Which Privately Held Firms Have a Bright Outlook for 2017?

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By now the 2017 outlook for all sorts of asset classes has been sliced and diced by legions of commenters. There have even been a number of prognostications related to companies that could file for and launch initial public offerings this year.

PrivCo, a firm that provides information on privately held companies, recently sifted through its database to examine some trends that the PrivCo used to generate some predictions for the coming year.

The firm believes that on-demand food companies like HelloFresh, Postmates, Munchery and InstaCart face some tough sledding. For some reason, venture capitalists have plowed more funding into a business model that failed in the 1990s and basically on every attempt since then.

PrivCo points to recent layoffs at what it called “incredibly well-funded startup” Munchery. The researchers noted:

In 2015, Bay Area venture capitalists and founders saw a market opportunity in every human being who ate food. In 2017, they’ll realize that the economics–for the vast majority of the population with limited means to pay for convenience–didn’t make much sense in the first place.

Another industry facing a high hurdle in 2017 is the smartphone makers, specifically China-based companies like Xiaomi, Oppo and LeEco, all of which have built solid businesses in China but face daunting challenges in expanding their markets to developed countries like the United States.

All three of these companies chased market share at the expense of margins, so no matter how far up they are able to scale sales, unless they can add something that provides profits. Xiaomi has build a successful app store — in China — while LeEco has a Netflix-like business. Oppo’s OnePlus brand is still working on a plan.

The third industry PrivCo looked at was the marijuana-related business. The short version of the analysis is that with about 25% of Americans now living in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, growth prospects are explosive. The firm recommends watching two cannabis-related companies: G FarmaLabs, a producer and processor of medical marijuana in Anaheim, California, and Kiva Confections, a Bay Area not-for-profit marijuana processor.