Startups shouldn’t feel guilty about self promotion amid the COVID-19 crisis, instead they must fight to create growth and employment in the corona-safe economy.
That’s according to Geoffrey Mann, RMIT lecturer and tech startup founder
“If businesses have an opportunity to create a profit and there’s an opportunity to hire people, then that’s really important. It takes financial stress off social services,” Mann says.
“There’s also a lot of people isolated and anything that can help them with employment and kind of getting their normal lives back to normal is really important.”
Mann says some startups will be better placed than others.
In fact his startup Girigiri – an app unlocking physical experiences and events- is being impacted by the coronavirus shutdowns.
But he believes startups are inherently equipped to deal with rapidly shifting and unpredictable operating environments, such as the current conditions.
“There are a lot of concerns in the startup world and a lot of positives,” he says.
“From a positive perspective, they don’t have the massive overheads that big organisations do.
“They have an agile and nimble team that can pivot their resources, compared to big organisations that may have to go through multiple layers to achieve that.”
He says startups that can identify new opportunities quickly will be able to provide immense social and economic benefits for society, as it mobiles to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
“A great example is 3D printing companies, many used to focus on industrial production for houses and buildings, but now realise the high shortage in medical equipment, so some are being driven towards making 3D print medical supplies to provide to hospitals,” Mann says.
“First of all, it’s really important for hospitals, but secondly it allows the startup to grow into a new marketplace, and continue to hire people and grow the team.
However, startups looking for growth and funding in the post coronavirus economy are bracing for far less bullish capital markets.
“There’s disruption in the market, I’ve recently been talking to a few venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and money is drying up.”
However, Mann believes it’s up to startups to navigate through new disruptions to provide valuable services in the wake of the business shutdowns and predicted economic downturns.
“If startups can identify a new solution and have the ability to pivot to provide that service, then there’s a big opportunity for everyone.”