As Avanii co-founders pursue their dream career of being clean-tech entrepreneurs, they also face a severe hurdle; the COVID-19 financial crisis. While it is clear that running a company of any size becomes increasingly difficult during a recession or depression, many of the world’s most successful companies began during an economic reform.
Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio rebranded in the middle of the great depression to Walt Disney Productions, the same time that the company began to grow in size.
Microsoft formed in a recession in 1975 and grew to be one of the most successful companies of all time; selling personal computers to a largely unemployed customer base.
Uber even began in the midst of the 2008-9 market crash as a transportation company when their unemployed customer base had nowhere to go. So what is it about economic deform that creates an opportunity for a startup to scale into a business?
First, it has to be the right idea. A business that provides value to people in a way that hasn’t been seen before. It has to be different enough or captivating enough to gather the attention of the world and help people look forward to what is to come, instead of reveling in the past. In the case of Disney, many of their stop-motion movies allowed people to escape into fantasy worlds where their financial problems did not exist.
Second, as markets and companies weaken during a recession, holes begin to appear in the market whereby new solutions products can create increased value by filling the gap with disruptive technology. In the case of the taxi industry, many taxi drivers were encouraged to take out loans of $50,000 to purchase their own franchised taxi company. Upon the financial crisis of 2008, many of those taxi drivers lost their clientele, defaulted on their loans, and needed to find a new job as the economy began to pick up. Enter Uber.
Third, the business has to be disruptive and scalable enough to create change in the world so that it can maintain its competitive advantage in the market. In the case of Microsoft, their personal computers went unmatched in the market for years because of their revolutionary technology and focus on perfection. It was only until Apple expanded its market share in 2001 that Microsoft realized that it should begin to focus less on the requirements of a computer, and more on enabling their customers to experience self-actualization, as Apple had done (who also began in a recession, by the way).
As the COVID-19 recession sweeps the economy, Avanii has faced these same reflections. Will we give people hope? Are there gaps opening in the market that Avanii can fill in the future? Will Avanii provide value in disruptive ways that will ultimately benefit society in the long run? Their research, iteration, and determination all point to the answers to these questions being yes. As COVID-19 fills the news, and the minds of the public with fear, society has nearly forgotten that schools were also canceled to fight climate change by millions of students worldwide. Society has been preoccupied with the imminent and immediate threat of this pandemic (rightfully so) to the point that the attention environmental policy reform has been all but forgotten. However, the threat that climate change poses to humanity is still at large, and the threat of it being overshadowed and forgotten increases daily. While this does leave an opportunity for disruptive technologies to fill the gap and scale when the pandemic dust settles, it also leaves an onus on the entrepreneur to be forward-thinking for the sake of society.
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