Flares: Barndominiums, Fossils, and Marine Collagen

Amy McMillen

Source: Keywords Everywhere

Barndominiums are through the Roof

Meet barndominiums -- the latest craze in modular construction. Barndominiums (or barndos, for short) are warehouses that serve as homes, known for being affordable, energy efficient, flexible, and low maintenance. 

While #barndominium on TikTok has already exploded with 86.6m+ views, compare that with #vanlife’s 3.5B or #tinyhouse’s ~$1B -- the barndominium movement is only in its infancy. 

Take note from the modularized construction and prefab opportunities from our ADU Signal, but barndominiums have one key difference: They’re usually made of metal.

There’s growing demand for custom-built barndo kits. One example: Worldwide Steel Buildings, which saw barndominiums as a leading driver for their $24.3m in sales last year, up 47% from 2019.

Entrepreneurs could differentiate by using sustainable materials or adding interior design modeling.

3D designing a barndo. Source: Worldwide Steel Buildings

Interested buyers not only need manufacturing kits, but also guides on what to do with their barndominiums after they’ve built them. (Just ~35% are used as permanent residences.)

There are opportunities for peer-to-peer rental markets a la Airbnb, as well as event rental (e.g., weddings and retreats), aircraft hangars, auto shops, art or fitness studios, and more. 

Source: Pinterest Trends and Google Trends

Hobbyists Are Digging the Fossil Porn

Interest has surged recently on the subreddits r/FossilPorn, where people appreciate fossil pictures, and r/FossilID, where paleontology lovers help each other with identification. Source: Subreddit Stats

Who knew there were so many fossil hunters?

Fossil Guy, a one-man show of a website that curates hunting locations, virtual tours, articles, and more, has organically doubled its traffic in the last 6 months to 80k visits/mo, according to SimilarWeb. 

Over 1.2B people search “fossils” every month on Google, according to Keywords Everywhere. Other relevant searches include:

  • “Fossils for sale”: 18.1k/mo
  • “Fossils near me”: 6.6k
  • “Fossil hunting”: 3.6k
  • “Fossil identification”: 1.6k

Want to get your hands dirty? Consider the following opportunities:

  • Community: There are subreddits and Facebook pages, yet only one major dedicated online hub for fossil lovers -- the Fossil Forum, which has 33k+ members and a collection of 43k+ crowdsourced images.

    There’s space to niche down to increase engagement -- dinosaurs, plants, and fish fossils often have separate enthusiasts, and fossil hunting is a local activity. 

  • Apps: While Digital Atlas of Ancient Life exists, reviews reveal dissatisfactory design with limited specimens, time periods, and locations.

    Fossil hunting’s local treasure hunting nature also lends itself well to partner with an activity like geocaching. The official Geocaching app had 300k downloads and $700k in revenue last month alone, per Sensor Tower. 

  • Group events: Combine education, fun, and bonding by organizing fossil-themed escape rooms (a la Jurassic Park) for corporate bonding or on-site fossil hunting events for home-schoolers. 

Skin Care Is Getting Fishy

Marin Skincare’s founders, who both have a master’s in biomedical engineering, discovered marine glycoprotein’s eczema applications from academia. Source: Dimensions

Fancy some lobster in your morning routine? What about salmon? Marine glycoproteins (molecules found in aquatic species) are swimming their way into skin care. 

Most recently, 2 biomedical engineering graduates launched Marin Skincare, which uses lobster glycoprotein as a key ingredient to treat eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin. 

Marin partners with Luke’s Lobster to source the ingredient, which was previously a wasted byproduct of processing lobsters. Unlike many animal-based consumer products, Marin harnesses the circular economy (a $4.5T potential market) while also supporting coastal communities.

Source: Marin Skincare's website

Restorsea, with $24.9m in funding, has a similar process of using salmon glycoprotein from fish farms -- otherwise waste -- for anti-aging products. 

Vegan is in vogue, but animal-based functional products are alive and well -- recall our Signal on how organ supplements are making millions, and collagen is predicted to be a $6B+ industry by 2026.  

Sifting through academic papers gives a number of applications for marine glycoproteins that haven’t been taken to market yet, including herpes and osteoporosis treatments. 

Lobster Unlimited, a company developing novel ways for upcycling lobster processing waste, is even researching therapeutic capabilities for fighting cancer. 

Its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties also make it a good supplement, paving the way for lobster-infused powders, energy drinks, ice cream, and more. 

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