Flares: Two Inevitable Industries of the Future

Aja Frost @ajavuu

You know her, you love her. 

She’s Steph Smith, and earlier this month she published a tweet that asked, “What’s an innovation or industry that seems distant, yet inevitable?”

The post attracted dozens of interesting responses, and this week we’re breaking down 2: Audio SEO, and D2C biohacking.

#1: Audio SEO

Audio content is growing much faster than websites did in the early 2000s: The number of podcast episodes rose by 60% from ~30m to ~48m in the last year alone.  

Listens are up, too. Source: Statista

But the way that audio content is found on the web is different from written content, making traditional SEO techniques obsolete for the growing podcast industry.  

For example, most of Google’s 200+ ranking factors for websites (e.g., choice and use of keywords, number of page links, etc.) don’t apply to audio content, unless it’s transcribed.

Audio SEO -- how well audio content ranks on search engines -- is set to follow in the footsteps of the traditional SEO industry, which has ballooned to ~$80B in just 25 years.

As audio search engines emerge, there will be opportunities to build tools and platforms to support the new industry, including:

  • Consulting services: Similar to existing SEO agencies, there will be demand for specialized audio SEO consulting services as the industry formalizes.

  • Features augmenting content: There are already plenty of features that help readers interact with, share, and comment on written content (e.g., the Disqus commenting plug-in for websites). There will be opportunities to create similar tools to enhance audio content and podcasts. 

#2: Longevity and D2C Biohacking

Investment and interest in longevity has continued to increase since Laura Deming started the $100m Longevity Fund

Who will live the longest (best) life? Source: Subreddit Stats

But before immortality comes biohacking -- or “DIY biology” -- described by some biohackers as optimizing and upgrading their minds and bodies. 

Technically, the term can include anything from sleep tracking and healthy eating to transfusing blood from a young person to an older one.  

Early signs suggest that it may only be a matter of time before this rising industry goes D2C. 

We’ve already seen this on a small scale with personalized D2C vitamins (a la Care/of), DIY at-home health tests (ala Everlywell), and Soylent meal replacements.

But companies like The ODIN are taking it one step further with products like their DIY Bacterial Gene Engineering CRISPR Kit, which sells for $169 online. 

Our Analysts often have the same reactions to the newsletter that you do, even if they don’t always make the final edit.

In addition to a slew of new D2C biohacking products, there will be ancillary opportunities, including: 

  • Consulting: Regulation of this fledgling industry is opaque. But it will come under scrutiny as it evolves, presenting opportunities for specialized legal and regulatory consulting services. 

  • Telehealth platforms: Imagine a Hims of longevity. There will be opportunities to create telehealth platforms that give people convenient access to prescription therapies and products with potential longevity benefits. 

  • Partnerships: Similar to Airbnb’s partnership with 23andMe to provide unique heritage tours (“travel as unique as your DNA”), there will be opportunities to partner with D2C biohacking products to create personalized experiences (e.g., biohacking retreats).

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