18 December 2020

Opportunities Aplenty for Innovative Firms in Response to Covid-19

Faced with the devastating effects wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across most industries are facing an adapt-or-die scenario. Yet, there are encouraging signs of innovative reactions in the face of the impending threat. Here, we look at sectors that are leading the way in the transition to a post-COVID economy.

A Healthy Outlook?

The pharmaceutical industry is an obvious place to start. Pfizer and BioNTech rose by 1.4% and 9.6% respectively over the course of the day on November 20, following their announcement that they had submitted their vaccines to the U.S. Federal Drug Administration. Although the American multinational was still down 7% from its latest buy point and 3% year-to-date, Pfizer representatives expressed confidence that a corner had been turned. This was thanks to the firm’s touted ability to roll out 50 million doses by the end of the year, subject to approval by the FDA and other national regulatory authorities. As for BionNTech, the Germany-headquartered company has recorded an unprecedented 180% surge year-to-date.

Elsewhere, the need for up-to-the-minute information has led to the emergence of innovative technologies. OpitmizeRx, a digital health firm specialising in solutions for life science companies, doctors and patients reported unaudited revenues of US£$10 million for Q3 – representing 100% growth on same year-ago quarter. Providing cloud-based, instant alerts to CDCs worldwide, the company has shown itself able to ride the COVID-19 wave. A similar success story is the biotech company Moderna, which employs Amazon cloud-computing services to cooperate with health agencies on vaccine development. There has also been disruptive innovation in the area of telemedicine, as patients are encouraged to seek virtual care. Even before the virus hit American shores, the U.S. company PlushCare saw a 40% hike in appointments compared to the typical 10% increase for the annual flu season.

Keeping You Covered

Embracing the realisation that social-distancing requirements will increase demand for online solutions, Insurtech trailblazers are also reaping the rewards. A recent report by Forbes highlighted a 30-50% boost in online sales for companies offering user-friendly apps that employ data-driven underwriting. Based on statistics from previous pandemics, such as the Spanish Flu – which saw life insurance demand soar by almost 80 percent in 1919, providers are anticipating further opportunities. Companies utilising advanced tech such as data analytics and API-enabled platforms to help scale their business could be poised to thrive.

Learn to Earn

With classroom-based learning disrupted in countries worldwide, educational institutions have certainly had to think on their feet. The move towards remote learning through integrated learning management systems (LMS) is leading to new possibilities for cooperation between education and technology. However, in the United States, huge disparities in Internet access mean that low-income families are much more likely to suffer in the current climate. Of course, these issues are structural and need to be addressed through increased competition in the ISP market, among other measures. Nevertheless, Nordic tech companies have shown the way forward by making their e-learning solutions available through a platform known as Education Nation. This demonstrates considerable potential for outside-the-box thinking in this arena. For, while the software on this platform is free, it provides invaluable promotion for the flourishing EduTech sectors of these nations.

Disruptive Influence

Whatever the industry, as these examples show, firms that are prepared to push the envelope in anticipating changing consumer needs need not fall victim to COVID-19. Instead, a disruptive mindset and an ability to spot gaps in the market when they appear can help convert crisis into opportunity.

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