Top 8 Entrepreneurship Trends You Need to Know (2021)
Here are the 8 fastest-growing entrepreneurship trends of 2021. And the technology and taste changes setting those trends.
Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or entirely new to the business world, these are the top trends to watch.
1. Entrepreneurs move into IoT
“Blynk” searches - the most popular IoT platform lets you get started for free.
The hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) has died down over the last 5 years. But the ecosystem around it is still developing at a fast clip.
In fact, Fortune Business Insights estimates that the IoT space will grow to a staggering $1.4 trillion + by 2027.
In the early days of the technology, IoT projects were only taken on by big companies (like Amazon) that had the time and resources to build systems from the ground up. But thanks to new tech and development platforms, IoT is now accessible to most business owners.
For example, Blynk is an Internet of Things platform that allows anyone to easily create interfaces for controlling and monitoring your projects, like a smart houseplant watering system.
Pre-designed widgets get you up and running quickly with native iOS and Android apps. These apps can then control electronics, monitor sensor data, get notifications, and so on, so that you can control hardware from anywhere.
From smart lamps to soil moisture monitors, the device possibilities are endless. And there are plenty of YouTube tutorials and Udemy courses out there for hungry makers and tinkerers.
Blynk runs thousands of internet-connected products, from home projects to massive enterprise venture products.Blynk also scales from basic prototyping to commercial IoT solutions. So if you find you’ve cooked up a commercially viable piece of hardware in your man cave, you can deploy your first fleet of devices as a Kickstarter project.
2. No-code web apps become more mainstream
“Low-code” searches - this topic exploded in early 2018 and hasn’t slowed down since.
No code, or low-code, refers to web and mobile development using a drag-and-drop interface. This requires much less technical knowledge than building via web programming languages and raw code.
Low-code enables anyone to build and create blogs, online marketplaces, and even fully-fledged Software as a Service (SaaS) apps. All without the need for a developer or designer.
Bubble is one of the top platforms for building no-code web apps quickly and easily.
No code web apps make web entrepreneurship without a Computer Science degree possible. As a result, entire industries are now accessible to “non-techy” entrepreneurs (which is part of the reason that Research and Markets estimates that the low-code industry could be worth $27B by 2022).
But even seasoned web developers often use no-code solutions (like Webflow) as a fast way to build apps quickly or to prototype business ideas.
And as this low-code entrepreneurial trend gains momentum, a whole ecosystem is springing up around it.
3. Email makes a comeback
“ConvertKit” searches - Nathan Barry's email marketing platform has absolutely taken off over the last year.
Small business owners are falling back in love with email.
Well for starters, you have full ownership over your mailing list subscribers. Which isn’t true of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook... or any other social media platform.
Also, social media organic reach has declined dramatically in recent years. The algorithms on sites like Facebook have become more opaque. And these platforms increasingly make you pay to promote posts to your audience instead.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t the holy grail of long-term, sustainable traffic it once was either. The Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) have become massively crowded by paid results and featured snippets.
Plus, email marketing has a track record of impressive ROIs. In fact, the Data and Marketing Association reports that the ROI from email marketing can be as high as 42x the investment.
On the other hand, your email subscribers have given you permission to send your message straight into their inbox. And emails get read.
This gives you the opportunity to teach them first, provide value and build trust. And then move into a soft sell when they’re ready.
Even if you don’t sell a digital product, your email newsletter and announcements can still be a crucial contact point for customers.
ConvertKit is email marketing software aimed at creators to do work they love.
And email marketing software like ConvertKit, that helps creators keep in touch with their audiences, has exploded in recent years.
4. Micro-influencers come into the spotlight
“Micro influencers” searches - the concept didn’t exist 5 years ago.
Micro influencers are folks on Instagram, YouTube or TikTok with a small, loyal following.
The exact metrics that define a "micro influencer" or "Nano influencer" vary.
But they're usually people that have somewhere in the range of 1k-20k followers on a single platform.
Why is this entrepreneurship trend on the rise?
Influencer Marketing initially looked like a strategy that only applied if you wanted to sell to millennials. But the practice is now mainstream. And paying influencers to promote or mention products has become big part of most marketing department's budgets.
Including plenty of big brands. Which is why Influencer Marketing has gotten so expensive over the last year or so (some estimates state that companies are now spending upwards of $10B per year on their influencer marketing campaigns).
Fortunately, most micro influencers are too small for Fortune 500 businesses to care about. Which can make them more affordable for small business owners to partner up with.
5. Content becomes omnichannel
“Designrr” searches - no that’s not a typo!
Content is still king. Statista estimates that people spend over 7 hours per day interacting with media and content.
And the number of different ways in which people consume content is still growing.
And even formats that have been around forever like podcasts are suddenly surging.
The best online entrepreneurs are adapting quickly to these alternative content formats. Many are repurposing existing content into these different formats to access new audiences.
For example, many podcasters are starting to video record their episodes. These video episodes can then be uploaded to YouTube along with mainstream podcasting platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
These same podcasters then transcribe the show into text, to instantly produce a long-form blog article too. Some even use clips from the podcast as "microcontent" on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Wavve is exploding for this very reason.
In fact, the top creators of 2021 specifically design their content production pipeline to hit several channels. And there are tools that even automate this process.
The Desgnrr web app takes any content format you give it and spits out eBooks, transcripts and webpages.
Software that helps scale content repurposing can help entrepreneurs squeeze more out of their content marketing. That's because tools like Desgnrr make it easy to convert a video or podcast into written content to reach new audiences, use as lead magnets, or for SEO.
6. Capital flows into climate tech startups
According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, VC investment into climate tech startups is growing 5x faster than other investment categories.
VC investments in the space went from $418M in 2013 to $16.3B in 2019.
Investments in climate tech are on a rapid rise.
But according to the report, that’s only scratching the surface of a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity.
Several large climate change investment funds have been introduced recently with the backing of major corporations.
Amazon’s Climate Pledge is devoted to making Amazon net zero carbon by 2040. To that end, so far the company has created the $2B Climate Pledge Fund and the $100M Right Now Climate Fund.
The first recipients of the former were announced a few months ago:
Pachama, which helps monitor reforestation and forest conservation projects.
Redwood Materials, which has a process for recycling lithium-ion batteries and e-waste.
Turntide Technologies, which manufactures motors that are 64% more efficient without using rare earth minerals.
And CarbonCure Technologies, which has created a concrete-production process that sequesters carbon dioxide.
CarbonCure’s impact to date.
Separate from Amazon, in February Jeff Bezos announced an even bigger climate fund: the $10B Bezos Earth Fund.
From Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund announcement.
While Unilever has announced a €1B Climate & Nature Fund and aims to be net zero emissions by 2039.
At the same time, dozens of smaller firms and funds are focused solely on climate tech.
Interesting climate tech startups include:
Climeworks, which uses powerful fans with a special filtration system to remove carbon dioxide from the air. The carbon dioxide is then either recycled or sequestered to combat climate change. Climeworks raised $110M this year.
Searches for "Cliemworks" have increased by 5.2x over 5 years.
Growcer, a pre-seed vertical farming startup based in Switzerland. The company uses AI and robotics to efficiently grow produce without pesticides.
Search interest in “vertical farming” is increasing.
Indigo Ag, which offers several services to farmers that are both eco-friendly and good for business. Including microbials that help plants use water more efficiently and a “carbon marketplace” that lets farms earn money by sequestering carbon. The company recently raised $360M.
Fenix International, which makes solar systems for houses that don’t have access to a traditional electrical grid. (According to the company, that’s true of 80% of Africa, for example.) The San Francisco-based startup has raised $16.6M so far.
Searches for Fenix International.
Energy Vault, which offers gravity-based electricity storage using huge towers of 35-ton blocks. The blocks are raised to “store” kinetic energy: when they’re lowered again, the weight of the falling bricks generates electricity. Energy Vault has raised $110M.
7. Increased demand for super-specialized skills
“ShipBob” searches - 99.97% of orders ship the same day with ShipBob.
Entrepreneurship these days requires greater specialization to maintain a competitive edge.
Both entrepreneurs and businesses are doubling down on what they’re best at to give themselves an advantage over the competition.
For example, more founders are starting to get help from virtual assistants to perform administrative and other tasks. This frees them up to focus on delivering more value in their specialty.
And this is happening with all parts of the business, not just the founder’s time.
For example, direct-to-consumer ecommerce stores can now outsource product fulfillment entirely. Which can enable ecommerce sites to focus on what they're good at: product development and marketing.
ShipBob specializes in product fulfillment so that eCommerce businesses can outsource it to them entirely.
This means that the customer gets the product faster. And the entrepreneur can focus entirely on their product or service.
8. Entrepreneur communities flourish
“Indie Hackers” searches - before this website defined the phrase in 2017, it didn’t mean anything.
For a long time, the only people sharing stories about their successful businesses were shady hucksters looking to sell their own get rich quick schemes.
But new entrepreneurs communities are springing up left and right. Members of these communities openly share their business strategies and growth tactics. Even revenue numbers!
Indiehackers has literally coined the term “indie hacker”, or a person building an online project to generate revenue.
Starter Story is another place for entrepreneurs to go for inspiration. But instead of a community of people starting new business, this site is mainly focused on providing interviews with eCommerce entrepreneurs.
And a strong community of female entrepreneurs named Women Make has emerged too.
We can expect more micro-communities of entrepreneurs to spring up across all verticals.
There You Have It
That's our list of the biggest trends in entrepreneurship happening right now.
Some, like email making a comeback, probably surprise a lot of folks.
But other trends listed here, like no-code and IoT, are things that many business owners in the tech space are familiar with.
Regardless, we can look forward to more interesting trends in the business world in the coming years.