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According to the CB Insights Tech Trends 2023 report, as companies strive to build resilience amidst fluctuating market conditions, expansion into new markets will become crucial. Startups in sectors like fintech, which are experiencing turbulence due to declining demand, are expected to hasten their plans to introduce new products and features. Simultaneously, other companies will target underserved markets to acquire new customers. Against the backdrop, numerous large companies will attempt to create a competitive advantage by transforming into do-it-all super apps. Below are the 11 top tech trends as outlined in the report. 


1. Immortality-as-a-Service 


In an intriguing twist, “Immortality-as-a-Service” is gaining traction. This trend involves the use of technology to extend human life, potentially indefinitely. While it may sound like a concept straight out of a science fiction novel, advancements in biotechnology and artificial intelligence make this a plausible reality. Companies are addressing the longevity challenge through various approaches, including cellular process modification, body part regeneration, drug discovery, and the development of anti-ageing supplements that are not solely focused on cosmetic benefits. The ethical and societal implications of such a service are profound and will undoubtedly be a topic of intense debate. 


2. The rise of super apps 


In an increasingly digital world, startups are adapting swiftly to contend with formidable market conditions. One significant trend is the proliferation of super apps, which aim to lock in consumers by offering a multitude of services on a single platform. These platforms are becoming more prevalent, providing everything from banking and shopping to entertainment, food delivery and transportation. The potential rewards are substantial for any company that can establish itself as a comprehensive platform for online activities such as search, commerce, and digital identification, as it could create a significant competitive advantage and become a gateway to the digital economy, offering numerous monetisation opportunities. 


3. The quick revival of fintech 


In the face of the market downturn, fintech startups are rapidly adapting by diversifying their offerings and focusing more on enterprise clients. The looming prospect of a recession has triggered a significant shift in the fintech landscape. To survive, these companies are not only expanding into new business lines and product features, including non-financial ones, but also intensifying their efforts to target enterprise buyers. This strategy involves bundling services to better monetise existing customers, building competitive moats, and reducing dependence on riskier business lines. Many are evolving towards becoming "super apps," offering connected ecosystems where users can manage money, shop, buy insurance, and more. Furthermore, to mitigate the risk of losing consumers and small businesses during economic downturns, some fintechs are making strategic pivots to cater more to enterprises. 


4. The emergence of consumer robots 


Consumer robots are no longer a thing of the future. They are here and are set to become a common sight in homes and workplaces. From performing household chores to providing companionship, these robots are becoming increasingly sophisticated and versatile. Tech leaders and startups are delving into the potential of home-operating robots, focusing on their roles as both practical aids for cleaning and transportation tasks and as empathetic companions, including AI-powered bots for children's education and entertainment. The year 2023 is set to witness tech giants leveraging AI and sensor technology advancements to make more significant strides in this emerging field. Concurrently, there will be a surge in activity from innovative robotics insurgents eager to penetrate the home environment. This marks the onset of a competitive era in the realm of domestic robotics. 


5. Virtual power plants take off 


Decentralised energy systems, or Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), are gaining momentum as the demand for renewable energy rises, grid stability becomes a concern, and communities grapple with increasing energy prices. VPPs aggregate power from a network of distributed energy resources like residential solar panels, large-capacity batteries, and wind farms. They use cloud-based systems and AI tools to manage power distribution, making grids more resilient by constantly reconfiguring to draw power from available sources as demand fluctuates. For instance, if a wind turbine is not producing energy, charged-up residential battery packs could compensate for it. By optimising the coordination and use of energy sources, VPPs can help reduce reliance on coal and gas, stabilise the grid, and lower energy costs for households.  


6. Health monitoring goes ambient 


Ambient health monitoring is set to revolutionise healthcare by going beyond standard remote patient monitoring approaches to continuously collect data via more connected and less invasive devices. These systems use a broad range of sensors to collect health-related data, aiming to provide less intrusive, more proactive diagnoses and treatments to improve health outcomes. Devices requiring physical interaction are more non-intrusive, with developments like "smart stickers" that adhere to the skin and continuously collect and transmit data. As we move into 2023 and beyond, a major challenge in the ambient healthcare space will be blending continual data collection with user-friendly technology that requires minimal effort from patients, with a focus on designing devices that are both technically effective and aesthetically pleasing.  


7. Digitalisation of smell 


Despite its complexity, the digitisation of scent is making considerable progress in industries such as food, retail, and healthcare. The challenge lies in the intricate interaction between molecules and smell receptors, and the subjective nature of smell perception. However, the potential benefits are vast, from improved disease detectors to enhanced product development in the food and beauty industries. The ability to digitally encode and recreate smells could also add a new dimension to immersive experiences, such as those in the metaverse. With the rise of AI tools and increasing startup activity, along with interest in "smell-o-vision" technology for virtual experiences, smell tech is ready for an upswing. 


7. Femtech provides menopause care 


Despite the significant impact of menopause on women's health, it remains an overlooked and underfunded area. The lack of formal education makes it challenging for women to identify symptoms and seek support. However, the rise of femtech is bringing a shift in this landscape. As the broader women's health space gains momentum, a growing number of startups are focusing specifically on menopause. They are leveraging technology to address various distressing symptoms, such as cognitive impairment, vasomotor symptoms, and insomnia, despite the currently limited medical treatment options. 


9. The bio-based materials surge 


Companies are increasingly turning to bio-based materials derived from natural sources like mushrooms and seaweed as sustainable alternatives to plastics. These materials are durable, resistant to fire, water, and mould, and biodegradable. Their growing popularity among consumer goods companies, fashion brands, and government entities is driven by ambitious sustainability goals and a looming recycled plastic shortage. While seaweed- and mushroom-derived products are gaining traction, the supply may not meet the demand for plastic alternatives. However, other bio-based materials, such as those made from sugarcane, soy, corn, and cork, are also emerging. With their environmental benefits and desirable properties, expect to see more bio-based products in stores. 


10. The rising impact of regenerative agtech 


As consumer demand for sustainable products grows, fashion and food brands are turning to regenerative agriculture to reduce their emissions, leading to a surge in startups offering enabling technology. Regenerative agtech, which restores soil health and prevents erosion through practices like planting trees among crops, minimizing ploughing, avoiding synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and using rotational grazing techniques, is gaining momentum. This year is expected increased investor interest in startups offering tech-driven tools that support regenerative agriculture, such as computer vision, supply chain management platforms, and geospatial imaging. As consumers focus more on sustainability, retailers are likely to highlight regenerative agriculture as part of their climate-tech measures.  


11. India's startup boom 


VCs are increasingly investing in India, capitalising on the country's burgeoning startup ecosystem and projected economic growth. Despite global economic uncertainties, several factors are driving this trend, including India's growing share of unicorn companies, the rapid digitisation of sectors like financial services and healthcare, and the country's emergence as a strong investment alternative to China. Key sectors poised for growth include climate and clean energy, consumer fintech, and B2B enablement. With large funds being raised for the region, such as Sequoia Capital's $2B India fund and Tiger Global Management's reported $6B venture fund, India's tech ecosystem is set for a transformative period of growth. 


This year promises to be exciting for technology. As we navigate through economic uncertainties, the above tech trends offer a glimpse into a future where technology is even more integral to our lives. As we adapt to this ever-changing landscape, one thing is certain: nothing in tech stays the same for long. 


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