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Navin Chaddha Shares Enterprise Investing Themes in Extra Crunch Enterprise VC Survey

Future of remote work

As the world moves to a distributed workforce, a remote-first ecosystem will spur innovation in many areas including collaboration, communication, marketing, sales, customer support and knowledge sharing. This will build on the forces shaping the future of work that was already in place prior to the pandemic. Some of those include: the rise of gig workers, the potential for AI to increase productivity by automating tasks, the dramatic increase in a decentralized workforce that are often deskless and mobile, and the desire for workers to derive meaning beyond income from their services.

Human-centered AI

AI should enhance humans, rather than replace them. Some examples include using AI in recruiting to eliminate bias in hiring; using AI for repetitive tasks in customer support so that humans can handle escalated cases for greater satisfaction; and using AI in hospitals to pattern match in radiation diagnostics, so humans can come in for the final analysis.

Hacker-proof security and privacy in the age of surveillance

We live in the age of hackers and other bad actors. Enterprises need to build security policies and solutions that respond to breaches but are also effective in preventing them. At the same time, as we go into a future where users grant permission for tracking their health data, enterprises have to do so while complying with privacy regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR and CCPA. Some examples include cybersecurity posture transformation, continuous application monitoring, data privacy compliance, secure access to secrets such as API keys, passwords or certificates, and encryption platforms for distributed file sharing that eliminate the need for passwords and public keys.

Systems of engagement and intelligence apps

The world of SaaS business applications has moved from systems of record to systems of engagement and intelligence. We believe that modern platforms aimed at major lines of business such as the remote salesperson, the remote marketeer, the remote recruiter, the remote alliance manager, the remote customer support representative and so on that combine delightful interfaces with deep domain knowledge will thrive.

Developer and DevOps-centric platforms and communities

Engineers, designers and product managers today are using an ever-increasing array of tools to try to do their jobs — tracking issues, writing code reviews, iterating on designs — and less time actually getting their jobs done building software. At the same time, technology executives want more granular visibility into the software delivery lifecycle. There is a huge opportunity for startups to create “force multiplier” tooling for product development personnel by automating repetitive workflows, stitching together disparate tooling and facilitating team collaboration, while providing actionable insights and analytics for managers and executives.

Additionally, in the wake of COVID-19, enterprises have accelerated their digital transformation plans and journey to the cloud. CIOs and other key IT stakeholders are looking at Day 2 operations — what it takes to keep modernized apps and infrastructure up and running — and cost reduction, downtime management and security are paramount considerations. There are significant opportunities for startups in areas such as incident response and troubleshooting, infrastructure compliance and auditing, and cloud/API-based monitoring and security.

Rise of the edge

As 50 billion IoT devices get installed and edge use cases such as autonomous cars and edge data centers go mainstream, microbranches with people working from home offices, software that delivers the power of the cloud at the edge with real-time, low-latency access will need to be created. A new class of companies will enable enterprises and service providers to bring a consistent cloud environment to wherever they are distributing their applications, be it on-premises, one or more public clouds or a diverse set of edge sites and locations.

Robotics, drones, AR/VR

The rise of robotic process automation in industrial warehouses and logistics will address supply chain failures. In hospitals, robots are taking the pulse of patients and assisting in operating rooms. Drones are providing security patrols and being tested for delivery of goods. AR and VR applications are allowing for touchless experiences. Other technologies such as quantum computing, thermal cooling and blockchain also have potential.

This is an excerpt from a recent survey published in TechCrunch’s Extra Crunch. For the full article, please see here.

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