Industries best for startups in 2021

Who doesn’t wish they were their own boss? Having a great idea and converting it into a viable business is one of the best ways to become financially independent. 2020 was a rough year for entrepreneurs around the world but particularly in Africa, as investments in startups fell dramatically. However, things are starting to improve and some Africa-based companies, such as Chipper and Sokowatch, have already secured new funding. Startups are taking off in many industries but which industries have the best potential for success in 2021?

Subscription boxes

Who doesn’t like getting something in the mail that isn’t a bill or a catalogue? The joy of having a little surprise delivered to your door is the inspiration for the subscription box, and the popularity of these boxes has jumped over the last year. Subscription boxes are services that deliver a themed box to your door, usually monthly or quarterly. The first subscription boxes to become popular were beauty and skincare boxes. Now, there is a wide variety of boxes to appeal to every interest: there are boxes dedicated to tea and coffee, books, pet toys, children’s activities, crafts, jewellery, home products and even socks!

Another popular kind of subscription box that still has room for startups to expand into is the meal kit box. The generic meal kit market is dominated by Hello Fresh and Blue Apron but speciality boxes are still fairly rare. There may be one or two boxes that cater to vegans or people with allergies, but the market would benefit from some competition. International food boxes that either focus on a single country or act as a food tour of the world are also a great way to attract customers.

Currently, very few of the established subscription box brands deliver to anywhere in southern Africa. As evidenced by their success elsewhere in the world, there is obviously a market for subscription box services. Working with local small businesses could be a great way to launch a subscription box startup while also benefiting the community.

Online casinos

As more and more of the world has moved online, it’s no surprise that the gambling industry has followed suit. Online casinos – both those attached to or run by a traditional casino and those that are digital only – have become incredibly lucrative. Springbok online casino is one example of a successful casino startup. has the casino listed as number 5 on their toplist. Established in 2012, Springbok casino has grown to become one of South Africa’s largest and most popular online casinos. While it is a crowded field, there is still a lot of room to expand and many untapped markets, making online gambling an industry worth investing in during 2021.

One avenue to consider is an online casino startup that specializes in live casino games, since these are not offered by many of the existing online casinos. Live casino games featuring a live dealer who players can interact with in real time are the closest it is possible to come to a traditional gambling experience. The major hurdle would be the complex software required to ensure that players and dealer can all interact in the same feed, and the need to invest in hiring dealers and maintaining a studio space where the tables are filmed.

Privacy technology

Working from home or attending digital classes have raised questions about what our bosses or teachers can demand from us. Should we be able to keep our living spaces private? There have already been issues with smart home devices listening in to conversations and smartphones tracking our movements and recording our discussions. Only this week, the news broke that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware was being used to monitor the activities of human rights lawyers, activists and journalists around the world.

While many accept these things as just an unfortunate part of our modern world, more and more people are becoming concerned and looking for a solution. As the majority of these security concerns are digital, a startup that provides online security and allows users to maintain some privacy in their daily lives would likely be very successful. VPNs that disguise a computer’s location are already common but for a creative entrepreneur, this could be a great industry.

While these three industries have a lot of potential for business startups, they are not the only ones. Youth leaders, such as Tafadzwa Sharlene Makunere, are interested in using technology to start companies that provide solutions to environmental problems. Perhaps these startups will be the businesses that improve our future.

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