Shân Osborn

Freelance writer and analyst ~ Entrepreneurship I Human Biosciences I Finance

A Fertile Market

Tech advancements are unveiling opportunities as male fertility enters the mainstream. The Signal: Since we first wrote about male fertility startups back in 2019, the space has continued to attract millions. It’s historically a female-focused industry, but entrepreneurs are now recognizing the untapped potential in male reproductive health. Sperm counts among Western men have more than halved over the last ~40 years. Just as many infertility cases are due to male reproductive issues as those

What Is Esports? (And What It Means for Business)

A deep dive on opportunities in this multibillion dollar industry with sellout events and soaring viewership. Welcome to our industry deep dive on all things esports. For more industry deep dives, business opportunities, and access to a community of 15k+ founders, builders, and operators, sign up for Trends today. • Competitive esports are drawing more spectators than ever before • Funds are pouring into esports companies, with the 10 largest deals of 2021 totalling $367m+ • College esports are

Unwrapping the Big Business of Gifting

Forget loyalty points — gifting is the new customer retention strategy. Rising demand for both corporate and private gifting presents niche opportunities. The Signal: The market for gifting just keeps on giving. Subscribers to r/ArtisanGifts have ballooned ~400% since December 2020. VC is flowing into startups like corporate gifting’s &Open ($7.2m last May) and Japan’s gifting platform Gracia (~$14m since its 2017 launch). Establishing connections is a major goal of gifting. As remote everythi

Biohacking: The $12B+ Move to Self Improve

We are increasingly recognizing ourselves as our own biggest asset, and biohacking presents a plethora of optimization options Biohacking is the use of science and technology to optimize performance, health, and well-being. And it’s a mammoth space: The global biohacking market was valued at ~$12B in 2019, forecast to reach $54B by 2027 (a ~20% CAGR). From designer babies to the (infamous) Neuralink, the intersection between biology and technology has never been greater — or more controversial

Retro Is Back, Baby

Retro is back, baby. We break down how to capitalize and make old school the new cool. The Signal: In the wise words of Ethan, “What’s old is new again.” (And no, we’re not talking about that flannel shirt he’s crazy about.) We’ve recently covered the (glorious) resurgence of direct mail and print media. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the bigger trend of all things retro. Subscribers to the r/Retro subreddit have doubled since 2020, and r/80sDesign has hit 84k+ subscr

Science-Based Health Optimization

Monetizing science-based health optimization, and why neuroscience is no longer just for nerds. As scientists, some of us have experienced firsthand the challenges of translating years of academic research into digestible, actionable (and, ha, interesting) insights. But the gap between the science nerds and the cool kids is rapidly shrinking — especially in the field of neuroscience. It’s suddenly in vogue to know what a neural synapse is, or how your dopamine system is regulated. Andrew Hube

Opportunities in the Allergy Space Are Nothing to Sneeze At

The Signal: Allergies cost Americans $18B+/yr. With ~50m sufferers, they’re the 6th-leading cause of chronic illness. They’re also becoming increasingly common. Google searches for allergy tests have never been higher. Subscribers to Reddit’s r/Allergies have doubled since 2020. There are 347k global searches/mo. for “allergy,” and 169k for “allergy symptoms,” per Ahrefs. As the number of people suffering from both food and environmental allergies grows, need is rising in markets like:

A Hims For Fido?

The Signal: Interest in veterinary advice platform Pawp is exploding. Similarweb shows the site gets 350k+ visits/mo. What’s driving the growth: ~60% of vet appointments can be avoided just by talking to a veterinarian — professionals who are in increasingly short supply. They are also notorious for working long, high stress, inflexible hours, with after-hours advice being a common pet owner need. As the world embraces remote work, a younger generation of vets will look for more control over t

Niche Adventure Sports Get Off the Bench

The Signal: Interest in outdoor adventure sports is soaring. The climbing and fishing subreddits are closing in on 1m members each. Google searches for “hunting near me” are on track to reach their highest peak yet. The Big Picture: Spurred on by the pandemic, consumers have been flocking to nature-based activities — something we pointed out in our human rewilding signal. One year on, demand for outdoor recreation has continued to explode. From apps to accessories, niche sports provide numerou

The Modernization of Death Care

Technology and wellness are disrupting a dated industry, changing how we spend our last moments and immortalize those who die. The Signal: Death care is a small and traditional world. Roughly 22.5k funeral homes and 10k cemeteries process the ~2.8m deaths in the US each year. The industry has enjoyed decades of high markups and limited pricing transparency. But modern needs are shaking up the market as Americans move away from traditional burials. Startups across the globe are attracting ventu

Looks Like We’re in for a Human Creativity Boom

We’re in for a human creativity boom; two new niches you can capitalize on The art of bookbinding is also going wild on TikTok (370m+ views). Source: Subreddit Stats Sure, you can now whip up an exhibition-worthy image in seconds, but a potential surprising effect of the AI-art surge? Rising demand for human creative outlets. Ethan called this out a few weeks back: “I think DALL-E will be an on-ramp to human creativity. People who didn’t consider themselves creative before will start dabbling

Flares: Curly Hair, Cocktail Pods, and Bling Everything

Around 70% of the global population has wavy, curly, or coily hair — but they are still a highly underserved demographic with care, styles and products. We first wrote about natural hair in 2020, when the r/NaturalHair subreddit had 30k subscribers; it’s since ballooned to 200k+. Other online communities that share advice for textured hair are also soaring. The few product options out there are being met with high demand (e.g., the recently launched Curlsmith, which has 500k+ site visits/mo.,

Getting Crafty Is a ~$647B Business

The craft supply industry buttoned up ~$647B last year, and is on track to nearly double by 2026. The Signal: Tactile crafts have had a glittering year. Subscribers to r/Embroidery and r/Leathercraft have doubled over the last ~12 months. The woodworking community of Reddit is now 3.5m+ strong. US Amazon searches for “crafts for adults” are up 83% over the last 90 days, per Jungle Scout. Pinterest is awash with more craft-based interest across Europe, Canada, Australia, and the UK. The Big Pi

Flares: Air Conditioning, Neurodiversity, and Collectibles as a Service

The Air Conditioning Biz Is So Hot Right Now… The Emerging World of Neurodiversity… CaaS: Collectibles as a Service At Trends, we nerds love a boring biz that mints cash. So we’re bringing the, er, cool hot topic of air conditioning up (nerds who also need to work on their party jokes). It’s likely not top of mind given that we’re approaching midwinter in the Northern Hemisphere, but the summer heat will be back — and it’s only getting warmer. Interest in air conditioning in the US doubled la