The startup scene in the Caribbean is becoming more vibrant as business people use their skills and extra sources of financing to launch new ventures. In recent years, the region as a whole has embraced new technologies on an unprecedented scale which has given a sizeable boost to local economies; they grew from $63.27 billion in 2010 to $73.52 billion in 2018, according to data from World Bank.
The Bahamas, in particular, are also known for the annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament, the region’s luxury hotels, and the three major casinos there that attract top-tier talent (including entrepreneurs). These venues inspire local players to venture further afield than usual to places like New Jersey where online poker play has been fully legal since 2013. This new, favorable business climate and organizations such as Startup Hub Caribbean and Tech Beach Retreat have attracted foreign investments, helped develop tourism, and given more room to local startup founders to come up with game-changing concepts. Here are some of the top Caribbean startups to follow right now.
As one of the most exciting startups that originated in Jamaica, Jamgora is an e-commerce platform that connects local businesses to consumers and offers products in various categories such as home appliances, beauty & health, and Jamaican-made handicrafts. The company hopes to spread its influence across other islands around the Caribbean and empower local manufacturers of traditional products.
Founded in 2012, EduFocal is an educational technology (EDTech) startup that enables students to collaborate on projects outside of the classroom and improve the learning experience by gamifying it. The company’s mission is to “become the premiere social learning platform in the Caribbean”. With over 23,000 questions and answers in the database, along with video tutorials and study guides, this dream may soon become a reality.
In 2015, this company received funding from the CrossCulture Venture firm and nowadays it’s still going strong. It’s a mobile platform that allows businesses to conduct surveys that foster data-driven decision-making processes and allow companies from the Caribbean, as well as Africa, to improve customer service. It can seamlessly integrate with the most popular CRMs and payment systems and has been used by some of the major brands from the region.
Founded by a charismatic Dominican native Karina Chez, Kaya Energy Group helps to solve the mounting environmental pressures that the Caribbean faces right now. The company’s goal is to focus on developing sources of renewable energy. This includes attracting funding for solar energy systems, consulting with governments and international organizations to apply green energy policies in the region, and implementing environmental projects that will benefit the Caribbean in the long term.
This small Dominican startup focuses on developing high-tech mobile applications that blend into the Internet of Things ecosystem. The idea is to combine the use of real-time data coming from sensors with a user-friendly mobile app to create life-changing products for the customers. This includes a bracelet designed for patients that monitors their vital signs such as heart rate and temperature which enables healthcare workers to respond to emergencies in real time. The company also offers a smart home app with a wide variety of features.