Applied AI, Millennials and VR to Dominate in 2017

By Nicholas DeMartino ● December 13, 2016 09:00

The end of the year traditionally generates crystal-ball gazing from pundits and digerati. After a tumultuous 2016, it may be advisable to exercise extra caution about reasonable expectations for 2017. But predict them we must, for IDEABOOST sits at the intersection of media, technology, finance and culture. The entrepreneurial focus of our accelerator and related programs is all about the future.

What opportunities will flourish in the near- and long-term future? What new markets will emerge that solve problems and disrupt old orders? What kind of innovations could propel a company’s success?

As the recent Forbes article, “The State Of The Startup Accelerator Industry,” suggests, accelerator are betting on hot markets like the Internet of Things, big data analysis, SaaS platforms, financial technologies and mobile apps – reflected, coincidentally or not, among the 2016 cohort of IDEABOOST’s own investments.

Man with VR gear bending over photo by Mike Tijoe

Kasey Panetta of Gartner and Jayson DeMers from Forbes discuss in more detail how computer science and technology will power vast changes in the world’s business infrastructure with the growth of a host of digital platforms, including:

- Advanced machine learning
- Intelligent apps and devices
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Blockchain/digital ledgers and currencies
- Mesh systems and voice interfaces

Buried within these categories are huge industry-disrupting developments like commercial drones and autonomous vehicles, peer-to-peer funds transfer, automated fish farms and many others.

Technology is not the only force that drives new opportunities. Demographic and cultural trends do, too. We are moving into an era when millennials will take over from past generations, while greater ethnic and sociological diversity continues to characterize global populations. Marketers need new ways to reach consumers whose preferences differ wildly from past practices – hence the rise of on-demand marketplaces, niche social networks, peer-driven media platforms, fitness-focused products and services, and greater hands-on control for tech-savvy populations.

Two young women on smartphones photo by Aida DaSilva

The screen-based entertainment and media industries as we have known them – movies, television, games, journalism, out-of-home media – will continue to experience dramatic change, as we see the rise of new media brands and franchises, new business models and new media formats and platforms like virtual reality and augmented reality. Incumbents are delivering significant investments in startups to capture a share of entirely new industries, the shape of which is being formed as we speak.

Along with production and distribution players, these new markets need tools to help with advertising, marketing, audience measurement, predictive analytics, content and customer management, and more. IDEABOOST will play a role in building this new ecosystem, in Canada and beyond. We will do so, we hope, with support from a growing community of investors, entrepreneurs, mentors and visionaries – and perhaps you. Here’s to an exciting and prosperous 2017.

Visit for more information on CFC Media Lab’s IDEABOOST’s Network Connect and Accelerator Program. Sign up for the IDEABOOST newsletter for updates and community news, and check out event photos on CFC Media Lab’s Facebook page.

Nick DeMartino is the Chair of IDEABOOST Investment Advisory Group.