Published on November 5th, 2020 | by Sunit Nandi0
These 5 Tech Brands Are Bringing Traditional Businesses into the 21st Century
We’re now 20 years into the 21st century and the new millennium, and anyone who was hoping for flying cars has been disappointed thus far. However, plenty of exciting new technologies have emerged to change the world.
Some traditional business models, though, have persisted well into the new century. And while there’s something to be said for not fixing what isn’t broken, it’s clear that there’s a great deal of opportunity to be found in modernizing these legacy models. Everyone wants to find the next Uber—a company that targets an outdated business model and produces something game-changing.
These five tech brands are finding new and interesting ways to update old technologies. From advanced motorcycle helmet communications to trading luxury goods like stocks, innovative ideas are in no short supply. Some are already successful, while others are still clawing their way up, but each is notable for its radical and risk-taking approach to revitalizing an older business model.
1. Trove (Apparel)
Consumers are increasingly waking up to the unsustainability of the fast fashion industry, which produces huge amounts of waste every year and sends millions of pounds of clothes to landfills. Some environmentally-conscious brands have responded by launching their own resale sites, many of which have seen impressive results. But it can be challenging to manage the logistics and platform side of branded reselling.
That’s where Trove comes in. This startup offers a platform for so-called “circular shopping” where consumers buy gently used and refurbished items straight from the manufacturer. It’s a potentially revolutionary way for retailers to capture value in a competitive marketplace, and Trove makes it easy for businesses to nail every detail of launching and scaling a resale business.
Big brands like Levi’s, REI, Patagonia, Arc Teryx and more have all launched branded resale experiences through Trove’s platform. More are likely to come as consumer interest in circular shopping continues to increase and Trove keeps on proving that everything old really can become new again.
2. Cardo Systems (Motorcycle Communications)
Cardo Systems is already a big name in the world of powersports helmet communicators, thanks to their successful line of Bluetooth helmet intercoms. Now, however, they’re introducing a new paradigm for wireless helmet communications that uses a much-talked-about technology called dynamic meshwork communication.
Dynamic meshwork communication is an innovative approach to networking that uses large networks of nodes to create faster, more reliable and more secure communication. Cardo’s PackTalk Bold and PackTalk Slim models both feature this innovative technology and use it to give motorcycle riders a high-quality and resilient audio connection when they’re on the road.
Of course, Bluetooth is still a strong technology with lots of room for growth. Thus, Cardo still offers Bluetooth compatibility in their PackTalk models, as well as a series of Bluetooth headsets called the Cardo Freecom series.
3. Rally (Collectibles)
eBay was a revelation for the collectibles market, but it mostly gave collectors new tools to buy and sell rather than upending the whole model. The startup Rally is different. Rally allows investors to buy and sell shares of extremely high-end collectibles as if they were stocks.
First, Rally’s team of collectibles experts sources, authenticates and values high-end items from Birkin handbags to ultra-rare bottles of wine. Then, they split its ownership into equity shares and offer them to Rally members in an “initial offering” similar to a stock IPO. Members can then buy, sell and trade shares in these collectibles via the platform, although the item’s owner still retains possession of it.
Rally recently raised $17 million in funding to expand its platform to new types of collectibles, with investors including Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian. One key statistic that looks great for Rally: The average collectibles investor on Rally is just 27 years old, meaning that millennials and Gen Z are quickly taking to this alternative investment opportunity.
4. Strukshur (Home Improvement Contracting)
Construction hasn’t yet faced the massive technological disruptions that some other industries have in the 21st century, but startups like Strukshur are betting that the time is soon. Strukshur is a platform designed to make it easy for contractors and homeowners to plan a project collaboratively. It’s styled after project management apps and allows contractors and homeowners to share progress, create projects and make decisions together.
Consolidation is the key to Strukshur’s model. Strukshur allows homeowners to obtain materials pricing, verify that contractors have the correct credentials, automate workflow and scheduling and much more. Construction professionals, meanwhile, can use the platform to link up with potential clients and enter bids for contracts.
Strukshur also provides transparency, something that many homeowners find is missing from their relationships with their contractors. By consolidating key information and creating a robust paper trail, Strukshur can help foster a new level of accountability and trust between contractors and their clients.
5. Attabotics (Warehousing/Fulfillment)
The expansion of eCommerce has caused an explosion in demand for warehouse space and order fulfillment. As warehouses become larger and more hungry for labor, Attabotics is taking a futuristic approach to the problem rather than scaling up the tools of the past. That means building warehouses that are almost entirely staffed by robots and are a fraction of the size of traditional warehouses.
This model has several advantages. For one thing, it allows businesses to place their warehouses in urban areas close to their customer base, which ultimately means faster delivery times. The near-exclusive use of robots results in much lower labor expenditures, and reduced resource consumption and travel times can also translate to lower carbon emissions.
Attabotics has claimed some notable victories, including building facilities for Nordstrom and collaborating with Microsoft to develop new applications of the Azure Edge Zone edge computing technology. Moreover, warehouse automation is one of the hottest technologies around, as evidenced by Amazon’s investment in it, so Attabotics seems to be riding a strong and relevant wave.
Source: SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock
Sooner or later, every business model has to change. The businesses that devote resources to getting ahead of that change, however, are often rewarded with a lasting foothold in their markets, and the brands we’ve talked about today could all produce a revolution in their respective industries.