What's In Store

Look ahead to 2021's tech trends with Deloitte's experts

Nothing like a global pandemic to make everyone refocus. Photo by Colin Anderson Productions/Getty

As poet Robert Burns mused, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. In January 2020, most of us had plans —thoughtful road maps to guide our organizations, our technology, and our lives through the months to follow.

And then COVID-19 punched the entire world in the mouth, rendering useless many of these best-laid plans.

Seemingly overnight, a strange, historic event disrupted our assumptions and forced us, with a shocking degree of urgency, to become more adaptable and responsive than we had thought possible.

Mindful that the pandemic's impact continues to ripple across societies, markets, and lives, we present Tech Trends 2021. The theme of this year's report is resilience. To Deloitte, this means a stubborn determination to adapt and thrive in the face of change.

We have seen countless, inspiring examples of resilience this past year as organizations and entire sectors assessed their circumstances, revised their strategic plans, and marched toward the future. We anticipate that for most, the future they find will differ markedly from the realities of January 2020.

The COVID-19 crisis has driven change in an important and unexpected way. A growing number of organizations across sectors are accelerating their digital transformation efforts not only to make their operations nimbler and more efficient, but to respond to dramatic fluctuations in demand and customer expectation.

For example, while many supply chain leaders were confident of their ability to function during disruptions, we found out, as Warren Buffett once quipped, who was swimming naked when the tide went out.

Likewise, executive-level planning discussions about the future of work had been just that: about the future. The pandemic crashed comfortable schedules from years into weeks.

Continue reading this year's Tech Trends report on Deloitte's website to explore the opportunities, strategies, and technologies that will drive new plans during the next 18 to 24 months and beyond.

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Building Houston

 
 

Here's what companies are in the latest cohort for gBETA. Photo courtesy of gBETA

An early-stage accelerator has picked its latest cohort of five Houston companies.

The Fall 2020 cohort of gBETA Houston includes:

  • AllIDoIsCook is founded by Tobi Smith and focused on exposing the world to Africa's cuisine by manufacturing gourmet food products delivered directly to customer doors and available at grocers. Since launching, AllIDoIsCook has built out a manufacturing facility, shipped over 8,000 boxes and generated $1.1 million in revenue all without outside funding.
  • Chasing Watts makes it easy for cyclists to coordinate or find rides with fellow riders in their area with its web-based and native application. The company has over 3,000 users and grew 135 percent from Q2 to Q3 in new ride views.
  • DanceKard, founded by Erica Sinner, is a new dating platform that connects individuals and groups with one another by bringing the date to the forefront of the conversation and making scheduling faster and easier with special promotions featuring local establishments. Since launching in August of 2021, DanceKard has over 170 users on the platform.
  • Dollarito is a digital lending platform that helps the low-income Hispanic population with no credit history or low FICO score access fair credit. Founded by Carmen Roman, Dollarito applies AI into banking, transactional and behavioral data to evaluate the repayment capability more accurately than using FICO scores. The company has1,000 users on their waitlist and plans to beta test with 100 or more customers in early 2022.
  • SeekerPitch, founded by Samantha Hepler, operates with the idea that jobseekers' past job titles and resumes are not always indicative of their true capabilities. Launched last month, SeekerPitch empowers companies to see who jobseekers are as people, and get to know them through comprehensive profiles and virtual speed interviews, and the company already has 215 jobseekers and 20 companies on the platform, with one pilot at University of Houston and three more in the pipeline.

The companies kicked off their cohort in person on October 18, and the program concludes on December 14 with the gBETA Houston Fall 2021 Pitch Night. At this event, each company will present their five-minute pitch to an audience of mentors, investors, and community members.

"The five founding teams selected for our gBETA Houston Fall 2021 cohort are tackling unique problems they have each experienced personally, from finding access to cultural foods, fitness communities and authentic dating experiences to challenges with non-inclusive financing and hiring practices," says Kate Evinger, director of gBETA Houston, in the release. "The grit and passion these individuals bring to their roles as founders will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact in the Houston community and beyond."

The accelerator has supported 15 Houston startups since it launched in Houston in early 2020. The program, which is free and hosted out of the Downtown Launchpad, is under the umbrella of Madison, Wisconsin-based international accelerator, gener8tor.

"Downtown Launchpad is an innovation hub like no other, and I am so proud of what it is already and what it will become," says Robert Pieroni, director of economic development at Central Houston Inc., in the release. "The five startups selected for the gBETA Houston Fall 2021 cohort are exploring new challenges that can become high-impact Houston businesses."

gBETA announced its plan to launch in Houston in September 2019. The program's inaugural cohort premiered in May and conducted the first program this summer completely virtually. The second cohort took place last fall, and the third ran earlier this year.

"These founders are building their companies and benefiting from the resources Downtown Launchpad provides," Pieroni continues, "and the proof is in the data – companies in these programs are creating jobs, growing their revenues and exponentially increasing their funding, which means these small starts up of today, working in Downtown Launchpad, are growing into the successful companies of tomorrow."

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