment; sometimes even an acquisition. We naturally align those functions with the business units that drive our revenue and profit. Much of the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with our cloud, machine intelligence, and enterprise Blockchain teams. That’s not necessarily in descending age order, but yes, distributed ledgers skew younger.
We also strive to sharpen opinions about the domains in which we reside. And at the end of the year, there’s an opportunity not only to look back, but also ahead to where we might be going. That being said, here are some of my personal opinions about what might transpire in the next 12 months.
1. There will be a tough go of series C and later stage financings for AI companies that haven’t been able to productize their professional services business
2. Amazon will (more openly, under pressure from investors) consider a tracking stock for its AWS business
3. Enterprise Blockchain will continue to steal some of the thunder from consumer and cryptocurrency dialogue as the price of Bitcoin and others fall
1) We’ve met many interesting companies in machine learning, but many are oriented towards a consultancy model of engaging paid clients. If you ask them to see a data sheet or product sheet, one doesn’t exist. I hope that changes and the funding that these companies raise goes towards high margin software product that customer practitioners can deploy and around which they can learn competence and extend their skills.
2) AWS shows no signs of slowing as we approach their annual re:Invent conference (this was written in late November). While they may be ceding some market share, it can only be so, because they’ve been such a giant in the space, with a commanding head start on feature and platform maturity. No one really knows how public markets will go, but we’ve been in a bull run for quite some time in America, and with certain vertical markets entering correction territory, there may be opportunity to “unlock value” for investors that want to buy AWS and not all of Amazon.
3) Blockchain and distributed ledgers have been in the public consciousness, but mostly related to consumer and store of value dialogue. Enterprises recognize the vast possibility of embedding Blockchain technology into their platforms and products and also to consider it as a next wave for the careers of people who have historically been in the database or open source businesses. Enterprise IT spending is much larger than the combined value of all crypto currencies and attention will begin to move towards business use cases.
If you happen to agree or have a dissenting opinion, @ me on Twitter @andrewdlee (tweets are mine and don’t necessarily represent the views of Samsung or any of our affiliate companies). If I’m right on any of these, I welcome your invite to coffee or lunch to make additional predictions, this time about your personal life. If I’m wrong, I’m going to start pushing out my predictions to past 2025; that's far enough ahead that no one will care whether those predictions were right or not!
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Andrew Lee is currently a strategic investor and acquiror at Samsung SDS, a $9bn revenue division of Samsung, the global leader in diverse businesses that today span advanced technology, semiconductors, skyscraper and plant construction, petrochemicals, fashion, medicine, finance, hotels, and more. Formerly, he was an executive with CloudBees, Battery Ventures, and VMware; and is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
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