The year 2020 has surely been a ride for tech startups. While the repercussions of the pandemic have forced some technology startups to shut down, many of them thrived because they pivoted their business strategy and their products in accordance with the changing times. The startups that made it through the year were able to do so because they kept innovating and transforming their operations to fit in the ‘new normal. In this blog, we talk about a few startup industry trends that have grown in the year 2020 (some because of the pandemic, some not) and will surely continue to thrive in 2021.
If you plan to establish a new business, these trends should be helpful for you to choose an industry to dive in. These tech startup trends will also be helpful for an existing business to help you find new products and categories.
6 Tech startup trends that’ll continue ruling in 2021
1. Remote Working
In 2019, Buffer asked an interesting question to 2,500 people – Would you like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of your career? 99% of the respondents said ‘Yes’ . A 2018 survey by Owl Labs polling 3,028 respondents from 23 countries in 6 continents found that 44% of the companies not allowing remote work, just 16% of the companies being completely remote and 40% offering both remote and in-house options . However, after the pandemic happened, a survey of 800 global HR executives conducted by Gartner found 88% of them making work from home mandatory or encouraging their employees to work from home after COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic .
And not surprisingly, remote working is here to stay. Another Gartner CFO survey polling 317 Financial leaders and CFOs found that at least 74% will make minimum 5% of their on-site workforce permanently remote positions after the pandemic. 25% of the respondents said they plan to move 10% of their workforce to a remote setting permanently. 4% said they plan to move about 50% of their workforce to a remote working setting .
Having said that, no matter how happy employees around the world are about this development, VCs don’t believe the current services and tools solve the compliance and security issues of working remotely. TechCrunch talked to 6 leading investors about the entire work from home situation and one common thing came up – all the VCs agreed that there’s still a huge amount of work to be done to improve remote working.
Remote working is still very young, which means there are great opportunities for tech startups to tackle these issues. As remote working is not going anywhere even after the pandemic ends, startups in 2021 will focus on making the WFH experience even better, seamless and secure.
2. Robotic Delivery
The adoption of robotic delivery as a startup trend has been slow due to costs involved, complications and less willingness. However, robotic delivery is going to be one of the hottest startup industry trends in 2021. A Mordor Intelligence report found that the autonomous delivery robot market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.5% over 2020-2025 . China is one of the first companies to embrace this technology, accelerate its deployment and use robots to deliver food orders to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Meituan is a China-based company that aims to be the ‘Amazon of Services’. Its app connects consumers with local restaurants for food take-outs and other local businesses for movie tickets, hotel bookings and other services. The app reportedly using autonomous vehicles recently for delivery of groceries to its customers to minimize human contact.
Not just China that’s trying its hand at robotic delivery. Starship Technologies, a tech company in the United States is also focused at developing self-driving robotic delivery vehicles. Robots of Starship can carry and deliver items within a 6 kilometer radius. Aethon is another US-born robotic delivery company in the hospitality environment that’s capable of delivering food, banquet supplies, linen and luggage in hotels. With so many companies working in this field of technology, it will be exciting to see what this startup trend will have to offer in 2021.
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 OWL Labs (2018) “Global State of Remote Work” [Online] Available from: https://www.owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2018#methodology [Accessed December 2020]
 Buffer (2019) “State Of Remote Work” [Online] Available from: https://buffer.com/state-of-remote-work-2019 [Accessed December 2020]
 Gartner (2020) “Gartner HR Survey Reveals 88% of Organizations Have Encouraged or Required Employees to Work From Home Due to Coronavirus” [Online] Available from: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-03-19-gartner-hr-survey-reveals-88–of-organizations-have-e [Accessed December 2020]
 Gartner (2020) “Gartner CFO Survey Reveals 74% Intend to Shift Some Employees to Remote Work Permanently” [Online] Available from: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-04-03-gartner-cfo-surey-reveals-74-percent-of-organizations-to-shift-some-employees-to-remote-work-permanently2 [Accessed December 2020]
 Mordor Intelligence (2019) “AUTONOMOUS DELIVERY ROBOTS MARKET – GROWTH, TRENDS, FORECASTS (2020 – 2025)” [Online] Available from: https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/autonomous-delivery-robots-market [Accessed December 2020]
 McKinsey & Company (2020) “Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality?” [Online] Available from: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/telehealth-a-quarter-trillion-dollar-post-covid-19-reality# [Accessed December 2020]
 Statista (2020) “Global telemedicine market size in 2019 and a forecast for 2026” [Online] Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/671374/global-telemedicine-market-size/ [Accessed December 2020]
 Global Market Insights (2019)”E-Learning Market Size By Technology (Online E-Learning, Learning Management System (LMS), Mobile E-Learning, Rapid E-Learning, Virtual Classroom), By Provider (Service, Content), By Application (Academic [K-12, Higher Education, Vocational Training], Corporate [SMBs, Large Enterprises], Government), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook, Growth Potential, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2020 – 2026″ [Online] Available from: https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/elearning-market-size#:~:text=E-Learning%20Market%20size%20surpassed,will%20drive%20the%20market%20growth [Accessed December 2020]