Overlooked Communities Are Overlooked by EdTech Startups

December 9, 2016 - 3 minutes read

EdTech has been hot in the startup world for several years now. Far from just a “tech for techies” code bootcamp scene, EdTech has grown to encompass a variety of platforms and startups catering to a wide range of verticals.

That said, NYC iOS app developers have mostly focussed on the upwardly-mobile demographics iOS products are often geared towards, leaving out huge swaths of the community in the process. The result? “Underserved communities” are widely underserved by the mobile industry, which means that some of the biggest startup opportunities for 2017 could be hiding right under our noses.

This trend has been playing out on the national scale as well, with startups aimed at emerging smartphone-user markets in India and South America representing some of the hottest mobile success stories of the past year.

In many ways, underserved communities resemble the “good ol’ days” of the mobile market, before everyone got overwhelmed by the tiny computers in their pockets: users are eager to try new things, and very few of their needs are being addressed by tech. Contrast this to the mainstream app market, where thousands of apps compete for every possible service, and you can start to see how emerging markets and underserved communities are an attractive expansion area — even if they don’t have the individual spending power that attracts many iOS developers to the Apple platform in the first place. (This is one of many reasons we reccomend newcomers to app development give Android tools a serious look, especially considering all the muscle Google is putting into keeping the platform competative.)

Another reason startups for underserved communities are likely to grow in coming years in the shrinking of the digital divide. Between government-sponsored projects and private initiatives from the likes of Facebook and Google, smartphones are quicky becoming a universal possession. Founders working with communities in third-world countries often note the irony (and good fortune) that an advanced technology like smartphones can reach and support people who have little or no access to other first-world ammenities.

Long story short: iOS app developers need to broaden their horizons. Those who create services for people who are different from themselves are likely to find big rewards in the coming season.

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