Opportunities for Startups in the Online, Digital and eCommerce Spaces
Author: Eran Savir, Managing Director at Intango Ventures
After talking to many founders, investors and industry experts from all over the world, I recently compiled, for internal purposes, a list of opportunities that I see in Online, Digital Marketing and eCommerce.
I’m sharing a small part of the list with the goal to help entrepreneurs find their path to emerging trends and opportunities. The COVID-19 crisis (and every other crisis) is accelerating trends that were available before, but took a long time to cross the chasm and get to mainstream. Many technologies were mature even before COVID-19; however, the current crisis dramatically accelerated trends, changed user habits quickly, changed organizations and governments’ perspectives about what can or cannot be done with technology and more than all, acts as a melting pot for technologies that can now finally work together because the psychological and regulatory/bureaucratic/procedural barriers have been removed by the quickly changing reality.
D2C - eCommerce is one of the most obvious gainers from the lockdown. Brands and Consumer facing enterprises who were relying on retailers, now understand that retailers can be a bottleneck and could potentially get shut down, hence are aggressively moving towards setting up their own D2C strategy. Some retailers, department stores and brands who rely on physical stores may not survive the crisis due to the heavy expense on rent and could be replaced by new brands who are more agile, online, accessibly via eCommerce. (D2C stands for Direct to Consumer AKA as DTC)
Conferences and Events - Offline events as we used to know them are no longer happening. Event organizers quickly shifted to online events, however I think that the new norm will be a hybrid of online and offline events.
Content - While in lockdown and generally speaking, in times of crisis, people consume more content and are looking for more information. Online content consumption has been skyrocketing during the past few months.
e-Learning - A vertical that suffered from slow adoption has seen supersonic growth. Nowadays many schools and universities offer classes and courses remotely. Moreover, in times of crisis people turn to education as it is perceived as a good investment, a time for personal improvement and a time to change course, especially for those who have lost their job. This also allows students from all over the world to get equal education opportunity.
eHealth/Telemedicine - People of all ages are by far more open to see a doctor via a video conference and avoid the physical visit to the clinic with all the risks it entails.
60+ - Elderly people are the new users of the internet. They have been using it before; however, the lockdown forced them to quickly shift their behavior in order to (literally) survive. They now buy groceries and medicine online, pay the bills online, meet their friends and family online and consume information online. This population is perceived as one that is less affected by the economic crisis as many of them rely on stable pensions and their expenses are more or less identical. They are less ‘trained’ with using the internet and are more likely to respond to advertising in all shapes and forms. They are also more likely to buy online for their children and grandchildren, in order to emotionally compensate for the social distancing.
Connected TV and OTT - The lockdown resulted in more people staying at home and consuming content via their connected TV. The OTT market has seen a dramatic peak in demand as people are looking for ways to entertain themselves and their kids while at home. This is a permanent change in content consumption while linear TV is experiencing a constant decline in usage, especially among Gen Z, Millennials and Generation X.
Remote Work - The new norm will most likely be a combination of in-office and remove work. There will be a continued demand for related tools: Video conference, Project Management, Freelancer platforms (Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer.com, etc.), VPN, etc.
Communities - Due to, among many other reasons, social distancing, Communities is a fast-growing trend during crises. Facebook has recently changed their UI to put Groups in the center and community related tools prosper. Communities are very well segmented (interest, location, etc) and the engagement with content is way above the average.
Voice and Audio - Around 30% of households in the US own one or more voice activated devices which means a huge opportunity for voice activated shopping, content and other activities. Audio is a fast changing industry where more people turn to on-demand voice content (music, podcasts, etc) and this opens the door to many opportunities around advertising, content, search, analytics, etc.
Eran Savir is the Managing Director at Intango Ventures, a Corporate VC (CVC) that invests in early stage Digital Marketing, Advertising Technology and D2C startups. Eran is a tech entrepreneur who founded three companies and sold two. He has extensive hands-on experience as an investor, board member, founder and CEO and has a proven track record in successfully defining and launching innovative and disruptive products and large-scale cloud SaaS solutions. Eran has a technical background as a developer and has two registered patents under his belt.