Top 3 VIPFY Insights from TechCrunch Disrupt2020

What is TechCrunch Disrupt 2020?

Disrupt 2020 is a 5-day-long event which gathered 178 speakers with different backgrounds, who gave more than 100 talks on relevant tech-topics like robotics, SaaS, security, fintech, gaming and a lot more.

It is organized by TechCrunch, one of the main publishers regarding tech business, startups, and venture capital funding. This year, the Disrupt event took place completely online from 14thtill 18th of September and more than 10.000 people attended from different places. This was VIPFY’s second year attending the event, the first time being two years ago in Berlin.

Markus Müller, our company’s CEO shared his thoughts on the difference between both conferences: “Of course, this year’s event was a little different from what we are used to. The human interaction, face-to-face meetings and post-session networking are definitely aspects most people miss. However, TechCrunch and Hopin did their best to organize the event!”

To tell you more about VIPFY’s experience at Disrupt2020, we first want to give you a quick background as to what the event is really about, why it attracts so many people every year and how we ended up there for the second time.

First and foremost - What does disruption mean?

The word disruption is something extremely popular in the startup and tech-industry world and may seem common. However, many people often get confused about it.

To understand the concept of disruption, we first have to define innovation. According to Oslo Manual an innovation is any product, service, process, marketing or organizational change which is new or significantly improved compared to what the market has seen before.

There are two clearly distinguished degrees of innovation. The first one is the incremental innovation. It refers to existing products, services, processes, and strategies which are significantly enhanced or upgraded. The second one is the so-called disruptive innovation. This is an innovation that has a significant impact on the market and on the economic activity of the firms in that particular market or adjacent ones.

One can say that disruptive technology is what keeps the world moving forward, The wheel, the steam engine, the first motor vehicle, the computer, the Internet… These are all creations that thrust our species into a new era, opening a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities. However, a step forward for some means a step backward for others, this is the reason why it is called disruption. Such innovation deconstructs the world as we know it and establishes a new one, with new rules and regulations, with new hierarchies.

The disruptive innovation on this year’s TechCrunch event seemed to be SaaS (Service as a Software). Many venture capitalists mentioned SaaS as something to keep an eye on because of its incredible growth despite the pandemic, or maybe even because of it, but more on that later. From VIPFY’s perspective, everything that has to do with the cloud, cyber security, service management and facilitating people’s everyday work is an innovation worth paying attention to.

Speaking of the event, let us jump right into it. Here are VIPFY’s Top 3 key insights from Disrupt2020.

COVID-19 can’t stop us

Right off the bat, Covid-19. The virus that changed it all – everyday life, work, social events, economy. Of course, that was one of the main topics discussed on Disrupt2020. The crisis that the virus caused, affected every single business.

Adaptability yet again proved to be an essential feature for human beings in the struggle for survival. Developed throughout hundreds of thousands of years, this trait of ours gives us a huge advantage in the animal kingdom. Fortunately, we are also rational beings who created and adapted technology as a tool to solve big human problems.

Humanity is now facing one the biggest threats in the last couple of decades. Under these circumstances, some tech companies are proving to be good examples in showing how to handle the situation in the best way possible. Either by adapting their business models to suit the current situation better, or by trying to solve the problems that emerged from the crisis.

Let’s take Color and Carbon Health case as an example. Their goal was to reduce the high costs of American healthcare and make it more accessible. Although it was a very challenging and difficult project, they decided to go through with it. The results were incredible. Thousands of people used Color’s chain supply platform and Carbon Health's Pop-Up clinics. Their persistence made it possible to allow so many people to have access to basic human care in times when they needed it the most.

That does not only apply to the health aspect of the situation. India’s second most valued startup Byju’s is a great example in how to take advantage of such a crisis. It took the startup about four and a half years to amass 40 million students. Since the lockdown, its user base has ballooned up to 65 million. The growth of the company became even larger when Biju decided to offer all of its services completely free of charge for students.

Covid-19 has changed our lives for good but we, like most of the participants on Disrupt2020, stay on the optimistic side and keep a positive mindset. Year 2020 is not over yet and there is a lot more to come. Tech companies have not only not suffered from the crisis, on the contrary, they have faced an extremely fast growth. With home-office as an alternative to traditional office work, online education instead of a closed classroom and social distancing as a norm, technology’s role is more important than ever to keep essential communication running.

Investing is like fashion

No matter the circumstances, business is business. It might seem like the world has been frozen the last couple of months but that is a statement very far from the truth. Yes, it does take longer but companies are raising capital. In fact, big investment deals during the pandemic are actually the norm, rather than the exception.

It might seem like Venture Capitalists (VCs) are disinvesting in general, however, this is not the case. Investing is like fashion, said Anu Hariharan, a Partner in Y Combinator. Time goes by and trends change. Until 2016 everyone was investing into food delivery services and startups. Once that market became saturated, the focus of the investors switched. Today everything that is somehow related to the cloud, remote collaboration, cyber security or SaaS is in the spotlight. For instance, we have companies like Snowflake, which produced the biggest IPO for an American software company in history so far.

People come to realize that the Internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. Therefore, the demand for intuitive and safe digital environment is rising, and naturally, companies that manage to provide both of those things are thriving. Another interesting aspect when it comes to investing is that the investment gap between Europe and the US is finally closing. A lot of the VCs that took part in Disrupt2020 said that their biggest investments in recent years, this one in particular, were exactly in European software startups both in early and growth stage.

At this point you might be thinking to yourself “What about all the other ideas and startups that have nothing to do with software or cloud technology?”. Luckily, some of the speakers thought about this as well. There is a certain amount of trust that has to be built between the founders and the investors, which is impossible to do face-to-face right now. In the current situation, business talks and deals are not what they used to be.

Fortunately, VCs are not discouraged. They say that even without the more personal interaction, they can still see if a business really has a mission or not. There are so many ideas and so many people trying to succeed, but truth is that mostly the ones who work towards improving lives, promoting social responsibility, equality and sustainability are going to be lucky enough to get noticed by investors.

Summarized, the formula for success is to have a business with a purpose and to look for investors who are willing to get involved in your business with their time and expertise, not only their money.

The future of Cyber security and data protection

The number of cases of cyber-attacks increased by more than 400% since the pandemic started. Be it due to lack of adaptive technologies or companies loosening their security measures to make work from home more accessible, security is of highest concern nowadays.

We also witnessed many private data scandals during the past few years. A big part of our lives is now led online whether we like it or not, we and therefore our technology, have to adapt to the circumstances.

It is essential now more than ever to create a safe working environment in spite of the general skepticism, the uncertainty of the situation and its duration. This is where our startup comes into focus. Our mission is to make your workday simpler, easier and safer. The service manager provides you with the apps that best suit your company, it helps you keep track of what you have, what you mostly use and how much you pay for it. VIPFY keeps you safe by using not only two-factor authentication but also a cutting-edge biometric behavior algorithm, which guarantees that no one else can use your account. If this is not enough, let us share the best part. VIPFY combines all of your accounts and allows you to access them with just one username and one password.

Taking everything into account, what we learned at TechCrunch Disrupt2020 is that we are definitely on the right track! SaaS and cyber security are topics everyone is talking about, and VIPFY combines both of them in the best way possible. We understand the challenges of the business situation and the problems that SMEs face every day.

We are here to help and we are here to stay!

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Nils Vossebein

CMO VIPFY