The Caribbean has been experiencing a steady growth in tech-related businesses since the mid-1990s and is now home to an active constellation of tech startups inspired by winning business models and success stories from abroad.
Etailers and ecommerce-based startups make up a large percentage of Caribbean tech ventures, as many of the region’s entrepreneurs come from backgrounds in retail ecommerce and marketing. The following are the top 11 Caribbean tech startups to watch for in 2016.
Proudli is an app that makes it easier for producers enter markets across the Caribbean and Africa into China. The founders are alumni of the Oasis500 Start Up Incubator in Amman, Jordan, as well as favorites of the Zhengzhou International Investors Forum back in June 2015.
mSurvey provides an online platform for designing surveys that can immediately be pushed as SMS text or mobile messages—with responses viewable in in real time. The company works with well-known brands across Africa and the Caribbean to improve their market research and customer service strategies.
This social retail app asks customers what they want to buy and connects them with potential sellers. The Vine List was a contestant on the recently concluded NCB Capital Quest program in Jamaica, and has plans to expand into African in the future.
YoTeLlevo is an Uber-like transportation service for visitors and inhabitants of Cuba. The platform connects users with up to 3 drivers for arranging travel directly with them via email prior to arrival.
EduFocal combines study and play with its social learning platform—the first of its kind in the Caribbean. The company plans on expanding its offering to Africa and beyond in the near future.
AlaMesa is the leading information source for gastronomy and culinary culture on the island of Cuba. The app is essential for discovering Cuban drinking/dining spots, and features about 650 restaurants and bars in major cities on the island.
Trinidad and Tobago
This app helps users plan an unforgettable Caribbean experience combining food, entertainment, and shopping, to name a few. F1RST also lets you know of local discounts and promotions for creating a cost-effective trip.
Lavabits—Montserrat’s first official software development company—builds custom websites and web/mobile apps. Among its creations are Montserrat’s electronic visa application system that allows the government to collect income via electronic payments, as well as a GIS-powered web app showcasing Montserrat’s terrain and geography.
Tipster is a highly social, community-based platform that makes sharing web content a trivial affair—eliminating the tedious copying and pasting of URLs.
As Jamaica’s first digital agricultural clearing house, Agrocentral connects businesses with small farmers using its combined web and mobile offering. The project got its start at Start Up Jamaica Weekend back in 2013.
This crime-fighting app allows users to map crime hotspots, view criminal activity based on location, and report crimes anonymously. CrimeBot was recently chosen as the top app among 160 entries from the region.
In short, the Caribbean is more than just the perfect tourist destination these days. The preceding 11 startups are proof that the region is fast becoming a hub of technological innovation—one that may even soon rival its continental neighbors.