Startups should adapt to the developing world, not ignore it

Gigaom

In our smartphone-dependent lives, it’s hard to imagine getting by with a feature phone. But in developing countries, those phones have become lifelines that can handle a money transaction or goods order, and companies are continually finding new uses for them.

Frog’s vice president of creative Fabio Sergio and UNICEF Innovation Unit co-founder Erica Kochi made the case at the Gigaom Roadmap conference Wednesday that feature phone users cannot be ignored because they represent the fastest-growing markets in the world. And when companies enter those markets, they should apply the startup model of thinking big from the beginning, while also maintaining a conscience.

“There is clearly a must in what we are talking about, and then there is a should or a could,” Sergio said. “We should embrace the social must.”

Sergio noted that in many countries residents don’t have a government they can trust. They might not have a birth certificate…

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