Important developments to watch out for in 2022

What trends does next year have in store for us? Five High-Tech Gründerfonds Partners take a look into the crystal ball, reveal the technologies they feel will become relevant, and explain why start-ups need to focus on corporate culture and employer branding from an early stage.

Implementing good ideas very well

In 2022 we’ll be looking beyond the pandemic. If the extreme developments are able to be kept in check, we could see the economy recovering and picking up quite rapidly. Start-ups from the travel and consumer sectors in particular can expect to enjoy a resurgence, and B2B orders that had been pushed back can finally be implemented.

I also foresee a very positive development in terms of sustainability: A transformed political landscape, society’s continued desire for change, and companies’ growing willingness to actively invest will further drive developments and innovations. I see huge opportunities unfolding for start-ups that manage to implement a good idea very well.

First and foremost, however, 2022 should be a year in which we seize all available opportunities to lay the foundation for greater tech leadership and also take the initiative when it comes to highly scalable trend topics. That really would make 2022 a lasting success!

Dr. Tanja Emmerling

Investing more energy in researching infectious diseases

The pandemic has demonstrated what science is capable of. It’s fascinating to see just how quickly companies have been able to develop effective Covid vaccines with good tolerability profiles, with mRNA technology set to become increasingly relevant. As a society, we’ll need to invest more energy in researching infectious diseases and treatments in general as we move into the future – whether it’s to combat viruses or bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. In addition, the renaissance in diagnostics will grow stronger in the coming year. And we can see just how important that is: It used to take a number of days to distinguish between virus variants, such as the omicron and delta variants, and to gauge the consequences that the emergence of new forms of the virus will have. But this is now happening widely, and in a matter of hours. I strongly believe that we’ll experience significant advances in the way health data is evaluated. Machine learning will become more relevant and will, for example, be used to help interpret gene sequences or image data. However, algorithms are reliant on input data quality. That’s why thorough scientific research – and thus collecting accurate data – will remain of paramount importance moving forward.

Dr. Bernd Goergen

A year of pioneering technologies

2022 will also be a year in which innovation and pioneering technologies are in focus across all areas and industries. The crucial aspect will be how business and society as a whole embrace the surge in technological advances and harness them for our benefit. When many companies talk about artificial intelligence, they’re only really talking about big data topics. But AI has more to offer. I am certain that we’ll see a huge leap in the near future, and that we’ll reach a whole new level where the things that seem impossible today become reality. There’s a great deal of potential to be leveraged here, such as in decoding complex biological processes and healing illnesses, or also in the energy sector, with the management of renewable energy generation and decentralised electricity grids. Decentralisation is a trend worth highlighting in general, and one that will enjoy a strong development in 2022. This also includes blockchain technologies, with Europe in a position to gain significant competitive advantages over China and the United States thanks to its decentralised structures. And I’m also sure that we’ll see more robotics applications, both in the industrial sector as well as in the public sphere. A number of Asian countries are already using service robots on their streets, and that’s something we’ll be seeing more of here in Germany in the coming years.

Markus Kreßmann

New opportunities with quantum technology and new space  

We’ll have huge opportunities in 2022. We’re learning to live with Covid and we’ll get better at managing the epidemic. The new German government will inject fresh ideas and generate significant momentum. I’m confident that the problems like the current supply chain bottlenecks will be overcome and that normality will return to many parts of the economy. So there’s a good chance we’ll see a new spirit of optimism, and greater courage in our society when it comes to innovation and new developments. I strongly believe that innovations will become more and more important in our society. Start-up technologies are becoming more relevant and can generate a high societal impact – take Biontech for instance. Trend topics of the past, such as sustainability, are becoming increasingly relevant. Here at HTGF, we’ve been active in this area for quite some time already, and we are aware of the great potential for change that our start-ups possess. Current trends such as quantum technology and new space, i.e. innovation and new business models involving quantum computing and space, are entering the spotlight. The new technologies being born here have the potential to permanently transform an array of different industries.  

Klaus Lehmann

World of work in flux – Constant battle over talent 

One of the key themes for start-ups in 2022 will be: How do I go about finding the right employees to fuel further growth. It’s not just corporations and mid-sized firms that are feeling the impact of the skilled worker shortage, as young companies are also being hit hard. My advice for start-ups is to ensure recruitment and employer branding form a core element of their corporate strategy. Compensation packages are interchangeable. It’s vision and company culture that make all the difference when companies are vying to attract the most talented candidates. 

In parallel to this, there’s also another development impacting the labour market in particular. I believe that software will remain a key driver of innovation across all industries. And this especially includes topics relating to AI, which in the medium- and long-term will take over tasks that are performed by humans today. It’s a development that we’ll have to keep a close eye on as a society. 

Romy Schnelle

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