Cleantech, cloud, cybersecurity, fintech, mobile and 3D printing are all industries employing creative solutions to the difficulties they face. For some industries the path is smoother than others. When it comes to consumers, those who grew up with a mobile phone in their hand and wouldn’t recognize a world without the internet, are now in their spending years. The demand for technology products is only going to rise.
Here are the key takeaways, according to each industry.
We wrote about cleantech investing facts which highlighted one trend in particular; solar power was big news in 2016. Consumers became more aware of their energy consumption and switched to renewable sources. Manufacturers also produced more aesthetically pleasing options. According to the US Cleantech PwC report, “M&A activity increased this quarter,” with transactions numbering 17 and totalling $1.56 billion. Solar energy contributed $2 million in corporate M&A and around a quarter of VC deals were in solar. The largest disclosed transaction was NextEra Energy’s (NYSE:NEE) $218 million acquisition of a stake in Desert Sunlight’s solar project.
We wrote on ten top stocks in cloud security companies, that outlined the rise of the NASDAQ CTA Cybersecurity Index (INDEXNASDAQ:NQCYBR), which has performed positively this year. Year-to-date it has gained 11.94 percent with a year high in November of $953.33 per share. Gartner provides an overview of three common factors in cloud computing stocks: governance, environments and privacy. Successful companies have navigated firstly, cloud migration and secondly choosing the right kind of cloud, whether private, public or a hybrid. As well as this they have stayed secure to ensure their information is kept personal and protected.
The Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec states that email malware is a recurring, traditional trend. Malware is short for malicious software and is most commonly contagious when someone clicks on an email attachment. Emails are a major channel into our systems. Hillary Clinton’s presidency bid was blindsided by a hack. As a species we are susceptible to attack campaigns as we have been socially conditioned to open attachments with recognizable file extensions. The same companies have remained dominant in this landscape. Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) are up 16.9 percent year-to-date. Their Messaging Gateway blocks over 99 percent of spam.
In an unexpected development, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), similar to IPOs but for digital currencies, have seen more than $150 million raised in a single crowdfunding initiative. Kevin Hobbs of the Vanbex Group says, “ICOs are certainly being seen as a more viable fundraising strategy than ever before.” Participating in a crowdfund has become the best way to invest in the blockchain sphere. Conventional angel investors and venture capitalists are beginning to take note. However this could go one of two ways; either an ICO might be clamped down on, like Kickstarter campaigns, or could flourish under US regulator SEC.
Mobile applications are being utilized most effectively in the money remittance space, especially to and from developing countries. With DigitalX’s (ASX:DCC) Latin American partner Telefonica (BME:TEF), they have created a remittances network from the US and Canada to countries from Argentina through to Uruguay, with blockchain-based money transfer app AirPocket. This taps into both the large Latin American migrant workforce looking to send money home and the 65 percent of Latin Americans who say they are keen to make more transactions on their mobiles, according to an eMarketer survey. This was the highest percentage of all regions surveyed.
As reported in October, 3D printing has applications in the healthcare sector. The year that Citi analysts cited concerns about overstated market value, medical devices provided a safety net for 3D printing companies, guaranteeing audiences for their products. Market leader 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) 3D printed anatomical models for students of medicine and surgical planning. Both Graphene 3D Lab’s Elena Polyakova and Nano Dimension’s Simon Fried recommend Carbon3D, whose CLIP technology has allowed for highly customizable medical devices, made in mere minutes. In January medical giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) announced a partnership with Carbon3D to produce custom surgical devices.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Emma Harwood, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.