Cryptocurrency, cannabis, VR and "alternative travel:" these are among the hottest emerging industries for startup entrepreneurs in 2018, according to data culled from online graphic design marketplace 99designs released this week.
99designs, the world's largest on-demand design marketplace, identified these four themes in an analysis of design projects launched on the site at the end of 2017 as compared to those launched four and two years ago.
"Escapism seems to be a central theme running through the types of businesses that have skyrocketed on our platform in the past two years," noted 99designs CMO Pamela Webber.
"In what many have seen as a tough year for natural disasters, tragedies and political strife, it may not come as a surprise that businesses offering consumers a break from daily life… or even a financial 'plan B' seem to be thriving."
Specifically, here's a look at the four most popular new industries on 99designs going into 2018 based on increased number of projects launched:
1 Cryptocurrency businesses. Bitcoin has been all over the news, attracting a lot of attention to the cryptocurrency industry in general. Projects with the term "cryptocurrency" showed a whopping 458 percent increase since 2015 (and an 821 percent increase over 4 years ago).
2 Cannabis businesses. Whether for recreational or strictly medical use, marijuana is now legal in more than half of U.S. states, leading to an industry that has more or less "sprouted" overnight. Projects with terms "cannabis" or "marijuana" in the title increased 55 percent in the past 2 years (and 833 percent since 2013!).
3 Virtual Reality startups. In 2018, VR becomes more "reality" than "virtual," with many new players entering the game. Projects with the terms "augmented reality" or "virtual reality" were up by 38 percent over 2015 (and up by 514 percent since 2013).
4 Alternative travel businesses. Boutique hotels, voluntourism, RVs, Airbnb rentals… staying at a hotel is so 2017. According to 99designs intel, projects with the terms "boutique hotel," "airbnb," "van rental" and "camper van" increased by 27 percent in the past two years and are up by 211 percent since 2013.