It’s a new decade and there’s a brand-new crop of tech startups making innovations that are – or soon will be – impacting our lives. We’ve prepared a primer on 2020’s hottest sectors, and a list of just some of the game-changing tech startups industry watchers are taking note of.
We have entered the year of FinTech: it’s poised to reach a tipping point in 2020. According to a MasterCard industry report funding for FinTech startups surpassed the annual total for 2017, coming at $24.6 billion by the end of Q3 2019. The year of FinTech was heralded in with news that Visa acquired startup Plaid, a tech platform that allows applications to connect with users’ bank accounts, for a whopping $5.3 billion.
FinTech startups to watch:
1) Brex. This fast-growing corporate-card-for-startups provider was valued at $2.6 billion last June after only two years of existence. It also fits into another hot category: startups that serve other startups.
2) Robinhood. This no-fee stock trading platform may IPO in 2020.
3) TransferWise. This online payment and currency exchange firm has long been considered a disrupter. But it’s also popular – with 6 million people transferring more than $5 billion a month – and actually making money, for three years running.
The 2020 edition of the tech showcase CES touted AI as a dominant force for the new decade. AI startups are hot: behemoths like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft have been snapping them up. They are also venture capitalist darlings: CB Insights reports AI startups raised a record of $26.6 billion in 2019.
AI startups to watch:
1) Qordoba. This AI-powered software solution helps everyone in a company write in the same tone, and boasts Twitter, Visa, and PayPal as clients.
2) Samsara. This Internet of Things solution for industrial companies is on many industry watch lists.
3) Sisu. It’s a cutting-edge analytics startup, founded by a Stanford professor. Its data analytics platform is reportedly ten times faster than any other.
4) Snowflake. The cloud-based data warehouse has enjoyed massive revenue, customer and hiring growth, and is widely expected to IPO in 2020.
Cyber threats and attacks are a new reality; cybersecurity will continue to be a hot startup sector through 2020 and beyond. Offline, physical security is facing new scrutiny, especially with the rise of the sharing economy. Some of 2020’s hottest startups address both kinds.
Security startups to watch:
1) BigID. This fast-growing startup helps companies protect data and meet privacy requirements, the latter being big news in 2020 with the implementation of new data privacy law including the incoming California Consumer Privacy Act.
2) Checkr. This unicorn provides online background checks for employers, including Uber and Lyft. The company’s growth coupled with the ongoing conversation about safety around rideshare, food delivery, and other programs makes it one to watch.
3) Snyk. A cybersecurity platform that helps developers spot vulnerabilities in their open source libraries and containers. It reached unicorn status in early 2020 after just five years.
You’ve probably already heard, but 2020 is the year that 5G is going mainstream. Finally,
The 5G startup to watch:
1) Movandi. This start up’s technology extends 5G’s reach beyond densely populated urban areas.
And lastly, a few just plain cool game-changers that are tackling world problems.
1) Ayar Labs, Lightmatter, and Luminous Computing. They’re working on ultra-fast computer chips that will basically fuel the AI revolution.
2) Benchling: This startup digitalizes lab notebooks and drives collaboration between researchers, helping fuel innovations in medicine, life science, and other industries.
3) Shape Therapeutics: This startup is developing ways to edit human RNA in an effort to develop cures for diseases.