2009 started out as a hard year for entrepreneurs. Consumer spending, venture capital funding, and bank loans were all down due to the global recession, making it harder for small businesses to grow. Yet as the economy has recovered, positive signs have emerged for the startup world. Venture capital is bouncing back and holiday spending seems to be recovering.
What can entrepreneurs and small businesses expect to see in 2010? The last twelve months have been an economic roller coaster, but startups can look forward to a brighter 365 days ahead. Here are some trends you’ll likely see emerge in 2010:
- There will more IPOs in 2010: In terms of exits, the initial public offering is often the granddaddy of them all. It is what turns a few innovative entrepreneurs into millionaires and billionaires. With the market recovering, you can expect more of them to occur this year, including several high profile ones. The big IPO highlight this year could be none other than Facebook.
- Venture capital will continue to flow: As I said before, venture capital is recovering, but it’s nowhere near its previous peaks. $4.8 billion was invested in startups in Q3 2009, up from $3.32 billion in Q1, but still well shy of the $7.16 billion in Q3 2008. Several VC firms are already predicting that 2010 will be a buyer’s market, and unless we have another economic collapse, I tend to agree with that assertion.
- More social media starts will find ways to be profitable: Profitability in social media and the web has always been a problem. In the last few months though, companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Zynga have found ways to become profitable. This is a good sign for the rest of the industry: the online ad market is recovering and social media companies are finding innovative ways to earn revenue.
- Industries to watch: Biotech, Clean Tech, Energy, Media/Entertainment: These four industries were some of the most-funded and rapidly-growing industries this year. Biotech raised $905 million in venture capital last quarter, while clean tech grew by 89% from Q2 to Q3 2009 alone.
- More economic turmoil: While I’ve painted an overall rosy picture for 2010 (especially compared to the economic abyss of 2009), entrepreneurs are not out of the woods yet. While the stock market has made a comeback in 2009, banks are still closing and the U.S. federal deficit is still rising.