While the tech industry has, just like any other industry, been impacted by some of the difficulties of 2020 (investors strapped for cash, working from home stifling innovation, etc), this does not mean that there is not some clear hope on the horizon. Many innovative and exciting digital startups are set to flourish in 2021, as things slowly teeter towards normality.
The digital realm is perhaps the most important realm of start-up development, as it is the landscape perhaps least impacted by social distance measures – if you find digital innovation thrilling, you should keep your eye on these start-ups throughout 2021.
Next Insurance is an insurtech start-up that was founded in 2016 and has quickly grown to be valued at over one billion dollars. It caters to small businesses by using insurance technology to match individuals with the best insurance for them. This is an issue for many small businesses, who have to get one-size fits all insurance that costs them more money than it should.
Now, with Next Insurance, a small business can get insurance specifically for the jobs they do. That means a painter can easily find painters insurance, rather than having to apply for general business liability insurance, which won’t fit their exact requirements. This highly tailored approach to insurance is genius and investors agree. Next Insurance is in talks to raise capital that values the company at about $2.25 billion.
Privacy.com is a fintech company that is looking to help people make purchases online. When you buy a product, a wealth of data gets collected about you. This data can then be used to sell you more products in the future. In essence, when you pay for products online, you are paying with both money and data. Privacy.com looks to fix that.
It allows anybody to create completely disposable payment card numbers for free, meaning users won’t need to share their information with payment platforms. This gives users not only protection of their digital identity but it gives them security from hackers and thieves too. They have issued over five million virtual cards in the last three years.
AI chatbots were all the rage in 2020. Essentially little pieces of code that simulate customer service representatives, they became incredibly popular as a way for companies to spend less money helping their customers. Hyro is from that same chatbot vein, but looks to boost engagement by creating what it calls ‘content-elastic’ experiences.
Hyro’s PR team uses lots of jargon to explain how they essentially deliver the most natural conversations out of all chatbots. They try to contextualize the chatbot conversations, not only giving standard responses to certain keywords but anticipating what customers really want while collecting information so issues can be identified by using metadata.
Kaia health looks to help those with chronic pains and diseases. How can a digital app do this? It uses artificial intelligence as well as computer vision to help provide non-medical therapies at a low cost. It works with medical personnel to achieve this properly. If Kaia health actually pulls off what it is offering, it has huge potential, but there have been several AI-health apps that have faced problems, as no technology can yet replicate the complex non-verbal communication that humans convey to their doctors.
Apps like Babylon health have attempted similar AI practices with disease diagnosis, but have come under fire from the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK, who claim that there is no evidence that these apps can perform better than doctors in any realistic situation.
While the economy has been battered of late, tech remains a bright spot, and the three above, brighter than many of their peers.