According to data from Pitchbook, the urban tech industry received upwards of $70 billion in investments in 2018, up nearly $50 billion from 2015. This astonishing growth of this industry seemed unstoppable, until the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Now that urban life is on lockdown, urban tech that includes services like online delivery, smart technology, ride-sharing services and real estate technology, could be in jeopardy.
Urban tech industries such as coworking spaces and online rentals will be especially hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdowns, but urban delivery companies such as DoorDash and informatics like Kinsa’s digital thermometer products will likely grow in relevance.
Still, flexible office providers that are collaborative in nature could face the biggest hit, particularly companies like WeWork who were already struggling before the crisis. Before coronavirus, coworking spaces were seen as a one-of-a-kind work environment. Now, these shared offices may cause fear of viral exposure.
Short-term rental companies in general have seen reservations vanish, which has left operators and hosts to transition to longer-term leases, opt out of paying rent and attempting to keep tenants on board by offering discounted fees.
Still, cities that have properly implemented certain urban technologies will have a headstart in public health until the virus is eradicated and may bounce back more quickly.