Coronation or Coronated by Coronation?

Coronation or Coronated by Coronation?

By the time you read this article, the number of Coronavirus cases all around the world may have already passed a 2.5M threshold and the expected number of cases of the outbreak will end by a couple of folds of that number, it’s predicted by NewScientist. Is the world going into coronation or will businesses be coronated by coronation?

It goes without no doubt that the world to be in turmoil somehow comparable to the Great Depression of 1929, Mortgage Crisis of 2008, let alone the oil crisis of 1973 and the Asian financial crisis of 1997 which were relatively regional.

Alas! Our generation is to become a witness of negative figures for macro indicators like GDP Growth, Unemployment, Inflation, etc. And this is not my voice but world-renowned thought leaders have already given the idea a go. You may hear from Paul Krugman via here or from Yuval Noah Hariri via here.

Inevitably, the hit will also be hard for startups/scaleups but surely the preparation and readiness will offer much to become a cure for the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Below, I tried to summarise what questions should startups/scaleups bear in mind to surf against the ocean waves (referring to the Life of Pi Movie) during the Coronavirus and other similar global crisis.

Given that, I have dealt with AI-focused startups mostly and hence intrinsically had it on the back of my head while penning this article. However, I firmly believe that the Qs below could have a comprehensive outlook and can be applied to any startup/scaleup developing tech-based solutions on a global scale.

Here we go;

3 questions to ask about your startups/scaleups readiness for the Corona Outbreak.

1. Are you ready to pivot (iterate) and gear up?

That your product or service offering an aspirin or vitamin for your customers or clients is entrepreneurship 101 but always need to be taken into account and I call it “Oldies but Goldies”.

Potentially those who are serving a cure for the customer pains will likely have a higher chance of survival, even scaling. On the other hand and with my sincere disappointment and regret the latter will likely be in dire straits.

Yet, those strapped for cash may be in their last resort and clock may ticking for out with the old and in with the new.

By all means, there is a chance for a redo if your business model permits via creating a new revenue stream, changing segmentation, shifting sectoral focus, or releasing a newer product/services of a significant upgrade to them.

In plain English that is to say, one important aspect is there you may need to pivot (big chance to your business model) your business to become an aspirin with no longer becoming a vitamin.

On a further note, and If I were an Angel Investor or running a Venture Capital, I’d bet on efficiency-based solutions (Energy and Proptech industries for instance), infrastructure solutions targeting low latency for internet, etc. as they are on their way to becoming new normals.

2. Are your plans in place for the coronation?

If you are among those who foresee the outbreak will invade the entire world and make plans accordingly, huge congrats on you but as you can imagine it has not been the case for many.

Being on the C-Level of AI-based startups, my experience taught me to consider the following to secure a place for the company after a crisis.

Cash Flow: Reducing X% of your costs by eliminating nice to have to create more run rate. I am sorry, but if you are cash burning, are not backed by a strong investor, and/or has not secured funding from grants/supports, odds may be strongly against you and killing the company is always an option for a business.

Furthermore, a sector shift and market shift may keep you and your business alive.

Many developed countries offered stimulus packages and if you are running a business there, it is time to utilise those available for you or move your HQ where the fund can lay the foundation for you.

Like many startups, the operations (CRM systems, Marketing Engine, and PR materials, etc.) are not well-defined and you have now time to revisit them which I am sure you have been thinking to structure for months and even years.

Last but not the least, there are tonnes of grants or support declared by the EU, US, UK, China, and many others to cope with COVID19 and if your business allows (an intelligent founder has always found a way) to benefit from those funds, please do so.

By the way, if you have an existing investor, lucky you as they may spend more time on retention rather than acquisition.

3. Are you really dealing with AI?

AI is, fortunately, proving the appetite for new developments in tech and, unfortunately, overused or misused to raise hopes and to be seen sexy used comparably and interchangeably with technology.

A deeper understanding of the capabilities of your solution is needed to further evaluate to verify it is being used as an AI.

When in deep discussions with Data Scientists/Software Engineers, I ended up facing the below questions which seem to be top in the agenda and are addressing wide-ranging details for AI startups/scaleups for their technical capabilities.

Please ensure that AI has countless components when it comes to data and from data collection to storage from data transformation to deployment and therefore, below is not an exhaustive list and can definitely be extended.

However, those are the ones that are deemed quite critical and urgent to speed up your startup’s growth and keep the momentum of post-coronavirus exponential growth in terms of human adaptation highlighted in the below graph.

• Whether your AI-algorithms is an autonomous data cleaning solution that can reliably collect data from the source, fill missing data, and detect and correct outliers/anomalies and wrong values.

• Whether the algorithms be able to advise preventative actions (For HW mainly) and autonomously take corrective actions over the equipment to achieve maximalities based on the AI algorithms.

• Is it possible to have a local and distributed database?

• Can Deep Learning be implemented?

• How are long periods of missing data handled?

• What are the models used for Preventive maintenance? Dynamic control?

• What non-distributed solution can be deployed for clients with security requirements?

To sum up, post-corona may have little or no grey area.

AI-based, or fair to say all, Startups/scaleups either celebrate coronation with bringing the COVID-19 to its knees and ascend the throne OR will be surrounded by coronation with throwing the towel and imbed in the history of startup graveyard ( OR

Food for thought: “Do not be too pessimistic or too optimistic with AI.” Andrew Ng.



A.Gökhan Çelebi

VP of Growth at Faradai