What will drive the next generation of Startups!!!
Each time has its own needs. The companies that target those needs usually have higher chances of growing than the companies that don’t fulfill the needs. It doesn’t mean that any company not falling in the time theme will not survive but it simply indicates that they will face hardships.
To understand it let us look at various timelines and the kind of revolutions industries faced in those timelines.
- 1900s — food, shelter, and transport
- 1920 s — Automotive, Petroleum, Steel & Chemical
- 1940s — Ammunition, Food, Automotive
- 1960s — Communication, Entertainment, Housing & Family Businesses
- 1980s — Computation Technology
- 2000s — Internet
- 2020s — ???
In 1900 the primary need was food, shelter, and transport thus the success rate was high for industries which solved these needs. The automotive sector emerged during 1920s and thus petroleum, transport, steel, and chemical boomed up. 1940s was influenced by wars that fuelled ammunition and Food industries. By 1960 the businesses catering to family needs grew. So communication, entertainment, housing, etc. boomed. Then we entered the age of technology. 1980s were influenced by technology. It was joined by computation and the internet at a later stage. Both these sectors influenced the 2000s. Now we have come to 2020s and the question is “what is the theme now?”
To identify the answer to this question we need to understand that there is no fixed answer. At a certain time, many factors influence the need of society. Thus, multiple industries grow. Yet, it is easy to find factors that are prominent at various times. Once you identify those factors, you can identify the businesses that have a high probability of survival.
Innovation activity tracks the common themes of innovations (research) happening across geographies. It is aimed at identifying what is the common problem everyone is trying to solve.
I am using the innovation activity to identify this factor. Innovation activity tracks the common themes of innovations happening across geographies. It identifies what the companies are researching on. Once you track the common research that everyone is doing (irrespective of country, company size). While identifying the common themes, I have removed the specific innovations that are happening in various Industries. This article is focused on the common themes that everyone is adopting (irrespective of their domain).
The majority of problems that various scientists, inventors, and engineers are trying to solve now revolve around three topics in general. These are:
- Automation (AI & ML)
- Personalized experience
Yes, these are the three major themes that cover every second invention happening now. Let it sink in!!!!
I work to analyze industry trends and tell my clients where they should work and which domains they should try avoiding. Somehow, irrespective of what domain I chose, the problem that is currently researched is either one of the above three.
Now you can close your eyes and think about the most growing companies throughout the world. Somehow they are targeting the above three. If they aren’t, then you can note their name and visit them after some years to see where they went.
What to do with this information?
Since now you know the common theme, you can decide which companies have a better chance of growing. The ones that are catering to these three factors would benefit more. The ones that are working in all three will grow more than others. Someone who is not working in any of them will face a tough time.
If I were to invest in a company. I would want to know how it contributes to sustainability, automation, and personalized experience. If it is an automotive company. I would look at their sustainable actions, Are they trying for net zero emission?
If they are a paint company, I will check if they can recycle the paint? How far they have come to recycle their products and reduce the effect on the environment? How automated their operations are? Is there any platform where the end-user can customize the paint colour option?
If I come across a startup that is making phone covers (a random idea). I will ask what material they are using? How that material is obtained? Is it sustainable? Are the covers personalized for users or they are standard?
If I have to invest in a publishing company. I will ask how they personalize the user experience? How are they using ML/AI to automate the existing repetitive tasks? How superior is their AI in identifying fake news?
If I have to invest in an Agriculture startup, I will check how automated they are? How sustainable their operations are? Are they using environment-friendly fertilizers (organic or similar)? Is their product unique with a personal appeal?
For each task, there can be a more sustainable, automated, and personalized experience. Any company or startup that is working towards these would eventually succeed if they are doing it right.
This research doesn’t cost much. You can google and read the company initiatives. A lot of information regarding “what they are researching on?”, “where they are spending the money?”, “How automated their operations are?”, “How personalized their experience is for the end customers?” can be found on their websites and various media forums.
Disclaimer: Any company which is catering to the above three domains but is not doing it right can still fail. This is only for educational and inspirational purposes and not advice for investment. Please invest with your research and wisdom.
If you have any questions w.r.t any technological developments? If you want to know about future technologies? Please comment and I shall try to cover it in my future articles. Thank you