The COVID-19 pandemic it was many things. global contagion. Health catastrophe. Herald of new geopolitical tensions and a long-running commentary on how far we are willing to go to protect, or not, our fellow human beings. It was also a business earthquake that shook most industries around the world.
But as soon as COVID came on the scene, disrupting supply lines and business models, it too faded. As most of the world learned to live with the health impacts of the pandemic, or simply decided to endure them, many industries reverted to their former forms. Airlines went from junk to first class; in contrast, tech companies went from beloved to underappreciated.
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Some tech concerns gained momentum during COVID, as a recently revamped business climate helped them grow for a while. You can cast a wide net here: Robinhood explodes in part thanks to consumers stuck at home with more cash than usual, Instacart sees explosive demand for its grocery delivery service. Some tech companies went the other way, as was the case with Airbnb’s business crash during the first few months of COVID when going places he went from aspirational to crazy overnight.
Since the return to what passes for normality, the companies initially affected by COVID have charted divergent courses. Robinhood lost some of its luster when its user base, according to the generally talked about narrative, went out again. Instacart saw its growth slow but managed to maintain its pandemic-era gains.
Airbnb, one of the earliest examples of the layoffs COVID could induce in previously healthy companies, has rebounded and has retained much of its value since going public, a rare feat for its IPO cohort.