25 Jun 2021

5 Interactive Platform Booms From Lockdown

Startup, Venture Capital, Tech, COVID Lockdown, Richard Branson

Are you launching a start-up business? Perhaps a platform business in response to the growth of the model during the lockdown.

On this list, we count down 5 lockdown-business booms fuelled by the commuter’s new ambitions and ones to watch out for it in the future.

$2000 on Gym Equipment? That’s an Investment.

When gyms closed many found refuge in 15 min home-workout tutorials from fitness influencers on YouTube. But as the novelty faded, motivation to work out next to a comfortable sofa and a fridge full of snacks dwindled.

Peloton came to the rescue. Offering high-priced professional exercise equipment combined with access to live and on-demand workout classes, Peloton became the solution to staying fit at home.

Backed by A-Listers including Richard Branson, David Beckham, and Usain Bolt, Peloton saw a surge in sales with revenue of more than $600m in 2020 – a 127% year-on-year increase. And it probably did improve peoples’ wellbeing: the average monthly number of workouts were double what was recorded in 2019.

Peleton, Startup, Tech, Venture Capital, COVID Lockdown

Peleton was a beneficiary of the COVID-19 lockdown fitness drive, Image from Peleton.

Facetime with a GP?

Given the health emergency, GPs closed their doors and doctors prioritised COVID patients. Many felt left behind but others found a solution in digital access to their healthcare professionals.

Healthcare apps like eConsult, accuRx and Babylon all recorded spikes in activity during restricted access to GPs. These services allow patients to video call practitioners for a consultation or message them with images, much like a healthcare WhatsApp system.

These avenues have been most effective for patients suffering from mental health; Orcha has found a more than 200% increase in download rates in 2020 compared to the preceding year.

Masterclass-ing your way through Lockdown

During remote working, the power of the hobby has been rediscovered once more. You can even read more on the hobbies of successful entrepreneurs in lockdown here. One company capitalising on this is Masterclass. It offers 100 classes taught by industry leaders many of whom are also A-List celebrities.

The likes of Gordon Ramsey, Alicia Keys and Samuel L. Jackson feature as mentors on the platform to build your skills. During the pandemic, users spent more than double the amount of time on the platform.

Subscriptions rose ten-fold versus the 2019 period, more than tripling its valuation to $2.75bn in just a year.

Startup, Venture Capital, Masterclass, Gordon Ramsay, Stephen Curry

MasterClass users doubled the amount of time they spent on the platform when compared to pre-pandemic times, Image from MasterClass.

“Legalized Gambling”

When boredom hits in the peaks of quarantine, some reach for a book, others a remote control, others still try their luck at day trading (?).

That’s right – during the lockdown, popular stock-slice trading apps like Robinhood saw a 50% spike in transaction volume on the app relative to months in 2019. Now valued at over $8.3bn, Robinhood allows ordinary folk to trade their life savings for shares of the next unicorn.

The company reported 4 million average daily trades in June 2020, surpassing all brokerage rivals; some of whom had decades of legacy on Robinhood.

After months of research, Randelovic quit his job to focus on day trading just before COVID hit; ‘I’ve had to become comfortable with losing,’ he says (no credit)

Some have tried their hand at day trading stocks during COVID-19 lockdown boredom, Image via Macleans (no credit)


No list of lockdown pastimes would be complete without the admittedly NSFW topic of OnlyFans. While originally created as a platform facilitating celebrity-fan interaction, OnlyFans has become the progressive’s dream of sex-work empowerment where anyone can create adult content and reap the gains – the company only takes 20% of what any creator makes.

Facilitating transactions of over £1.7bn, OnlyFans saw a more than 550% spike in revenue from November 2019 to 2020, boosting its valuation to over $1bn.

While countless retailers shut their physical doors, digital platform businesses saw a record spike in demand. Lockdown has seemed to shift the hobbies and habits people are engaging in – though the longevity of these seems unclear.

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Header Image: Richard Branson sitting on a Peleton bike, a tech startup he has backed. Image via Richard Bransons’ Twitter.

Pandemic Tech