Despite the uncertainty that Brexit has brought on the business world, advancements in a range of emerging technologies will offer exciting new opportunities for potential startups in 2019.
If your New Year’s resolution is to ditch the day job and set up a money-making business, how about a little inspiration from the Verdict team?
From the next big app, to the Brexit solution that negotiators have been unable to find, here is our selection of business ideas 2019.
The businesses you should start in 2019
1) Skip the Brexit ration queue with an off-the-shelf vertical farm
It’s July, 2019. Four months have passed since the UK formally crashed out of the UK without a deal. Food stockpiles are running low. Michael Gove ate Boris Johnson some weeks ago. Corbyn is still behind in the polls.
But for the canny investor, the apocalypse is the perfect business opportunity. It’s time to skip the ration queue with an off-the-shelf, all in one vertical farming solution.
Convert your shed, or the husk of your neighbour’s house (they’ve either escaped to Norway or been kidnapped by Lord of the flies Jacob Rees-Mogg, you’re not sure) into premium avocado growing space.
While one of the biggest barriers to vertical farms is upfront cost, being able to offer the technology and related growing supplies at scale has the potential to revolutionise grocery supply chains.
And when the power inevitably goes, it’s the perfect chance to up-sell to the premium package with solar panels from Elon Musk’s SolarCity, complete with complimentary flamethrower for when half the population inevitably turns into zombies.
3) An AI transparency guide
Artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into a vast number of the services we use on a daily basis, but many of us have no idea how and why, as evidenced by recent Accenture research over the role of AI in our Christmas plans.
This lack of knowledge on its presence and use has left many of us deeply suspicious about its purpose – with high profile data-related scandals such as Cambridge Analytica and the ever-present fear of job automation making matters worse.
However, when you actually look at how AI is being used by high-profile businesses, the vast majority of it is not only benign, but actually helpful, producing many of the features that we as users love.
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The solution, then, would be an AI transparency guide that analyses major businesses use of AI, including the supporting data involved and the benefits it brings. This would be arranged in a scoring system, with businesses receiving and AI trust rating.
Companies that make use of AI efficiently and without shady practices would score highly, while low scores would warn users of businesses making questionable use of the technology or supporting data.
The guide could even be licensed to businesses, allowing them to use the platform to explain their use of AI to customers in a transparent way.
2) Tarot-inspired stylist app
An app that lets you select tarot cards and knows your wardrobe and then puts together an outfit, all the way down to the socks that you can wear to suit your daily predictions.
You have to feed in your wardrobe, rather like a dieting app that lets you feed in the food you are eating.
From standard items like a fluffy red jumper, blue silk socks and black double-breasted blazer, the app will also be able to search product codes and get an exact match with the brand.
Then day to day, the user selects three cards from a pack of tarot, on love, well-being and career. It will then use this selection to provide a prediction for the day ahead and outfit advice.
So if the cards predict a business meeting with the boss, or a potential pay rise, they can dress you in a smart suit. If romance is likely, the app will find the right colours and styles to make it happen.
It could in reality, read your calendar or emails to work out more accurately, or it could just be a bit of fun.
4) An AI content agency
Automation is about to impact just about every industry, with widespread job losses expected. Why should journalists be exempt from this post-apocalyptic future where robots rule and humans struggle to get by?
In the age of information, people want to know what’s happening when it’s happening. A team of artificially intelligent machines would be able to generate far more content at a far quicker speed than even the fastest of writers.
The technology could pull together relevant pieces of information from social media, live broadcasts and past stories to piece together the news stories that people want to read.
Even if AI technology isn’t quite ready to accurately update us on the antics of Donald Trump, Facebook’s latest data scandal, or the United Kingdom and the European Union’s failure to agree on just about anything, 93%* of what we read online is fake news anyway, so does it really matter if these machines mess up?
*This is fake news.