2021 Startup Trends Report

This article is based on a Tweet thread from a month ago that received 1M impressions.

We’ve tracked ~1500 startups (seen 10x more) and talked to 100s of investors in the last year. Here are some of the exciting trends and startups we’ve noticed or come across. It’s a mix of early & late stuff.

⚙️No Code – This year was big! Airtable and Zapier are king, followed by Webflow & Bubble. Tools that sit on top include Memberstack & MemberSpace (memberships), Stacker (app), Obviously AI & Levity AI (AI/ML). Jump to Makerpad to learn more about this space.

🗃Productivity – Notion looms large. Coda and ClickUp have a bit more data capabiltities. Retool to go straight to your back-end. Raycast & Command E are like Superhuman UI for your mac. CommandDot for calendar. Motion for browser.

👩‍💻Remote Work – Expecting this to stick around to some degree. Firstbase for home office equipment. Hire remote w Pangian, manage remote employees w RemoteDeel, or Panther. Manage remote interns w Symba. There’s been a rise in collaboration tools like CoScreenMmhmm, and Loom.

👩‍🏫Education – Homeschooling with PrismaPrimer, and Galileo. Microschools w PrendaWonderschool, and Schoolhouse. Find childcare at Winnie. Virtual classes at OutschoolClassDojo & Clever help schools digitize. Panorama provides data insights across the education system.

📚ISAs/Training – Seeing many LambdaSchool for Xs, many with income share agreements. Skilbank & Acadium for marketing. Reforge for growth. Product School for product management. Uvaro for sales. Insight Fellows for data science. Microverse for remote devs. Edith for mentorship.

🎈Online Events – Hopin was the breakout. Luma & Spore for managing online communities around events. Livestream with Reach.LiveOnJam, or Welcome. Find tables at Remo or Airmeet. Walk around w Gather. Book entertainment at Seshie.

🛍Video Commerce – Livestream shopping is hot in China and startups are following to bring is elsewhere. Some recent iterations of QVS include Popshop LiveShopShopsNTWRKTalkShopLiveLivescale helps brands run their own livestreams. Playback.ai is the same for wholesale. HERO is video chat for ecommerce sites.

🎧Audio – Driven by Clubhouse, this space has seen lots of action. Chalk is a more open version of CH. Cappiccino is a cute social app. Eternal is an audio driven metaverse. I assume Descript is doing really well (it’s a Podcast editing tool). And then there’s Yac for internal communications.

🖼NFTs – Dapper Labs crushed it w NBA Top Shop, excited to see more. Mint NFTs over at RaribleMintbaseCargo, or Mintable. Sell/buy on OpenSea. Exclusive collections at SuperRare or Foundation. Game at Decentraland. Breed race horsed at Zed.

💸Investing – Big 4 are RobinhoodCoinbaseRepublic, and AngelList. Social stock investing is happening at Public/FinaryCommonstock is similar with more focus on education. Gift stock w StockpileGrifin app buys stock where you shop. Alto IRA is for investing your IRA into alternatives. Off-Piste leverages blockchain to gives access to pre-IPO opportunities. MoneyMade is your one stop shop for all things alternative.

🌎Climate – Huge momentum here, lots of capital. Carbon sequestration like Opus 12 and Carbon Engineering. Enterprise APIs like Patch and Watershed. Eco-shopping w EcoCart. Sustianable Window AC w Windmill. Education and community at Terra.

🤖GPT3 – Pretty cool we’re seeing startups use this. Copy.ai does marketing copy. OthersideAI & Lavendar do email. Debuild writes code. ABTesting.ai auto A/B tests GPT-3 written web copy. Sapling personalizes messages for customer service.

🤱Fertility/FemTech – Thinx sells period underwear. Modern Fertility and Grip do at-home fertility testing. KindBody is where you freeze your eggs, Overture works on the science behind it. DadiKit and Legacy do sperm storage. Kiira is a women’s virtual clinic and Bastion is for men. PairTree is a new platform for adoptions.

👫Dating – New dating apps for a new world. Draw w dates on Monet. Play games with them on XOLolly is like Tik Tok for singles. Video dates over at The League or Filter Off. Match by personality at SoSyncd. Go to Clarity for advice.

🛠Data Tools – Seeing an increase in vertical data tools. Public Comps for SaaS benchmarking. Ilo for Twitter. Sentinic for measuring brand reputation. ForecastrSummit, and Causal for financial planning. Metorik for eCommerce.

🛒Ecommerce – Airhouse for 3PL. Shippo/Easyship for shipping. RetentionX/Tradeswell for AI. TaxJar for tax compliance. Fast for one-click checkout. Post purchase offers w CartHookRoute for package tracking. Returnly & Returnmates tackled for managing returns. Porch Pod for accepting deliveries.

📋API Management – Airbyte syncs APIs w/ data warehouse. GraphQL API w HasuraCanonic is a low-code back-end. Kong is for connecting everything. Autocode helps w API workflow. Bearer for monitoring API usage. Doppler for managing API keys and more.

🤝API Integration Tools – Seen a lot of “Plaid for X”s. Finch is for HR. Noyo for insurance. Terra for wellness apps and wearables. Impala for hotels. Duffel for flights. Rutter for eCommerce. Yonomi for smart home. API Deck/Paragon for SaaS APIs.

🧬Biosynth – Been seeing more biosynth startups in less regulated industries. Bolt ThreadsMycoworks, and Ecovative use mushrooms to make leather and more. Biomason grows cement the same way coral grows. Algiknit uses algae to make yarn. Jellatech grows gellatin. Then there’s Modern MeadowZymergen, and Geltor.

🧸DTC – Some fun DTC brands I’ve come across recently include Judy (emergency kits), Windmill (window AC), Raised Real (kids food), Bite (chewable toothpaste), Tushy (bidets), Bippy (TP), Away (luggage), and Solo Stove (firepits).

🎨Design – Some fun design tools I’ve come across include Lottie for adding 2d animation to your site, Spline for 3d design, and Blush for customizing illustrations.

There you go! It’s by no means a comprehensive list of all things exciting in startup land, but a glimpse into what we’re seeing.

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