The Raise of the Third Runtime and New Opportunities for Runtime-Hypecycle Startups

We are living in fascinating times in the technology industry with an unprecedented level of innovation creating new technology sectors and redefining others. In that dynamic, trends such as virtual reality(CR), self-driving cars or bots are driving new generation of applications and are attempting to become the next big runtime in the software market. The emergence of a new runtime has consistently brought new opportunities for startups in areas such as security, analytics, management tools and others. I like to call this type of emerging players runtime-hypeclycle startups as they consistently emerge from runtime wave to runtime wave and create a considerable amount of success and wealth.

The New Runtime: From Web to Mobile to What’s Next

The web can be categorized as the first major mainstream runtime in the software industry. The web runtime created a generation of runtime-hypecycle startups in areas such as security( Symantec), application monitoring( BMC, NewRelic…), application lifecycle management (Atlassian…) and many others.

Mobile followed the web as the second major runtime for software developers. Just like the web, the mobile space created a generation of runtime-hypecycle companies in areas such as management( AirWatch, MobileIron…), security( Mocana…), monitoring( MixPanel, AppAnnie….) and several others.

The “post-mobile: world is unlikely to be dominated by a single runtime. Instead, there are several platforms that are emerging as suitable candidates to power the next generation of software application. Here are a few that are already here:

1 — Messaging: Messaging runtimes such as Facebook Messenger or Slack are driving the raise of chatbots as a successor of mobile applications.

2 — Virtual Reality: Virtual reality(VR) stacks such as Oculus Rift or Hololens will be another relevant runtime for a new generation of software applications.

3 — Digital Assistants: Voice is becoming a great metaphor for the next type of user interface and technologies such as Alexa or Cortana are racing to dominate the space.

4 — Self-Driving Vehicles: Companies such as Waymo are building a consistent runtime experience for self-driving vehicle applications.

5 — Drones: Drones are also becoming a relevant runtime for a growing segment of the software industry.

On purpose, I didn’t include categories such as wearable’s in the list are they are often seen as an extension of mobile runtimes. Similarly, I excluded IOT devices because I don’t find enough consistency in the space to classify it as a new runtime.

Opportunities for runtime-Hypecycle Startups

As the third generation of runtimes evolves, we are likely to see incumbents dominating areas such as application development and infrastructure. However, it is equally certain that we will see a new generation of runtime-hypecycle startups in areas such as the following:

— Application Performance Monitoring: Runtimes such as messaging or virtual reality will require new application monitoring techniques and platforms.

— Security: Application protection, threat analysis, data privacy are some of the security areas that can produce a new group of startups for segments such as self-driving cars or drones.

— Application Lifecycle Management: Deployment, testing and distribution will require new platform for the third generation of application runtimes. Finding the Atlassian of self-driving vehicles is an interesting challenge for investors in the space.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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