The huge shift to online working, shopping and socializing have seen major pushes for certain technologies, especially ones that can capitalize on this digital focus. There is no doubt that 2020 proved to be a challenging year for startups which resulted in some interesting trends.
There seems to be room for growth in the remote working segment, even though many companies are switching to a remote working model. According to Techcrunch investors believe that current services and tools available does not solve the remote working issue completely. Opportunities such as front of office collaboration and personal remote process automation can be explored, meaning remote working is still in its infancy.
Online education has seen a growth spurt these past few months. Even before the pandemic this market was forecasted to reach $350 billion by 2025 according to Research and Markets. A huge opportunity could exist in the market with schools, colleges and even coaching centers conducting classes via video conferencing.
Virtual and Telehealth Care
Due to the need to lower patients and workers’ exposure risk to COVID-19, many private and public practices have implemented telehealth offerings. Studies found that up to 80% of primary care services can be delivered virtually. A few years ago IHS Technology predicted that by 2020 around 70 million Americans would make use of telehealth. Forrester Research predicted that this number would be closer to one billion by the end of 2020. The Harris Poll found that up to half of the respondents under 50 years would consider replacing primary care with doctors on demand. With a further 35% of the general population indicating that they would consider this action if they could access most of their regular appointments through telehealth.
The pandemic necessitated a way for deliveries to be made in a way that minimized human contact. Robotic delivery came as the answer. Companies like Amazon, Google and FedEx currently use delivery robots. In China, however, the use of robots are taken to a new level where delivery apps like Meituan Dianping started using autonomous vehicles to deliver grocery orders to customers. “This project is to minimize the risk of potential infections caused by human contact and meet the needs of customers in this special time,” a statement from Meituan explained the reasoning behind taking robotic delivery to the public.
Sustainable finance takes into consideration environmental and social factors when investing. The sustainable debt market reached an estimated $1.7 trillion by the end of 2020. Last year saw $700 billion worth of GSS instruments (green, social and sustainability bonds) issued which is almost double the 2019 figure, indicating a sharp growth in sustainable debt. This growing startup trend will likely see to it that entrepreneurs include net-positive social and ecological effects in their pitch decks as investors are broadening their definition of what a return on investment will look like.
As remote working and robotic delivery become more commonplace better internet connectivity and networks are needed. Verizon announced the huge expansion of its 5G network in October last year, which will reach more than 200 million people upon completion. In China 5G development happened at a rapid pace, with Ericsson leading the way. Over 380 operators are investing in 5G technology. The impact of 5G can be noticed in smart cities as well who may make use of 5G technology to monitor public lightning and other relevant data.
Expanding into New Territory
Apps like Uber Eats made getting your favorite snack or meal much more convenient. The delivery model has been proven as successful, but Glovo is taking it one step further. The Spanish startup initially looks just like any other food delivery app, but with one key difference. They operate across Europe as well as in areas of South America and North Africa. Though food delivery is the main use case for Glovo, users can use the app to have most consumer goods delivered including cell phones and pet food.
Some of these trends have taken off in 2020 and are expected to gain momentum in 2021. Some trends, such as remote working, are still in the beginning stages but will help to shape future trends in the business news sector.
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