2019: The Year of the Startup
This stellar performance has been driven particularly by innovations in fintech, AI and clean energy, all of which have been the UK’s best-performing startup sectors in 2019.
Despite this explosion in the market, there are still enormous opportunities for good ideas that are combined with real market needs and solid execution.
Over the past 12 months, we have worked with a range of amazing new businesses, each attacking unique problems in areas such as healthcare and fintech. The common factor between them all is their ability to spot emerging trends and react to clear gaps in the market.
To help inspire and guide the next generation of successful startups, we asked founders and industry experts on their top startup predictions for the coming decade.
Spoiler alert - there are some clear themes that are touched on almost across the board.
Startup Trends and Predictions
Henry Williams writer and researcher for Startups.co.uk:
"The transport sector is one of the worst offenders when it comes to the environment, responsible for 33% of CO2 emissions in the UK in 2018.
But with an economy that relies on the movement of goods and people around the country, and consumers willing to pay more for eco-friendly products and services, we’re seeing a boom in sustainable transport innovation, and there’s plenty of room for new entrants to the market.
Environmentally-friendly courier services Green Courier and Ecofleet, and Octopus Electric, which runs a 'Go Green Car Scheme' are all early examples of this trend."
Wil Benton, Venture & Ecosystem Director at ATI Boeing Accelerator, a programme for startups building technologies for the UK aerospace industry:
“The UK and Global Aviation industry will have to continue to lead on responding to environmental imperatives - 2% of human-induced carbon dioxide emissions come from the aviation industry, according to ATAG (Air Transport Action Group).
There will also be a huge push to accelerate low to no emission flights. Flight shaming poses a serious risk to growth and aircraft technology must respond immediately if it is to be sustainable. It’s also likely the industry will keep investing in more sustainable manufacturing, alternatives to kerosene with lower net carbon impact, and in more energy-efficient aircraft.
The future of flight will be at the centre of discussion in 2020, but what will that be is still up in the air. There is a need for affordable air vehicles that are electric, autonomous, safe, and able to operate in congested urban environments and beyond.
Vertical take-off vehicles, like drones, and small, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger vehicles could be a $100 billion market in the United States alone, with the potential to reach $500 billion globally. Aircraft orders should also nearly double in the next ten years, so big corporates need to keep up with demand while considering costs and the environment.”
Our very own Brannan Coady, CEO, Netsells:
“The biggest startups to emerge in 2020 will likely be focussed around sustainability. As consumers and business grow more aware of their impact on the planet, solutions will emerge to enable both to manage and mitigate their impact, likely with innovative solutions that still enable profitability.
Healthcare will also continue its march towards digitisation, and I would anticipate an increased number of startups to look to fill in the gaps that currently prevent all all-encompassing remote healthcare provision, enabling cross-country consultation and healthcare provision."
Kenny Alegbe, Co-Founder and CEO of HomeHero, a digital home manager making running a home easy:
“In 2020 companies will continue to weave transparency into their marketing strategies - peeling back the curtain to show the humans behind the brands.
Consumers are starting to making purchasing decisions that include looking at the reputation of the company across diversity, mental health, inclusion, and wellness.
We're moving from looking at how companies invest in CSR and community, to how they manage themselves at home - their teams, their practices, what they stand for.
Startups will look to invest more in bringing good practices to light (or creating them), as well as making strategic hires in these fields - and marketing this!”
Chris Milligan, CEO of Adepto, a talent management system for organisations:
“We are seeing a move towards personalisation on all levels. It started with consumers and legislation like GDPR. The next decade will see this enter the workplace, with more awareness of the amount and types of data that employers collect - and how individual workers can benefit from this.
The more data an employer has on their workers, the more valuable and tailored the employee experience. From offering relevant work opportunities like stretch assignments that align with their future career goals, to learning pathways and progression that matches their ambitions. Creating personalised career paths that effectively navigate incoming workforce changes like automation, future-proofing careers and ensuring nobody becomes unemployable or irrelevant.
To achieve this, organisations will turn to technology to effectively track and measure skills, intelligently matching workers to the right projects and learning opportunities. I expect to see a greater focus on individual skills and ‘bite-sized’ work that no longer hinges on job titles. Instead, people will complete work in a way that suits them - working on projects and tasks that align with their skills and interests.”
Tushar Agarwal, CEO and Co-founder of HubbleHQ:
“2020 will be the year we start to see the startup industry mature in the UK. 8 years after the SEIS scheme was introduced that kickstarted the ecosystem, we will start to see later-stage funding (Series A, B, C+) rounds with more later-stage funds having raised last year (Atomico, Balderton etc) and more Silicon Valley funds finding great deals in the UK.
With some of the uncertainty behind Brexit behind us, we should see more companies raising bigger rounds and continuing to hire aggressively. Typically, startup headcounts increase by 150% within 18 months of a fresh raise and finding office space that scales with that growth is a huge problem we’re solving.”