Six Successful Startups During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Why Were They Successful

Small businesses throughout the world faced incredible hardships during the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020. Constantly having to adapt to government lockdowns and regulations, new consumer needs, and other unexpected factors, many business leaders found little or no time to think about the development of their long-term business goals.

While covid has caused huge difficulties for some fledgling companies, others were able to find new opportunities during the crisis, and turn adversity to their advantage.

In this post, we’ll list six of the startups that have seen success during the most challenging period of the pandemic, and how they were able to beat the odds.

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How big is the PropTech market? Why is it growing? - Flatfair

Although property is seen as a relatively recession-proof business, it’s not invulnerable to economic shocks, and the pandemic has presented a host of new challenges for both landlords and renters. 

However, the real estate tech startup FlatFair was able to turn these volatile conditions to their advantage with a new approach to the rental process. Their tech platform allows cash-strapped tenants to secure a lease without the need to put down a deposit, and also protects landlords from financial losses through damages or arrears. This unique service offering placed it in a position to enjoy huge growth during an economic downturn.



Founded in 2012, SumUp quickly established itself as a rising star of fintech. They provide businesses with a portable card machine alongside an array of popular digital products, such as an online store builder, invoicing tools, and secure payment links.

During the first wave of worldwide lockdowns, many small companies with a brick-and-mortar element had to scramble to adjust to the new global business arena. SumUp’s effective and accessible array of eCommerce tools put them in a great position to help these kinds of companies and allowed businesses to align themselves with the shift in consumer habits and demands without the need to revolutionise their whole business model.

After the worst of covid gave a major boost to SumUp’s already impressive earnings, the company now serves more than 4 million businesses worldwide, and recently received €590 million in a funding round thanks to their stellar rate of growth.



Online learning startup Skillshare came from humble beginnings in 2010, and served as a platform for user-created courses on just a small number of disparate subjects. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic however, the company thrived thanks to the nature of its unique service offering, which curates educational materials learners can access whenever and wherever they liked and gives educators a way to make money without the use of a physical classroom. 

With many people’s education and careers severely disrupted in the pandemic, Skillshare saw a huge increase in demand, with the company reporting a 180% jump in music-related courses alone during the pandemic.



The energy sector is notoriously hard for new players to break into, but startup electricity and gas provider Bulb has been able to achieve a great deal of success in less than a decade. 

Since they first launched, they’ve defined themselves with a forward-thinking emphasis on clean energy (they provide 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon-neutral gas) and a modern, user-friendly app that gives customers an easy way to check on their energy usage and bills. 

They also maintain exceptionally high standards of customer service. Bulb users can contact support staff from the Bulb app and receive answers in less than 3 minutes, which has helped relieve the financial anxiety many people faced during the peak of the pandemic.

This array of great USPs has seen Bulb reap consistently strong profits throughout the pandemic, and it even became the UK’s sixth-largest energy company in April 2020.


Incepted by three Swedish entrepreneurs in 2005, Klarna is now one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world. 

Its flexible “shop now, pay later” business model had been adopted by countless eCommerce companies before the pandemic first hit, and as shoppers flooded out of brick and mortar shops during the first wave of lockdowns, they saw a huge surge of growth. When the pandemic first started taking hold, Klarna reported a 20% increase in new UK merchants who adopted the payment system, and a 21% increase in US business customers.

Klarna’s business model not only stood to benefit from the massive eCommerce boom immediately after the pandemic struck, but also attracted businesses who wanted to align their


depop fashion startup london

Depop, a peer-to-peer social eCommerce startup founded in 2011, has also enjoyed some impressive growth throughout the pandemic, and saw a surge of new users thanks to their own unique take on eCommerce.

With people’s finances turned on their head in the early days of the pandemic, many were looking for alternative sources of income, or a way to save money on clothes purchases. 

Like many other fashion resale companies, Depop gained a boom in popularity from this trend, reporting a 163% year-on-year increase in new members, and a 300% year-on-year growth in items sold on the platform.

Final Thoughts…

We hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up of some of the most impressive startup success stories from the Covid-19 outbreak. If you’d like to learn more about how the pandemic has affected the startup arena, be sure to check out our other articles for more startup news, guides and tips.

About the Author:

Niamh provides expert insights on a variety of topics surrounding business and productivity. Niamh’s passionate about supporting leaders in their mental health journey and finding the latest technology hacks to improve wellbeing and efficiency.