It’s not all doom and gloom, ladies and gentlemen. Not by a longshot.
The startup world is alive and well! Sure, there are some sectors getting crushed… likely ones in the hospitality and travel industries. And others.
Then you have some that are just chugging along; business as usual.
Some are negatively affected by the market, while others just aren’t.
Privately-held startups are often more insulated from market fluctuation. Their fates are tied to new technologies and behaviors, rather than market weakness.
Coronavirus has caught the world by surprise. It’s disrupting work, education, and business everywhere. Schools are shutting down. Restaurants remain empty. Airports strike fear into the hearts of all. And yet — many startups are doing very well.
Some of them are moving forward unchanged due to their modern structure. Others are straight-up capitalizing on the trends caused by this crisis.
China is now a testing ground for emerging technologies. The country is struggling to keep up with the extreme demand for medical care, and technology is the answer. Meanwhile, businesses and governments everywhere are pioneering new ways to provide care, keep clean, and maintain economic stability.
I know for a fact that many divergent and novel ideas used out of desperate creativity will become essential fixtures in the future. This is why, as angel investors, we need to watch carefully to see what unfolds over the coming months and years.
So, what is the current forecast for business in the foreseeable future? Which startups and sectors are thriving? Can you find your next angel opportunity in this madness? Let’s find out.
Making the Economy Sick
Experts predict the novel coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the global economy.
Top venture capital firm, Sequoia Capital, wrote extensively on this subject. A fixture in Silicon Valley through generations of businesses, Sequoia is an expert on economic fluctuation. In the latest statement by the company, they compare the pandemic and its economic effects to the downturns of the early and late 2000s.
One of the most important sentiments offered was that “nobody ever regrets making fast and decisive adjustments to changing circumstances.” Those who avoid false optimism and take definitive steps to work through this situation will have the highest chance of survival.
This applies to angel investors too. In 2020 and 2021, you will likely have to change your investment strategies. Knowing where to look to find resilient startups — or better yet — ones that will thrive, is essential.
That’s why we’re here, to guide you through this and show you how to turn an unfortunate situation into a positive and profitable one.
Smart-Working Startups Comfortable in Crisis
One of the best things to be right now is a company that uses remote work and smart working practices. Even better — be a business that sells tools for remote work and smart working.
Everyone is canceling meetings, telling employees to stay home, and urging them not to travel. Children are forced to miss school. And yet, the world continues to turn. Business and education must continue as much as possible.
The best way to do this is through remote work technology.
One of the biggest winners of COVID-19 is video conferencing software Zoom. This startup has gained an unprecedented number of downloads in the past few weeks. To get more people on board amidst competition from other platforms, Zoom has removed video call time-limits for all users.
Meanwhile, companies that have used smart-working practices for years are coasting through the panic, unaltered.
BOOM, an Italian photography startup says they’ve been mostly unaffected by the situation. Even with the terrible situation in Italy, the BOOM team manages to communicate and work from home as if nothing happened.
At Viacash, a financial startup, and Europe’s largest bank-independent payment infrastructure, it’s business as usual. Being a young, modern startup means working from home was already an option for employees — and a popular one at that. Despite canceled meetings and empty streets, the startup continues to thrive.
Businesses that offer cleaning products are in a great position right now. Just imagine the sales Purell and Lysol are pulling.
High-tech cleaning guns are apparently a thing now. Using charged-particles, these weapons in the war against germs offer an alternative to sanitation.
The guns draw from canisters of special disinfectants. When the user presses the trigger, the device emits a delicate mist that covers and disinfects objects. Everything from electronics, to chairs, or workout equipment is game. It offers a hands-free, modern approach to cleaning well-touched surfaces.
Previously used only in offices, schools, or by transit authorities, these spray guns now have domestic appeal. Calls are coming in from everywhere to startups like Emist, EFS Clean, and EarthSafe.
Jeremiah Gray, COO of EarthSafe, says the demand for his disinfectant gun is now 100-times greater than in peak flu season.
Household cleaners of all kinds are doing well now. And in the face of viral fears, cleaning startup Dazz is managing to help the environment. Dazz sells cleaning tablets that offer an alternative to liquid cleaners. Spray bottles of cleaners are mostly water, which is inefficient. We have water at home, why pay for it to be sent halfway around the world? Cleaning tablets have all the same ingredients and properties as liquid cleaners, you just drop them into some water and mix.
Dazz sends you a reusable plastic spray bottle with your tablets, eliminating plastic waste caused by traditional bottles.
Robots to the Rescue
Robots are a perfect solution for overcrowded hospitals and hazardous environments. Anywhere you don’t want a human to go — send a robot.
This is by far the field with the most activity, especially in China. There has been an incredible demand for robots and a great turnout by tech companies.
A hospital is a bad place to be right now if you want to stay healthy. Unfortunately, healthcare workers must thrust themselves into danger to help the sick, putting themselves at risk for infection. Luckily, startups are lending a hand to make hospitals a safer place.
Danish company UVD Robots has special disinfecting robots perfect for use in hospitals. Using powerful, short-wavelength ultraviolet-C lights, these robots can disinfect entire rooms in a short time. The light destroys the DNA of microorganisms, killing them, rendering spaces and surfaces safe for human use.
For almost a month these robots have been used in Chinese hospitals. UVD Robotics is rushing to produce their models as fast as possible to send more. The current goal is to supply at least 2,000 hospitals and medical facilities in China alone.
Finally, in China, drones are being used to remind citizens to wear masks, spray disinfectant, and manage traffic. Antwork Ltd. is using drones to deliver medical supplies and transport samples to labs. XAG is converting agricultural drone models into vehicle-disinfecting ones.
With robotic help, it seems optimistic that we can manage this crisis and keep everyone safe.
The world is struggling to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak. Fortunately, ingenious startups are mitigating economic loss and protecting people from infection.
While the economy may be on course for a slow-down, many areas remain unaltered. Remote work software and smart-working practices will become more popular. Companies will begin to make this an integral part of their structure.
Med-tech, like new sanitation methods and medical robots, will not only thrive for the life of the novel coronavirus crisis. These advancements will become a fixture in medical care globally.
Lastly, automation through robotics and artificial intelligence will become more desirable following this pandemic. Businesses always want to mitigate risk, and with COVID-19 as a big fat reminder of how susceptible the workforce is to drastic change, automation will be a juicy alternative.
For now, all we can do is try to stay healthy and live as normally and happily as possible. But as angel investors, we can also look to the breakthroughs in China and across the world.
An emergency is an incubator for innovation.
The response to this outbreak can create many amazing innovations. At the end of it all, people will be safer, businesses more stable, and angel investors wealthier.