2020 made for a fairly unique set of circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. And like every other aspect of the professional domain, it brought unprecedented changes in the startup ecosystem as well.
Entrepreneurs had to switch their outlook of success completely and adapt to the new normal that came with evolving customer needs and unique operating conditions. From solving operational challenges to keeping the team motivated, this past year tested the startup landscape like no other. Budding firms had to pivot their business strategy and their products in accordance with the changing times in order to stay afloat. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.
While the world still reels from the jolts of last year, the trends and patterns are projected to carry forward into 2021 as well. The startup industry is more resilient than ever, and the new-age behavioral shifts are something that you need to take note of.
So without further ado, here are the six trends that you should pay heed to while starting up in 2021.
While many current investors deem the remote working scenario unresolved from a security standpoint, it is here to stay for the long haul. Many companies switched to the remote working model in 2020 to keep the ball rolling. From a broader perspective, this meant continued workflow and more flexibility. However, the mixed reviews of employees working from home are yet to offer us the absolute truth of remote working.
While many thought WFH meant blurring of the professional-personal boundary, others saw it as a pleasant opportunity to get stuff from the comfort of their homes with more family time. On the other hand, managers found it cumbersome to keep their teams motivated and productive through screens and online standup calls.
Moreover, the status quo begs for more efficient E-leadership, which can cultivate a sense of mission through virtual channels, thereby boosting productivity levels. But with the managerial perception shifting from in-person monitoring through a geolocation app to mutual trust amongst professionals, things do look bright on the horizon.
Of course, the gradual normalization of remote working would mean no complimentary fruit baskets and team-building outings; it only means that the digital shift has prioritized employee wellbeing over anything else.
2Telehealth Care and Virtual Diagnosis
With the advent of high-speed internet and the democratization of smartphones, it was only a matter of time before digital healthcare took over. And with the recent surge of the global pandemic and the infectious nature of the virus involved, private and public practices started implementing remote healthcare practices. It makes perfect sense the in the post-covid world, the use-case for digital health seems ever so self-evident.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning researchers have already proposed models that help support key diagnosis, falling in line with Advancements in Biotech and Robotic healthcare. Through comprehensive AI-based analysis on well-annotated datasets, the world can now offer predictive and preventive treatment for potential sicknesses like tuberculosis and breast cancer.
The digital healthcare market has only just scratched its surface and houses the huge potential for future startups. With endless creative avenues like virtual assistants and customized drugs, the domain is brimming with functional and life-changing ideas.
The social distancing measures forced schools, colleges, and even coaching centers to conducting classes via video conferencing, and many institutions seem to have developed a liking to this way of learning.
The luxury of being able to upskill and re-skill without the added geographical and time constraints is something worth appreciating. It doesn’t matter if you want to learn how to start a bitcoin exchange or understand the basics of software programming; the online education market has you covered all the way through.
This realization brought forth by the hardships in 2020 has resulted in a flood of opportunities in the corporate, secondary, and higher education space that will continue to grow tremendously in 2021 as well.
Although consumers had already developed a penchant for online shopping prior to the pandemic, the lockdown measures made everyone acknowledge the utilitarian side of it lately. Online retail basically means lower overhead costs and better testability for sellers while providing more convenience for buyers.
And in times when social distancing had everyone apart, no-contact deliveries at your doorstep proved to be lifesavers. Cutting out the middlemen and having commodities ordered at the tip of your fingers will forever continue to garner applause. And it is for this reason that E-Commerce continues to hold a lot of potential for future start-ups.
Even with the abundance of home-delivery services running currently, there is certainly room for improvement and innovation.
It is important to realize that Software as a Service (Saas) is no more just a technological development but a thriving business model. With businesses becoming more and more dependent on disruptive data discovery tools and technologies to increase their productivity, this groundbreaking industry is only destined to go from strength to strength.
The launchpad has been put in place, and the coming years will be thoroughly trendsetting for the Saas industry. Some of the key leaders in this field would be Artificial Intelligence, API connections, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, No Code or low code platforms, Mobile Optimization, and so on.
To put things into perspective, the end-user does not care about any particular technology unless it solves a problem in a superior way, and Saas does just that.
The ever-growing need for high-speed internet and a seismic shift for well-connected homes has pushed the advancement of 5G to a whole new level. Large scale rollout of 5G will mean better connectivity and reliable networks, which will form the foundational basis for smart cities.
The new-age infrastructure will run on the internet (Internet-of-Things), and fiberization across continents and seabeds will lay the groundwork for the future. 5G has immense potential to make networks future-ready, and at the same time, houses the limitless potential for startups looking to take a plunge.
It will be interesting to witness how startups sift through these novel trends, especially off the back of a shaky year. While many trends had already taken off in 2020, some are yet to take full effect in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Even though scaling and expansion strategies for startups will see a noticeable shift in 2021, the new normal poses exciting challenges and opportunities to learn in the near future. However, in the new normal, these activities will be slow and cautious. The focus will be more on building unit economics, streamlining revenue streams, and strengthening the team.