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Startups during COVID-19: Where are they headed?

Adnan Kayyali

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Startups during COVID-19

Startups have remained focused and determined to adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic, and in some cases, have been inspired to develop new ideas. Over half the fortune 500 companies were founded during an economic recession, and many more successful companies where founded in the years after that.

Undoubtedly, many startups during COVID-19 have had to re-evaluate from the ground up. A recent study shows that 18% of startups have changed their product or business idea to better suit the needs arising amid the pandemic.

Below, are some startups that not only found a profitable foothold amid the crisis but are helping shape the future post-pandemic.

Samsara: An IoT sensor systems manufacturer used by cargo or product transportation agencies, enables companies to operate more safely and efficiently. Their solutions are used in asset tracking, the automotive industry concerning driver safety and telematics, factory workflow and industrial process control, as well as mobile workflow and compliance.

Snowflake: A cloud-based data warehousing startup that launched publicly in 2014. Offering cloud storage and analytics, Snowflake allows customers to securely exchange, discover and share data both internally and externally. No doubt, the startup company found ample room to grow as enterprises shifted to remote work and were faced with intensified data security concerns.

Better.com: Thanks to the growing demand for private workspace and easier, more cost-effective loans, the digital mortgage lender of four years has found fertile ground for expansion and is on a hiring spree aiming to better serve customer needs. With work from home becoming the new norm, this company and others like it, may be the future of loans and mortgages.

Databricks: This is an open source data analytics, machine learning and data gathering company that can help a business derive more valuable insights from their data. Enabling large-scale data processing and analysis, this startup provides support to customers from experimentation to production. With the exponential growth of IoT across industries, Databricks can help optimize the processes and operational efficiency of an organization.

A pattern is clearly emerging here: utilizing tech to drive change across major sectors. It seems that right now, the stage is set for next generation innovators to take the lead and become the giants of tomorrow’s tech scene.

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Junior social media strategist with a degree in media and communication. Technology enthusiast and free-lance writer. Favorite hobby: 3D modeling.

MedTech

Robotics in the MENA region finds good footing amid virus

Adnan Kayyali

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robotics in the MENA region

As the need for contactless health and safety solutions becomes ever-more essential, robotics in the MENA region is taking off. The forward-thinking startups, students, and entrepreneurial minds have stepped up to meet the growing demand by addressing a complex situation with hands-on solutions.

In the UAE, entrepreneur Aswin Sarang, understands that the demand for robotics in the MENA region is on the rise, and has developed several robots each capable of performing a certain task which include delivering food and medicine, sanitization services, and checking for fever.

“The idea is to sterilize infected areas and surfaces, such as hospitals, endemic neighborhoods and isolation rooms, to prevent doctors, health workers and volunteers from being infected.” Said Aswin Sarang – Head of Robotics & AI at Reliable Robotics.

The company supports healthcare authorities, airports, malls, as well as the private sector.

Recently, Reuters reported on an Egyptian engineer Mahmoud el-Komy who put his healthcare robot to the test with positive results. The robot was made to deliver routine healthcare duties such as taking temperature and testing for COVID-19 all via remote control.

The robot also delivers health information to the patients.

“There has been a positive response from patients. They saw the robot and weren’t afraid. On the contrary, there is more trust in this because the robot is more precise than humans.”

The drive to develop robotics in the MENA region seems to be sparking passion among the youth as well. In Lebanon, two engineering students created a cleaner bot of their own to sterilize indoor spaces like hospital rooms and offices. The cleaner bot costs $700/$800 to produce and can be rented out for cleaning at a fee of $50/$70 per session, depending on the size of the job arabnews.com reported.

On demand sterilization service robotics in the MENA region and around the world may see a similar rise in demand post-pandemic. Performing routine tasks that limit human exposure can be safer and more efficient for consumers and businesses alike.

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MedTech

The multi-cloud adoption boom

Mounir Jamil

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multi-cloud adoption

As the rapid advancements in tech continue – fueled by the current pandemic – we find ourselves stretching our limits and breaking boundaries. An important area that has gained significant traction this year is cloud computing, and more specifically, multi-cloud adoption.

What is multi-cloud? 

For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, a multi-cloud environment Is when an enterprise utilizes more than one cloud platform and delivers a specific function, application, or service. Multi-clouds can be made up of private, public, and edge clouds to achieve a datacenter’s end goals and objectives. 

Multi-cloud adoption garnered a significant increase to 70 percent year-over-year in 2020, outpacing the previous year by a whopping 20 percent. 

Current State of multi-cloud

The Continuous Intelligence Report The State of Modern applications, DevSecOps and the Impact of COVID-19 from Sumo Logic revealed that customers adopted 3 main vendors to meet their cloud needs; CloudTrail (60 percent), VPC Flow Logs (34 percent) and GuardDuty (22 percent) respectively. 

The report is developed from data that is aggregated from more than 2100 Sumo Logic customers that run applications over several major cloud platforms as well as on-premises environments. The report highlighted the importance of securing cloud workloads via the adoption of both cloud-native security technologies and available cloud data sources. 

Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted how important remote work is – and that is where cloud-computing shines bright. The rise in multi-cloud adoption led enterprises to modern cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

It is noteworthy to mention that AWS regional centers in the EU and US were among the top targets for hackers, according to the Sumo Logic’s global intelligence. 

What are the benefits of multi-cloud adoption? 

  • Flexibility: No single cloud can perform most business functions, or at least no single cloud can do everything well. Integrating multi-cloud can allocate the right cloud platform to the right business function 
  • Proximity: By hosting some workloads through regional cloud providers that operate closer to where the user is, the enterprise would be greatly enhancing a user’s experience
  • Failover: As a failover solution, multi-cloud adoption can protect an enterprise from outages by providing readily available and highly scalable backup for data and workflows for systems 
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MedTech

Why GovTech adoption during COVID-19 is a must

Adnan Kayyali

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Govtech

GovTech is a new term that refers to the modernization and/or digitization of government services for better accessibility and efficiency of public services. A mouth full, but this suggests a need for governments to do what the private sector has been doing from the start: embrace and incorporate industry 4.0 technology. However, to do so on a governmental level is complex.

The tech revolution occurring around the world, accelerated by the pandemic will not wait for governments to search their paper file cabinet for a solution. Citizens’ expectations of speed and efficiency are set higher by the private sector.

Too many authorities in developing nations, and many government-managed institutions in developed nations, are woefully behind on tech adoption within their systems.

According to the World Bank’s definition as stated in their brief, GovTech is essentially about putting people first.

“GovTech is a whole-of-government approach to public sector modernization that promotes simple, accessible, and efficient government”.

Governments who had already begun improving their digital infrastructure before the pandemic, had a better chance of curbing outbreaks after the initial wave with known exceptions. Namely the US and UK. 

Examples of GovTech used well during the pandemic can be found more to the east, in Singapore and South Korea among others, where data-gathering and citizen compliance with safety measures worked well to begin with.

Still, in the United states we see examples of GovTech being implemented even before the pandemic.

In areas of infrastructure, 120 Water Audit was recently launched, a cloud-based water management software, that a government on any level and size can use to minimize water waste.

During the pandemic, we have seen companies like BlueDot develop early warning systems to predict outbreaks, allowing governments to react preemptively. These systems used data gathered from numerous data sets from news, medical records and airlines to detect certain trends using their algorithm.

In the future, we should expect better GovTech adoption in public health services. Governments must work with the private sector to secure the right systems and consolidate their systems for better data collection. Undoubtedly, this is a long-term process.

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