For startups, 2020 has been a roller coaster ride and though Covid-19 has forced some industries to pivot completely, others have thrived.
Some of the most successful tech companies today including Instagram, Uber, and Airbnb started their success stories as tech startups. Now, they are popular globally because of their state-of-the-art technologies and engaging, and inspiring ideas. They have gone so far now that they are now opening new doors for other tech startups.
However, no one has ever seen or experienced the current global health crisis like now. As people and companies have started to embrace the new normal, there are also certain changes they need to expect in the business landscape.
We have entered the year 2021, but a lot of changes have already happened in 2020. In the year 2020, we have been seeing some major shift in the tech trends with the huge shift to remote working, online socializing, online shopping, and more.
On the top is work-from-home that resulted from quarantine. Despite many tech startups have already embraced the WFH even before the coronavirus, many are still adjusting. The shift has been especially more on technologies that have capitalized on digital.
In Harvard Business Review, Dan Higgins and Nicola Morini Bianzino write:
“As businesses look to embed lessons learned in recent months and to build enterprise resilience for the future, they are due for even more transformation. As such, most organizations are voraciously evaluating existing and future technologies to see if they’ll be able to deliver the innovation at a scale that they’ll need to survive and thrive.”
Here are some stats about the tech startup industry in the US:
According to a report, the U.S. is the largest tech market for $1.6 trillion in 2019 in the world.
In the U.S., the average of 20 technology companies founded per year reaching $100 million in revenues.
The tech startup industry has the highest startup business failure rate which is more than 63% as of 2018.
Since no one can tell when the pandemic will end what changes and trends should tech startups expect next year and in the future?
So, in this blog post, we have covered the hottest tech StartUp trends for 2021 that have grown in 2020 and will continue to thrive.
#1. Remote Working
Looking back at 2020, remote working might have been the most obvious technology trends for 2021 to start with. However, there is so much room for growth in this segment.
For instance, according to LinkedIn’s analysis of 18 countries, they reported a jump in remote postings:
In the Future Workforce Pulse Report, Upwork reveals that nearly 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025 which is an increase of 87% from pre-pandemic levels. Blueface predicts that remote working will be competing with physical offices by 2025.
In the initial months of 2020, many companies faced several issues while adapting to a remote working model. But as we enter the new year let’s hope to hear some good news.
Recently, Techcrunch interviewed six leading investors about their experience with the remote working situation. By the end of it, there was one common theme that was common for all. VCs did not believe that the current tools and services can solve all issues in remote working. They even claimed that there was still a lot of work that is still needed to be done.
Yes, security is going to be a major issue in the coming years as we have seen in the past with Zoom security concerns. But, along with that, there are so many other opportunities, for instance, personal remote process automation and office collaboration.
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So, even though remote working might young, but there is a lot of opportunities for startups to grow and help people tackle problems.
As of today, a few tech startups have already started to work in the remote working tooling space pre-COVID-19. They are expected to grow in the year 2021 in this space. For example, Abodoo, Figma, and Bluescape.
#2. Robotic Delivery
I guess I am being very obvious here! But, the use of robots for delivery is the next strategic technology trends. However, its slow adoption can be due to the unwillingness of people to opt for technology in deliveries.
According to a paper by Statista, one reason for low adoption is that the customers favor cheaper home delivery options over instant delivery. Another reason is that the consumers trust drone-based delivery for non-luxury goods but remain skeptical about its use in luxury items.
Now, this has become one of the most complicated and hottest focuses as we emerge from 2020 and into 2021.
Right now, China is the first country to jump at the opportunity. The country has ramped up its deployment of robots for delivery. The country says that this will be an effective measure to slow the spread of COVID-19.
On 30th December 2020, China’s first national standard for express delivery drone service published specifications for its service which will be effective from January 1st, 2021. Other than that, several delivery apps Meituan and Dianping have even started using autonomous vehicles for grocery orders. Recently, Meituan has launched the tech publicly though the company tested this technology last year.
China is not the only country looking to push robotic deliveries. In the Western world, other startups such as Starship Technologies, Manna, and Nuro are also trying to tackle this problem.
#3. Virtual and Telehealthcare
With the ongoing pandemic, healthcare institutions are desperately trying to lower the exposure of COVID-19 to both workers and patients.
This has become one fact that many private and public practices have started implementing telehealth offerings.
The primary care is in-person nature. This is especially true in the case of relationships between PCPs (primary care physicians/providers) and patients. It stems from a need to ‘see patients’ in person.
A few years ago, IHS Technology predicted that 70 million people in the U.S. would use telehealth by 2020. Since Forrester Research has predicted that this number has surged close to a billion by 2020.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Telehealth has given companies opportunities to lead the charge. Teladoc is one such company that has since increased its 2019 projections to double visit volume.
For startups who are concerned with healthcare, telehealth allows them to grow and compete with larger players.
But we should not forget that there is another focus beyond the telehealth focus in healthcare that will exponentially grow in 2021.
- Advancements in Biotech
- Robotic Healthcare
AI and Machine Learning opportunities to help support the diagnosis. For example, Suki AI is offering an AI-powered platform that is also voice-enabled to automate clinical documentation.
#4. Startups Using 5G
In the time of the pandemic, we have heard many conspiracy theories revolving around 5G and COVID-19. No doubt, the demand for higher speed internet and well-connected homes are one of the major reasons for the advancement of 5G.
Because we need a better network for better connectivity. And, though many of us think that COVID-19 has stalled the rollout of 5G, in reality, it has only pushed the deployment further.
With Australia having rolled out the technology years before COVID-19, other telcos around the globe are on track to deliver 5G.
In October, Verizon has announced the expansion of its 5G network to reach more than 200 million people.
In China, the deployment of 5G has been rapid and Ericsson is leading the charge.
Some other interesting stats include:
- Currently, over 380 operators are investing in 5G
- 35+ countries have already launched commercial 5G
This has proved itself as one of the best strategic technology trends for 2021 for startups who want to utilize 5G within their services. Some startups such as Movandi are working to help 5G transfer data at greater distances.
Source: 5 Top 5G Startups
How 5G is impacting smart cities is one key area. For instance, startups such as Novalume help municipalities manage their smart city data through sensors and public lighting network.
Another example is the startups in Spain such as Nido Robotics will use drones to explore the seafloor. These drones will help in better navigation and use IoT to help communicate with devices through 5G networks.
Besides, 5G networks are also capable of helping devices work together in real-time. It helps them avoid collisions and allows them to travel unmanned.
These are some of the applications that have helped to enable 5G and with its rapid deployment, its market is expected to grow from startups who are looking to utilize this technology.
#5. Online Education
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, online education was already growing rapidly with global edtech investments reaching US$18.66 billion in 2019. Its overall market for online education is estimated to reach nearly $350 Billion by 2025.
Why is the education sector growing so fast?
While it is a no-brainer why it has seen massive growth in recent months here are some reasons.
According to UNESCO, some 1.3 billion learners were unable to attend school or university around the world as of March 2020. This has opened up a huge opportunity for online education sectors as schools and colleges have started to conduct classes via video conferencing.
In fact, even after everything returns to normal, many institutions have been recommended to complete a part of their curriculum online.
GO1, a tech startup working in the field of corporate online education, has managed to secure funds as COVID-19 runs a rampage. GO1 focuses on a sector that is growing year on year.
Andrew Barnes from GO1, once suggested: “The awareness that organizations and individuals have around the importance of continuing to upskill and re-skill is really at the forefront, particularly as people get back into a new state of normal.”
Today, there is a huge growth opportunity in online education from secondary and higher education to corporate. In the year 2021, we are expecting more growth for the sector and its startups.
Here are some of the hottest tech startup trends for the year 2021. While you may have already heard about some of them as they have already taken off. In the future, you will continue to hear about them growing tremendously especially in 2021.