• Emerging technology
    areas for 2017


UC Berkeley’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology is proud to release the 2017 #WhatsNext Watchlist. The goal of the watchlist is to determine which industries and technologies are the best opportunities to build a startup, invest, or innovate.

The Sutardja Center also uses the Watchlist to guide our courses and other activities such as Colliders. For example, the team identified Meat Alternatives on last year’s list resulting in a Challenge Lab course in that particular area in Spring 2017. (See article at SF Chronicle about our plant-based meat class.)

The ranking is driven by data and trends in student startup portfolios from CITRIS and Skydeck, projects from the Engineering Leadership Professional Program (ELPP), and the best investment bets based on financing volume in angel and series A investments.

2017 #WhatsNext Watchlist

  1. Healthcare and Biotech
  2. Collaborative Platforms + Communications
  3. Payment Systems and Capital Sourcing
  4. Chemical and Natural Resources
  5. Sharing Economy
  6. App Development Infrastructure + Electronics
  7. Software as a Service
  8. Media + Advertising + Entertainment
Key Drivers
  1. Internet of Things (IoT)
  2. Big Data + Analytics
  3. Blockchain
  4. Social Entrepreneurship
  5. Cleantech
  6. AR/VR
Silicon Valley Spotlight
  1. Connected + Autonomous Cars
  2. Alternative Meats
  3. Self-Checkout
  4. AI Assistance + Chatbots



The 2017 Watchlist was based on the compilation of four different sources of information: PwC’s MoneyTree Report, and UC Berkeley’s CITRIS, SkyDeck, and Engineering Leadership Professional Program. The categories in the Watchlist were then formed based on similarities to areas identified in the 2016 version, and additional categories were added if the areas were previously undefined. As examples, the category “Sharing Economy” was identified since last year as an emerging area as per the consistently high volume of investment committed by the most prominent venture capital firms in Silicon Valley and appears again for 2017’s list; “Chemical and Natural Resources” was not on the list last year, but was added based on our data.

Comparing PwC’s latest quarterly Reports , the team selected the industries which presented the most significant change in funding volume. It is important to note that the Watchlist team focused exclusively in identifying angel and series A investments across the United States, to minimize the interference of other trends as pertaining to more developed market segments.

The information gathered from PwC was later complemented by executing in-depth research on the latest initiatives and developments promoted by the University of California Berkeley’s groups and programs: CITRIS, SkyDeck and ELPP.

Regarding CITRIS and SkyDeck, the research team focused on classifying the new ventures in both of their portfolios and understanding changes in the industry focus of their projects relative to the beginning of 2016. In terms of ELPP, the Watchlist made use of the final reports submitted by executives who participated in the Program in Fall 2016.

The results from all of the relevant sources were then compiled and ranked in ascending order.

This year’s Watchlist showcases several Key Drivers: tools, sectors and systems such as IoT and Big Data Analytics that span across industries and are becoming, more than ever, necessities. Given the breadth of their impact, the team decided to give these areas independent recognition in the Watchlist, as opposed to blending them into a specific category.

The Watchlist also highlighted several areas trending in the Silicon Valley: although they are encapsulated through the other items in the list, the Center believes that these areas have marked potential and are worth watching for future growth beyond the Silicon Valley.

PI: Ikhlaq Sidhu. Project Team: Lillian Fu Dong, Carlos Ramos De La Vega.