Several trends in the investment space have come to light, given the Covid-19 crisis, that we anticipate will continue in 2021. One to note is transformations in industries focused on outdoor recreation, living, and lifestyle. We have seen an increase in activities that promote social distancing and quarantining from home improvement projects to camping, hiking, and cycling. We anticipate this trend will continue as people continue to feel safer, healthy, and comfortable in those kinds of environments in the years to come. We also saw massive pet adoptions during the quarantine, which will positively impact any capital invested in the pet space. These categories could range from food, supplies, care, and services. Many people have adapted to a new lifestyle of having a pet, and we should see some exciting growth in those categories. Another area that we predict will continue to be on the rise is home entertainment and meal delivery companies. People will further invest in at-home entertainment services and subscription companies, well into 2021. We are also excited about how those trends will impact smart warehouse and supply chain visibility via track-and-trace technology on the logistics side. After the notable shortages we had this past year, this was an area ripe for disruption. Though we now have better trackability of food and consumer products, this will be more critical with vaccine production and distribution.
Final Mile Delivery
The areas we are most interested in are Logistics, Transportation, and the Supply Chain Industry and how the area of final mile delivery for goods and services is becoming as essential as getting an Uber, Lyft, or cab for your personal transportation. There are an array of innovations and technology-enabled solutions that will make start-ups in those spaces more readily efficient, predictable, and visible. One area that impacts all of it is final-mile delivery. An example that we’ve analyzed is “at-home eating.” Unfortunately, we anticipate that many restaurants will experience permanent closures resulting in fewer dining locations, with the broader cultural ramifications of that unclear at this point. Yet, the continuation of the “eat at home” trend will require more companies to solve the challenges of making that process easier, more efficient, and more attainable. So meal delivery (or stated in its simplest definition, final mile delivery), will likely continue to be on the rise, and it will be an exciting space to watch. This contributes to keeping people out of the retail landscape in a much more convenient way. Everyone has adapted to receiving delivery at home, changing the quantity and type of items consumers now find acceptable to have delivered.
Our company mantra for 2021 is let’s recover from Covid-19, get back together, and stay engaged using technology.
This sector can include anything from robotics, Zoom meetings, or AI and really encapsulates anything that allows your workforce to be efficient remotely. We’re certainly a lot less reliant on having every member of the team present in-person before making an investment. Digitization and tech enablement are bringing historically non-tech oriented businesses into 2021 and beyond in a much more robust manner to drive more efficiencies. We’ve made some investments in those areas, specifically around supply chain companies, and we continue to look at interesting opportunities as they arise.
We were very excited to announce earlier in 2020 that we closed our most recent fund. Through that capital, we have already made some significant investments in 2020, and we continue to see unique opportunities with emerging technology companies. We are more efficient than we have ever been because of the technology we adopted in 2020. We want to continue empowering the companies that we’ve invested in as they scale and grow at their own pace. And we look forward to finding new companies in 2021 while keeping the bar high and finding the right management teams to help drive value for our investors.
About Clete Brewer
Clete Brewer is Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner at NewRoad Capital Partners that seeks to provide growth equity funding to innovative companies with proven demand-driven business models. He brings more than 30 years’ experience leading successful startups and publicly traded companies that broadly encompass the service industry, retail, franchising, manufacturing, logistics, and private equity. Prior to co-founding NewRoad Capital Partners in 2013, he served as Chairman of BlueInGreen, a water Technology disruptor for the environmental treatment of water and wastewater. Before BlueInGreen, he was President and co-owner of Sport Clips, Inc. Under his leadership, Sport Clips, Inc. grew from 42 franchised stores to more than 675 stores nationwide. Clete currently serves on the boards of several high-growth companies, the Executive Advisory Board at the Sam Walton College of Business, and Endeavor NW Arkansas. He graduated from the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in 1987 with a BSBA in Finance.