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We talked to 4 VC investors about the hottest trends in payments and the biggest innovations to keep an eye on

investor payment tech trends 2x1
Payments infrastructure and software is one subset of fintech that’s attracting VC cash.
Citi Ventures; Insight Partners; Bain Capital Ventures; Andreessen Horowitz; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
  • We spoke to investors at Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, Citi Ventures, and Insight Partners to learn where they see the next innovations and opportunities in payments tech.
  • Mostly, they’re looking out for ways that payments companies can do more than just process transactions. That may be through add-on services, or even machine-initiated payments.
  • Payments is interwoven into nearly every segment of the fintech landscape, from credit-card processing to online sales, to analytics around consumer behavior.
  • Some unicorns making waves in payments include AvidXchange, Brex, Plaid, Stripe, and TransferWise.
  • Click here for BI Prime stories.

The fintech world is big, and funding is flooding into startups like robo-advisors, neobanks, and alternative lenders.

In the third quarter this year, total fintech funding topped $8.9 billion, a record when adjusted for Alibaba’s fintech Ant Financial’s $14 billion last year, according to CB Insights. Globally, there are now 58 fintech unicorns (startups valued at more than $1 billion).

Payments is interwoven into nearly every segment of the fintech landscape, from credit card processing to online sales to analytics around consumer behavior. Some unicorns that have made big waves in payments include AvidXchange, Brex, Plaid, Stripe, and TransferWise.

While some say incumbents should fear competition from fintechs, many existing companies are partnering with startups. Marqeta, which provides card issuing, and Plaid, which helps startups link into consumers’ bank accounts, have inked partnerships with legacy players like Visa and Wells Fargo.

Incumbents themselves have made bold moves to stay current, like Mastercard’s blockchain for shrimp tracking, or American Express’ startup-focused corporate card launch. They’re also making investments through their venture arms. Amex Ventures has backed Plaid and Stripe; Visa has invested in Marqeta and Finix.

And payments companies are also snapping up ways to expand their services. Earlier this week, payments giant PayPal said it plans to buy Honey, a startup that makes browser shopping add-ons for its customers, for $4 billion, which would be PayPal’s biggest buy ever.

We spoke to four investors at leading VC firms about where they see the next opportunities when it comes to payments.

Anish Acharya, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz

Anish Acharya headshot
Anish Acharya, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz
Andreessen Horowitz

Anish Acharya, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, sees innovations coming not just from payments companies, but from unexpected players into the fintech space.

The Silicon Valley venture-capital firm is known for its early investments in companies like Facebook and Lyft. In the payments space, it has backed startups including Dwolla, payments giant Stripe, and fast-growing cross-border player TransferWise.

READ THE FULL STORY: Uber and Apple are just the start, and eventually every company will want to be a fintech. An Andreessen Horowitz general partner explains why.

Matt Harris, partner at Bain Capital Ventures

Matt Harris Bain Capital
Matt Harris, partner at Bain Capital Ventures
Bain Capital Ventures

Matt Harris is a partner at Bain Capital Ventures, and has helped lead investments in fintechs like micro-investing startup Acorns; AvidXchange, which helps companies pay bills electronically; and payments platform Flywire.

He thinks payments companies need to do more to keep market share, and but that it’s still hard to imagine a world where payments come free.

READ THE FULL STORY: A partner at Bain Capital Ventures explains why payments companies need to do more than just move money to survive

Ramneek Gupta, managing director & co-head of venture investing at Citi Ventures

Ramneek Gupta Citi Ventures
Ramneek Gupta, managing director & co-head of venture investing at Citi Ventures
Citi Ventures

Ramneek Gupta is the co-head of venture investing at Citi Ventures, the VC arm of Citibank. He joined Citi in 2011, and has led investments in companies like payments processor Square, electronic-signature startup DocuSign, and ride-hailing company Grab.

Gupta has his eye on machine-initiated payments, and thinks companies will have to find creative ways to use payments data to make money amid pressures on revenues of simply processing transactions.

READ THE FULL STORY: Citi Ventures is betting on cars that pay their own bills, and its co-head of investing envisions a future where your devices make payments without you

Byron Lichtenstein, principal at Insight Partners

Byron Lichenstein Insight Partners
Byron Lichtenstein, principal at Insight Partners
Insight Partners

Byron Lichtenstein, a principal at Insight Partners, says opportunities are not just about moving money from point A to point B, but also in the using the data found in and around payments.

Insight Partners focuses mainly on growth-stage software companies across verticals from education to social media to fintech, and it has invested in German neobank N26, business expense management startup Divvy, and payment fraud monitoring startup Sift.

READ THE FULL STORY: An Insight Partners principal says the era of ‘dumb payments’ is over, and sees opportunities in using machine-learning to combat fraud

 


 

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fintech funding rounds over 100 million

Business Insider Intelligence

It’s a fascinating time for fintech.

What was once a disruptive force in the financial world has become standard practice for many industry leaders.

Fintech industry funding has already reached new highs globally in 2018, with overall funding hitting $32.6 billion at the end of Q3.

Some new regions, including South America and Africa, are emerging on the scene.

And some fintech companies, including a number of insurtechs, have dipped into new markets to escape heightened competition.

Now that fintech has become mainstream, the next focus is on the rising stars in the industry. To that end, Business Insider Intelligence has put together a list of 10 Up and Coming Fintechs for 2019.

Coconut

Total raised:   £1.9 million ($2.5 million)

What it does: Coconut is a UK-based current account and accounting platform for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Why it’s hot in 2019: Next week, Coconut will launch its first subscription service, dubbed Grow, which will bundle unlimited invoicing and end of year tax reports, for £5 ($6.51) a month. This will make it a very attractive option for SMBs, that conventionally don’t have a lot of time on their hands to handle their accounting.

Brex

Total raised: $282 million

What it does: Brex is a US-based corporate credit card provider, which initially focused on serving startups.

Why it’s hot in 2019: The startup gained unicorn status in 2018, only months after it launched its first product. Now, after receiving debt financing worth $100 million, Brex wants to target larger enterprises with its topic — opening it up to a whole new set of customers and helping bring the company to the next level.

Want to get the full list?

There’s plenty more to learn about the future of fintech, payments, and the financial services industry. Business Insider Intelligence has outlined the road ahead in a FREE report, 10 Up and Coming Fintechs for 2019.

>> Download the report now

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The first-time founder’s ultimate guide to pitching a VC

VC Pitches 1
Pitching a venture capitalist is both an art and a science.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  • Entrepreneurship can feel like an uphill battle.
  • This guide for first-time company founders pitching venture capitalists will make it a little easier.
  • We asked experts — entrepreneurs and investors — to share their most practical and least obvious tips for pitching a VC.
  • For example, have two versions of your deck and communicate how you’re different from your direct competitors.

It’s National Small Business Week, a chance to celebrate the millions of small businesses in the US.

Every small business is different, and not every entrepreneur will want to grow their company by raising capital. But if it’s something you’re considering, you should go in prepared.

Just because you’ve binge-watched “Shark Tank” doesn’t mean you know what it takes to deliver a successful pitch to investors.

Persuading a venture capitalist to support your business is both an art and a science — and few first-time founders get it exactly right. Still, you’ll want to avoid the most common mistakes and most egregious turnoffs.

To that end, we asked experts in entrepreneurship to distill their years of experience into concrete advice.

Read more: Top VCs reveal what they want to hear in a startup pitch — and what you should avoid saying

David Rose runs Gust, a digital platform for early-stage entrepreneurs and investors, and Rose Tech Ventures, an angel investment fund and incubator. Liz Wessel is the cofounder and CEO of WayUp, a jobs platform for early-career professionals. And Patrick McGinnis is the managing director of the investment and advisory firm Dirigo Advisors.

Read on for a series of practical (and nonobvious) tips on pitching a VC.

Before you pitch

VC Pitches 2 Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Determine whether the business is appropriate for investment in the first place

If you’re bringing in a maximum of $1 million a year in revenue, “it may be a great, wonderful, much-needed business,” Rose said. “You may enjoy it and support your family.” But he emphasized, “the economics are just such that there is no way that you can get an investment from me at any reasonable number for that to make economic sense.”

This is because outside investors expect outsize returns on their money, often a large multiple of what they put in. And if there’s a low-millions ceiling on the revenue your startup can generate or eventual exit price, there’s not much incentive for a venture capitalist to write you a check.

In other words, your company may be a “lifestyle startup,” which doesn’t require venture capital and probably won’t ever be worth $1 billion.

Raise capital as late as possible, after you’ve gotten proof of concept

An entrepreneur’s pitch is a “combination of science and faith,” said McGinnis — but you want to stay more on the side of science than faith.

McGinnis often sees founders who don’t have any proof their idea is viable. You’d be wise to keep your day job and acquire customers and data before you ask a VC for money.

Read more: A former Googler who left after 2 years to build her own startup explains how to know it’s time to quit your job

Remember that the VC wants to invest

VCs wouldn’t be hearing your pitch if they didn’t want to invest in your business, Rose said. They’re just hoping you’ll give them a compelling argument for why they should partner with you.

Have two versions of your deck

One version is for your presentation, and the other is the one you send via email, Wessel said. The difference is how much detail you go into in each slide.

The version that you’re presenting shouldn’t be able to be understood without narration, meaning it should have as little text as possible. Otherwise investors may spend all their time focused on trying to read the screen, rather than on listening to your vision.

Have a high-quality deck

There should be a detail-heavy version, though, which you can use for follow-up discussions. According to McGinnis, “If you can’t make a decent-looking pitch deck” (without typos and with correct info), “how can I believe that you can build an app or a product that will be excellent?”

Making a solid first impression is important, McGinnis added, because even if the investor doesn’t want to invest in this particular company, the investor may be able to introduce you to other people. Or, the person may invest in your company in the future.

Never meet the investors you’re really targeting first

Start with the “B team,” McGinnis said, i.e., the VCs who would be nice to have but aren’t your first choice. Get feedback from them so you’re more than prepared when you meet the VCs you’re really targeting.

During the pitch

VC Pitches 3 Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Don’t ask for a valuation that’s absurdly high

Unless you’ve already founded a company that has sold for millions of dollars, “it’s hard to prove that you alone are worth that much,” Wessel said. What it does show is that you’re neither self-aware nor realistic.

Know your numbers

Simply put, show that you’ve done your research, Wessel said.

Show that you are the best person in the world to solve this problem

Wessel advised demonstrating to the VCs what you’ve already done to understand your customers or to take a stab at solving the problem.

McGinnis recommended flaunting your industry expertise. “Loving something is necessary but not sufficient” for starting a company, he said.

Above all, Rose said, remember that you’re pitching yourself — not just your business plan. “You bet on the jockey, not the horse.”

Read more: A former Y Combinator partner realized the most successful founders don’t always look good on paper — there’s a much more reliable sign they’re destined for greatness

Know and communicate how you’re different from your direct competitors

If the VC knows something you don’t about the competitors in this space, “you’re in real trouble,” Rose said. (Also remember that if there are no competitors, that’s a bad sign, suggesting that no one else has thought this idea was worth pursuing.)

Convey enthusiasm and passion

Investors want to know that you’ll stick with this business through the ups and downs, Wessel said.

Read more: At the start of every semester, a business-school professor asks his students a question, and most everyone gets the answer dead wrong

After the pitch

VC Pitches 4 Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Write down VCs’ questions

See if there are any trends, Wessel said, and then figure out how to address those gaps in your pitch.

Suggest an action plan in a thank-you note

Always follow up with a thank-you note, McGinnis said. “Try to offer new positive information” that you may not have mentioned during the pitch.

Wessel recommended reminding the investors of specific topics you enjoyed discussing with them.

Just as important, McGinnis added, “propose concrete next steps for them to react to — amorphous communication conveys amorphous management.” Reiterate specifically what you’re asking for, and ask whether there are other people you should meet who the investors can introduce you to.

Create FOMO

Once you’ve gotten an offer from one VC, don’t hesitate to let the others know. The idea, McGinnis said, is to communicate urgency: “The train is leaving the station. Are you in or are you out?”

Ready to make your first pitch deck? Here’s a great template to follow, from an entrepreneur who raised a $6 million seed round from all-star founders behind Dropbox, Yammer, and Yelp.

SEE ALSO:The first-time founder’s ultimate guide to building a winning pitch deck

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Top VCs reveal what they want to hear in a startup pitch — and what you should avoid saying

entrepreneurship pitch
The secrets are out.
Hiraman/Getty Images
  • Successful entrepreneurship often starts with a compelling investor pitch.
  • We compiled insights from venture capitalists on what they’re hoping to hear from you.
  • For example: Hold your ground on important issues and demonstrate your path to execution.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.=

Venture capitalists want to be convinced.

Ask David Rose, and he’ll tell you VCs wouldn’t be hearing your pitch in the first place if they weren’t interested in investing. Rose runs Gust, a digital platform for early-stage entrepreneurs and investors, and Rose Tech Ventures, an angel investment fund and incubator.

He said investors are just hoping you’ll give them a compelling argument for why they should partner with you.

We asked Rose, plus a series of other successful investors (listed below), what persuades them to sign on — and what leaves them skeptical. Below, we’ve compiled their best advice, on everything from building a pitch deck to writing a thank-you note.

Show how your product will benefit people

Estes previously told Business Insider’s Lydia Ramsey that biotech investors want to know how a new tool will fit into the current standard of care. “The biggest mistake I see is when someone spends more time talking about how a product would affect the market than they do talking about how it would affect the disease it’s designed to treat,” Estes said.

The same is true for any investor, who wants to know how your business will make people’s lives easier.

Don’t be cocky

In an interview with Business Insider’s Becky Peterson, Munichiello pointed to Stewart Butterfield, founder and CEO of Slack, as an example of an entrepreneur who didn’t pretend he had all the answers. (GV invested in Slack in 2014 as part of a $120 million round that valued the company at $1.12 billion, Peterson reported.)

“Stewart’s conversation with me wasn’t about all of the reasons why Slack was awesome,” Munichiello said. “It was, ‘Here’s how I think about the business. And you may think about it in a different way.’ And ‘Here are the metrics that I use to measure the business. How do you think about the business?'”

Hold your ground on the issues that matter most

“Entrepreneurs can, and should, articulate deal breakers to their prospective investors,” Selverian wrote on Business Insider. “If there’s something that’s important to you and your business, don’t compromise. As long as the entrepreneur’s reasoning is justified, many investors will be impressed by the vision and leadership conveyed through deal breakers.”

Read more: A CEO who launched her company 14 years ago says too many founders have it all backward

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher.
Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Show that you can sell your idea

“One of the critical tests that I try to run when I’m sitting across from a founder is: Can you sell me your idea?” Kutcher said at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2018. If not, he worries about the company’s future.

“If you can’t sell me, how are you going to sell your first hire, your second hire, your third hire?” Kutcher said.

Demonstrate your path to execution

At Business Insider’s Startup 2012 conference, Sachar said she needs to believe the entrepreneur can turn their idea into a successful business.

“If you can’t execute, you don’t have a company,” she said. “A lot of people have ideas.”

Read more: The glitz of ‘entrepreneurship porn’ leads startup founders to make fatal business mistakes. Here’s how to avoid them

Tell investors how you plan to expand

Duggal previously told Business Insider every pitch deck should include a five-year growth plan.

Duggal added that she wants to see the costs of building your product or service, the potential profit “on a unit basis,” and how that changes at scale. In other words, she said, “As your business grows, do the margins get better?”

Prepare a detailed appendix in addition to the deck

Your deck should be simple and straightforward. During the pitch meeting, Selverian recommends having a detailed appendix that will answer any questions that come up.

Anu Duggal
Anu Duggal.
Getty/Noam Galai

Address the potential competition

One common mistake Duggal sees in pitch decks is “not addressing competition or figuring out the market landscape.”

She added, “When we think about investing in a company, we want to understand — that’s great that you have an interesting idea or you spotted something that has the potential to be an exciting business — but we also want to understand what is already in the market.”

Propose an action plan in a thank-you note

In your follow-up note after the pitch meeting, McGinnis said, “propose concrete next steps for them to react to — amorphous communication conveys amorphous management.” Reiterate specifically what you’re asking for, and ask whether there are other people you should meet who the investors can introduce you to.

You can also create FOMO by letting them know when another VC has already agreed to invest.

Determine whether you need to raise capital in the first place

If you’re bringing in a maximum of $1 million a year in revenue, “it may be a great, wonderful, much-needed business,” Rose said. “You may enjoy it and support your family.” But he emphasized, “the economics are just such that there is no way that you can get an investment from me at any reasonable number for that to make economic sense.”

This is because outside investors expect outsize returns on their money, often a large multiple of what they put in. And if there’s a low-millions ceiling on the revenue your startup can generate or eventual exit price, there’s not much incentive for a venture capitalist to write you a check.

In other words, your company may be a “lifestyle startup,” which doesn’t require venture capital and probably won’t ever be worth $1 billion.

david rose
David Rose.
Fortier Public Relations

Wait to raise capital until you have proof of concept

An entrepreneur’s pitch is a “combination of science and faith,” said McGinnis — but you want to stay more on the side of science than faith.

McGinnis often sees founders who don’t have any proof their idea is viable. You’d be wise to keep your day job and acquire customers and data before you ask a VC for money.

Read more: Keep your day job, move slowly, and don’t worry about building a unicorn: A New York ‘startup school’ eschews everything Silicon Valley ever preached

Meet your ‘B list’ investors first

Start with the “B team,” McGinnis said, i.e., the VCs who would be nice to have but aren’t your first choice. Get feedback from them so you’re more than prepared when you meet the VCs you’re really targeting.

Show why you — not just your business — are worth investing in

Remember that you’re pitching yourself, Rose said — not just your business plan. “You bet on the jockey, not the horse.”

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10 things in tech you need to know today

hasan minhaj white house correspondents dinner
Hasan Minhaj.
Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.

  1. A leaked internal survey from Uber shows that employees feel positive about the way the culture is changing, but also that they feel underpaid compared to peers. Just 40% felt they had fair compensation compared to other firms.
  2. Netflix removed an episode from its comedy show, “The Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj”, from Saudi Arabia after the kingdom complained. The episode had been critical of Saudi Arabia.
  3. Convincing, artificially generated “deepfakes” are increasingly used to humiliate women by superimposing their faces into pornographic settings. Victims and abuse experts have warned such computer-generated videos are disproportionately weaponised against women.
  4. Netflix has poached its new CFO from Activision Blizzard according to Reuters. Spencer Neumann is expected to start his new role at Netflix in early 2019.
  5. Bill Gates is the latest high-profile executive affected by president Trump’s trade battle with China. Policy changes mean that his nuclear energy project, TerraPower, is scrambling for a new partner and a place to run a pilot.
  6. Experts have criticised Facebook’s opaque way of flagging potential suicide risks, saying they may cause further harm. The company calls the police to flag suicide threats, but experts said it isn’t always clear that its methods are accurate or safe.
  7. Dell has returned to the stock market after five years as a public company. Wall Street valued shares at $34 billion.
  8. Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi-Chuxing is expanding into financial services to diversify beyond its core business. The company will offer crowdfunding and lending nationwide across China.
  9. Chinese apps dominate the Indian internet, accounting for 44 of the top 100 apps. Familiar names like TikTok rank alongside newer players such as social content platforms Helo and SHAREit.
  10. Volkswagen is reportedly preparing to write off its $300 million investment in Gett. Gett, initially marketed as a rival to Uber, has failed to gain much ground against the competition.

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Amazon now sells nearly a dozen Echo devices, but there’s only one you really need to buy

Echo dot
Amazon exec Dave Limp with the redesigned Echo Dot.
Getty/Stephen Brashear

Opinion banner

  • Amazon currently offers a wide array of Echo smart speakers.
  • While there are plenty of excellent and expensive options to choose from, there’s only one Amazon Echo most people really need: the Amazon Echo Dot.
  • The Echo Dot only costs $50, but it looks great and can do everything the other Echo devices can do.
  • Here are three reasons to choose the Echo Dot.

Back in September, Amazon unveiled a truckload of new Echo devices.

There was an Echo for your car, an Echo subwoofer, an Echo microwave, and an Echo Clock. Plus, Amazon revealed redesigned versions of the more mainstream Echo Show, Dot, and Plus.

There are now so many Echo devices, it’s almost impossible to count them — and seemingly even harder to pick the right one for you.

But even though Amazon makes plenty of solid Echo devices to choose from, there is actually one option that will suit most people just fine: the Echo Dot. It may seem like the most basic option in Amazon’s lineup, but there are plenty of reasons to buy the Dot over some of the fancier options.

Here’s why the Echo Dot is the only Echo you really need:

1. The price

1. The price Avery Hartmans

The Echo Dot only costs $50, and Amazon frequently offers promotions on it — for Black Friday, for instance, Amazon was selling the Dot for $24, and for the holidays, it’s on sale for $30.

Compared to Amazon’s other devices, the Dot is crazy-cheap. The standard Echo is $100 (although it’s on sale for $70 right now), the Echo Spot is $130, and the Echo Plus is $150. But there’s no reason to spend that much when you can get a Dot for as lost as $24.

2. The design

2. The design Avery Hartmans

Amazon changed the look of the Dot when it introduced the new model earlier this fall.

The original Dot was a hard, plastic device that had the overall look and feel of hockey puck. But the new Dot adopted the fabric exterior of the standard Echo, giving it a fuzzier, cozier look.

The new design makes the Dot look not only more high-end, but more modern, too, and it should fit into your home’s decor better. Plus, the Dot’s small size means it fits well into nearly any space in your home — your bedside table, your kitchen counter, your bathroom…you name it.

3. The functionality

3. The functionality Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Perhaps the most important reason to choose the Echo Dot has more to do with what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside.

The version of Alexa that lives inside the Echo Dot is no better and no worse than the Alexa that lives inside the Echo and Echo Plus. The Echo Dot can still answer random questions, make shopping lists, let you know the status of your package, tell you the news and weather, and more. You’re not getting a subpar Alexa just because you buy the less expensive product.

The only area where the Dot may not measure up to other Echo devices is the audio quality. Amazon improved the speakers on the Dot compared to the previous generation, but due to its small size, the sound quality likely isn’t as good as a device like the Echo Plus.

However, the Echo Dot has an ace up its sleeve: It has a standard audio jack in the back, so you can plug in any full-sized speakers you happen to have lying around. You can still talk to Alexa via the Echo Dot, but the sound output will come through your sound system — meaning it’s a good, affordable way to make your existing stereo a little smarter.

That being said, if you’re in the market for high-end audio, and you don’t have your own speakers, don’t buy an Echo anyway. There are far better speakers out there for playing music, audiobooks, or podcasts.

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This chart reveals a growing problem for Apple — that ‘customers are getting less excited for each new generation of iPhone’

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook
Getty/Justin Sullivan
  • New iPhone models haven’t sold out as quickly as they have in years past.
  • Citi analysts have used search trends to surmise that “customers are getting less excited for each new generation of iPhone.”

Apple launched the iPhone XR at 3 A.M. in the morning on Friday, and when morning came, nearly all of the models were still in stock, according to Macworld.

It’s a change for Apple, which usually requires customers to wake up in the early morning to put in a pre-order if they want the new iPhone on the first day. Lines outside Apple stores when the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max went on sale were smaller than they were in years past.

These data points can be taken as a sign that perhaps an iPhone launch doesn’t generate as much buzz as it used to.

That’s what analysts from Citi concluded in a note distributed earlier this week, based on Google searches.

“We observed there are significant spikes for web searches after the launch event each year. We also see the momentum has been decreasing over time,” the analysts wrote.

“We believe this indicates the market has been maturing, and customers are getting less excited for each new generation of iPhone,” they continued. “We suspect this is because of a slowdown in innovation and the saturation of iPhone in the addressable market.”

Their research can be summed up in this chart:

iPhone search trends Citi

There are a lot of reasons why search traffic might be decreasing year-over-year, and it doesn’t necessarily suggest that iPhone sales will sag. “We are not expecting a ‘Super Cycle,’ but we do believe sustainable single-digit unit growth of iPhone is achievable,” the Citi analysts write.

One issue might be that the overall smartphone market has matured. Apple’s big new features include water-resistance, a facial recognition scanner called Face ID, and a display that covers more of the front of the phone. But none of those banner features represent as much of a jump as iPhones from 4 or 5 years ago, when the camera was improving by leaps and bounds and the displays were getting much larger on an annual basis.

It’s also possible that these search trends were collected before the iPhone XR went on sale. The iPhone XR comes in a bunch of colors, and starting at $749, is expected to be the most popular new iPhone this cycle.

Regardless of why, there certainly does appear to be less buzz around new iPhone launches. Perhaps that’s why Apple is pouring so much money into research and development— to find the next big thing.

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