Top Industries for Startups in 2021

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Olga Demidenko
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Feb 26, 2021

It seems that digitization and automation have impacted every aspect of our lives. With the world demanding a more virtual way of doing casual things, we’ve seen many companies adapt to this new reality. Some of them still struggle to survive, while others have embraced the latest technologies, relied on custom software development, and made a significant profit in particular niches.

From telemedicine to EdTech-related startups, the previous year’s fastest growing industries are likely to continue thriving throughout 2021. So, if you are ready to develop the next disruptive solution but need some direction, you can find plenty of opportunities in a few of the following top industries. Read on to find out which of them are suitable for your case.

EdTech

Since digital technology has changed the way we learn, EdTech has become one of the best industries to start a business in 2021. Online education has evolved and experienced a surge in investment globally as more and more startups report sky-high investment rounds.  

Venture capital interest in EdTech solutions remains strong according to the data collected by EdSurge. Global VC investment in the US alone reached $2.2 billion across 130 deals in 2020, compared to $1.7 billion raised in 2019. Many education entrepreneurs are looking to grasp market opportunities to provide solutions that can support the existing education models and even reimagine them in the long run. 

On a global scale, venture capital investment has doubled the previous record in 2018 according to HolonIQ. It reached $16.1B in 2020, with China accounting for two-thirds of the total amount. It was followed by the US and India, with $2.5B and $2.3B of investments respectively.

This is how much capital was raised by different solutions in the world this year:

SolutionCountryAmount (in USD)
ByJu’sIndia$350M
YuanfudaoChina$300M
ZuoyebangChina$1.6B
VIPKidChina$150M
UdemyUSA$50M
DuolingoUSA$35M
KnowboxChina$150M
HuikeChina$200M
UdacityUSA$75M
ApplyBoardCanada$300M

Source: https://www.holoniq.com/edtech-unicorns/

The US maintains a solid foundation for diverse but smaller fundraising rounds, while China and India accounted for a striking 77% share of so-called Unicorn rounds. Those rounds involve startups with a valuation of over $1 billion USD.

Other types of educational technology solutions rocking the industry today, are as follows:

  • Immersive Tech
  • Coding and Technology 
  • Learning management systems
  • Language Learning apps
  • Early Childhood Learning
  • STEM apps
  • Social-Emotional Learning apps
  • Online Courses.

These solutions have become more effective and accessible and have the ability to scale to millions of users across various sectors, including:

  • Pre-K
  • K-12
  • Higher Education
  • Corporate learning
  • Consumer learning.

As the pandemic spread, it forced 1.5 billion students away from the traditional classroom. Schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions suddenly required quick fixes to address students, parents, and teachers’ needs. The demand for diverse digital learning tools for corporate learners and ordinary consumers willing to tune their skill sets started to grow as well.

In a Times Higher Education survey, 63% of university leaders anticipated that full university courses would be available for online studying by 2030. Analysts found that a surge in demand for online education and learning tools has already fueled the expenditures in 2020. For EdTech in 2020, they accounted for $227 Billion. The sector is predicted to be worth $404B by 2025, according to HolonIQ market research

EdTech Expenditures

Another notable report found a growing interest in online education from brands. Wunderman Thompson names Brand academy as the next big thing for education. Indeed, there is an excellent opportunity for brands to contribute to teachers’ and students’ lives in 2021. There already exist online courses teaching students on non-traditional topics like diversity and sustainability in the USA. Facebook, among others, is at the forefront of the industry, shaping the trends for other technological companies.

If you are planning to invest in e-learning and education, look for tech-enablers with relevant expertise. Here’s what Geomotiv is ready to deliver today:

  • custom solutions
  • education platforms
  • live classrooms
  • teacher lessons marketplace
  • online certification systems
  • miscellaneous LMS development services. 

Browse through the list of the most popular software solutions rocking the industry in 2021 in our newest article!

eCommerce

The pandemic made it more challenging than ever to find someone who’s never bought anything online. In 2020, people needed to embrace lockdown, which resulted in a significant shift to sales via the Internet. As a result, it propelled eCommerce to the list of the best startup industries, with plenty of investors looking for opportunities there. Retail eCommerce sales in the US alone amounted to 710 Billion USD, and this number is expected to grow by almost 65% by 2024:

Retail eCommerce Sales

Also, mobile app usage continues to grow, which has boosted mCommerce as a new way of online transactions using a mobile phone or a tablet. Mobile apps are likely to become the primary channel for online shopping and “the next big thing” for this startup industry.

There is also an uptick of interest in online supermarkets, local cafés, ghost kitchens, catering vans. Timely and affordable delivery services are also in demand. According to Morgan Stanley the online food delivery market was worth $45 billion in 2020 and is expected to accelerate its growth in the coming years. 

The soaring demand for online shopping and delivery services makes eCommerce one of the fastest-growing industries to start a business. It offers a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs in 2021 and the forthcoming years. The market is becoming very dense, which means that the competition is growing.

If you are thinking of developing an online store, then consider starting with a branded niche-specific product. You can find a particular area to specialize in and then push this strategy forward. It is more reasonable from the point of view of the allocation of investments and human resources.

Also, when facing the question of adding an eCom store in your processes, companies have two paths to consider: either to go with a system available on the market or build their own platform from scratch. With a custom solution, you can target all the goals of your company, but have to invest more time and money. Based on the size of your business, the price range for custom online stores starts from $60K and can go up to $300K:

  • Basic version (core feature set with responsive design) $60K+, 3-6 months
  • Medium version (more features and design of a larger complexity) $90K+, 6-9 months
  • Large version (complex multi-level website design, development, and support*) - $300K+, (9+ months (ongoing)

*Explore an in-depth review of the stages involved in an eCommerce software development process in our recent article. 

In this context, Geomotiv can enable your business’s digital transformation with our custom eCommerce software development services.  

Streaming Services

TV watching and online streaming have surged during the lockdown and continue to add new subscribers and loyal fans as we proceed with 2021. Cord-cutting and the concept of content “anywhere and anytime on any device” continue growing. Another factor that fuels the demand for streaming services is the popularity of binge-watching among consumers.

Analysts from Reportlinker project the Video on Demand (VoD) Market to grow at a CAGR of 12.2% and add 1.16 billion subscriptions worldwide by 2025. Massive growth opportunities await the industry’s significant players, with Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime gradually expanding their reach.

Here’s how many paying subscribers the key global platforms had in 2020:

Number of Paying Subscribers Worldwide
Source: https://www.statista.com/

The video streaming landscape continues to get more crowded and fragmented as more and more players enter the market. Other noteworthy players include Hulu, Sling TV, and Pluto TV, which have benefited from the pandemic forcing people indoors. Especially for the US, video streaming revenue has seen rapid growth in Q1 2021.

App NameCategoryRevenue (in USD)
NetflixVideo Streaming$7.16B
Amazon PrimeVideo Streaming$6.8B
Disney+Video Streaming$2B
HuluLive TV streaming$4.4B
Sling TVLive TV Streaming$4.5B
Pluto TVFree Streaming$1B
RokuFree Streaming$500M
TwitchLive Streaming$104M

As viewing habits are changing, VoD service providers are likely to expand their offerings and attract more subscribers. The closure of cinemas across has triggered the shift to online video services as well. Large production studios like Universal moved online for the first time. This happened to “Trolls 2”, a first to premiere online for $20.

This trend is likely to continue to grow, making streaming services one of the best industries for startups. In this way, entrepreneurs can unlock numerous opportunities hiding in plain sight. With Geomotiv’s TV Media software development services, you can join the conversation and break into the game of Netflix. 

Healthcare

There is no surprise that Healthcare became one of the fastest-growing industries in the world in the previous year. Health-related tech solutions are experiencing a push right now, even though most lavish events have been sidelined in 2021. Booming business opportunities attract many exciting startups willing to leverage the latest advances in Healthcare software development services and technology.

The pandemic has surely set a direction for the industry, with investors pouring a record amount of money into health-related startups. Rock Health, a US-based venture fund company, reports that Q1 2021 was closed with $6.7B in digital health funding. Here’s how much funding investors have put into the top 8 US-based companies:

NameDescriptionAmount (in USD)
RoOnline pharmacy services, telehealth.$500M
InsitroAI-driven drug discovery and development.$400M
Hinge HealthWearable sensors, in-home medical coaching.$300M
TonalIn-home fitness.$250M
ForwardTech-enabled primary virtual care.$225M
Komodo HealthAI-powered healthcare platform.$220M
CedarHealthcare financial engagement platform.$200M
Cityblock HealthMedicaid and lower-income Medicare beneficiaries.$192M

As we can see from the above table, a giant health-related round this year went to telehealth, which involves tech-powered services and telecommunications outside traditional facilities. According to a new Telehealth Market Size and Analysis study conducted by Market Study Report, the sector is set to grow to $16.7 billion by 2025.

The demand for virtual non-Covid doctor’s visits is one of the primary drivers of the market’s growth. Elderly and chronically ill patients need regular guidance and treatment but had to stay at home due to stay-at-home rules and restrictions. As The Washington Post found, numerous people have ignored severe health problems that require hospital treatment. That is why the urge to make medical tools and guidelines widely accessible is becoming one of the top priorities.

The pandemic has also triggered a surge in interest in AI technology. Its algorithms are already able to process thousands of medical records, develop treatment plans, and design new drugs for rare illnesses. The technology has the potential to open new horizons for healthcare, with patient data mining, predictive analytics, personalised insights, and other use cases.

Another notable area of digital health is advancements in medical devices and proliferation of The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). Wearable devices already empower patients as well as individuals willing to take care of their own health through technologies. But IoMT went further in uniting disparate devices to ensure unified access to data for patients and doctors. The future of this technology looks promising as reflected by its market size projections. It is anticipated to reach USD 142.45B by 2026, with a CAGR of 28.9% according to Fortune Business Insights.

As a company with vast experience in the domain, we’ve helped various Healthcare providers to extend their services to remote areas using technology. Our software development team worked on a telemedicine solution that could facilitate remote communication between patients and doctors in real-time. Another piece of software was dedicated to meeting unprecedented demands of patient care with an AI-powered healthcare chatbot. Apart from driving substantial cost savings, the solution also helped to monitor health at home during quarantine. 

Other thriving areas include web and mobile apps for patients and doctors, Healthcare CRMs, healthcare analytics solutions, and BI services. If you are considering starting a business in the industry, Geomotiv’s technology experts can help you stay ahead of the curve and provide the most ambitious solutions. 

Find out more about our experience in developing a custom Healthcare CRM for one of the leading medical centers.

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Leisure and Entertainment

Leisure and entertainment belong by right to the list of top industries to invest in. With the pandemic keeping people indoors, online services outside work are taking the world by storm. Many of us had to suddenly adopt digital technology and look for social activities, workout, and dating online overnight. That had consequently impacted the way businesses operate in the traditional leisure and entertainment industry. 

Entrepreneurs looking to launch a new product in these niches started to surf new opportunities. As gyms were forced to close, the demand for online alternatives like exercise-tracking apps began to soar. Also, evolving virtual reality (VR) games and systems suggest a new way of working out for stay-at-home consumers. It seems like that trend will keep flying and consequently let us usher in an era of gamified fitness.

Meanwhile, apps like Tinder, Clubhouse, Bumble, and Hinge go through a new surge in downloads and interactions in 2021. Virtual dates and video chat services are thriving since they help users adapt to new interaction norms while under quarantine. The interest peaks with the growing unemployment numbers, as subscriptions to dating apps may become the way to cut household expenditures.

Logistics

The Logistics industry has produced over 12K+ tech startups that consist of companies offering platforms for fleet monitoring, data warehousing solutions, dealer management systems, and other types of software. It was one of the most active sectors for investors in 2020, with total funding exceeding $19B as the CB Insights agency reported.

These numbers come as no surprise as the move towards digitization unites new market entrants and traditional logistics providers. With the latest technology, companies automate back-office processes, improve inventory visibility and management, and reduce the number of human errors. 

As technology advances, it is vital for each market player to be proactive and detect the next big thing for their business at an early stage. To help you prioritize where to invest in 2021, here's an overview of the key technologies that are likely to have the greatest current impact on Logistics:

With a deep understanding of modern technology, our proficient team of developers and business analysts is also familiar with the Logistics industry. Geomotiv can work with you to help create digital solutions, including Delivery Operations solutions, Routing Solutions for Student Transportation, or any other type of Logistics software for your custom needs.

Closing Thoughts

The previous year changed the way we use technology, contributing towards solving real problems. Simultaneously, the world experienced the need for change, with ordinary consumers and business owners adapting to the new measures induced by the lockdown. That gave rise to particular business niches and removed priority from the other ones. So, if you are thinking of good industries to invest in, our list may help you find success in 2021 and beyond.

For entrepreneurs looking to launch a new product, you are better off embracing digital technology and innovation in EdTech, eCommerce, Streaming services, Healthcare, Logistics, and Leisure and Entertainment industries.

From education platforms to gamified fitness software and streaming platforms -  all solutions in the best startup industries involve online presence digitalization.

That is where technology experts can step in to the rescue to reinvent traditional businesses and invent new, compelling solutions for the future. If you are thinking of taking the opportunity to compete in one of the fastest-growing industries to start a business, engage Geomotiv’s team. We’ve built immense niche expertise in selected industries, Big Data processing, custom web, and mobile development. 

Let’s craft the next generation of top-level solutions together.

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