5 disruptive tech startups to watch in 2020

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CES 2020 already has the world buzzing about what is coming on the tech front in 2020. From robo-pets to rotating TVs, the next 12 months will usher in a new wave of innovative products, services, and concepts. 

The global startup ecosystem continues to grow at a rapid clip. VC funding reached an all-time high in India last year, e-scooter companies eclipsed billion-dollar valuations, and major corporations continued to diversify with large-scale investments in early-stage concepts. 

Through all the noise, several startups have burst onto the scene and are tackling big challenges in new ways. If they succeed, our lives and world could change in significant ways. 

Afresh

Every year, U.S. retailers throw out $18 billion worth of spoiled food. The San Francisco-based startup, Afresh, aims to change that. The company developed software that uses algorithms and AI to help stores eliminate waste and optimize their perishable inventories. 

Entering its fifth year of operation, Afresh now has multiple partnerships with high-profile grocery chains and is working on closing additional deals in the coming year. Those who work with Afresh have already reported that they have been able to reduce food waste by 50 percent.

Better.com

The mortgage application process is still a tedious and outdated experience. New York City-based Better.com is breathing fresh life into the space by putting the process online and removing fees or commissions. Pre-approval on Better.com is automated and only takes minutes instead of weeks. 

After a $160 million funding round in August, the startup is prepared to lend even more in 2020. In 2019, Better.com lent over $4 billion to homebuyers. The company currently operates in 44 states and expects to be in all 50 by March. 

Movandi

Movandi is an Irvine-based startup that wants to make 5G more accessible for those outside of dense urban areas. The company has developed technology that extends the reach of 5G spectrum bands and enables signals to bend around obstacles that would otherwise hinder services. 

Movandi has raised $30 million in funding to date and is attempting to partner with the leading wireless providers in the country. As 5G ramps up, Movandi’s opportunity grows in parallel. 

Petal

New York City-based Petal is attempting to transform credit card approvals for the benefit of those with limited credit histories. The startup determines eligibility using non-credit score factors, such as income and bank statements. 

Petal’s services target young people who may not have established solid lines of credit. Coming off of a $30 million VC funding round and $300 million in debt financing, the company is ready for a huge 2020.

Shape Therapeutics

Shape Therapeutics is developing technology that will enable scientists to modify human RNA to address certain diseases and mutations. The Seattle-based company was founded in 2018 and has since raised over $35 million to expand and open a new location in Cambridge.

The UC-San Diego bioengineering professor, Prashant Mali, is behind the startup’s groundbreaking work. Mali’s research lab integrates expertise in several fields, including regenerative medicine, synthetic biology, and materials engineering. Experts report that Shape Therapeutics has evolved beyond the highly touted Crispr-Cas9 process.

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