As this pandemic continues to impact almost every part of our lives, there are going to be major opportunities for existing brands and new startup companies that will leverage either an opportunistic or a longer-term opportunity. Here is my take on both.
Cleaning Services. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the U.S., so is the nationwide demand for janitorial services. A number of cleaning companies have seen an increase in requests for additional services as people are being reminded to constantly clean and disinfect all commonly-used areas, offices and facilities to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Once this pandemic is over, there will be a high demand for continuous cleaning at a new cleaning level.
Medical Light. Once the pandemic has been reduced, one of the conditions for businesses to re-open will be to conduct regular employee screenings before an employee enters a business workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) gave employers the green light to take employees’ temperatures to try and ward off the spread of the coronavirus in guidance updated March 18, 2020. So, who will provide this service? New companies will pop up to provide employee screenings as they enter the building.
Stylish Protection. Face masks have become an increasingly common sight on the streets of cities around the world in recent weeks. Though wearing them has long been the norm in Asian capitals like Tokyo and Hanoi, the mounting threat from the novel coronavirus is convincing more and more people around the globe to wear masks whenever they go outside. And not just any mask, but masks with style. Look for an explosion of “stylish” face masks over the next 12 months. Also big brands will want branded masks for their employees.
Starting a Company. Business interruptions are often the precursor to disruption and opportunity and layoffs are mounting. Really good people will second-guess what they are doing or will have the decision made for them. Some will view this as a great time to switch careers, while others will think about starting their own business. In general, startups launched during a downturn tend to be far more durable and resilient than those started in a better economic time. Look around for problems not being solved well and try to come up with a solution that could be a great company.
Delivery Services. While delivery services have been trying to get their toe-hold for the past several years, the leaders will now grab market-share and trial with new customers, some of whom who will continue the service long after the pandemic is over. Other startups will focus on niches delivering what never used to be delivered.
Remote Applications. For all the professors in university education, welcome to the new normal of working with remote applications. While education may never really change, businesses have now learned how to utilize remote working tools and applications that are providing value while cutting overhead costs. Look for remote working applications and solutions to rise.
Remote Fitness. As the coronavirus continues to spread, fitness studios around the country are shutting their doors and adjusting to a new reality. Even SoulCycle is adjusting by offering its cycling studio bikes which are now available for pre-order with a price tag of $2,500, with the company saying it will release on-demand virtual classes later this year. The whole notion of a “virtual” trainer will now explode into other exercise modalities as well.
Cyber Security. When you work remotely, all of sudden standard applications will come under cyber hacking attacks. Just ask Zoom. Building better versions of either application or browser based secure solutions will gain new levels of funding from investors.
E-commerce. This pandemic, while a potential death blow to physical retail stores, will accelerate e-commerce to even higher levels. Chewy, the online pet store, has seen an explosion of orders in recent months. E-commerce will never look back and even more niche e-commerce opportunities will surface.
Entertainment. Is this the final act of the movie theaters? Will major sports brands like NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL finally accelerate virtual reality programming? Gaming has accelerated in this crisis, Netflix and others have seen a tremendous rise in viewership. Investors will be backing next generation companies that can bring entertainment to the masses on a one to one basis.
If you look back over other recessions or downturns in our economy, great companies have been born in this time. This pandemic will also spawn some amazing startups and a host of new products and services.