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2023-24 Innovation Trends & Forecasts

2023-24 Innovation Trends & Forecasts

By: Maayan Sharon

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In May of 2022, Y Combinator advised founders to ‘Plan for the Worst’. Amidst pervasive market turbulence, which had led to layoffs, cost-cutting measures, and hiring slowdowns,   the prominent global startup accelerator provided founders with a strategic roadmap to effectively navigate these developments in order to ensure the survival of their companies. Their advice encompassed the following key points:

  • The once thriving funding environment, marked by rapid influx of investments and proliferation of unicorn companies, has reached a conclusion. Startups must now adapt to a landscape of diminished valuations and smaller round sizes to survive the current market downturn.
  • In light of potential investor hesitations, companies must extend their financial runway to a minimum of 18 months. Prioritizing profitability becomes imperative during these uncertain times. It is also important to recognize that competitors are dealing with the same circumstances. To thrive, founders must think innovatively, explore unconventional approaches, and remain open to emerging opportunities.

 

Geopolitical & Economic Background

In the past four years, the world has faced significant challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, the end of the Cheap Money Era, the Russia-Ukraine war, energy price volatility, and global inflation. These challenges have prompted market players, ecosystems, and individuals alike to reassess their strategies and reevaluate the global landscape. Before discussing strategies for adapting to the new business realities, it is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of the prevailing contemporary trends.

 

We can categorize the key trends into the following fields:

  • VCs Funding & Startup Programmes
  • Domains & Ecosystems
  • Corporate Innovation and Government Regulations.
  • Main Takeaways & Opportunities

VCs Funding & Startup Programmes

Venture capital firms have undergone an attitude shift. The decrease in the number of deals and capital invested in 2022-23 can be attributed to a change in behavior and increased cost of capital compared to the fast-paced environment of 2021. Factors contributing to this shift include reduced virtual dealmaking, a more cautious approach towards risk-taking resulting in longer due diligence processes, and longer intervals between financing rounds. Despite the challenging circumstances, there is still a substantial amount of available capital, estimated at $580 billion, waiting to be invested. Investors anticipate significant deployment of funds toward the end of 2023 as they maintain an appetite for investments.

 

A substantial portion of this capital is expected to be directed towards early-stage startups, reflecting their increasing appeal to investors; 54% of investors are planning to focus on early-stage investments in 2023 (Tech.eu, 2023). Tier-I venture capitalists currently prioritize efficiency and seek startups with strong business models and a fast path to profitability (Dealcloud, March 2023).

 

Crises often present opportunities and prompt the emergence of creative solutions. Workforce reductions and cost-cutting measures create a talent pool that may lead to the establishment of innovative startups, particularly by individuals from top tech companies (Dealcloud, March 2023). If you are involved in establishing or leading startup programs, consider focusing on the following objectives:

 

  1. Implement long-term structured programs.
  2. Foster a spiral effect among your startup alumni.
  3. Enhance visibility and brand awareness of participating startups.
  4. Concentrate on impact verticals, such as climate, health, advanced industries, and mobility.
  5. Promote diversity within the entrepreneurial community.
  6. Differentiate your program by aligning it more effectively with market expectations of entrepreneurs.
  7. Make the programme about “experiencing,” not “learning”.

 

Domains & Ecosystems

The United States remains the dominant go-to-market for startups globally. With its robust research and development capabilities, favorable policies, and abundant funding opportunities, the US is poised to maintain its position as a top destination for startups (Forbes, Crunchbase, 2023). Despite the impact of inflation, the US market only experienced a marginal decline (1%) in funds raised. Asia (27%), Africa (30%), Latin America (54%), and Europe (12%) all faced far more significant reductions in investment and fundraising between Q4’22 and Q1’23 (CB Insights).

 

According to a Startup Genome Q1’23 report, Europe is emerging as a top global ecosystem. The Nordic countries are a promising ecosystem to watch, boasting over 4,000 startups, 78 Unicorns, and $11.7 billion in startup funding raised in 2022 (EU-Startups, March 2023). Similarly, Southern Europe, with over 6,200 startups, 44 Unicorns, and $31.1 billion in startup funding raised in 2022 (Dealroom, Pitchbook, 2022), is another up-and-coming ecosystem.

Corporate Innovation and Government Regulations

Corporations are in a strategic freeze as they grapple with the fear of recession, layoffs, income loss, and higher supply chain costs. How have these developments impacted corporate trends in 2023?

 

The current market for innovation is diminishing, with corporations allocating fewer resources toward innovation initiatives. Corporations are apprehensively awaiting the development of Artificial Intelligence and its potential effects. 41% of finance corporate executives are planning to curtail mergers and acquisitions, leading to a decline in the acquisition of startups. 44% of corporates plan to strengthen their collaborations with startups over the next 18 months, while 26% plan to decrease such engagements. These figures reflect a mixed sentiment within the corporate sector regarding their involvement with startups.

 

The “corporate venture client,” a new corporate innovation model, has recently gained traction. This model involves corporations engaging startups as clients, enabling corporations to access new solutions while providing startups with the early revenue they require to grow and succeed (S&P, February 2023 & Bundl 2023).

 

The US and EU have implemented major regulations to mitigate inflation and promote economic growth and innovation. The US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 aims to reduce the deficit, accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, and lower healthcare costs. Key provisions of the IRA include $300 billion in Deficit Reduction and $369 billion in Energy and Climate Change programs.

 

The InvestEU initiative has allocated €372 billion to stimulate sustainable investment, innovation, social inclusion, and job creation across Europe. This substantial investment aims to bolster the European economy and support promising ventures. Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, continues to bolster the European innovation ecosystem: in its first two years, the programme has overseen 5,000 grants signed with a success rate of 16% and has disbursed a total of €11.83 billion.

 

Main Takeaways & Opportunities

  • Companies that continue to invest in innovation during times of crisis enjoy increased levels of growth and performance following the crisis.
  • The optimal way for innovators to proceed is to understand that innovation sits on a continuum of efficiency, sustaining and transformative innovation.
  • Innovation is not exclusively a long-term strategy. Investing in innovation can yield high and immediate returns for a company.
  • Companies should capitalize on market uncertainties and shifts in the corporate landscape by orienting their corporate ethos around innovation.

 

To conclude, despite the global financial crisis, the tech industry continues to thrive. The United States remains a top destination for startups, while Nordic and Southern European countries show promise as emerging tech ecosystems. Venture capital firms are adjusting their strategies, and early-stage startups are gaining traction. The crisis has spurred creative solutions and the emergence of innovative startups, leaving us eager to witness the future advancements that will shape the tech industry going forward.

 

*About the Author: Maayan Sharon has spent her last three years working in the EIT Global Outreach. Maayan’s insights are based on research, interviews, and her extensive experience in leading programmes and fostering open innovation with corporates from Israel, Europe, and the USA.

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Access to Healthcare

The Health not The Death is a fundamental human right. A healthy population is not to be seen as human and social capital, an input, or by-product, towards economic growth. Alongside a healthy and sustainable environment, a solidarity, a healthy population must be the ultimate goal especially nowadays in helping Ukrainian migrants with cancer and their families.

Solidarity in health is a cornerstone of EU health policy. There are wide disparities in many health outcomes across the region and those outcomes. The access rules dramatically affect healthcare systems which are at the forefront of the migrant way, the people who are searching for help and the way how we could enhance and support their healthier and wellbeing status.

In order to ensure their access to care and continued cure in need, the probability of receiving a timely diagnosis and of surviving differs greatly from country to country where they are now. There is lack of information, help and inequalities in access. People need help in navigating cancer knowledge, diagnostics, secondary monitoring and prevention, way of treatments, and care.

Shifting our mindset, supporting healthcare connectivity, removing inequalities overall across Europe is our mission and even more now in a time of crisis, helping the Ukrainian people dealing with cancer is a good place to begin this transformative revolution.

1) Whether we have a chance to foster more holistic and integrated approaches to receive information and care, by supporting coordination and maximising an enabling and health-enhancing effect of care across services from different countries?

2) Whether actions should address the social determinants of health, the countries where they are now, the health need which they have, the social and language barriers are the conditions which have to be taken into consideration in a coordinated manner?

How might we improve patients and /or people who seek healthcare support, access to healthcare services at an EU & the Member States Healthcare systems level? Especially in a time of crisis in Europe.

How might we support refugees fleeing from their countries by navigating them to medical centres to receive best available care?  

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Predictive Treatment

Precision medicine aims to personalise care for every individual. Nongenomic and genomic determinants, combined with information from patient symptoms, clinical history, and lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity, stress etc.), can facilitate personalised diagnosis and prognostics. Yet this goal requires access to massive amounts of data which may come from different structured and unstructured sources; these can be our medical records, laboratory testing, a range of medical devices as well as from the patient himself. AI & ML can combine input from these multiple sources, analyse them and identify biomarkers that can support health professionals make more informed decisions. The convergence of precision medicine with the advanced AI capabilities will improve the ability to personalise care – improve diagnosis, risk prediction as well as therapy planning.  

HCPs want to better predict treatment response, given uncertainty around which treatment to prescribe to which patient and when to prescribe. How do we risk assess the patients, match them with the right treatment (personalised). How can we transform the wealth of data and link it to the predictive nature of how the patient will respond?

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Patient Journey Navigation

Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming and comes as a blow. Patients may feel on a roller coaster of emotions—they are scared, lost & confused not knowing what to expect, who to refer to, what to do and how to tell their loved ones.  They directly refer to “Dr. Google” to look for information about their disease, possible treatments, QoL strategies with the aim to have better understanding of their disease and learn how to better cope with their disease & treatment, yet information is not always valid, accessible, nor personalised or tailored to the patient’s status and needs therefore left with huge amounts of non-relevant information. Coming to the doctor, the physician’s time is limited and mostly focusing on the physical aspects of the disease & treatment, not leaving much time to ask questions nor discuss more holistic aspects of the disease such as emotional, psychological, social aspects. The patient (& caregiver in many cases) leaves the room with unanswered questions, doesn’t remember much of what has been said, and feels he is not heard, nor seen as a whole.

The need for navigating this journey along the emotional psychological stress is overwhelming & patients and their caregivers look for support (case manager/companion/partner) to help manage their disease holistically – starting from having clarity around their disease and treatment by having access to reliable and personalised information during their journey as well as having an integrated holistic care system , supporting them and their loved ones to navigate through the different aspects of their disease – medical, emotional, logistical, psychological, social, rights.

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Peer-to-Peer Medical Exchange

As medical events pivoted from conference centres and meeting rooms to the virtual settings, learning opportunities continue. Lectures and presentations are translated to the new digital world, yet the ability to connect and network is relatively lost. Peer interaction is essential not only for information exchange but to share practical insights, allows consultation & in-person experience cross country and across borders leading to better disease management.

This peer-based learning/ consultation is highly valued amongst practising clinicians and was generally achieved when HCPs and KOLs met their peers in national & Intl conferences, group debates, advisory boards and even during quick corridor conversations. Attempting to replicate these in-person experiences into the digital space creates challenges and are not effective nor impactful as face-to-face engagements. 

How might we improve HCP medical exchange enabling physicians to easily communicate, consult, exchange opinions leveraging individual experts & centres of excellence knowledge, experiences, and practices?

How can we leverage the technological expertise to allow HCPs to connect with leading experts across countries to get advice / counselling for their cases?

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Interested in participating in the next cohort?
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