We start by looking at the areas where innovation and financing are coming together through the amount of venture capital (VC) funding by theme. Although total growth in venture capital funding increased steadily between 2010 and 2020, investments roughly doubled in 2021 to $723 billion. Despite optimism these levels would continue, VC funding has pulled back in 2022.
On the sustainability front, we continue to highlight innovations to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Vertical farming, where plants or crops are grown indoors in vertically stacked layers, use less water, fertilizer, and land than conventional farming, leading to lower emissions. The acceleration of automation capabilities in vertical farms has also improved its scalability and profitability. Advancements in sodium-ion batteries, which use sodium instead of metals such as lithium to generate charge, have lower material costs and lower supply chain pressures due to the abundance of sodium around the world than current battery technologies. These advantages could drive electric vehicle penetration rates. In terms of power generation, small modular nuclear reactors could be disruptive to global energy markets, stabilizing power prices and shifting incentives away from gas and coal power generation throughout the world.
Innovations in technology can potentially change the way we shop, access the internet, organize not only data but corporate structures, gain education, and produce high-performing computers. Social commerce is transforming the way shoppers interact with merchandise but also how retailers inform their product roadmaps. Households and small businesses may soon be cutting their fixed broadband cords for wireless broadband access that can also expand the addressable market for broadband services. Upskilling through online professional learning, qualifications, and credentialing, could either disrupt universities or help them adapt to changes in learner preferences.
From an organizational perspective, the introduction of blockchain-based decentralized autonomous organizations, which are collectively owned and governed with rules set and executed through smart contracts, could enable more individuals to collectively work for themselves through digital community ownership. Data fabric can be used in an organization to simplify access to data across different platforms and high-NA extreme ultraviolet lithography (high-NA EUV) es expected to lower costs and reduce complexity in the manufacture of semiconductors.
Finally, in healthcare, allogeneic cell therapies, which source cells infused into a patient to treat or cure a disease from master cell banks instead of patients themselves, are must less invasive for the patient and can increase the availability of cell therapy.