Runway Incubator | The Innovation Blog

The Year of Power in Progress

Posted by Joe Vasquez on Feb 9, 2016 10:40:07 AM

The Runway team is pumped with all we have going on this month. In addition to the EdTech accelerator which we’re launching next month, we’ll be kicking off our hardware hub and hosting great events with a number of our corporate partners.

In tech news, last week was Upfront Venture’s annual summit in LA, and I’ve been viewing a lot of the video from the event. One of the major themes was the state of VC in 2016, along with the biggest trends in technology over the next 5 years. While I wasn’t invited to participate on stage myself, I always feel compelled to give my thoughts.

First, I’m pretty bullish on 2016. Regardless of what the funding cycle is, and it is cyclical, we’re reaching an inflection point where we’re able to achieve breakthroughs that were previously unimaginable because of the computational power that we have available to us now. Take artificial intelligence and robotics. We have an artificial intelligence company here at Runway, Atomwise, that is using neural networks to predict the potential efficacy of new drugs. Essentially, they’re analyzing everything that’s worked in the past and using it to understand what new drug compounds will have the best chance of success in the future. They’re revolutionizing the way we look for new drugs, and they have an exciting human trial getting underway that could neutralize one of the scariest diseases we’ve faced in recent memory.

Second, I think there are many industries such as edtech and fintech that are in the process of being turned entirely upside down. In the financial sector, much of the benefit that current financial institutions are providing is being taken over by technology that’s as accessible to a farmer in Iowa as to a banker on Wall Street. This democratization of financial tools and analysis will directly benefit the lower 99%. Power is being eroded from the privileged hands of the few and given to anyone with an internet connection. It’s exciting to watch, and I think we’re just getting started. The same with the education sector. I wrote about this in my last blog, but I think we’re going to see the way that we teach, learn and overall approach education in the next 5-10 years turned completely on its head. In the end, students will have more opportunities, playing fields will be leveled and hopefully we won’t be as dependent on getting our young adults into massive levels of debt just so they can get a job.
So I’m hopeful for 2016. I’m proud of the work that our founders are doing, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I feel like we have a front row seat to the future, and the future is bright.

Joe Vasquez

Written by Joe Vasquez

Joe has a passion for helping entrepreneurs and corporations to innovate. He was an early co-founder of StartX, an accelerator for Stanford entrepreneurs. Prior to joining Runway, Joe taught at the Kauffman Fellows Academy and was a Data Analyst Fellow at LocoMotive Labs. Joe started his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and spent two years teaching bilingual math with Teach For America. Joe holds a BS in Atmosphere & Energy Engineering from Stanford University.

Topics: Business