Here are the 9 fastest-growing startup trends of 2020. And the groundbreaking companies setting those trends.

Whether you're looking to launch a startup or invest in one, these are the top trends to keep an eye on.


1. New wave of Biotech startups

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“DNA Nudge” searches - demand for this product has rocketed at the start of 2020.

In the last decade we had ancestry test kits telling you about our past ancestors, but soon our DNA will inform our future actions.

For example, DNA Nudge provides a cheek swab DNA test, mobile app and a “DnaBand” for your wrist.

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DNA Nudge’s “DnaBand” looks like something from the future and comes in a variety of colors.

This combined technology allows you to get nutrition recommendations tailored specifically to your individual DNA.

And DNA testing has the potential to go way beyond telling you what to eat for breakfast.

New products in this category might look at the best exercise routines or skincare products for our unique DNA fingerprint.

And in the future, we won’t just be adapting to our DNA. We’ll likely be changing our underlying DNA to best fit our choices too.


2. Digital innovation spreads to Africa

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“Twiga Foods” searches - there are spikes with press mentions of the company, but the general trend here is clear.

Startups and venture capital money are starting to move into Africa. Once deemed too risky, the untapped potential on the continent is too great for many startups to ignore.

For example, Kenya-based Twiga Foods is creating a food distribution network and infrastructure, along with technology such as a mobile app for trade and inventory tracking.

This Goldman-backed startup currently connects 17,000 farmers in Kenya to 8,000 vendors. And this number is fast increasing.

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Twiga’s two-sided marketplace has benefits for both farmers and vendors.

In doing so, Twiga has reduced typical post-harvest losses from 30% to 4% on average.

This isn’t the first African startup to receive high-profile funding and attention.

For example, fintech startup Jumo is making waves in South Africa. And pan-African e-commerce company Jumia was even listed on the NYSE last year.

Continued wins on the continent like this open the door for more VC-backed startup ventures to follow shortly.


3. Sustainable finance goes mainstream

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“Sustainable finance” searches - hockey stick growth going into the next decade.

Sustainable finance is the practice of investing with environmental and social returns in mind.

This concept is becoming increasingly mainstream and the many related searches under this umbrella term are growing with it.

And as investors broaden their definition of Return On Investment (ROI), startups will look to prove more than just their revenue trajectories. Startup pitch decks will also start to include slides to prove their net-positive social and ecological effects.

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Beyond Meat’s investor relations presentation slide emphasizes that their burgers are “better for you and the planet”.

For example, the food startup Beyond Meat has rocketed to popularity with their plant-based burger that looks, cooks and tastes like beef.


4. Proven business models race to new geographies

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“Glovo” searches - it really took off in 2018 and has continued that trend since.

Startups like Uber Eats, GrubHub and DoorDash have already proven the food delivery app model.

Likewise for ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, which massively shook up the traditional taxi industry.

And now there’s a venture capital-funded race to capture the different geographies in these spaces. New players are establishing strongholds in other parts of the globe using the same proven business models.

A particularly interesting example is Glovo. This Spanish startup initially looks like every other food delivery app. They operate across Europe, but they’re also expanding operations across both South America and North Africa too.

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Glovo lets you track your deliveries in real-time, which is the new industry standard.

And Glovo is a little special in that they deliver not just food, but anything: phone accessories, pet food, flowers. Even macarons. Although food is still their main gig.


5. A no-code startup boom

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“Low-code” searches - interest exploded in the Summer of 2018 and has remained high ever since.

Companies like Webflow, Bubble and Zapier now make it easier than ever for anyone to build digital products. Specifically, these platforms allow you to create “no code” or “low-code” custom apps and websites.

Low-code” refers to web and mobile development using a drag-and-drop interface, rather than programming languages and raw code.

Low-code requires much less, or even zero coding knowledge. And even seasoned web developers often use no-code solutions as a super fast way to build apps. Or to quickly prototype business ideas.

There’s a whole movement springing up around no code. For example, Makerpad has seen fast success as a tutorial platform and community for entrepreneurs building without code.

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Makerpad teaches you how to get up and running with an app in minutes.

We can expect some of the biggest tech startups of the 2020s to start off as no-code Minimum Viable Products (MVPs).


6. The sharing economy reaches all sectors

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“Cloud kitchens” searches - searches for this term show the classic “hockey stick” growth shape.

Over the last 10 years, both individuals and companies realized they could capitalize on assets that regularly sit unused.

Often referred to as the “sharing economy”, instead resources are used by many with the help of technology and review systems.

For example, Airbnb allowed homeowners to rent out their houses while they’re away to make extra income. This uprooted the traditional hotel industry, as Airbnbs can be a cheaper and more homely option for many travelers.

Going into the next decade, the sharing economy concept will be fully played out as startups attempt to extend its power into other sectors.

A new startup named Cloud Kitchens is now the trailblazer for the concept of shared kitchen spaces made for delivery-only restaurants.

These flexible kitchens allow upstart food businesses in prime locations to capitalize on the new food delivery megatrend, but with significantly less investment.

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Advantages of “delivery-only” restaurants according to Cloud Kitchens.

It’s championed by Travis Kalanick, previously the co-founder and CEO of Uber.

As a result of this startup trend, restaurants without storefronts are springing up across many major cities.


7. Agile development is automated

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“Standuply” searches - The tool was featured on the main page of the Slack App Directory in 2017.

Agile development is a software development methodology that encourages adaptive and flexible planning. It has been widely adopted and become common practice at many tech startups.

And now startups are looking to automate this process with tools that remove friction and help enforce good practice.

A prime example of this in action is Standuply. It’s a digital Scrum Master bot that runs standup meetings and team surveys in Slack.

This replaces the need for a human Certified Scrum Master to facilitate the agile development team.

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Standuply quickly rocketed to a milestone of 1,000 teams and they haven’t stopped growing since with $80,000 in revenue per month now.

We can soon expect all work conducted on a routine basis at startups like this to be automated where possible.

Startups that facilitate this transition and integrate with existing shared tools like Slack will match Stansuply’s success.


8. Convenience reigns in consumer markets

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“Lensabl” searches - despite poor aggregate reviews for service quality, Lensabl searches continue to climb fast.

With Amazon setting the standard for delivery efficiency and customer service, consumers now expect only the best.

Convenience and speed are becoming more and more crucial for customers. Startups that ride this trend and prioritize the customer’s convenience will flourish.

A perfect example of this is Lensabl. This digital-first startup provides an online prescription lenses replacement service.

You take the eye test from home with their online eye exam. And their service model also allows you to send in any frames you own and get them fitted.

This allows you to keep your current favorite frames. Or choose any non-prescription brand out there.

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Lensabl’s eye test in a box is quite compact.

Startups that disrupt traditional markets like this, with convenience as their core value proposition, are on the rise.

Especially since this kind of service has the potential to attract raving fans who spread the product through word-of-mouth.


9. Agtech is in demand

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“Regenerative agriculture” searches - this term really started to hit public consciousness in 2019.

Agricultural technology is needed as societies look to go beyond sustainable farming.

Sustainable agriculture looks to maintain the status quo of topsoil and ecological systems (which are often already degraded).

However, regenerative agriculture is next on the agenda. This means to improve the soil and reverse humans’ impact on the environment through a self-nourishing process.

Agtech innovations can help to facilitate the change, such as soil sensors that measure aeration and respiration.

For example, digital livestock tech startup Antelliq had a $2.4 billion exit. Their smart tag product allows farmers to more easily keep track of and monitor cows.

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One of Antelliq’s smart tag modeled by a dairy cow.

So massive acquisitions are possible for those startups that ride this trend and build Agtech solutions.


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