As governments scratch their heads on how to navigate their way out of lockdowns, and their national economies back to some form of health, digital life is undisputedly at the centre of the ‘new normal’. However unwelcome the cause, this change presents an unprecedented opportunity not just for established digital businesses like Amazon and Zoom, but for all digital businesses including start-ups.
But to succeed, digital makers need to tune their strategy to resonate with the economic times: government-led and/or government financed initiatives. We are seeing a growth in digital products hitting the market (Medici research), in part focusing on COVID-19 initiatives but not just. What has caught our eye is how government intervention has been directed at supporting start-ups that can quickly apply innovation to COVID-19 related problems. It’s notable that fintechs are playing a part in helping Government in the crisis, to deliver assistance: Funding Circle issuing UK CBILS grants, Starling’s connected card, Tide’s Eligibility Tracker or PoptotheShop are examples that come to mind.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Beauhurst’s latest research on COVID-19 pandemic shows that London has the highest proportion of positively impacted businesses, especially those that enable remote working and lockdown living, such as VoIP, digital security EdTech and eHealth.
At Weavr, we have been approached by innovators focusing on a range of digital solutions to Covid19 problems, from helping those in isolation remotely pay volunteers to, with some irony perhaps, solutions that will make the high street more attractive to shop in once the lockdown is lifted. And we’re pleased to report that many of these opportunities were from outside London.
And here’s a confession: we couldn’t help all of them, because we don’t yet have the range of payment infrastructure needed: for instance, open banking was part of the solution in some, card to card transfers in others. We’re only offering a limited toolset barely 4 months after launching our MVP/public beta of our virtual cards toolkit. While that’s disappointing (certainly for us) it does go some way to validating the need for a rich payments toolset in today’s digital maker community. Watch this space as we bring more capabilities on stream in the weeks and months ahead!