By Joaquín Pérez | 30 December 2019
Some people still doubt it, but 2020 is the year of the change of millennium, with it the decade of innovation ends. But what about this year? What has happened in the innovation ecosystem during 2019?
Far from riding in flying cars as Doc assumed in 'Back to the Future', innovation has been focused on improving and facilitating day-to-day lives for people and companies. What have been the main trends in 2019?
The voice: this has been the year of the audio. Households have been filled with voice assistants. Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Siri remind thousands of appointments daily to their users or warn them if it's raining to get an umbrella before they go out. In 2019 we have also experienced the 'boom' of the podcast, more than 50% of U.S. citizens over 12 years old consume this format, according to the study Infinite Dial Study 2019. In Spain it is still a bit unknown, but it is starting to be a trend. In conclusion, in 2019, audio has become an essential tool in our lives.
Strength comes in numbers: companies have realized that what users are really looking for is not a brand, but the right option to choose. In 2019, the giants of the Spanish economy have put aside their egos and decided to collaborate with each other. One example has emerged in the field of mobility, Renfe has integrated train, taxi, Cabify and public transport services in Madrid and Barcelona on a single platform. As the saying goes: 'if you can't beat them, join them.
Recycle or die: the choice of Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist against climate change, as the person of the year for 'Time' magazine gives us an idea of the importance that sustainability has acquired. Caring for the environment is already the main concern, and companies are looking to make the world a better place through their business. In this aspect, Telefónica's Sustainable Innovation initiative stands out. With it, they seek innovative proposals with a social or environmental impact that generate economic value.
Urbanite without leaving the countryside: some years ago, if you lived in the countryside and wanted to develop an idea, you had to leave. But this situation has changed and a lot. It has been the year of innovation in the countryside, rural entrepreneurship and access to new technologies has reinvented life in these areas. In Spain, the countryside has gained prominence and attracted the attention of many companies. One of the first to position itself has been Correos Market by launching #Yomequedo (“I Stay” in Spanish), a marketplace that allows rural entrepreneurs to distribute their products throughout Spain without having to leave their homes.
The revolution in banking: the times when you were given a silverware as a present for opening a new bank account are long gone. Now what bank users are looking for is speed, convenience and efficiency. Banks have known well how to adapt to it. Both, new digital banks the traditional ones, move digitally and communicate with their clients via mail or through the app. 2019 has been the year of consolidation, who hasn't done a Bizum during the year?
These are just some of the innovation trends we have experienced in 2019, a great year for South Summit startups, 21 of the 100 most innovative startups in Spain included in the report 'The 100 Most Innovative Startups in Spain' by “El Referente” and Startups4Real are former finalists in our Startup Competition. Moreover, we started the year with more than 1.7 billion dollars invested in our startups and closed it with more than 3 billion dollars, 70 rounds of funding, 13 of them exceeding 10 million!
Finally, we would like to add a special mention for our 2016 finalist Glovo that has become the second Spanish unicorn after its last round of 166 million.
What will 2020 bring?
Happy New Year!