Silicon Valley VCs predict 2013 trends: Space, robots, self driving cars

As the year draws to an end, Silicon Valley investors are looking for the next wave of technology after social networking.
VentureBeat spoke to a slew of the top players at well-known West Coast institutions — the founding team at Stanford University’s technology accelerator, StartX, partners at some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capital firms, and others — to help illuminate what the big trends will be in the coming year.
For VCs, it’s not enough to build an addictive mobile app or game: Investors expect to see more, something worth building a venture-funded company around. So in 2013, get ready for mind-blowing, nerdgasmic tech, whether it’s augmented reality, 3D printing, self-driving cars, or space travel.

For later-stage startups, 2013 will be the year all hell breaks loose. The IPO pipeline is already brimming with contenders: Venture-funded companies like Twitter, Box, and Square are ready for Wall Street. With heated competition for customers and users, there may also be some mammoth failures when some venture-backed companies that have received hundreds of millions of dollars simply buckle.

Most of the investors we spoke to agreed confidence in the tech industry is sky-high and 2013 is a year to take bigger risks. This time last year, we predicted entrepreneurship would be an engine to drive jobs creation and stimulate economic growth. With the global economy beginning to stabilize, we’re ready to take more risks and push technology into new verticals, like education, government, financial services, and health care.