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3 Startup Trends To Watch and Why They Matter

Many of the hottest startup trends right now have been fueled by the recent (and significant) shift to remote working, online shopping, online socializing, and—put simply—remote living. Our lives will forever be altered by this transition and the newfound respect we have for technologies that have made it possible. One year into remote living, here are three startup trends that are top-of-mind for investors. 

1. Healthcare IT 

Countries across the globe are struggling with broken healthcare systems. Healthcare IT is a rising star on the horizon with the potential to make a difference in people’s lives while reducing the overall cost burden of healthcare. Let’s take a look at some technologies to watch.

  • AI in Medical Imaging: Who would turn down the chance to have a second opinion, especially if they live in an area where trained medical teams are less common? Machine learning has already shown tremendous potential to both analyze images and predict conditions, enabling medical imaging to be conducted effectively anywhere. 
  • VR and AR: Both virtual reality and augmented reality are being incorporated into everything from med school training to surgery. In the same way that VR companies delighted gamers, they are developing products that combine 360-degree video and 3D modeling to allow doctors and nurses to practice complex, life-saving procedures in a risk-free digital environment. One standout is Osso VR, which is leveraging Oculus Rift headsets to train surgeons and medical students on orthopedic procedures.
  • IoMT: The Internet of Medical Things is a supercharged search engine that enables discoveries of treatments for your medical woes. This evolving space includes life-changing enabling technology such as remote monitoring devices, clinical-grade wearables used to improve chronic care, and tools such as telemedicine that help shift the power from the system to the individual. 

Entrepreneur-turned-investor Vinod Khosla, known for his forward-thinking views on technology, sums up the rich opportunities in healthcare technologies by stating that “eighty percent of what doctors do, tech can do at a fraction of the cost.”

2. FinTech 

If a trend can ever be considered too hot, it’s entirely possible that FinTech is. FinTech has been driven by both a recent infusion of VC capital and by financial institutions striving to support their public images by offering current technologies. Addie Lerner, founder of VC fund Avid

Ventures, sums it up by stating that “with the latest spate of mega-rounds, investors are paying years ahead for what they believe these businesses can become.”

Although there is no shortage of choice, check out a couple of these rapidly growing platforms.

  • Autonomous Finance: If you are unfamiliar with this space, Angela Strange, currently general partner at Andreessen Horowitz has compared it to “the Google Maps for money.” Essentially, autonomous finance leverages AI to support financial decision-making, thereby removing the burden (and stress) from individuals.
  • Biometrics 2.0: Biometrics are proving to be one of the easiest ways to take financial security to the next level. These tools provide users with confidence that their data is safe. More recently, the biometrics market is working to pivot and focus its efforts on contactless solutions, but this renovation is underway and investors are watching closely. 

3. Fitness and Wellness Tech

Fueled by technological advances, the number of ways to get fit and stay healthy continue to grow.  While users might be getting leaner and stronger, investors are cashing in. Here are two areas to watch:

  • Health Trackers and Wearables: Often endorsed by pro athletes, products like Whoop use an integrated hardware and software experience supported by a subscription model to measure how our bodies are behaving. Venture capitalist group IVP investment infused $100M into Whoop based on their belief that “now more than ever, consumers are eager for control over their health. The market demand for personalized health products continues to expand at a rapid pace as the importance of health and sleep monitoring comes to the forefront of human wellness.”   
  • Personalized Preventative and Curative Nutrition: Everyone has unique, individualized nutritional needs.  While there is a lot of traction in this area of personalization, Greg Yap, a health-care focused investor at Menlo Ventures advises that “there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered...time will tell whether companies can branch out beyond their initial product to build a broader relationship with that customer.” Personalization makes all the difference in technology offerings, and it will be important to watch how new nutrition products and services catch up.

While the above startup trends already have great momentum, all three areas are in the nascent stages. Consumers want control over managing their lives–whether it be their health, finances, or wellness– and the reliance on enabling technologies will continue to expand as more effective tools become available.

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