Top Startup Trends of 2020

Each January, predictions pop up about what the next 12 months have in store for us. From hypotheses about how the government will change to the thoughts on how tech will evolve, nearly everyone has a hunch about what’s up next. Perhaps the most important place to focus our attention is where innovation meets business. 

Startup trends help us to think about the future using the past. Even if they turn out to not be true, I am of the opinion that everyone should at least have an idea or think about what is next to come. However, if predicting the future seems like too much work, that’s okay. I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 startup trends to emerge in 2020 as predicted by the most well-know entrepreneurial journalist sites in existence. 

Let’s begin with

AI Technology

“In 2020, the use of AI-based technology skills must be implemented in the country at large as they have a holistic approach.”

Innovation-driven Startups

“These startups have a high growth potential that can bring new innovations with a clear viable advantage.”

Futuristic Solutions for the Current Problem

“In the coming days, incubators may provide much-needed sustenance and push to build a solid foundation for the entrepreneur industry.”

Ethical Training for Upcoming Startups

“Empathetic decision-making and compliance must be the focus in 2020.”

Social and Environmental Impact VC funds

“The more the investors will emphasis on achieving affirmative social and environmental consequences, the more capital will be available to back startups.”

I am in near-total agreement with numbers 1, 4, and 5 of’s list of 5 above, but I think “innovation-driven startups” and “futuristic solutions for current problems” are too vague to be considered startup trends for 2020.

Next, we have

Capital Efficiency Focus

“Having seen a number of the world’s biggest startup success stories slashed in value over the course of the year, it has become clear that, in some cases, a lot of capital has been wasted on ineffective business models and unsuitable founders”

Culture Accountability

“Founders are starting to realize that encouraging an all-out ‘hustle culture’ can be counterproductive to building a successful, sustainable brand — not to mention attracting talent. Hence, in 2020, we’ll see more startups showing their human side and becoming more open-minded about recruitment and HR policies.”

Rise in Innovation with Back-Office Industries 

“Areas like insurance, logistics and industrial technology have been slower to capitalize on existing and proven tech than their consumer cousins, which means that there are still plenty of opportunities to develop truly disruptive ideas and build enormous companies.”

Offline Brand Building

“As the costs involved in digital tactics increasingly eat into startup ROI, and as audiences become savvier about the thousands of messages being flung at them from all angles, offline is gradually reasserting itself as a way for brands to differentiate themselves.”

IoT for Investment and Security

“While the focus up to now has largely been on lifestyle solutions, we’ll see an increasing number of professional and industrial applications being adopted, ranging from healthcare to logistics and manufacturing.”

I think the point about Capital Efficiency is an interesting one. We don’t typically think of a trend as being so abstract as this notion is. Essentially, Forbes is predicting that investors are going to spend their money more wisely in the coming year but not necessarily that they’ll spend less. To me, this focus on spending money strategically goes hand in hand with the need to seriously care about the fundamentals of startup creation. 

In my startup consulting practice, the first question I ask entrepreneurs is how do you plan to make money? I don’t even ask about their business first. Why? Because if they don’t have a solid answer to the revenue model question all of their other elevator pitches and slides are useless. Your startup needs to make a profit and do so efficiently. For that reason, I spend a lot of time working with my clients on developing their financial plan before we get to work on the business model or any operational elements. 

And finally, let’s hear from

Remote Healthcare

“75% of healthcare costs are accounted to the management of chronic diseases, daily. Hence, there is an emerging need for devices that can monitor and report a person’s health in real-time.”

Retail Distribution and Supply Chain

“Ever-changing customer expectations — from one-week delivery to two hours, we have truly evolved, thus an effective retail distribution and supply chain management using technology is a strong value differentiator going forward.”

Learning and Education Methodologies

“We have entered an era where learning, be it at the school level or after getting a job, never seems to stop and is no more contained to physical classrooms. This has given rise to platforms that can provide the necessary education at a student’s convenience.”

Content Consumption Behavior

“Content consumption behavior is a service that helps compute the best platform which can be used by a corporation to reach its consumer set(s). In 2020, where new businesses will emerge, there will also emerge startups that can carry out content consumption behavior analytics and provide these startups with insightful solutions.”

Workspace as a Service

“Co-working spaces and inspiration hubs will emerge in 2020 as spaces where startups and established corporates will not only be able to plug and play in terms of infrastructure, but will also get an environment to collaborate and co-build companies using shared teams.”

Personally, I am incredibly curious to watch as all of these trends play out over this new year and help shape this new decade but of all of the trends listed here, I am most excited to watch and help shape the evolution of the Workspace as a Service trend. I have been writing about the future of work since before it was cool. 

I’ve advocated for shorter workweeks and more flexible schedule as well as providing employees benefits they actually care about like on-site fitness facilities and healthy catered lunches. As more and more people become fed up with the traditional 9–5 factory system, they’ll be moving toward independent work from the innovative coworking spaces that are taking over cities everywhere. If I had to put my money down on one trend that I think will have the biggest impact in 2020, I would bet on Workspace as a service. 

What do you see as the next trends to wash over the startup sphere and how do you think these will impact the way we live today? Answer in the comments!

Have a great new year everyone!

Let's Chat.