Tried and tested startup ideas that can be done in developing countries?


Which successful startup ideas that cross cultural barriers can be started in developing countries where there is little to no competition (and the market is up for grabs)?

Culture Ideas Startups

asked Mar 21 '14 at 17:28
Jackie Davis
55 points
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4 Answers


I would say a (daily/weekly) deal site, e.g. a variation of Groupon, Lifebooker, Google Offers, Amazon Local, AppSumo, etc. Known model that is relatively easy to replicate without big upfront or operational cost. Focus on categories with high profit margins like beauty services, but lower your fees/cut for something as popular as dining to just get to more customers. Education/training (short classes) is also a good category for deal site. You could probably make a good profit margin, if not reinvesting too aggressively into growth Groupon-style. You would probably want to pay close attention to security of the coupons and teach vendors to validate the #s on the coupons before accepting to avoid copies.

Building up a customer base in a given local market would make the company an acquisition target for the big players. Big players don't have the knowledge of a local market to know what's popular and what the margins might be like. I believe there were some notable acquisitions in this market recently, don't recall the company off the top of my head at the moment.

answered Mar 21 '14 at 17:41
2,835 points

  • Real estate classifieds
  • Niche resume building services and job portals
  • Auctions
  • Shared office space, co-working space
  • Niche business directories
answered Mar 22 '14 at 00:43
Chrissie Gray
1,107 points

  • Lead generation for niches like Doctors and Lawyers (similar to Avvo and Healthtap).
  • HubSpot - provide local businesses tools to attract customers.
  • Dabble and Udemy - craigslist for learning / classes.
  • Uber - app that connects passengers with drivers for hire and ridesharing.
  • YCombinator - start an incubator (if you have the monetary resources).
  • Retailmenot - coupons for online retailers.
answered Mar 22 '14 at 01:12
Nishank Khanna
4,265 points


Here are some:

  • Food delivery service (like Seamless)
  • Online job / recruiting site
  • eCommerce model similar to Amazon's where you sell other merchant's products and take a commission (if Amazon doesn't service your country already)
  • Reviews and ratings service (like Yelp)
  • Crowdfunding like Kickstarter
  • AngelList-type service

answered Mar 22 '14 at 00:56
Bruce Schwartz
767 points

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