What’s the Future of Tech Startups in 2021 and Beyond?

August 31, 2020

Tech startup employee using laptop at his desk.

Instagram, Airbnb, and Uber all began their success stories as tech startups. Today, they are popular and admired globally. Their cutting-edge ideas and state-of-the-art technologies are always interesting, engaging, and inspiring. They opened new doors for other startups and small businesses.

However, with the current global health crisis and the new normal we all have to embrace, certain changes are to be expected in the business scene. What does this mean for tech startups? What’s in store for them in the coming years? What will 2021 be like for them?

It’s not even 2021 yet but a lot of changes have already happened. Foremost among this is the work-from-home directive that resulted from the quarantine. Although many tech startups have already embraced the WFH concept long before the coronavirus started to wreak havoc, many still had a lot of adjusting to do.

Since there’s no telling when the pandemic is going to end, the work-from-home concept is expected to carry on until 2021. But what other changes and trends should tech startups expect next year and in the years to come? Here are some of them:

1. Customer support will be a major concern for most startups.

In a TechCrunch interview back in March, when the pandemic was quite new, representatives from European travel startups shared that they’ve been working double time focusing on customer support. They attributed this to travel delays and changes in schedules because of the lockdown. This made them frantic tending to calls and inquiries from clients.

For 2021, customer service may still be a major concern for most tech startups. By then, it is hoped that the global health situation will significantly improve. As such, the utmost priority will be on providing clients and prospects all the assistance they need. At this point, there will be several businesses slowly getting back on their feet. Some travel startups will start receiving new bookings, although the volume and traffic would still be nowhere near pre-COVID.

2. Creating significant social impact will be an essential factor.

With everything that has happened & still happening, and with all social issues that have come to light, businesses are becoming more conscious about socially beneficial matters. Startups, in particular, will add social responsibility programs into their projects. 

This will continue to make a significant mark in 2021 and beyond, especially since more people are now openly sharing their views and opinions on social issues. Creating a social impact will draw in and engage current clients and possibly bring in new ones. A large chunk of consumers now look for companies that value ethics and sustainable culture.

3. Tech startups will now embrace AI more prominently.

AI or artificial intelligence has been making noise in the tech industry for years, but its presence will become more significant in 2021 and the coming years. While some businesses are still quite hesitant to integrate AI into their current systems, it will soon be a common factor in the industry. In fact, there are indications that 10 years from now, machine learning and AI integration will help tech startups compete with larger, more established companies.

4. Working remotely or from home will become a regular practice.

If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught businesses, it is the fact that even with restrictions, efficiency and productivity can still be achieved. Now more than ever, working remotely or working from home has become significant. Business leaders and owners used to be hesitant about allowing employees to work remotely, but now they know better. A study conducted back in 2017 revealed that employees who worked remotely diligently complete their tasks, and sometimes, even go beyond what’s expected of them.

This scenario will continue to make a mark in the tech startup industry in the years to come. Businesses will slowly make working from home their new normal.

5. New creative and innovative ways to improve employees’ wellbeing will be introduced.

Businesses are not the only ones affected by the pandemic. Employees also had to go through a lot of changes. They had a lot of adjusting to do. This is the reason why businesses will start to put more focus and value on their workers’ wellbeing.

Many tech startups will introduce new creative and innovative programs related to work-life balance. They will craft activities that keep employees’ spirits up for their general wellness. Some businesses will put together a variety of activities like

  • virtual meditation & yoga sessions,
  • critical thinking virtual icebreakers,
  • virtual hugs,
  • online games & dance parties,
  • Zoom buddy calls, and
  • hackathons or hack days.

Keeping employees engaged and encouraging them to embrace a positive outlook will greatly help in improving their health and mental wellbeing.

In 2021, companies will continue to come up with programs that cater to the needs of their workers. This special focus on employees will carry on through the coming years as more and more businesses realize the value of their workers in ensuring the company’s success. The workforce is just as important as the products, services, and customers.

6. Resiliency will become an essential element for tech startup success.

One vital thing the pandemic has taught businesses – and the general population – is the importance of being resilient. At a time of great need, when the challenges are too overwhelming and companies are forced to find ways to survive, the ability to recover is what counts the most. 

This resiliency is not only for the management and the workforce, but also for the company‘s business strategy and technology structure. It is vital to have a solid IT resiliency program if businesses want to increase customer engagement, and if the goal is to survive strong even in the most difficult situations.

Conclusion

These are the six changes and trends tech startups should expect. Tech startups will continue to hog the industry limelight next year and in the years to come. However, to ensure efficiency, sustainability, and success, adjusting to expected changes and embracing trends should be a priority.

Photo courtesy of Phil Murphy.

About the author

Baptiste Leroux

CEO

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