NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Caribbean tech developers have long lacked the necessary ecosystem to ensure that their applications and platforms evolve to a more polished end product, according to Tech Beach co-founder Kyle Maloney.
Maloney told Eyewitness News that Tech Beach Inc, which he co-founded with Kirk Anthony Hamilton, aims to “close the gap” on issues plaguing tech entrepreneurs in the region.
The Tech Beach Lab ecosystem is designed to equip early-stage tech tech entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources while working in partnership with some of the world’s foremost tech brands, such as Google, Facebook, Uber, Instagram, Amazon, Linkedin and Paypal.
“A lot of people, when they think about issues a tech startup faces, think about lack of capital in the early stages of investments. That is a genuine problem,” said Maloney.
“There are a lot of accelerator programs in the US that help companies grow and thrive. Companies like Airbnb would have come out of Y Combinator, but in the region we are devoid of these high-power accelerators.
“There are also issues such as lack of mentorship, and access to relevant talent.”
The serial entrepreneur noted that while there is significant take up of US-based platforms and applications within the region, regional tech startups lack the ecosystem for offerings of similar quality.
“It’s not that we are ready for the technology; we’re just not creating enough of our own,” said Maloney.
“We just need the environment for us to produce our own things. We’re not yet able to produce it at a super high quality that will allow us to utilize our own.
“People always talk about how a lot of tech companies in the US start out really scrappy but they what they don’t take into account is that these companies get a big capital injections very early on, advisors from different companies as well as talent.”
He added: “Many times, we start off scrappy and it stays scrappy. A lot of tech platforms in the regions stay in that scrappy phase.
“People oftentimes have low expectation of tech coming out of the region because we don’t have that type of ecosystem to take it from that sort of phase to…a very good and polished platform.
“Many times, the powers that be want a polished platform and are comparing the guy without any real capital to something that is already polished. This is a fundamental problem in the region.”
It was recently announced that 20 Caribbean startups participating in the regional accelerator programme TBR LAB by TechBeach Retreat will have the opportunity to enroll in Shopify for Startups, a six-month programme facilitated by the global commerce platform.
Startups ready for expansion will be provided with the requisite tools and guidance to successfully and sustainably manage their growth.
Anthony Hamilton noted: “Shopify offers [a] sound and proven platform for companies to build on, allowing regional players to fast forward their e-commerce plans with a safe, secure and seamless processing system.
“This can inspire investor confidence and will provide a stable medium to help owners focus on increasing sales.”
Shopify for Startups is intended to help tech-based businesses at a very specific stage in their growth process. Qualifying entities must possess a unique product that is showcased and sold online, either via social media platforms or their own online platform.