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Startups are Capturing – and Creating – Trends

startup trendsTrends are inherently changeable – what’s “in” one year may be “out” the next. That said, some industries like fashion, entertainment, or food often see trends repeat on a steady cycle (e.g. clothing styles) or linger for an extended period of time (e.g. superhero movies or superfoods).

Startups that can tap into consumer demand around a trend can see profits rise – and startups that can help to create trends can gain an in-depth look into their industry, its history, and what could be repurposed or repositioned to create the next trend.

For example, consider the early 2000s, which saw the founding of Friendster (2002), Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), and YouTube (2005). These startups created a huge global trend – social media – which continues to grow and evolve to this day. From 2007 to the 2010s, startups began to capture the growing shift away from desktop towards mobile devices with the creation of apps and mobile-friendly websites. Even today, we see startups in niche tech industries capturing the growing trends in artificial intelligence, internet of things, and augmented and virtual reality (see MicroVentures’ portfolio companies Accel Robotics, Curb, and Emerge).

Within the food and drink industry, coffee has seen several new trends over the past few years. Cold-brewed coffee, in particular, has seen increased consumer interest. Out of consumers who drink coffee daily, 21% consume a cold brew beverage, up from 15% in 2015. The ready-to-drink (RTD), at-home coffee market is also growing rapidly and is expected to reach nearly $2.5 billion by 2018. Combining both of these trends is Palm & Bean.

Palm & Bean blends coffee with coconuts for natural sweetness and balanced taste. The company currently offers two flavors, Kona Mocha and Tahitian Vanilla, both of which are cold brewed and 100% vegan. After debuting at the Natural Product Expo West trade show, Palm & Bean has targeted independent grocers, small-chain natural retailers, and boutique retailers in Southern California including all Albertsons’ Southern California locations, for a total of more than 320 retail locations.

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