Gearing up for the first full week of 2018, we asked a number of start-up CEOs and executives in retail, commerce technology, and financial services to share their views of the coming year.

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The results we got back point to a continuation of core themes from 2017 and a generally positive outlook on the year ahead:

Venture capital investing: 68% believe VC funding will increase moderately in 2018

Corporate IT spending: More than 70% believe corporates will moderately increase technology budgets in 2018

M&A activity: 75% believe M&A in commerce will increase in 2018

AI and Machine Learning: Not just hype — will see increased usage and solve real world problems. This was by far the most frequently cited trend that will have significant impact in 2018

Battling Amazon: Retailers will expand digital transformation efforts to better compete against Amazon — focusing on user experience, fulfillment, and price

Deregulation: Enabling new business models, partnerships and products

Online brands going offline: Digitally native brands will continue to move offline to deliver more immersive experiences

In addition to predicting market trends, we asked our network to guess which companies would be acquired in 2018. Here are some names that they highlighted:

· Robinhood
· Adyen
· EVO Payments
· CoinBase
· Conversocial
· Personal Capital
· SoFi
· Threatmetrix
· Sprinklr

While we are only a few days into 2018, we believe that the trends of 2017 will continue to build and accelerate throughout the coming year.

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