Guest article

Top 10 Technology Trends in 2021

👉 Guest article from the Dutch Student Investment Fund, written by Emilija Banytė

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, enabling people to solve the world's greatest problems and challenges. It changes the way we communicate, work and do business. According to CB Insights tech market intelligence report, we will look at the top 10 emerging technology trends in 2021.

Technology is exciting, especially the way it innovates our lives. Just think about it, 60 years ago, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space, and now Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, is confident that humans will land on Mars by 2026. The rapid advancements enable us to experience the world in novel ways. With these 10 trends, we will glance at what to expect from 5 different sectors: environment, healthcare, education, privacy and finance.

1. Intelligent tutoring

In the Covid-19 times, teachers and students struggle to deliver and get personalised education. An intelligent tutoring system (ITS) could enhance the remote studying experience, maximise retention and accelerate learning. ITS is simply a platform with integrated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to understand students' thought processes, give immediate feedback and personalised tests according to their learning needs. Technology can be especially beneficial for teachers who lack time to provide personalised tests and feedback to a larger group of students. Also, it can come at hand for students who struggle with complex subjects such as algebra. Technology has the potential to reshape how the world learns and make education more equal and accessible.

Promising ITS companies to watch out for

Squirrel AI Learning focuses on secondary school students to deliver adaptive learning and tutoring solutions.

    - Headquarters: Shanghai, China.

    - Squirrel AI Learning has raised a total of $131.3M in funding over 4 rounds.

Riid helps students with standardized exams such as SAT, TOEIC,ACT, and others.

   - Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea.

   - Riiid has raised a total of $73.1M in funding over 5 rounds.

2. Ambient Intelligence

With a growing need for remote patient monitoring and an ageing population, ambient Intelligence (Aml) technologies could play a significant role across healthcare institutions and homes. The primary goal of Aml is to enrich different environments with computing facilities that react to individual needs in a non-intrusive way and accordingly give support. By enriching a place with sensors and devices interconnected through a network, the technology benefits the individual based on the real-time data and data gathered through time. Apart from health-related applications, AmI can also be used for the public transportation sector, education services, emergency services, production-oriented places and so forth.

Promising AmI healthcare companies to watch out for

Surgical Safety Technologies (SST) sensorizes the hospital environment to use clinically trained deep learning systems and carryout advanced analytics in real-time. Technology helps to identify the errors and inefficiencies in operating rooms to improve surgical operations.

    - Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario.

Lumenix is an artificially intelligent monitoring system. Lumenix and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have business lines in LED lighting and retrofit, building controls and automation, sensors, hardware and software.

    - Headquarters: Austin, TX.

3. Creator platform

The Creator Economy has been experiencing the rise with more than 50 million content creators globally. As a matter of fact, Generation Z is the one who drives that rise with shifting career aspirations. According to a recent study, 29% of soon-to-be graduates in the US aspire to become creators. Creator platforms play a significant role in it, as they provide the infrastructure to create, distribute and monetize content. Those platforms give the tools for recording, editing and publishing content to power the creator's earnings and provide financial independence. Such platforms allow content creators a better connection with the consumer and offer ways to profit from that content consumption. The Covid-19 situation has just strengthened the Creator Economic as those who lost their jobs searched for new ways to earn money or fill in increased leisure time.

Promising creator platform startups to watch out for

Substack is an online platform that provides publishing, payment, analytics, and design infrastructure to support subscription newsletters.

    - Headquarters: San Francisco,CA.

    - Substack has raised a total of $82.4M in funding over 4 rounds.

Stem that helps music creators to distribute music, manage content, share data and simplify revenue splits. It sets out to profit artists without taking their music rights.

    - Headquarters: Santa Monica, CA.

    - Stem has raised a total of $357.6M in funding over 15 rounds.

4. Assetization tech

Alternative investment platforms now make it possible to invest in things that previously would be considered bizarre. The rising model of asset ownership is becoming more popular. Assetization lets you own a piece (shares) of typically illiquid assets, such as real estate, collectables, or artwork. Simply put, it is enabling investments in non-traditional assets in a capitalistic economy. It is benefiting the economy as it is bringing new markets and new income streams for people. The best part of it is that regardless of your wallet size, you can make investments in things like wine, jewelry, classic cars and so on.

Promising assetization startups to watch out for

Roofstock lets you purchase shares in fully-managed rental homes where you get fractional ownership.

    - Headquarters: Oakland, CA.

    - Roofstock has raised a total of $132.3M in funding over 8 rounds.

Rally is a platform where you can buy and sell equity shares in collectable assets.

    - Headquarters: New York, NY.

    - Rally has raised a total of $26.9M in funding over 3 rounds.

5. Cookie-busting ads  

The era of third-party cookies is ending. The demand for greater privacy and transparency are changing the way major companies work. Firefox and Safari are already entirely blocking third-party cookies by default, and Google has announced plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. These changes have touched the advertisement industry as a whole as it was reliant on cross-website trackers for more than 25 years. Where AdTech and digital advertising once thrived, now they have to adapt to the cookie-less digital world and reinvent their business models and operations. One alternative is the contextual targeting tools, where AI analyses various media information sources (e.g., articles,videos, images) to understand the context and recommend appropriate advertisements. Simply put, it is placing ads on websites based on their content. So, for example, putting phone ads on news articles about technology. Such an alternative could start dominating the advertising industry if AI can identify context at scale.

Promising contextual targeting startups to watch out for

GumGum created a contextual advertising engine, Verity™, that comprehends the meaning of text, images and video online, allowing marketers to safely and precisely place ads where people are most engaged.

    - Headquarters: Santa Monica, CA.

    - GumGum has raised a total of $133.8M in funding over 7 rounds.

AnyClip is a video data and technology company providing software, insights and services for media companies and marketers.

    - Headquarters: New York, NY.

    - Any Clip has raised a total of $24M in funding over 3 rounds.

6. Differential privacy

The topic of data privacy has been going around for years. One of the newest solutions for overcoming data scarcity and privacy challenges is synthetically generated data. The data is created programmatically by using different algorithms that exemplify the statistical properties of the original data without revealing any information about real people. Studies have shown that synthetic data can be as good as real data producing highly similar results. Gartner predicts that 25% of AI training data will be synthetically generated by 2022. Autonomous vehicles, financial institutions, retail, smart cities, medical equipment, and the AR/VR markets will take the most advantage. Synthetic data will be a new way to ethically support applications and analysis with data that fully comply with GDPR and CCPA. The market of information security products and services is estimated to reach almost $175 billion by 2024 ($125.2 billion in 2020), and there are some promising businesses to look at.

Promising synthetic data startups to watch out for

Privitar offers a data provisioning platform to protect sensitive data and enable data analysis.

    -  Headquarters: London, United Kingdom.

    - Privitar has raised a total of $150.5M in funding over 8 rounds.

MOSTLY AI provides a synthetic data engine that generates very realistic artificial data and users for AIand AI training, rapid POC evaluations, hackathons and datathons.

    - Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.

    - Mostly AI has raised a total of $6.1M in funding over 2 rounds.

7. Bioprinting

3D bioprinting is paving the way to the future of the healthcare industry. Technology will be able to print immune system acceptable living tissues, blood vessels, muscles,skin and bones for medical procedures, testing and training. This technology will enable better treatments, from minor health problems to severe issues like heart disease. It will also benefit drug development as products can be tested on printed tissues rather than animals, potentially leading to more accurate and translatable results. Even though the technology is still in its early stages, it is predicted to revolutionise the industry and end the organ shortage crisis. It is speculated that the technology could be even a potential weapon against Covid-19.

Promising bioprinting startups to watch out for

Prellis Biologics develops synthetic tissue products for R&D,therapeutic production, and organ transplant using its holographic printing.

    - Headquarters: San Francisco,CA.

    - Prellis Biologics has raised atotal of $10.6M in funding over 6 rounds.

Volumetricis an advanced biomaterial and biofabrication company.

    - Headquarters: Houston, TX.

    - Volumetric has raised a total of $2M in funding over 8 rounds.

8. Protein fermentation

Meat and dairy consumption are causing 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.Therefore, shifting diets towards more sustainable protein sources is critical if we do not want to exceed 2°C in climate warming. The promising solution is protein fermentation technology that produces animal-free protein versions of meat,seafood, eggs, and dairy. It is projected that by 2027 the protein fermentation tech market will rise by $74.2 billion, at a CAGR of 11.9%. In 2020 alone, the industry experienced a record-breaking year with $3.1 Billion invested capital in sustainable alternatives to conventional animal-based foods,tripling the money raised in 2019.

Promising protein fermentation startups to watch out for

Perfect Day invented the world's first real milk proteins made without animals.

    - Headquarters: Berkeley, CA.

    - Perfect Day has raised a total of $361.5M in funding over 6 rounds.

MycoTechnology uses mushrooms to help the food industry create healthier products without excessive sugar, salt, and fat.

    - Headquarters: Denver, CO.

    - MycoTechnology has raised a total of $122.6M in funding over 11 rounds.

9.Green hydrogen

With the emerging consequences of climate change, environmental-friendly innovations are on the way to combat the rising global temperature. One of the revolutionizing solutions is the green hydrogen (also known as renewable hydrogen) that has been featured in all 8 of the European Commission's net-zero emissions scenarios for 2050. In contrast with other types of hydrogen fuels, green hydrogen is a zero-emission source of power that has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. The whole production of grey and blue hydrogen is still a polluting business,whereas the green hydrogen is made using renewable electricity, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the price of green hydrogen is high, but Bloomberg NEF forecasts that the costs could fall by up to 85% until 2050 and that the levelized cost of hydrogen made from renewable electricity should be cheaper than natural gas by 2050 in 15 of the 28 markets.

Promising green hydrogen companies to watch out for

Heliogen is replacing fuels with carbon-free,ultra-high temperature heat from the sun.

    - Headquarters: Pasadena, CA.

    - Heliogen has raised a total of $90M in funding over 11 rounds.

Ekona uses natural gas to produce clean hydrogen fuel.

    - Headquarters: Vancouver,Canada.

    - Ekona Power has raised a total of $2.8M in funding over 1 round.

10. Space-based R&D

In the near future,we are going to move industries off earth with the vision to bring humanity along. Space-based R&D is offering unique conditions to explore the possibilities of tomorrow for the planet Earth and space. Space research brings improvements, new knowledge and discoveries in life studies, physical science,biology & biotechnology and earth & space sciences. For 20 years, the International Space Station(ISS) has conducted more than 3,000 experiments that profoundly impacted science. Now NASA is commercialising the ISS and bringing bigger opportunities for space-based R&D. Just last year, SpaceX made history as the first private company to successfully send NASA astronauts into orbit. The commercial space age is already here, and Morgan Stanley estimated that the industry could surge over $1 trillion by 2040 ($350 million in 2020), with 50% of the projected growth belonging to satellite broadband Internet. Space is becoming the new frontier for investments, while startups are continuing to innovate our future.

Promising startups that are enabling space-based R&D

Varda is taking advantage of the microgravity environment to create products in space for terrestrial applications.

    - Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA.

    - Varda has raised a total of $9M in funding over 2 rounds.

Orbit Fab is creating the first-ever gas stations in space for satellite refuelling.

    - Headquarters: San Francisco,CA.

    - Orbit Fab has raised a total of $6.2M in funding over 6 rounds.


This article was brought up by the DutchStudent Investment Fund (DSIF) Brand Director Emilija Banytė. Are you curious to learn more about entrepreneurship,venture capital investing and startups from the students’ perspective? Then check out DSIF articles!