The Startups Reinventing Our Uncertain Future
Every new business has a vision of the future. Since the turn of the century, startups have radically disrupted the public sphere — Uber, Airbnb, Twitter, Instagram — for better or worse, have transformed our personal lives.
With the coronavirus catching everyone off guard, 2020 represents one of the biggest resets our economy will go through. The chaos has created a portal to a new world — a gateway between one society to the next.
Whenever there’s a rupture, there are often terrible job losses, and the pandemic will have unintended consequences. Nonetheless, when an economy resets, it’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur, for we need dreamers to come up with solutions and create new industries.
We’re excited to present a new generation of startups and how their ideas are reinventing the future.
Where Do We Go from Here?
Many businesses have collapsed this year, but the pandemic has also accelerated the future, forcing everyone to question their behaviors and beliefs.
Online has become the primary way to shop instead of complementing brick and mortar stores. Working from home is the norm for millions of workers, not just a nomadic luxury for travelers.
Our world is becoming more disruptive and unpredictable, with a growing demand for sustainable transport, food delivery, cloud kitchens, and e-learning platforms, creating new jobs and supply chains.
Reclaim the Streets
Spearheading radical change is Action Against Corona (ACC), a non-profit initiative founded by the Norrsken Foundation and Dagens Industri.
ACC provides financial and networking support to projects worldwide, including Tilt, an India-based shared mobility startup, founded in 2016 by Deepak VS and Rachit Parikh.
Tilt wants to reduce traffic congestion by supplying bicycles and e-bikes on subscription to employees, students, and residents.
With public transport numbers in India dropping this year, mobility startups offer sustainable solutions as no one wants to return to outdated and expensive commuting patterns.
Drones for Deliveries
With everyone trying to think bigger, it’s no surprise to see tech startups ramp up their strategy.
Irish drone-delivery firm Manna created a stir delivering Ben & Jerry ice cream to Dublin students in 2018, but with communities having to isolate over the lockdown. Manna’s drones were put to a more benevolent use: providing prescription medication and groceries to rural residents in Moneygall.
Fast-forwarding their business plan, Manna found themselves delivering Fanta bottles, children’s birthday cakes, and even a pizza to an 85-year-old priest.
With technology changing how we buy and receive goods, new supply chains are emerging in 2020, allowing startups to herald a golden age of delivery.
Growing from the Grassroots
As drones take to the skies, the grassroots economy is blooming on foot. More people are working from home than in the past. Their lunch money has gone with them, whether it’s buying groceries online or shopping locally.
With the economy recalibrating after the pandemic, some startups are looking beyond their bottom line, laying the foundation for a more ethical and community-focused future—one where they can deliver profits and do good at the same time.
Do the Right Thing
Sincerely, Tommy is a US-based lifestyle store founded by Kai Avent-deLeon, which tackles gentrification in Brooklyn from the ground up.
With its coffee bar and hostel, the grassroots store promotes locally-designed womenswear and hosts projects for the neighboring district of Bed-Stuy.
Promoting local brands alongside international products, Sincerely, Tommy is an excellent example of how startups can support their community in changing times.
Shop Local, Shop Little
Local businesses are the coffee shops, grocery stores, butchers, and hardware firms in your area. They employ residents and support firms in almost every employment sector.
Anyone can start a business at a grassroots level. All it takes is a product or service to sell, and backers willing to gamble on its success.
Those Who Sell Together, Win Together
During lockdown in Berlin, deli traders gambled and created a new online marketplace for their customers. Archipel allows coffee shops, bakeries, cheesemongers, and wineries to sell directly to a shared audience pool.
Instead of competing from their physical premises, these gourmet stores allowed Berliners to mix and match their favorite products online and get them delivered to their doorstep.
Change Tastes Great
Takeouts have been a godsend for almost everyone this year, with food apps facilitating the rise of cloud kitchens (or “ghost kitchens”), which are virtual restaurants dedicated to delivery.
Karma Kitchen, a London-based startup providing rentable kitchen space, has raised £252 million ($318 million) Seria A round from investors.
Since the lockdown, their business has increased by around 85%, delivering food dishes through apps like UberEats and Deliveroo.
Cloud kitchens can emerge cheaply anywhere, whether it’s an industrial space, hotel canteen, or disused office. If run successfully, they can cut operational costs by allowing multiple restaurants to operate from one building.
Karma Kitchen’s Series A round has helped the co-founding sisters, Eccie and Gini Newton, to fund 53 new sites, thereby lowering business barriers to food-delivery startups across the UK.
A Remote Possibility
With people ordering meals and groceries on food apps, the pandemic has accelerated multiple lifestyle changes and not only in the kitchen. During the lockdown, those who could work and study from home just did it online instead.
Millions of people have been studying or upskilling at home, with teaching taking place on remote learning platforms.
Bringing Tech to the Next-Gen
FrauenLoop, a German non-profit startup, went exclusively digital during the pandemic, teaching immigrants and refugees how to code.
Organized by women for women, the school was founded by Dr. Nakeema Stefflbauer in 2016, helping marginalized students land tech jobs with expert training and mentoring tips.
Coronavirus has fast-tracked distance learning, and this trend is likely to continue, with coding schools now welcoming students from everywhere.
Reinvent the Future
With technology allowing us to bypass physical barriers, startups that have gone virtual have performed well. Likewise, grassroots stores have also benefited from office workers shopping locally this year.
Change is afoot, and companies that read the music can reap the benefits. There is no turning back to the old world, and businesses must embrace the present to move forward.
There will be pushbacks and reversals as Covid-19 is new terrain, but when the economy resets itself, the future lies in the power of now.
If you have a new business idea for a startup, we can help you reinvent the future with our #CreateFromHome program, and support you through changing times.
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