The pandemic’s impact on communities, organizations, and individuals has been phenomenal and COVID-19 has forever changed the way people connect, teach, learn, do business and organize as humankind. The result has been an enormous and continued demand for new technological innovations which will continue beyond COVID.
The education industry is the first place where we have all seen a transformation. Think about it. I never believed that a seventy-year old violin teacher would use Zoom to teach my daughter, until I saw it. People today are choosing to use Zoom rather than drive into the office for a meeting, and schools are relying on Zoom for hybrid learning, teaching on snow-days, tutoring, staff meetings, or parent conferences. In fact, I believe that all education will eventually have online components and functionality and that soon, we won’t see the terms “online education”, since all educational institutions will bring students from across geographies to learn together. There is huge demand for better and more interactive options from both educators and learners; this can be translated as a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs. Zino Ventures’ most successful portfolio company, Kami, reflects this philosophy.
Similarly, E-commerce and fintech are additional industries where COVID has led to demand for new technologies. When all restaurants were in a situation of “contactless service” during the pandemic, big franchise restaurants had their in-house teams to develop fancy apps and supporting systems, but small bakery, restaurant, or cafe owners were crying for a simple online ordering and payment system to survive. Zino Ventures’ portfolio company Minitable is an excellent example of an innovation that empowered thousands of small businesses serving millions of customers every day.
And three years ago, no one could have imagined that over 5 billion people would agree to be vaccinated against COVID in a short time, or that billions of vaccine doses continue to be administered daily with scientists regularly adapting vaccines to withstand new variants. But the innovation doesn’t stop there: the AI-based approaches used in developing various COVID vaccines can also be used to tackle other diseases. Biotech companies are eager for investment to continue with research and development that was bolstered as a result of COVID.
As the US learns to co-exist with the pandemic, many challenges remain for investors, such as identifying where the opportunities lie and how to narrow their investment focus areas. At the KungHo Fund we feel we have a good recipe for finding the most promising companies. We hope both investors and startups will join us!
George Gong, CEO, KungHo Fund, Chairman, Zino Ventures