Internet Influencers: The Disruptors Get Disrupted

In Hayflower’s annual “Internet Influencers” perception study, we spoke to the top internet investors in the U.S. to rank, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the most influential internet analysts. As a byproduct of our in-depth conversations, we often discover emerging trends in the industry. This year, we found fewer all-around industry analyst experts and more expert analysts within these emerging sub-sectors:

  1. OTT, Media & Digital Entertainment—i.e., Netflix, Roku and Spotify
  2. eCommerce—i.e., Amazon, eBay, Stitch Fix and Wayfair
  3. Internet & Digital Media—i.e., Alphabet, Facebook, Snap and Twitter
  4. Marketplaces—i.e., CarGurus, Grubhub and Yelp

Online travel, martech, B2B and B2C subscriptions, digital gaming, and enterprise SaaS have further segmented the above sub-sectors while 13 analysts from the lending, restaurants, softlines and real estate sectors began publishing research on companies with internet-based models in the past two years. It’s still early for these analysts to have established influence over internet investors. When we asked investors if they read research published by analysts in other sectors, most said they were more likely to consult with their fellow buy side peers with regards to traditional sector expertise.

Today, the most influential analysts are those that have a deep understanding of internet-led business models and have focused on differentiating themselves within the industry’s emerging sub-sectors. Over time, as internet models become increasingly pervasive, the combination of sector expertise and internet-based business models may likely produce true sector experts, potentially disrupting the generalist internet analyst.

For more information and the complete results of this study, please contact us at