Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant setbacks, it also did bring opportunities for individuals and organizations to prove themselves. A number of tech startups experienced their own challenges, but those who could grab opportunities survived and play critical roles for the economies.
The pandemic challenged the creation and survival of some businesses, limiting their growth, but innovative tech startups reacted quickly and proffered flexible solutions as countries made a fast shift to digital work, helping to incorporate technology into major services and structures.
I recently had a chat with Sameer Sortur Founder of SquareCircle Global, on Tech Trends show, where he discusses how best tech startups can take advantage of opportunities in these trying times.
CFA: Sameer, welcome to Tech Trends
Sameer: Thanks for the invitation. I’m happy to be here.
CFA: How would you describe the effect of the pandemic on technology startups in general?
Sameer: So, I think when the pandemic started early February/mid-March, no one was prepared let alone the tech startups.
Most of the tech startups that were in the growth stage were actually looking at solid growth opportunities in 2020 and when the pandemic hit, they were not very well prepared for a long runway. While some of the growth stage companies including unicorns were ready to expand their geographical limits.
Basically, because of the pandemic, they had to shelf their plan or take a back seat on their plan, reconfigure their businesses, and look at a much leaner business model to help them survive and preserve their runway for the long term- 12 to 18 months.
In our region specifically, what we notice is that in two to three months post-pandemic, we saw that some of the e-commerce and fintech startups were doing extremely well, exponentially well. The other startups which were in tech-enabled businesses were suffering.
Some of the traditional businesses who tried to come on the e-commerce bandwagon also were preparing their backend engines to come and join the complete e-commerce race. The preparedness was not there and suddenly they thought their retail avenues would suffice, but that wasn’t the case.
Hence, a lot of large retail chains had to shut down. We saw many large retail chains shut down because they were not able to become digital very quickly.
On the other hand, e-commerce and fintechs boomed because everybody started orderings since they were at home under lockdown. This made quick-service restaurants, home delivery businesses extremely popular; also, remittances became one of the hot topics.
You can watch the full interview here.