Should I start a business when the world is in crisis?

In March 2020 the world is in crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of people will get sick; some will die. Businesses will shut down and many people will lose their jobs. If you have a great idea for a new business, should you start now?

The answer is it depends. As Mark Suster, General Partner of Upfront Ventures, mentioned in his talk for SaaSTr (Slide 9): "Great businesses are built in good times and bad times".  Google and Salesforce were both built around the 2000 dot-com bubble crash. Uber and Instagram persevered despite the 2008 financial crisis.

If you have a good idea for a new business that solves some of the systematic problems exposed by the pandemic, the coming 6-18 months could be an amazing opportunity. You may have better access to talent, and your target market may be more open to try new ways of doing things due to everyone having to stay home.

Some market and technology trends whose time may have come include:

  • Telemedicine
  • Using AI / ML to provide a first diagnosis 
  • New ways to help people build social and professional relationships while on line
  • AgTech solutions that enable cost effective food production near where the food will be consumed
  • Factory automation to enable reshoring of manufacturing to North America
  • Supply chain insights and visibility solutions to help diagnose and solve bottlenecks
  • Supply chain optimization and agility solutions to help manufacturers better manage raw materials and finished goods inventory 
  • New manufacturing techniques that support mass customization
  • ... etc

With crisis comes opportunity. This is the time for innovators and entrepreneurs to put their skills to practice, and help solve problems on a global scale.


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