Part 2: Expert Predictions For Startup Trends in 2024

In part 1 of the UK’s startup trend predictions for next year, we uncovered a hive of entrepreneurial commentary. The next part includes a few more interesting predictions for 2024.

Our Experts:


Duncan Martin, Head of Entrepreneurship, Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh
Harvey Morton, Author, Succeeding as a Young Entrepreneur – Lessons in Life and Business
Chris Brown, RFID Subject Matter Expert, TSC Printronix Auto ID
Ekaterina Alamasque, General Partner, OpenOcean
Robert Phillips, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Alliance Manchester Business School
Isabelle Chatel de Brancion, Business and Innovation Lead, Ordnance Survey

Duncan Martin, Head of Entrepreneurship, Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh



“There will be a rising focus on startups that specifically address global environmental and societal issues. Successful startups will be those that successfully demonstrate commercially viable and scalable solutions to globally significant problems, for example, robotics solutions to healthcare challenges or food supply issues. It is these impact-driven and purpose-led startups that will continue to attract the attention of investors.

Meanwhile, I expect to see universities playing an expanded role in supporting startups with access to talent, research and resources. Universities with a longstanding and close involvement in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, like the University of Edinburgh, are vital to nurturing competitive tech startups and connecting them to other players within the entrepreneurial ecosystem such as investors and potential commercial partners.

For example, events such as the investor showcase EIE24, will connect the country’s innovative and scalable tech companies with key national and international investors and provide an essential platform for networking and collaboration. Without this support, there is a real risk that some of our brightest ideators and entrepreneurial brains will take their skills overseas.

I also think we will see governments around the world promoting local startup and innovation ecosystems with increased vigour. This will take the form of more robust policies as well as an availability of funds to develop competitive local startup hubs. Networking and collaboration are key to tapping into resources and entrepreneurial potential, and opportunities that provide access to investors and partners will be in high demand in 2024.”


Harvey Morton, Author, Succeeding as a Young Entrepreneur – Lessons in Life and Business



“We’ll see more and more young people start up their own business next year. There’s been so much uncertainty within so many industries, such as hospitality, traditional media and the rest that young people instead want to carve their own way in life, often in the spotlight. I think we’ll see a lot of your people starting a YouTube, TikTok or Instagram channel talking about topics they’re passionate about.

I think we’ll also see a rise in hospitality businesses and the travel industry will see a boom as people enjoy going away again. For example, the the holiday lettings space or doing something a bit different. I think there will be more purpose-driven businesses; people seeing problems and figuring out how to fix them in creative ways.

There will also continue to be a big rise in tech start ups, particularly around online security, password management and innovations around that which is very exciting.”


Chris Brown, RFID Subject Matter Expert, TSC Printronix Auto ID



RAIN RFID trend that will spur growth of the technology

Debate around how much data should be stored on RAIN RFID tags persists, ranging from advocates for a ‘digital twin’ concept to those who support storing detailed item attributes directly on the tag.

A more ‘middle-ground’ approach is fast gaining prominence as it’s commercially feasible and and works well technically. The compromise involves storing a few critical item attributes, like date values or batch/lot numbers, on the tag. Additional item information can be retrieved from an external database, striking a balance between cost and functionality.

This approach aligns well with emerging RFID applications, particularly in pharmaceutical and foodservice industries. In collaboration with GS1, these sectors are discussing new Encoding Schemes, like SGTIN+ for pharma and DSGTIN+ for foodservices.

These schemes prioritize critical item attributes in Memory Bank 01, enabling users in the field quickly filter by specific value (or range of values), find the target items and use or remove them from the value chain.

GS1 US has recently published guidelines outlining the proposed Encoding Schemes. Assuming there’s industry-wide clarity and agreement on them, RFID could be rapidly adopted, as proof of concept and pilot implementations are already underway.”


Ekaterina Alamasque, General Partner, OpenOcean



Women investors post-exodus

“The VC industry saw an exodus of women investors in 2023 due to an unrelenting, demanding, and uninclusive culture in this space. There will be no immediate recovery in 2024. As portfolios struggle across the industry, women in leading/partner positions will continue to face immense pressure to deliver for their firms. Women will be again judged more harshly as very often they have entered the industry recently, and won’t have the same chance to demonstrate a track record as some men in the same positions did 15 years ago.

There is a lot of work being done to shine a light on this problem. European Women in VC and GAINS initiatives are leading the way here, highlighting the problem, and crucially spurring action to make venture capital a space where women – just as much as men – can succeed. This work extends from inclusive career pathways, right the way through to making diversity with equal ownership a strategic priority for VC funds associated with profit.

I expect more of a focus next year industry-wide on putting capital into the hands of women. Female VCs and entrepreneurs still receive much less capital than their male counterparts. The European Women in VC report found female GPs have less investment power, raising only 9% of total AUM, compared with 91% of AUM raised by male GPs. We need action on both a funds level and focused investment on female entrepreneurs, if we are to address this disparity in 2024.

In response, next year will see the launch of a higher number of new women-led VC funds and funds with partners from much more diverse backgrounds. For those unable to raise a full fund, women investors will carve out niche coverage areas overlooked by traditional VCs. Capital will keep flowing into promising spaces that mainline firms are not prioritising, such as deep tech. While VC culture remains challenging for women, those who have exited big funds will find opportunities by banding together and identifying emerging pockets of opportunity.”


Robert Phillips, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Alliance Manchester Business School



“The latest figures from early 2023 suggest a record number of start-ups were being created despite uncertain economic times, although compulsory dissolutions were also at a high level (possibly businesses that were created during Covid and have now served their purpose).

Unfortunately, the cost-of-living crisis will still be a worry for many in 2024 and whilst inflation is decreasing it is still high. Global conflicts will also likely cause raised oil prices to feed into increased costs for many start-ups.

With a general election due, it is possible there will be more tax cuts on offer from our current record high tax burden, which will be welcomed by small businesses. Some are already due to take effect for the self-employed with Class 4 National Insurance contributions for self-employed reduced from 9% to 8% and with the abolition of the need to also pay Class 2 National Insurance. The improvement in terms for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) in 2023 was also useful for start-ups and should continue to benefit entrepreneurs in 2024.

There will also be new help in the form of AI – which might be able to manage a lot of the time-consuming tasks that entrepreneurs currently deal with, making life a little easier for start-up founders.”


Isabelle Chatel de Brancion, Business and Innovation Lead, Ordnance Survey



“Storm clouds gather over 2024’s startup landscape. The macroeconomic context is not favourable. Interest rates, geopolitical tensions, economic jitters as well as political uncertainty are tightening investors’ purse string: the mood is very cautious, the stakes high.

Runway extensions will be critical for early-stage startups. Survival will depend on clever, careful resource allocation and laser-sharp prioritisation. Insolvencies loom for fledging ventures caught in the funding drought and still in search of product market fit and without pockets deep enough to survive.

AI and Gen AI in particular, will remain a focal point for 2024. We can expect a boom in targeted solutions harnessing large models now available on the market. In the location data sector, the increased funding from the UK government UKSA, and ESA will have a positive impact on the use of earth observation data driving solutions for agriculture, environment, and finance. Quality data is and will remain the lifeblood of success.

For startups to survive they will have to focus on creating real efficiencies or helping organisation implement and address newly adopted policies. To that effect, biodiversity analysis and taxonomy will be crucial, pollution tracking, predictive modelling for adverse climate effects will remain a strong point.”