The top rated startup accelerators have a background of seeing the long term in strategies that sounded foolish at the time. Right after all, who would have foreseen billion-dollar firms primarily based on leasing your air mattress to strangers, or searching for their groceries?

So when prestigious accelerators devote all around typical themes, it’s well worth taking observe of what is resonating.

With that in mind, we mined Crunchbase knowledge on new seed investments by top rated-rated accelerators, searching for similarities in their vision of wherever client and business tech is headed. The knowledge established looks for providers that lifted very first-time funding in the earlier six months from accelerators in North America with a standout history for backing startups that go on to secure a lot better valuations.

Listed here are the startup trends that are capturing the imaginations, and wallets, of top rated accelerators.

AI bots for firms are huge

The bots will support you. Accelerator-backed startups are setting up a lot of AI-enabled resources to support firms with customer support, gross sales and marketing and advertising. There is Claire, a bot for screening client items and advert strategies, and Scribe, an AI-driven “sales progress representative” that can determine new leads.

For customer support, there is Eloquent Labs, which takes advantage of AI to augment and change stay chat customer support brokers at e-commerce providers. And if you are an airline and in have to have of greater customer support (which is really a lot every single airline), there is Techstars-backed ICM Hub, a developer of “artificially smart virtual brokers.” These are just a handful of of the AI-enabled small business applications that lifted seed funding this earlier 12 months.

The rise of the AI-driven client digital assistants

It may possibly sound much-fetched in 2017 to rely on your finances to an AI-driven digital assistant with a cutesy identify, but accelerators are betting that in a handful of years, that is heading to modify. One particular situation in issue is Penny, a Y Combinator-backed mobile app that features as a private finance mentor. It is 1 of numerous private finance applications accelerators are rolling out.

Genuine estate receives far more temporary, effective and on demand

Sure, you can even now clearly show up in particular person and indicator a extended-term lease on a property, place of work or store. But a lot of startups are coming up with both of those easier and far more temporary techniques to secure room. Potentially element of the impetus is that two of the most renowned and beneficial non-public venture-backed providers — Airbnb and WeWork — are real estate-related, so it’s a confirmed sector for producing a significant valuation.

It is solely probable that systems originally focused for 1 business will close up deployed in a different.


On the temporary room front, there is Bulletin, which pitches by itself as “WeWork for retail room,” and LoftSmart, which finds rentals for pupils. On the efficiency aspect, Ikos is aiming to make leasing less difficult for household landlords, when Rezi pays landlords right to hire their residences. See a fuller listing of accelerator-backed real estate startups in this article.

Having sensible transportation to the subsequent stage

Along with increased curiosity in smart properties, ride hailing, mapping applications and real-time website traffic updates have by now performed a lot in the earlier handful of years to change how we get all around town. Now, accelerators are hoping to acquire matters to the subsequent stage.

A range of transport startups have launched with an analytics target, these types of as Revmax, a car or truck routing device, and Gridwise, which can help trip-hailing motorists increase earnings. And for those fearful that all these mapping and website traffic analytics resources are making for inattentive, screen-gazing motorists, there is Textual content to Ticket, which allows consumers post movies of distracted motorists.

Pivots come subsequent

Interesting as quite a few of these startups look, it’s well worth noting that hardly any accelerator-backed startup grows up into a huge business devoid of at least a handful of dozen small business product pivots alongside the way. So it’s solely probable that systems originally focused for 1 business will close up deployed in a different.

For now, nevertheless, we can sit again and take pleasure in (or dread) the vision of a long term chatting with humanoid bots en route to one’s temporary property or place of work employing the most effective route that engineering can deliver.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias