Immunitytech, agtech and remote worktech: Seven industries ripe for disruption in the wake of COVID-19


Source: That Startup Show.

Looking ahead into the unknown new age that is unfolding, we have to ask questions. What will the new world economy look like? And what role will entrepreneurs play in it?

The short answer is: the role of entrepreneurs in the new economy will be crucial in every meaningful way. Entrepreneurs will lead the way in discovering new ways for humanity to adapt, work and socialise.

Entrepreneurs and SME’s are and always will be the lifeblood of our economy. In Australia, 93% of all businesses are SME’s and employ nearly half of the total workforce. It’s useful to remind ourselves that every large corporation today was at some stage started by an entrepreneur. Companies are started at every stage of human history — especially to provide crucial products and services when humanity is going through massive disruptive change and upheaval.

I grew up in Africa and it struck me from a young age that entrepreneurship is not some vaunted or ‘cool’ life choice. Starting a business or working in an SME is, for many people, the only choice they have. These entrepreneurs naturally ‘spot’ opportunities in their environment and don’t spend much time building businesses that won’t make money, because if they did, they would not eat. They also don’t need to be taught the theory of product-market fit or complete endless lean canvasses to get going. They rely on their ability to rapidly learn, adapt and serve the needs of their communities well.

I believe that entrepreneurship is a core human trait that is always available to us — especially in times of great upheaval. Living in a modern world of corporate-style employment has perhaps made us forget this.

It’s time for many of us to reconnect strongly to this core trait and dust off our innate superpowers — because the world needs entrepreneurs now more than ever to step forward with innovative products and service.

Here are some emerging opportunities that I believe are especially relevant to Australian entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Remote worktech and virtual events platforms

Right now, we are in the early stages of the great global remote working experiment. We can see a future where the technology platforms become far more human-centred, resilient and seamlessly merge home office experience with virtual teams.

Current maturity of solutions in this space

Remote-work-everything has already begun, but the ‘Zoom experience’ and similar technology was designed for a previous age and is ripe for disruption.

Who will be ‘the Slack’ of this space and who will create new IoT devices to merge physical and virtual work experiences?

Opportunity to innovate


Regional-living platforms

‘Metro stress’ was already driving city dwellers to start moving back to or exploring working remotely from beautiful and affordable small towns. Remote work acceptance and crowd-avoiding behaviours are just going to accelerate this movement.

Current maturity of solutions in this space

One main player.

Opportunity to innovate


Foodtech and agtech

This one is obvious as local Australian food and agri entrepreneurs stand to significantly benefit from a world that will increasingly be more discerning about food provenance. Local food production over imported from here on.

Current maturity of solutions in this space

Established food and agri sector with room for improvement.

Opportunity to innovate

Significant opportunity to improve the vitality of the sector and make Australia a world leader in high quality ‘clean food’ production and export.


Immunity has gone from a general concept to a critical but confusing personal status in a matter of months. Immunity lifestyle platforms and apps will help provide us with personalised guidance and information about this crucial topic. There may be various attempts at public and private ‘immunity passports and visas’ in the near term.

Current maturity of solutions in this space

Low and confusing. Outside formal medical research on the topic, the general information sources are not designed to provide a holistic, personalised and a ‘citizen’ view.

Opportunity to innovate

Significant, with a few early voices doing some interesting work in this space.


We are only at the beginning of understanding how to adapt existing products and services to a world where physical proximity or touch is to be reduced or avoided. Think contact-free or digital-only interactions, new packaging methods, and permanent ‘safe shopping zones”’for the immunity-compromised and the elderly.

Current maturity of solutions in this space

Basic and starting out.

Opportunity to innovate


Hyper-local and small manufacturing

Earlier this year, several gin producers pivoted to producing hand sanitiser to survive and then ended up thriving.

Will we turn back the clock on local manufacturing or will there be an explosion of highly localised manufacturing SMEs serving local needs sustainably?

Current maturity of solutions in this space

There are players that have been around for a while, but who will create the hyperlocal community interaction platforms that are highly engaging and successfully navigate the social pitfalls? Will digital bartering be a thing?

Opportunity to innovate


Employment guilds

Expect this health crisis to have triggered ‘peak large corporate employment’. Where large corporates are in a continuous headcount reduction phase from here on, thereby ejecting many highly skilled workers into an employment market that has little appetite to employ them in permanent roles.

Enter the rise of employment guilds that are highly curated networks of contractors that collectively hunt for and deliver work as a ‘tribe’.

No need for permanent employment when you can leverage a large pool of trusted and skilled people on a per-project basis — then after the work is delivered they get ‘released’ back into the warm embrace of the guild.

Current maturity of solutions in this space

Existing expert and professional networks and platforms have been around for some time, but this space is going to see an influx of people and opportunity at unprecedented levels given the tsunami of redundancies coming.

Opportunity to innovate


NOW READ: Online retail explosion, pay-to-view conferences and a cleaning service boom: Twenty-one ways business will shift due to the COVID-19 pandemic

NOW READ: Many small businesses and startups are pivoting in an attempt to tap into new revenue streams in the face of the pandemic. So how do you identify a worthy pivot?


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