It might be challenging to find bright spots in financial news these days, but seismic economic shifts, such as the one COVID-19 has sparked, always give way to new markets and opportunities. COVID-19 has left a range of industries with a slew of new problems, and new startups will emerge to address them. As remote office and operational environments become permanent fixtures of business life, for example, cloud computing and software-as-a-service will proliferate beyond current applications thanks to their de facto remote accessibility.
Payments go contactless
The payments industry has seen its fair share of innovation in recent years, and COVID-19 all but assures that’s going to continue. These solutions will manifest in mobile technologies that enable transactions through text messaging or the generation and scanning of unique QR codes.
Startups with plug-and-play software will win in drones and robotics
Nowhere will COVID-19’s acceleration of a technology opportunity likely be as evident as it will in the use of drones and robotics to revolutionize delivery services. COVID-19 is going to prompt an expanded set of use cases for robotics and drone technology, as well as an expanded base of users of these platforms. A lot of companies that want to incorporate drones and robotics into their business models aren’t going to have time, expertise, or interest in developing solutions for themselves and will turn to startups that have already developed or are in the process of developing plug-and-play robotics control software.
Even complex business transactions move to the cloud
As concerns with Zoom have already illustrated, privacy and security will be key considerations for more advanced applications of virtual meetings and transactions. Secure software that enables people to share, review, and sign legal documents will find broad applicability in industries that were previously insistent on in-office transactions. Likewise, reliable, privacy-compliant means of identification verification will be widely sought across industries. This will open new opportunities for startups focused on these types of applications in industries that already required advanced screening of potential clients and users.
Remote monitoring with the devices we have
Beyond the immediate upheaval of today’s already-stressed healthcare system, COVID-19 has sparked ripples of change in patient behavior that will travel throughout healthcare in coming years. The healthcare solutions that succeed will be the ones that are easy to use. After all, these solutions aren’t just being developed for a small niche of people who’d prefer to steer clear of doctor’s offices, as was the trajectory before COVID-19. They’re being developed as the new go-to interface for healthcare interactions.
Investors will be most interested in software solutions that overlay on people’s existing personal devices, rather than requiring new hardware. Expect to see many other extensive innovations in biotech, healthcare, logistics, real estate, and other areas affected by the current crisis. Precision investment in well-run, financially disciplined organizations will replace scattershot bull-market-style investment tactics, and the startups that attract funding will be those whose models and solutions are particularly adept at addressing the challenges of the post-pandemic «new normal».