The COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate digital transformation, change how we work and boost the on-demand economy over the long term according to a new report from Bond Capital, Mary Meeker’s venture capital firm.
Meeker, who is known for her epic annual internet trends report, has co-authored a new 28-page report which was sent to investors and republished by Axios.
The businesses Bond predicts will weather the disruption best will rely on cloud services, sell always in-demand products or products that make businesses more digitally efficient, are easily discoverable online and can serve customers with limited contact.
“Many of our customary activities have suddenly slowed – or come to a complete halt. But the impact of COVID-19 has also brought accelerating growth and focus in other areas. Most of these represent an acceleration of trends that have been underway for years. Most have digital tie-ins,” the authors write.
The impact of social distancing has led to an increase in business apps and remote work models. The report notes that Bay Area companies began to shift to work-from-home models on March 2nd.
Which has given rise to the question, what percentage of workers need to be in the same place at the same time?
“In effect, a big experiment started that will likely change the way lots of office work is done,” the authors write.
Bond Capital invests in tech companies founded in the last decade which are generally run in the cloud and 40-50 per cent of their workforce is focused on product and engineering. A survey of those portfolio companies found while challenges exist, most will expand the size of their distributed workforce post-pandemic.
Key WFH challenges identified in the report include:
- Replicating creativity and maintaining productivity
- Optimising time spent in-person
- Engagement and culture
- Managing technology and security
- Organisation and utilisation of office space
The move to remote work has driven usage of business apps which has exceeded fast growing consumer apps. For example, Zoom’s video conference tools jumped from 10 million to 200 million daily meeting participants in the last three months.
Compare that to Instagram which amassed 100 million monthly active users in two years while Fortnite gained 100 million monthly active users in 18 months.
Slack and Microsoft Team have also registered large increases in their number of users and the volume of messages sent via the collaboration platforms.
On-demand services such as Lyft and Airbnb have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 while Instacart and Door Dash have experienced demand. The report argues on-demand and to-the-door services may be gaining permanent market share.
Looking to a future where we don’t know what the world will look like in 3 – 24 months, the report outlined three likely trends. The nature of work will continue to evolve, on demand work will play a greater role in our economy, immediate communication tools — foundational to on-demand services — will become more common in other forms of work.
The authors advocate for a long term vision and argue the current crisis will give more experts “a set at the table.”
“Events of the past 3-4 months underscore the need for broadscale data-driven forward planning/execution and the need for modern technology. In both industry and government, we fully expect greater focus on forward planning with more scientists/engineers/ domain experts who have seats at the table and relevant voices. This would be a good thing,” the write.
The report also covers the enabling role of technology in government-back recoveries and the fusion of technology and healthcare and how sports may emerge from COVID-19. You can access the full report here.