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Mid-year Review in TMT: How COVID-19 disrupted the US tech landscape

The pandemic presented some TMT sectors an opportunity, as it changed how and where people work, receive healthcare and go about many everyday functions.

Originally published by MergerMarket. Re-posted with permission.

The pandemic has left few things unchanged and the technology, media and telecom space is no exception.

The crisis presented some TMT sectors an opportunity, as it changed how and where people work, receive healthcare and go about many everyday functions. But it also is forcing some spaces to change or evolve as work and leisure become more virtual and socially distanced.

This news service’s US-based TMT staff has identified different sectors that are heating up and some that are facing decisions as the world grapples with COVID-19.

U can’t touch this!

The public health crisis has focused significant attention on touchless or frictionless technology.

It can take many forms: hands-free entry and exit in office buildings, contactless payments in shops, and touchless capabilities for interactive displays.

Leading the charge, according to one industrials sector advisor, is access control. Some solutions enable people to open doors with apps on their phones. Others use video surveillance or sensors to count people. Companies in this space that could be acquisition targets include Openpath Security, Latch, Density io, Verkada, SALTO Systems (Greetly client), March Networks, and Idemia, the advisor said.

Others that are drawing interest include Greetly, a leading provider of visitor management systems that launched a no-touch solution in June. Greetly is soon expected to start seeking outside investors as interest in its product grows.  

Other startups in interactive displays have responded rapidly to the changing world. Mad Systems, an audio-visual integrator, designed touchless solutions for its QuickSilver interactive displays – such as linking a QR code so visitors can use their own device to access content or using facial tracking to "click" on buttons. Mad Systems is interested in partnering with or selling to a larger company.

In food delivery, one to watch is San Francisco-based Cheetah Technologies. In early March, it added to its Series B funding round to support expansion to contactless pickup and delivery service for consumers.

In the retail space, companies like Grabango, a Berkeley, California-based provider of checkout-free shopping technology, will thrive in a contactless future. “Grocery is doing very well right now. There is a need for less contact,” says Max Brickman, managing director of Grabango investor Heartland Ventures.

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