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Back to the Future

Via KurzweilAI.net, an article in the Observer on the "search for the next big thing," which ends up sounding like we're going back to the future:

Analysts predict that one of the big growth software sectors in the future will be content management or 'data mining'. 'Silicon Valley VCs are getting very excited about so called integrated or 'artificial' intelligence...' says Tim Jennings, research director with the Butler Group...

Another area which investors believe is ripe for stellar growth is the gaming and entertainment technology sector. Mobile technology has opened up new possibilities which stretch people's leisure over time and space...

But those wanting to know where canny investors believe the sector with the biggest potential growth lies need to follow the money. Tracking which sorts of start-ups are attracting backing from new investors is a key sign. Figures from Ernst & Young/Venture One show that last year 64 per cent of funds being ploughed into the biopharmaceuticals sector came from new investors, compared with just 27 per cent for IT companies.

Analysts at JP Morgan predict sales in the US biotechnology sector will increase from 25 to 28 per cent this year. In contrast, they predict the US pharmaceuticals industry will grow by only 6 per cent. A favourable regulatory environment coupled with a desire by investors to inject new capital is driving the industry forward.

John Mackie, chief executive of the British Venture Capital Association, says three things have conspired over the last couple of years to heighten interest in biotech. 'The mapping of the human genome has thrown up hundreds of opportunities. Increasing demands on healthcare have created more of a focus for investment in the sector. And thirdly there is now better technology transfer from universities.'

As with dotcom mania many investments will turn sour, but for now the biotechnology sector is the closest we have to a new thing.

This is all well and good, but since when have venture capital investment trends served as a reliable predictor of future markets?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to use my pen computer to order dog food over the Internet...

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