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If you’re looking to start a business with high earning potential, you’ve probably looked into some tech business ideas.
And why wouldn’t you? In 2019, the estimated economic output of the technology industry was $1.8 trillion, comprising over 10% of the national economy, according to CompTIA. What’s more, the average successful startup exit (via either acquisition or IPO) has sat at $242.9 million since 2007.
However, for every successful startup exit, there are hundreds if not thousands of startups that have failed. So if you’re an entrepreneur hoping to hit it big in the technology sector, you need to start with a strong tech business idea.
In an industry defined by innovation and disruption, what constitutes a “good” tech business idea is constantly changing. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tech business ideas that are poised for extreme growth in the coming years.
What is a tech business?
Tech businesses provide products and services that have applications across multiple industries — but at their core, they pertain to the research, development and distribution of technology-based goods. This includes businesses that manufacture electronics (like Apple), create software (like Salesforce), provide services relating to information technology (like Google) and more.
The best part about our technology business ideas is that they don’t require a lot of overhead—you can start small and grow over time. However, you will need some level of technical knowledge to be able to successfully start a business in the industry. If you don’t have any, we’d recommend enrolling in a coding bootcamp before you get started.
Here are some of the top tech business ideas, including some recommendations from tech entrepreneurs themselves.
1. Food tech
Our first recommendation comes from Phil Strazzulla, founder of HR software company SelectSoftware. Strazzulla sees the food tech sector as a major growth industry in the coming years:
“Companies like Beyond Meat are just the beginning of businesses engineering eco-friendly and healthy food that is as delicious as our current diet. The science is now there, and the market for next-generation food is literally in the trillions of dollars, and it grows just as quickly as the world's population.”
2. Web design
One tech business idea that will never go out of style is website design. That’s because pretty much every business needs a professional-looking website in order to appear reputable and build their brand.
Web design encompasses a range of different services, including graphic design, interface design, copywriting, UX design, and SEO. According to IBISWorld, the web design business has grown at a rate of 6.6% over the last five years, and generated $38 billion in revenue in 2019, meaning you can rely on there being a market for this tech business idea for years to come.
3. Extended reality
Extended reality technology encompasses both augmented reality, or AR, and virtual reality, or VR, technologies. Kenny Trinh, editor of tech review publication Net Books News, sees extended reality technology proliferating in the coming years.
"In 2020, we’ll see more and more businesses applying extended reality to their brands to stand out from the competition and deliver a better customer experience,” says Trinh. “In fact, some businesses have been doing that already.”
Trinh points to the eco-friendly water packaging project W-in-a-Box, which uses AR to further explain the benefits of their product.
Robotics is a bit of a catch-all term that encompasses mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering, computer science and other related disciplines. The goal of robotics is to create machines that can move and react to sensory input. According to Statista, this industry is expected to grow from $80 billion in annual revenue in 2019 to over $200 billion in annual revenue by 2025.
5. Customer experience management, or CXM
Ian Kelly, VP of operations for a CBD oil company called NuLeaf, believes customer experience management platforms like ZenDesk will soon make customer relationship management platforms, or CRMs, obsolete.
"While a CRM can help you manage customer details, a CXM unifies all sales, marketing and customer service conversations into a single silo so that your customers are treated like the loyal fan-base they are,” says Kelly. “No more hitting your customer over the head with repeat promos, selling them on services/products they already have or letting them slip through the cracks when they've bought and never been properly onboarded.”
6. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is an industry enabled by social media platforms like Instagram involving endorsements and product placements from individuals or organizations who possess a certain level of expertise or social influence in their respective fields. While not just anyone can be an influencer, if you possess some level of unique knowledge or a lot of charisma, you can launch a business by gathering a social media following and hiring an influencer marketing agency to connect you with brands.
On the flip side, you can also launch a business focused on connecting brands with the right influencers for their products and mission.
7. Content automation
With content and social media becoming an ever-growing part of many businesses’ marketing plans, Gleb Myrko, an analyst at the market research firm Freedonia Group, believes content automation software presents a great opportunity for tech entrepreneurs.
"Businesses today have accounts on all different social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc. All of these channels require different approaches to content planning, content production and account management and analytics,” says Myrko. “There’s still not a widely applied tool for omnichannel management, promotion and analytics for the most popular social media. We need an all-in-one hub where marketers can analyze data/performance, as well as manage and promote their accounts on different social media channels in a more centralized, convenient and effective manner.”
8. Artificial intelligence
The term “artificial intelligence" is used to describe technologies pertaining to machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing and more. Although artificial intelligence is a technology that has been around for quite some time, as it becomes increasingly sophisticated, its market potential is growing as well.
Statista reports that the industry grew by 154% in 2019 alone—making it a great tech sector to build a business around.
If you’ve been paying attention to innovations in content over the past few years, you’re probably aware of the exploding popularity of podcasts. Today, 51% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, and podcaster Dre Baldwin sees podcasting’s prospects only increasing in the coming years.
“Entrepreneurs need to start building their podcast content library ASAP,” Baldwin says. “More and more people are consuming media on the go; audiobooks and podcasts are at the forefront of this. Any entrepreneur or business entity that wants the attention of consumers needs to be in their ears, literally.”
10. Streaming service
Services like Netflix and Disney+ get most of the attention when it comes to streaming services, but there is plenty of opportunity to start a streaming service for more niche content. For example, you can create a streaming service where users can upload instructional videos or a streaming service designed specifically for children’s content. You could also develop a platform for live streaming (like Twitch) or streaming music (like Spotify).
The global outlook on the streaming service industry is overwhelmingly positive. In 2019, streaming services generated $25 billion in revenue. By 2025, that number is expected to rise to $30 billion, according to Statista.
11. 3D printing
One of the more exciting technologies developed during the 2010s is 3D printing, which allows users to build a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design model. Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris, believes 3D printing will have increased importance in the next decade as the technology continues to become more sophisticated.
"There will always be the need for production companies, but just as the advent of the assembly line changed production, so too has 3D printing,” Sherman says. “The ability to manufacture whole components in single pieces has created a serious demand, especially in the medical fields. This demand means that 3D printing companies are set to grow exponentially, and if you can get into the business, it's a solid choice for the coming years.”
E-commerce is another technology that has been around for a while, but still has growth potential. Over the last year, Statista reports that e-commerce sales grew from $500 billion to nearly $550 billion.
If you have a unique idea for an e-commerce store, you can launch your own e-commerce business from the comfort of your home. No product in mind? Not to worry; dropshipping allows you to start an e-commerce business with products you are not responsible for warehousing or shipping.
If you want to grab a bigger share of the market, you could also take the time to develop your own e-commerce platform or marketplace. Just keep in mind that the e-commerce platform space is already dominated by giants like Shopify and Amazon. Therefore, if you want to start your own e-commerce platform, we suggest focusing on a niche market.
13. Portable charging devices
Mobile devices go with us everywhere nowadays, but having your phone battery die on you while you’re out is still a far too common problem. That’s what’s driving the growth of the portable phone charging industry.
According to data published by BCC Research, the portable charging device market is expected to grow by 6.6% year over year from 2017 to 2022. Growth is driven by the fact that many newer phone models have lower battery capacity.
"Growing urbanization, rising disposable income and increasing mobile phone penetration will boost the mobile charger market around the globe,” according to the report’s author Mohammed Javed. “Increasing penetration of high-specification electronic gadgets/devices that drain batteries at faster rates will further boost the mobile charger market in the near future.”
14. Publishing e-books
An e-book is a book made available in digital form. If you’re a writer, there is a growing market for books published online. Businesses are creating e-books as a way to market their brand, and aspiring authors of fiction and nonfiction publish e-books as a way to reach more customers and grow their readership.
In 2019 alone, revenue generated from e-books topped $1.3 billion, and that number will rise to $1.6 billion by 2024, Statista reports.
15. Fitness tech
Technology has applications in nearly every industry — including the fitness industry. We’ve already seen new technologies like FitBit, Peloton and Strava change how people exercise, and more innovation is on the horizon. That’s the belief of Jared Weitz, founder of United Capital Source Inc.
"Fitness technology is an area of continued growth. Whether it is creating products like fitness trackers, wireless earbuds or smartwatches that have multiple functions, the market is constantly seeking new gear and technology,” Weitz says. “This niche is expanding from tangible fitness products to the apps and data that marry the physical and digital together. Combine a high-tech device with an app related to exercise or diet and you will be setting yourself up for success in 2020 and beyond.”
16. Online teaching
Do you know a foreign language? Can you build a treehouse? Do you cook really good soup? Then you can make money sharing your knowledge and expertise online. Thanks to services like Teachable and Udemy, teachers can now build their own online classes, sell them to students and teach the entire class online. If you’re a good teacher and know how to market your class, you can earn a livable wage by teaching your skills to others through the internet.
17. Mobile application development
Every business needs a website. And the way the market is trending, soon every business will also need their own mobile app. This presents an exciting opportunity for individuals skilled in app development. Successful companies like Braze and Leanplum have built their entire business around developing apps for others.
But apps aren’t only for businesses. You could also develop an app for a game (like Candy Crush), utility (like Evernote), content aggregator (like Flipboard) and more. There is really an endless supply of app ideas. There were 194 billion app downloads in 2018 alone, and that number is only expected to climb. So strike while the iron is hot.
18. Search engine optimization consultant
Google is still an essential part of many business’s marketing strategies. They need to be able to appear as a top result in Google Search for keywords related to their business. That means they need someone who is skilled in search engine optimization, or SEO, to help them. Some businesses hire people to perform SEO in-house, but many organizations also work with freelancers or third-party agencies to implement an SEO strategy. If you can train yourself in SEO and keep up with its ever-changing trends, you can start a business providing SEO services to other organizations.
19. Social media consultant
If you’re not into SEO, but are good on social media, you can work with businesses to help them generate likes, shares, retweets, followers, comments, clicks and more as a social media marketer. In this role, you’ll consult with companies and help them manage their social profiles, spread content across the web and build their brand.
What’s more, the startup cost to be a social media marketer is minimal and can be done from your own home. Just be sure to buff up your social media skills and keep up with the latest trends and platforms.
20. Drone videography
If you own a drone and know how to use a camera, there’s a market for your services. Commercial and residential real estate agents are increasingly using aerial shots as a way to market their buildings and property. You can find real estate agents in your area using platforms like Zillow. Then reach out and offer up your services. Other industries, such as agriculture, events and more have uses for drones, as well.
21. Cybersecurity or IT consulting
Businesses today are increasingly threatened by cyberattacks, making the need for IT consultants greater than ever. As an IT consultant, you can help businesses evaluate their security systems, run tests and offer advice on how they can better protect themselves from cyberhackers.
More generally, an IT consultant can help businesses set up their computers and troubleshoot any general issues.
22. Venture capitalist
A vast majority of tech startups are backed by venture funding. If you have an interest in the tech space, but don’t have any technical knowledge yourself, you can try raising some money and becoming a venture capitalist or angel investor.
Similar to being an influencer, a venture capitalist isn’t something you can simply become overnight. That’s because being a venture capitalist requires allowing others to trust you with their money.
You need to start small and make some solid investments in order to make a name for yourself. Many independent investors join a VC fund for a while before striking off and starting their own fund.
23. Startup incubator
Another way to get involved in the tech world without having a lot of technical experience is to create your own startup incubator. The job of an incubator is to help startups plan and launch their business successfully. Services provided may include management training, office space and mentorship opportunities.
Of course, you’ll need some background in business to be able to successfully launch an incubator. The cost of creating your own incubator and attracting founders may also be difficult to muster. Many incubators start small and grow over time once they have successfully helped multiple startups enter the market.
24. Antivirus developer
An antivirus developer is a highly specific sort of tech business idea that pertains to the creation of antivirus software that can help businesses protect critical data. Antivirus software can be created using a variety of different programming languages. The overall goal of an antivirus is to detect and remove malware before it impacts a computer’s systems. Start networking with local businesses in your area to find out if there's a need for this service.
25. Domain name broker
Being a domain name broker is similar to being a stockbroker, except instead of stocks, you sell domain names. To get started you need a little capital to buy some domain names. You’ll then need to educate yourself so that you’ll be able to predict domain name requirements in the future.
So like most of the businesses on this list, it will take some work to get started. But everyone needs a domain name, so there will always be a market for this service.
The bottom line
We hope our list has helped you figure out which tech business idea is the right fit for your skills and interests. Regardless of the route you choose to take, you’ll need to write a business plan, create a business entity and maybe take out a business loan to get your startup off the ground.