2020 has been indeed a year that will never be forgotten in the history of the country or rather the world. Entrepreneurs, businessmen, businesswomen, corporates all struggled and strived to adjust to the untimely and immensely challenging and uncertain situations. With work from home becoming the new normal, there were major policy reforms within organizations which were enforced in view of the new developments. On one hand, some sectors were able to optimally utilize the adverse situations to their benefit, on the other hand, there were some sectors that faced major setbacks due to prolonged lockdown in the country, breaking of the supply chain, economic slowdown, etc.
While we step into 2021, let us have a look at how different industries- from startups- gaming to jewellery to healthcare and fitness paved their journey beyond the adversities that the pandemic threw their way and their expectations from 2021- Prithvi Singh, Founder, RummyCulture, Gameskraft- 'Startups focused on developing a supply chain were hard hit by the pandemic owing to the extensive lockdown. However, one cannot deny & debate the fact that the major boom in online platforms was also a result of the pandemic outbreak. Technology became vital in 2020 and so did technology-driven platforms. Entering into 2021 all startups, be it offline or online, need to revamp their strategies focusing more on online and technology-driven mechanisms using AI/ML & deeper usage of data science to enhance the individual user experience, helping them boost their customer acquisition, retention & in turn the sales. Also, raising funds for newer startups will be difficult due to economic instability. Hence, it becomes necessary for startups to have a strong pitch and a unique problem-solving idea to impress investors. The uncertainties are sure to take a toll on the investor’s outlook towards accepting funding proposals.
The online gaming industry saw a boost in 2020. As weird as it may sound Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise as it led to people being restrained to their homes which paved the way to increased traffic on online gaming platforms. The easy access to various online gaming apps on mobile phones and the way these games become a big medium for spending time & relaxing the mind the users enjoy the games all the way adding to their skills and passing the time both. Professional gamers that did not have enough time due to their other commitments also joined the respective gaming platforms in their free time which all made 2020 a good year for the online gaming industry and with the increased user base what will be the key area of focus for all the online platforms is on ways to retain these users through the application of AI/ML on their platforms thereby providing friendly user experience & make gaming more responsible.' Sagar N Mehta, Founder & Partner, Vegandukan- 'The country has faced major economic recession this year which has led to a major setback for the start-up sector. Start-ups that laid their foundation in 2020 had to struggle in terms of procuring funding as investors also had restricted monetary flow owing to the pandemic and recession. Through the year some start-ups that aggressively adapted to technology and e-commerce were able to monetize even the challenges that came forward in terms of lockdown. 2021 will be a year of opportunities for start-ups. This is because with the new budget at least the health and education start-ups can hope for favourable reforms while for the other sectors too we hope for some leverages and ease in policies after a difficult 2020.
The plant-based market in India had a pretty fine 2020. The reason being a sudden inclination towards living a healthy lifestyle and increased awareness for cruelty against animals. With Covid-19 in the picture, people began to adapt to organic and plant-based products both offline and online. E-commerce platforms saw a sudden increase in the sales of plant-based products which is what makes 2021 a promising year for the plant-based market. Not just this even the vegan beauty and cosmetic products have also seen a boost. With the rising popularity of plant-based products, we also expect that start-ups in the sector will receive both recognition and funding going forward.' Shabnum Khan, Founder, 750ad Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.- 'We need to understand that 2020 was a year of opportunities for some start-ups like Healthcare, Edu-Tech, Fin-Tech, Manufacturing companies like those that began manufacturing Masks and sanitizers, while a rather non-opportunistic year for others like Clothing Brands, Entertainment Startups etc. Several start-ups have even got funding and have made it big amidst the pandemic which clearly shows that the growth trajectory for every startup has been different this year. 2021 will bring in a plethora of opportunities for start-ups as we are in the intermediate stage i.e. is the solution-seeking stage of the pandemic which implies that we will witness growth in the number of start-ups but on the other hand the economic slowdown of the country will also lead to several start-ups receding after facing losses in 2020.
2020 was a dramatic year for healthcare start-ups. Why I say so, is that while the upside to the pandemic for healthcare start-ups was the immediate and vast need for medical supplies and services, the downside was the huge loss in lives of the healthcare workers. On-ground start-ups had to work keeping their lives at stake which made it difficult for the healthcare sector. However, the technology-driven start-ups harnessing AI and ML in the field of healthcare have seen a drastic boom and 2021 is the year for technology-driven healthcare start-ups.' Amaresh Ojha, CEO & Founder, Gympik- “While the pandemic induced lockdown brought the industry to a standstill, it has become increasingly clear that the reason why many fitness studios were left in the cold was also due to delayed adoption of technology at scale by the industry. This is why, once the premises were shut, the only link between the members and the studio was severed. This is when new-age technology companies came to the rescue with best-in-class tech solutions like Traqade that helped gyms & studios re-establish this link online through live streaming and other means.
In 2021, we will witness a COVID-19 induced technological revolution at an unprecedented scale and it’s fair to say that the technological leap made by the industry in the process will dictate fitness trends of the future. This tech-led integration in the fitness value chain will also introduce greater personalization, convenience, safety, and flexibility for members while helping fitness business owners to deliver a consistent brand experience across channels. In fact, innovative solutions like contactless technology will emerge as one of the biggest competitive advantages in the industry in 2021. But to reap the benefits of the current push for fitness, the industry will need to stay focused on maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and efficiently embracing the plethora of these tech-driven innovations'.
Pankaj Khanna, Founder & MD, Gem Selections, Khanna Gems Pvt. Ltd- '2020 was a tough year for the Retail sector especially in the Luxury goods and services section. 3 months of lockdown led to huge revenue loss. Several traditional brick and mortar firms registered virtually zero revenue. However, ideation was the key here. Companies that adapted to changing needs and technology were able to make profits even in these adverse situations. As of 2021, the industry will revive because of the pent up demand in the economy; the signs of revival has already started with increased sales on Diwali and this will continue in 2021.' Karandeep Sheoran - Managing Director, E5 Infrastructure- 'In the advent of this new decade, the world welcomed New Year with optimism.. However, the 2020 onset of COVID-19 and the global pandemic, every industry faced a unique dilemma, with a challenge of how to move forward! Thinking of the year gone by in May 2020, the Government of India allowed EPC contractors to resume their respective duties and works. With renewed focus, E5 sought out to restart its operations with all safety regulations and guidelines enforced. Most industries faced a scarcity of human resources such as unskilled and semi-skilled workers which resulted in constant delays throughout the supply chain and in execution as well. However, due to the diligence, foresight, and leadership of Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH) released new policies and initiatives which has allowed an effective and efficient execution of EPC Contracts.
Due to the overall support of MoRTH for EPC Contractors, 2020 has seen the largest number of entrants in the industry. With the recent announcement by MoRTH, barriers to entry have been drastically reduced via a relaxation in the qualification criteria for any EPC contractor. This has resulted in an avalanche of new players and therefore increased competition. E5 is hopeful and believes that 2021 will be incredibly fruitful for the industry and us.' PWR PWR