Last month, Trinity had the honor of hosting close to 100 mCommerce entrepreneurs, developers, and thought leaders at Dolores Labs in San Francisco. It was an exciting evening involving some of the brightest and most innovative minds in mobile technology, including representatives from companies with $1B+ valuations like Uber to founders from up-and-coming mobile startups like Dot&Bo, EAT Club, and Fitstar. Yet as diverse as this crowd was, as one walked from conversation to conversation, it seemed everyone agreed on two things:
1) The next generation of retail commerce companies are being developed on mobile devices
2) The center of the mobile ecosystem is shifting inexorably from Palo Alto to San Francisco
Speaking with today’s mCommerce entrepreneurs, one begins to understand just how broadly smartphone and tablet applications are impacting the way we live our daily lives. For instance, discussing transportation with Turo Marketing Lead Andrew Mok, who explains how P2P markets can fundamentally improve the car rental industry by making transactions more efficient and reducing costs for renters, or with ZIRX founder Sean Behr, who shares his vision for an on-demand parking service to eliminate the headache of commercial garages. Or contemplating the future of food with EAT Club CEO Frank Han and PlateJoy founder Christina Bognet, who are looking to find better ways of delivering lunches to employees and groceries to families. And the list goes on. From furniture and home décor to laundry and dry cleaning to health and wellness, mobile startups are building a new commercial paradigm that transforms how we purchase and consume goods and services.
Equally exciting is the density of mCommerce talent and thought leadership that has developed not in Silicon Valley garages, but in San Francisco lofts and coworking spaces. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Bay Area entrepreneurs and venture capitalists were predominantly focused on computers, semiconductors, networking equipment, and licensed software. Launching successful companies in these industries typically required millions of dollars in capital and hundreds of square feet of space for R&D, not to mention rare technical talent that tended to be clustered around Silicon Valley’s beating heart at Stanford University. Even in the late 1990s and early 2000s, web companies that managed to turn a profit eventually needed ample space to host their own server infrastructure. But with the advent of cloud computing and smartphones, starting and scaling a business now requires less money and space than ever, and today’s mCommerce startups require as much product and design talent as they do engineering know-how. The convergence of these factors has suddenly made San Francisco a highly attractive place to build a tech company, leading to an explosion in SF-based startups.
The bottom line is that it’s an exciting time to be in technology, particularly if you’re a young entrepreneur. While there’s been a lot of press on the problems created by San Francisco’s recent tech boom, including more traffic and higher costs of living, it’s important to also recognize all the benefits that tech entrepreneurs and engineers are bringing with them to the city. San Francisco is in the midst of its own Renaissance, with smartphones and tablets providing a limitless canvas for today’s creators. Nowhere is that more apparent than at mixers like we experienced last month, exchanging ideas with the brilliant minds lighting the way to tomorrow. From everyone in the Trinity Family, thank you to those who attended the event and made it all possible!