Emerging markets are primed for a technological revolution. It’s only within the last few years that modern technology has reached these developing nations en mass. As the markets within first world countries becomes more and more saturated, startups are looking to these developing markets for opportunity. There is no shortage of opportunity either. Emerging markets accounted for 37% of world GDP in 2000. Today, that number has grown to 50%. It’s expected to be 65% in 2020.
This growth means billions of people with billions of dollars to spend. It means a growing middle class with expendable income. It means more businesses that need technology to operate. In an entrepreneur’s eyes, it means a massive hole in the market that needs to be filled. Entrepreneurs are recognizing this and startups looking to serve these markets are coming out of the woodwork, so to speak.
Shorter Time to Market
These startups looking to seize this opportunity are able to bring their ideas to market faster than ever as components become more modularized. There are companies today whose sole focus is on providing products like pre manufactured circuit boards, embeddable displays and more. A decade ago, if an entrepreneur wanted to bring a compact, low power computer to the market they would have to design and manufacture the entire solution themselves. There’s a reason that projects like One Laptop Per Child or Raspberry PI took years to make it to market.
Today, ideas can be turned into products quickly by using widely-available modular components. For example, a company like Kontron could supply an off the shelf circuit board and display that allows an entrepreneur to build a modern version of the light-PC projects that took years to develop. It’s an incredible advancement in the tech economy that’s helping startups and the people in these emerging markets.
Access to Exposure and Capital
Another driver in the explosive growth of technology in these markets is that startups have access to more exposure and capital than ever before. Groups like Seedstars World hold competitions, not unlike reality TV shows, in order to find and promote the best startups in these emerging markets.
Not only do finalists in these competitions receive incredible exposure, they also receive access to funding. Investors are able to provide funding to these startups through a crowdfunding platform. Something like this would be completely unheard of a few years ago. Anyone in business 5 years ago or more knows that it was a struggle raising capital for a small business. Today, technology has made it significantly easier
Top Emerging Markets
Markets are emerging on two levels. There is a high-level tier and a lower level. The higher-level tiers aren’t those that we would necessarily think of as 3rd world countries; however, internet penetration has been low until recently. Internet penetration in countries like China, India and Russia is increasing at an incredible pace. Hundreds of millions of people are coming online for the first time. This creates tremendous opportunity for any web-based services.
The second level are areas like the sub-Saharan Africa where the biggest challenge is access to electricity. In areas where this has been solved, tech adoption is on the rise. Many in Africa have access to the internet on a mobile device. The adoption of this technology has opened the door to a wide array of other services and devices.
The technology prime of the developed world has passed; however, those who are able to serve the quickly-growing needs in these emerging technology markets stand to become incredibly successful.