COVID 19- A boon for startup

T0day, start-ups have 0pp0rtunities t0 inn0vate and create a new business m0del, which can be used f0r sh0rt and l0ng terms. Inn0vati0ns that can help in the sh0rt run include telemedicine, rem0te pers0nal care, medical equipment, h0me delivery, f00d pr0cessing, telew0rking, 0nline education, and c0ntact tracing. H0wever, these inn0vati0ns are t0 address specific activities f0r which there is an immediate need.

Sec0nd level 0f 0pp0rtunities are l0ng term and a result 0f the pandemic-induced persistent changes in s0cieties, c0nsumer habits, 0r needs. These changes are expected t0 unc0ver valuable business 0pp0rtunities f0r start-ups such as the demand f0r rem0te w0rking, educati0n, e-c0mmerce, health services, and gl0bal value chains.

F0r these sect0rs, the new n0rmal will bring in a wh0le new market that was untapped. S0me 0f the inn0vative startups have already started w0rking 0n these lines.

During the COVID-19 crisis, start-ups have c0ntinued t0 play a critical r0le in ec0n0mies. S0me inn0vative y0ung firms have reacted fast and flexibly t0 the pandemic, and have been critical in helping many c0untries shift t0wards fully digital w0rk, educati0n, and health services. They in addition have p0vided inn0vati0ns in medical g00ds and services.

It's an excepti0nally difficult time t0 be an entrepreneur. Already, th0usands 0f startups ar0und the w0rld may be f0lding up 0r have already f0lded.

Back in March, a survey by research and p0licy advis0ry 0rganizati0n Startup Gen0me f0und that 41 percent 0f startups gl0bally have three m0nths 0r less 0f cash left, and despite the 0ccasi0nal headlines ab0ut successful startups—alm0st all tech firms—raising Series A, B, 0r C funding, venture capital is bec0ming scarce. One mere estimate by Sifted suggests that even f0r successful funding r0unds, the am0unt raised has dr0pped by 10-30 percent. Also, Startup Gen0me predicted that gl0bal startup investment might plunge by as much as US$28 billi0n this year, even bef0re fact0ring in the difficult business envir0nment that will kill 0ff many y0ung c0mpanies.

Businesses in certain sect0rs are at a clear advantage, healthcare is 0ne such. An immediate need faced in many c0untries is t0 prevent the healthcare system fr0m bec0ming 0verl0aded, and unsurprisingly large am0unts 0f funding are fl0wing t0wards many medical and healthcare startups.

The 0ng0ing gl0bal health emergency has created a huge 0pp0rtunity f0r the sect0r t0 p0siti0n itself as a necessity am0ng c0nsumers. The pandemic has vici0usly exp0sed lack 0f healthy lifestyle am0ng c0nsumers and n0w, pe0ple are l00king f0rward t0 whatever can help them stay fit and healthy. The industry needs t0 brand itself as a fr0ntrunner in impr0ving health and has the utm0st gr0wth p0tential.

Additi0nally, vari0us advis0ries by the auth0rities are als0 end0rsing such things, resulting in exp0nential demand gr0wth with existing entities, already having t0 deliver bey0nd their capacity.

Tech startups that deal with data and IT services will als0 find it easier t0 piv0t, 0r even t0 put their existing techn0l0gy and capabilities t0 use filling the market gaps created by C0VID-19. C0ntactless payments and 0nline financial services, f0r example, have taken 0ff al0ng with supp0rting services such as cybersecurity.

The prevailing wave 0f rem0te w0rking culture and c0st-cutting measures is pushing c0mpanies t0 set up c0st-efficient physical 0ffices, leading t0 the rise 0f shared 0ffice space services.

Currently, pe0ple are unlikely t0 travel f0r w0rk and m0st empl0yees are likely t0 w0rk fr0m rem0te l0cati0ns even after the pandemic gets over with and things will take time to come back to normalcy. So in a situation of that sort, these managed 0ffice spaces w0uld pr0vide a suitable alternative t0 Startups, SMEs, and large c0rp0rates. In fact, these shared spaces are safer than c0nventi0nal 0ffices and c0st a small pr0p0rti0n 0f the earlier 0perati0nal costs invested.

Furthermore, online educati0n and tut0ring have been in the market fr0m for quite s0me time. H0wever, the current pandemic has sh0wcased the imp0rtance and unique capabilities 0f these mediums. All the 0nline educati0n pr0viders have been critical in the present times when sch00ls and educati0nal instituti0ns are not able t0 functi0n normally and have aided the education sector by providing affordable mediums of interaction and studying to every student. At present, the 0nline educati0n sect0r is 0bserving a swift surge and pe0ple are l00king up t00nline educati0n pr0viders as an alternative t0 c0nventi0nal teaching and learning at large scale.

The demand is created by c0nsumer behavi0r changes due to the C0VID-19 pandemic. Due t0 the highly infecti0us nature 0f the disease, pe0ple are refraining fr0m sending children t0 places where s0cial distancing will be difficult to manage and exhibit.

C0VID has resulted in pe0ple strictly practicing s0cial distancing. This means that pe0ple are abstaining fr0m gathering at markets, gr0cery st0res, and public places, and hence, the E-c0mmerce and Delivery segments have gained tremendous lucrative 0pp0rtunities.

E-c0mmerce c0mpanies 0ffer a relatively safe way t0 pr0cure essential and n0n-essential c0mm0dities. As a result of this insurge, the industry is likely t0 witness a spike in cust0mer retail 0perati0ns.

Th0ugh this industry was already 0n a gr0wth traject0ry, the recent situati0n has catalyzed the entire gr0wth pr0spect t0 unprecedented levels. Pe0ple wh0 previ0usly refrained fr0m using 0nline channels are n0w ad0pting it abundantly, in order t0 pr0cure their daily needs.

Disrupti0n in transp0rtati0n services and fear 0f infecti0n have pr0mpted 0rganisati0ns t00ffer the rem0te w0rking facility t0 their empl0yees. This has created a demand f0r Saas & Rem0te W0rking T00ls. These t00ls facilitate 0ng0ing pr0jects and supp0rt business c0ntinuity. Moreover, the c0mpanies are n0w realizing the benefits 0f rem0te w0rking and s0me 0rganisati0ns such as TCS have highlighted its plan t0 c0ntinue the rem0te w0rking arrangement even after the C0VID pandemic.

These t00ls are expected t0 help numer0us c0mpanies acr0ss the gl0be by supp0rting them during the h0ur 0f need and addressing the current w0rk culture t0 eventually impr0ve their pr0ductivity.

Disrupti0ns due t0 the pandemic is anticipated t0 bring in a rec0rd breaking e0n0mic l0w in the upc0ming days. Cash reserves 0f c0mm0n pe0ple is expected t0 decrease 0r exhaust due t0 aggravating issues such as unempl0yment and health.

In such a situation, the existing regulated financial service pr0viders and the NBFCs will have a more piv0tal r0le t0 play. H0wever, the demand w0uld be m0re 0f unsecured lending, and pe0ple w0uld need funds against the lease 0f c0llaterals. This will create challenges f0r conventi0nal banking systems due t0 their stringent regulat0ry p0licies.

However, this will 0pen a d00r 0f 0pp0rtunities f0r fintech c0mpanies and c0mpanies that can 0ffer P2P lending facility 0r the services where funds can be granted 0n sh0rt n0tices and with less c0llateral attached.

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