Our overarching technology investment focus continues to be based on the “Everything as a Service” thesis we wrote over a decade ago.
As business leaders are challenged to do more with less, companies have focused on their core competencies and have outsourced the rest — many to cost effective services available in the cloud. We call this the “Out-Services” era, where outsourcing is being enabled by Cloud Services.
The Out-Services Era
As the Out-Services era plays out, we have evolved our thesis to look ahead for the next decade. We see the critical need for “Cloud Intelligence” to make sense of, manage, and benefit from a period when every person, place and thing that can be connected will become part of “the cloud.”
As connectivity among machines, devices and processes increases, everything will stream data to the cloud. Whether it’s the Fitbit on your wrist, the NEST thermostat in your home, the beacons in a store or the sensors and instruments in a laboratory, the Internet of Things (IoT) will continuously monitor our world and record an unprecedented amount of data. Data will be our most prevalent currency. But its value will be determined by intelligent interpretation.
This torrent of data will require a new level of Cloud Intelligence to filter for the usable signal in the cacophony of noise. The intelligence required to find that signal will give rise to Machine and Deep Learning to enable actionable analytics. The resulting actions will, in turn, drive business process change.
New Applications and Micro Services
As we learn how to optimize our businesses around these new and better informed processes, it will give rise to new kinds of SaaS applications, distributed systems, and supporting micro-services.
New Business Models
These cloud-based applications and services will be monetized around new business models with new systems of record, reference data, new linkages for trust (such as blockchains) with new kinds of micro-payments and long running transactions and even entirely new value chains built around network economics.
New Creation and Delivery Models
Discontinuous innovation and models for co-creation such as Open Source will continue to be a disruptive force as large communities address problems too broad for any one organization to tackle alone. The possibilities for data driven, network enabled, community powered applications are endless.
These new applications can be served in increasingly mobile, portable, wearable and even subcutaneous or intravenous formats, we expect to see both disruptions in existing hardware and software categories and the emergence of entirely new categories as investment opportunities.
Supporting Cloud Infrastructure
All of this — the IoT, Big Data / Machine Learning for Actionable Analytics and the resulting new Applications — will require a highly scalable underlying Cloud Infrastructure that is reliable, secure and yet still agile and adaptable.
In parallel, this will drive the next generation of development, operations, management and security products and services to support the exponential growth of Cloud Intelligence.
We are in the early stages of a multi-hundred billion dollar Cloud Intelligence transformation and we will continue to invest in it for years to come, by partnering with exceptional entrepreneurs supported by the Underscore VC community and groups of Cores.
Yet, it’s always still about underscoring you.
While our focus is on Cloud Intelligence, we are foremost seeking to invest in bold, brave entrepreneurs who have their own vision formed from understanding problems deeply, challenging the status quo and thinking big about the impact they are going to make.