Requests for Startups: Suraj Kapoor (Lerer Hippeau)
Suraj Kapoor is the Director of Product at Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York based seed stage venture capital fund. He is a self-taught programmer, Hacker School alum and co-founder of LookLab, an online platform for fashion stylists. Previous to LookLab, Suraj worked in marketing and public relations and is a graduate of NYU.
What startup verticals interest you most right now?
Augmented Reality is really interesting, although it is currently being overshadowed by Virtual Reality. AR will infiltrate many verticals (SaaS, gaming, shopping, etc.) with practical use cases, whereas VR will most likely have a focused impact on media and entertainment. The next few years should see significant advances across both technologies, I am really looking forward to seeing how this shakes out.
The blockchain outside of bitcoin. I’m a believer in Bitcoin, but if we really believe the blockchain can be a thing, we need to put it to the test in as many verticals as possible. The underlying tech still needs to evolve and be more accessible to the public at large, with education and proof of concept being concrete first steps.
What are your biggest predictions for the year ahead?
I think a startup out of Asia will impact a US vertical in a noteworthy way.
Are there any specific company ideas that you really want someone to build and would potentially fund?
ISPs in America need a change. The quality of broadband in the US is poor compared to other countries and the lack of competition is hurting consumers. What Google is doing with Fiber is great and an encouraging first step. I would love to see the technology underlying service providers improve e.g. wireless routers that can power a city block vs a household.
If you could wave a magic wand and instantly have any imaginable solution to a problem you’re facing (personally or at work), what problem would you solve?
Authentication drives me crazy and I don’t think the solution is browser plugins or passwords. TouchID on the iPhone is a really cool doorway into biometrics for the average consumer, there could be more there. I can imagine Apple, or a 3rd party, creating a service that uses the TouchID on your phone (or Apple Watch) in order to log you in to services on the web. There might even be an extension here that could open the door to your home or car, but let’s solve one problem at a time!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’m excited to see how technology impacts government. I think social has created some awareness here but there’s much more to do. I’m interested in anything that empowers people to have their voice heard and create transparency around political decision-making, and I’m excited by organizations that are promoting innovation in this space.
If you have a startup or you’re interested in any of Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio companies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Suraj directly at email@example.com.