Home Thinking Aloud Top Emerging Startup Industries For 2019

Top Emerging Startup Industries For 2019


by Pamela Webber, Chief Marketing Officer at 99designs

From Instagram agents and personal coaches, to drones, bot doctors and AI-driven healthcare, the hottest emerging industries of 2019 tap into a wide range of technology and personalization trends.

We analyzed data from thousands of creative projects completed on 99designs to identify and chart some of the sectors experiencing extraordinary growth and are on track to become the new norm by 2020.

If you’re looking for some insight into how the startup landscape is evolving, here are some of the industries we expect to reach a tipping point this year:

AI in Healthcare.

While artificial intelligence and automation have been flirting with the mainstream for a while now, healthcare is where adoption is reaching a real turning point.

Since 2013, there has been a 48% increase in AI related health companies working on our platform, covering everything from health trackers, virtual doctors and secondary services like apps that locate doctors near you.

Why now? Consumer demand for affordable and convenient healthcare is really driving this industry growth, alongside the fact that the functionality of the tech itself has improved significantly in the last couple of years. This means that products utilizing AI are much more reliable and able to deliver viable services in a sector already experiencing high-demand across the board.

Personal Coaching.

Another industry coming into its own is personal coaching—in the US, this sector is now worth an estimated $1 billion. While David Skibbins, the author of Becoming a Life Coach, points to the origins of personal coaching dating back to Ancient Greece, he notes that it has taken a little longer for the industry to fully bloom, thanks in part to the rise (and partial fall) of the corporate culture of business mentoring. This, he argues has led people to seek similar guidance and coaching outside of their professional lives.

Encompassing everything from financial and career guidance to health, wellness and relationships, there has been a 47% growth in personal coaching projects on 99designs compared to five years ago, demonstrating that coaches are experiencing enough success to reinvest in their own brand.

Influencer Agencies.

Social media influencers have carved out an entirely new industry space over the past ten years, but now companies that leverage this trusted layer of the internet are coming to the fore.

Influencer agencies commissioned five times as much design work last year than they did in 2013. This is a massive 320% increase, and the sector experienced a particularly sharp spike between 2016 and 2018 when it grew 79%.

This boost can be explained as a by-product of a maturing digital marketing industry that can now apply metrics that prove the effectiveness of this channel for brand promotion. As the use of digital influencers in marketing becomes standard practice across a broad range of industries, expect to see the number of secondary services like influencer agencies continue to grow.


Drone-related businesses have skyrocketed 680% over the past five years on 99designs. This technology has captured people’s imaginations for many years now, and the real question isn’t ‘why now’ but ‘why not sooner?’

As with AI in healthcare, one of the reasons  is that advances in the technology itself have made drones much more accessible than ever before. Not only does this mean that industry-leading drone companies can create even more advanced products and service, the barrier to entry for smaller startups is much lower, which increases innovation and new applications in related areas like photography, video, logistics, reporting and drone tech analysts.

These are just a few of the industries we expect to experience substantial growth this year, underpinned by some broader technology and personalization trends. Consider how your business can leverage these sectors, or be inspired by how emerging brands market themselves in high-growth industries.


Pamela Webber is Chief Marketing Officer at 99designs where heads up the global marketing team responsible for driving customer acquisition and increasing lifetime value of customers. She is passionate about using data to derive customer insights and to find “aha moments” that impact strategic direction.

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