With the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic leading to millions of employees working remotely, the tech industry—and the innovators behind it—has somewhat changed its outlook on trends worth partnering with or investing in, Uzi Scheffer, the CEO of Tel Aviv and New York-based innovation hub SOSA said in a interview with Calcalist on Sunday.
SOSA recently organized an online event exploring what startups, corporations, and investors are currently looking for in terms of innovative technologies. Participating startups included location analytics company Anagog Ltd. and marketing analytics company AppsFlyer Ltd., which recently completed
a $210 million series D funding round at a company valuation of $1.6 billion.
Scheffer said there are two components that particularly interest innovation managers in corporations: one is the company’s internal processes, with the goal of accelerating innovation adaptation, and the other is the technology itself. Neither component is more important than the other, Scheffer said.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the more popular fields of investment at the moment are digital health startups and telehealth technologies, Scheffer said. Even companies that have not yet received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for their drugs or technologies are still very interesting for investors, he added. “Usage-based insurance, contactless payment technologies, last-mile delivery, and autonomous manufacturing have also become popular fields for the markets,” Scheffer explained.
In fact, data has also become increasingly more important as organizations need to understand what their customers require in these new circumstances, so they can keep serving them and assure business continuity, Scheffer said. Remote working technologies and cybersecurity are naturally in high demand as well, he added.
“For example, the new circumstances, where people work from home and drive much less, are very much relevant for insurance companies in order to reassess their client’s risk profiles. Why should people insure their cars if they are not used? Hence, the current situation expedites the search and implementation of usage-based insurance solutions,” he said.
On the other hand, travel tech has become less interesting under the current circumstances, although some long terms players have mentioned their interest to keep considering these as well.
As for coworking spaces, Scheffer said he believes it is too soon to tell what will occur. On one hand, people have become somewhat accustomed to work from home and have proved to be fairly productive, but on the other hand, shared office spaces may be very beneficial as a flexible option of returning to the office after the pandemic slows down, he said.
Founded in Israel in 2014 by a group of angel investors and venture firms, SOSA combines
an investor network with a corporate innovation hub operating from centers in Tel Aviv and New York City, and most recently London.