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How PitchBook defines an emerging space

PitchBook recently released a new feature that helps our customers discover niche spaces on the rise and identify promising investment trends.

PitchBook recently released a new feature that helps our customers discover niche spaces on the rise and identify promising investment trends. From carbon capture and removal to clean meat, we call these nascent but growing areas “emerging spaces”—and we’re making them easier than ever to uncover and act on.

Before a new category with notable momentum is surfaced to our clients through PitchBook’s Emerging Spaces feature, our experts look for a specific set of characteristics for each. Let’s take a closer look at how PitchBook analysts define and categorize emerging spaces.

Defining an emerging space


Impressive innovation

To start, all PitchBook’s emerging spaces must represent a new and disruptive market, technology, product, or service—or the new application of a technology, product, or service to a given market. For example, one of the emerging spaces detailed in PitchBook’s new offering is sleep technology, or technologies, gadgets, apps and therapies used to improve the quality of a person’s sleep. Simba, Casper and ResMed are three of nearly 70 companies innovating within this emerging category. Emerging spaces can also represent new business models, like blockchain real estate wherein companies use distributed ledger technologies to increase transparency and trust in real estate transactions.


  Rising awareness and popularity

Our experts are looking at indicators of growing awareness and popularity as they codify new emerging spaces in PitchBook, including what’s being covered in the news, what people are discussing online and—importantly—what investors are acting on. When PitchBook analysts uncover new patterns in smart money investments, they know they’re on the right track. Insect-based foods, for example, is an emerging space that has seen a 9.39% increase in capital invested in the past three months.


Accelerated growth

Many of PitchBook’s emerging spaces have experienced a period of growth preceded by little activity. Cashierless checkout is a good example of this. Computer vision, and the concept that shoppers could leave a retailer without interacting with someone to pay for their purchase, is new and novel. This emerging space seemingly came from nowhere and has ascended quickly into the collective consciousness—a visible instance being Amazon Go locations in Seattle, Chicago, New York and elsewhere.

Some of that rapid growth happens within a space that has existed for some time. Scientists, inventors and engineers have worked to desalinize ocean water for decades, but it’s always been a cost-prohibitive process explored by just a handful of wealthy countries. With growing concern around water scarcity issues, nations are reinvesting to make this technology cheaper and more widely available. Desalination tech is an emerging space built on the timely resurgence of a previously underexplored process.


Not a vertical (yet)

Emerging spaces in the PitchBook platform are not industry verticals—at least not yet. A vertical is a broader set of companies that operate in a similar space and cut across multiple industry sectors. A vertical can be new in some cases, like cannabis and foodtech, but they can also be long-standing and established, like manufacturing. All emerging spaces are new, innovative, disruptive and growing—but aren’t necessarily guaranteed to stick around in the long run. Emerging spaces drill even deeper into specific types of companies, sometimes exploring niche areas of existing verticals. For example, ghost kitchens and clean meat are two emerging spaces related to the broader foodtech vertical, though they might not be mature enough to service businesses across industry sectors just yet.

To learn more about PitchBook’s newest feature, check out our Emerging Spaces product release blog post.