Finding Opportunity in Calamity: AI Start-ups During COVID

Since the start of the pandemic early this year, businesses have been hit hard financially with many still struggling to bounce back. While the Federal Government has begun implementing its three-step plan for easing COVID-19 restrictions across Australia, a lengthy transition period is inevitable as global travel remains limited and other economies are at varying stages of recovery.  

During these unprecedented times, there is also a silver lining. Despite challenges, new opportunities arise for entrepreneurs to build start-ups that have the potential to solve societal problems, address constraints resulting from difficult health or economic conditions and respond to changing needs and circumstances.

Start-ups have become the key drivers of economic growth and job creation,  acting as a catalyst for radical innovation. This has occurred in the past. Multi-million-dollar businesses such as Dropbox, Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp, Groupon, and Pinterest were all born during or just after the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.  

When the current pandemic was labelled as a global crisis, many were quick to react. People across the world reacted by merging face-to-face and remote work across industries like education and health services while providing innovation in medical goods and services. 

The ideas brought to life so far have had significant impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19. Not only have businesses launched a range of digital health services like COVID-19 trackers, remote patient monitoring, and virtual consultations, they have also adapted commercial products such as snorkelling masks for oxygen provision in hospitals. Even the ‘no-contact’ food delivery system was implemented swiftly.  

Most start-ups are born in response to one of two key events – identifying a compelling opportunity, or wanting to solve a problem. The COVID-19 era brings with it the potential for further innovation and digitalisation, for example, AI-driven tools and improvements in operations, especially within healthcare, manufacturing, and technology industries. Many companies can be seen implementing chatbots for improving their customer response rate or adapting their data-screening tools to better understand consumer behaviour. 

The 2018 Startup Muster report finds Artificial Intelligence to be the biggest start-up industry in Australia, having grown from 14.5 per cent of all start-ups in 2017 to 20.6 per cent in 2018. Since then, this number has continued to grow with more business investing in this technology and integrating AI into their framework.  

However, the undoubted shift that the pandemic has caused in our economy and work environment makes start-ups more vulnerable to constraints regarding access to funding, fostering relationships with strategic business partners and customers, and volatile market demand. 

The silver lining is that technology and innovation sit at the centre of this shift and can be the source of survival and prosperity for businesses in the new age. AI’s significant computing capabilities help improve data-based decision-making, enable efficient business forecasting, and provide rich insights that can be a game-changer for companies. 

AI Ventures is confident in supporting current and upcoming businesses looking to capitalise on AI technology. If you or someone you know has an AI-driven idea for a business, we are keen to hear from you and support your passion. 

Find out more about AIV Virtual Incubator Program below:

Article By : Patrick Chapman

AI Ventures has an ambition to help build the next generation of AI-driven startups . Our Mentor program is currently running and we welcome innovative startups focusing on AI, Machine Learning and Robotics to apply.

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