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While 2020 sees an array of technology trends playing out at great speed, two overarching themes link many of them together: AI and sustainability. Artificial intelligence adds revolutionary potential to everything from automotive to healthcare, while the increasingly urgent demands for sustainability and decarbonization are both spurring and guiding the pace and path of innovation.


1. Sustainability: transforming the way we eat, and solving the plastics problem

As well as being an overarching 2020 theme, sustainability is behind many advances in both food production and waste management. At the same time, the market for meatless meat is predicted to be worth over $5 billion in 2020. From vertical farming to AI-driven precision growing, the use of drones, Farming-as-a-Service and even autonomous farming, AgTech has the potential to make food production dramatically more efficient. For example, in 2019 Bryan, Garnier & Co advised on the sale of Biolectric, whose technology transforms farm waste into biogas for electricity generation. And as the plastic waste problem moves up the global agenda, we were involved with one of the solutions, as Sole Bookrunner on a Private Placement for Carbios, whose breakthrough enzymes can help recycle and degrade PET and plastics.


2. Technology in 2020: deep, big, automated and decentralized

Looking deep under the hood of this year’s tech trends, we see edge computing[1] continuing to progress strongly as 5G is poised to go mainstream – with edge hardware alone growing from $0.1bn into a $5.5bn business in less than 5 years[2]. This year will also see more developments around multi-cloud as the mighty silos of Google, Microsoft and Amazon see the business sense in getting connected. And within the cloud, the microservice architecture that is its perfect companion will go mainstream. The containerization made possible by Kubernetes has the potential to create massive cost savings for enterprises. Finally, Low-Code/No-Code (LCNC) will throw the tech industry a lifeline at a time when it is suffering from a lack of talent.


For the GAFAMs, 2020 could be a year of reckoning as both regulators and consumers push them on taxation, privacy and security. Despite this, their onward march continues unchecked, this time towards a takeover of fintech – and even into smart cities, where they are making multi-billion Dollar investments. Sticking with the ‘big’ theme, it’s clean-up time for big data, where automation will be used to try and reduce the trillion-dollar costs of ‘dirty’ data. Data scientists will attempt to further undo the data knot with augmented, predictive and IoT analytics. But GDPR and other privacy legislation will continue to make a huge impact on data processing and handling.


AI and ML (Machine Learning) are poised to revolutionize large areas of activity. In healthcare, AI has long surpassed human capabilities in diagnostics, for example in reading brain scans, and can accelerate drug modelling and discovery. This fast-moving tech is also transforming production-line processes in manufacturing and improving customer experience and support in retail.


DeFi (Decentralized Finance) is on the rise this year, extending the range of financial services that can run in the blockchain environment. STOs (Security Token Offerings) are enabling the transparent and tokenized offering of a broad range of financial instruments. For HSD (Highly Sensitive Data), blockchain is becoming the standard in secure data storage, allowing for an unprecedented exchange of information between parties. And enterprise blockchain offerings from players such as IBM are bringing the technology into the real and immediately monetizable world.


3. IoT: more things, more connections

This will be the year when the Internet of Things grows exponentially, driven by the 5G (r)evolution. Naturally, this explosion in connected devices will also bring with it a proliferation of security threats, compelling organizations to not only review existing IoT security but also to demand that their IoT solutions have security built-in. IoT is seen to have a considerable upside in sustainability terms, with its efficiencies contributing to a potential 12% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030[3]. And, Voice User Interfaces, already familiar to users of smart home devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant, are maturing.


4. Healthcare: connectivity and innovation

In 2019, we saw the convergence of software and healthcare augmenting medication with monitoring and advice. This trend is playing out strongly in 2020, in particular with ubiquitous connectivity driving a “healthcare everywhere” trend, and smartphones and watches putting continuous health monitoring into the hands and onto the wrists of consumers. Changes in regulation could enable a surge in medical and wearable apps[4]. Telehealth is also expected to grow significantly, to become a $130+ billion global market by 2025[5], although cybersecurity concerns in this area remain high. And as big data creates new connections between pharma companies and device manufacturers, a new playing field for M&A is opening up.


Within the science of healthcare itself, Bryan, Garnier & Co’s 2019 activity saw a focus on biopharma and immunotherapies, both areas seeing active and exciting innovation. We worked with DBV, whose innovative biopharma treatments combat food allergies, and with BioNtech, Celyad and Inotrem, whose immunotherapy technologies are focused on cancer and inflammatory syndromes.


5. Consumer and retail technology: more options, less ownership

For consumers, the online shift of brands, payments and the retail experience is creating new possibilities. Luxury brands have realized the power of digital transformation and are moving fast to harness it: e.g. LVMH is accelerating collaboration with 50 startups each year through its own accelerator program, disruptors like The RealReal have long joined the club of public luxury brands and Richemont has asserted its claim for the online throne with the acquisitions of YNAP and Watchfinder. At the same time, virtual and augmented reality are creating new retail experiences from enhanced mirrors to an unlimited stock of virtual goods. And as cash disappears, consumers are transacting in different ways.


We are also seeing the concept of ownership going out of fashion. Not just in the automotive market, where lease models have become highly popular – but also across categories such as consumer electronics and urban mobility. Digital challengers such as Cluno and Grover have successfully collected more than half a billion Euros in less than three years. Sustainability is impacting consumer and retail markets in a big way, as growing environmental awareness prompts individuals to reconsider their diets, buy and own fewer items and demand sustainable sourcing and practice, especially in connection with plastic waste. In 2020, businesses planning to disrupt consumer markets with sustainability-related propositions are pushing on an open door.


Curious to find out more? Download the published Tech Tour Growth 50 list here.


[1] Edge computing: taking AI outside of the cloud




About Bryan, Garnier & Co
Bryan, Garnier & Co is a European, full service growth-focused independent investment banking partnership founded in 1996. The firm provides equity research, sales and trading, private and public capital raising as well as M&A services to growth companies and their investors. It focuses on key growth sectors of the economy including Technology, Healthcare, Consumer and Business Services. Bryan, Garnier & Co is a fully registered broker dealer authorized and regulated by the FCA in Europe and the FINRA in the U.S. Bryan, Garnier & Co is headquartered in London, with additional offices in Paris, Munich and New York. The firm is a member of the London Stock Exchange and Euronext.


About Tech Tour 
Founded in 1998, Tech Tour provides a Community facilitating investment into world class entrepreneurs with event and online matching platforms between growing and emerging innovative companies and investors across borders, regions, sectors and stages. Tech Tour is also the trade name for Europe Unlimited.