Jamaica Magazine

Who is a Tech Entrepreneur? Any in the Caribbean?

Written by Ingrid Riley

Who is a Tech Entrepreneur? Typically defined, a tech entrepreneur is a woman or man who applies their ideas using  technology. Over the years the technologies being used have primarily been the Internet and the mobile phone/device. So if you  surf online or use a mobile phone chances are you are using a product or service – such as an app, a website, a game, a social network created by a tech entrepreneur.

Famous Tech Entrepreneurs

Steve Jobs – co-founder of Apple that gave is the iPod, iPad, iPhone and iMac. He has since been called the greatest Tech Entrepreneur of our time

Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft that gave us Windows Operating System

Larry Page and Sergey Brin – co-founders of Google.com

Mark Zuckerberg- Founder, Facebook.com

Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim – Cofounders of Youtube.com

Caterina Fake, cofounder Flickr – Fake not only cofounded photo-sharing behemoth Flickr but also sold it to Yahoo for a reported $35 million.

Mikael Hed, Niklas Hed, and Peter Vesterbacka – Co-founders, Rovio, the company behind the Angry Birds game franchise

Mark Pincus, co-founder of Zynga the company that spawned FarmVille, CityVille and Mafia Wars Online Games

Gina Bianchini, cofounder and CEO – Social Networking platform maker Ning.com. NIng allows anyone to create their own social network, their own online community. CUrently hosts over a 1,000,000 social networks such as those belonging to 50cent,

Rashmi Sinha, cofounder and CEO SlideShare – She co-founded the site that allows users the ability to upload and share publicly or privately PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF Portfolios.

So after those examples you get the idea of who a Tech Entrepreneur really is and how they ideas have changed the way we live, work and play. The next question is, are there any in the Caribbean? Short answer is yes and over the last two years especially we’ve been seeing more and the trend is growing and fast.

Some of them have been featured on SiliconCaribe.com, video interviews of others on SiliconCaribe.tv, but for the most part the sister event Kingston BETA has been the platform to bring them together in a single space to share their ideas via pitches, to network and learn from each other. KIngston BETA has over 4 years held over 40 events, attended by over 2000 people and seen over 50 Caribbean Startups pitching their ideas. Kingston BETA has been helping to incubate Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs and grow the community.

Next Stop is Caribbean BETA – the first tech entrepreneurship conference which will be held on November 25th, 2011 at the Jamaica Pegasus, Kingston Jamaica. It’s the first event of its kind that will bring together the smartest Caribbean minds  in a single event to connect to each other, learn from region and global experts, hear success stories and pitch their ideas in a Startup contest.

 
 

Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs to Watch

Alex Morrisey -founder of Jamaicansmusic.com which just reached a million “likes” and a Top 40 spot in the Facebook Page Lederboard on www.AlllFacebook.com. The site has launched a Virtual DJ program, spawned a Facebook Game Songwrita as well as a Reggae Music focused ezine called IrieZine

Sandor Panton-founder of  Top5Networks which has the lead brand of Top5Jamaica.com the Yahoo for Jamaican sites, Dancehall.mobi as well as literally hundreds of other unique content site. A 10 year pioneer in the business of online content, affiliate marketing and online advertising.

Herbert Samuel, founder of Welectricity.com ( St Vincent)  a free service that helps you track and reduce your energy consumption at home!

LLoyd Laing- founder of ReggaeTop40.com. whose game changing business has single handedly eliminated payola and will help to legitimise and help make the Global Reggae Industry more progressive and profitable with this Nielsen-type ratings Global Reggae Music Index and marketing services.

Monique Powell– Founder, Roaming Donkey.com helps you discover the best spots across Jamaica. View and share reviews of local restaurants, shops, nightclubs, hotels, beaches and more

Chad Cunningham, Founder of Jamdeal.com – the Jamaican Ebay

Omari Case, Rory Burchenson – Cofounders of Lyme Juice Inc, founders of the  TUMP- A free Blackberry Mobile app that helps you find places, events and services in Jamaica and soon the Caribbean. If you can’t find it, you can add it by using the “Map it” feature….which is like crowdsourcing for fresh information that can be shared with their other users.

Rodney Browne, Founder of eCaribbean Ltd ( St Kitts) who created one of the first Caribbean social networks – CaribbeanMassive.com

Khary Sharpe, Founder of Bakari Digital a company responsible for many web apps being used by corporate companies and their customers.

Leighton Scarlett, founder of Caribsingles.com – the largest Caribbean Dating Site online.

As you see we have Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs and that’s just a very short list. There are some we are yet to hear of and some who are right now solving local and regional problems, who are busy getting their ideas ready to share with the world. We have women and men who see their future of applying their ideas using technology to launch startup businesses, create jobs and innovation in Jamaica, across the Caribbean and globally.  That’s the role and goal of Caribbean BETA – The first Tech Entrepreneurship Conference.

 

About the Author
Ingrid Riley is an entrepreneur, tech evangelist, tech blogger, digital marketing strategist, speaker and a Seth Godin, Oprah Winfrey,Steve Jobs and Gary Vaynerchuk fan girl. She’s based in Jamaica. She is the founder of ConnectiMass- a Digital Communications Company that helps Caribbean brands become Digital Rockstars via Digital Marketing Services, Tech Media and Tech Events.

About the Caribbean BETA – Tech Entrepreneurship Conference

It’s the first of its kind Tech Entrepreneurship Conference that will bring together the smartest Caribbean minds together in a single event to connect to each other, learn from region and global experts, hear success stories and pitch their ideas in a Startup contest.

Caribbean BETA is about driving tech entrepreneurship in the Caribbean so we will see more startup businesses launched, more jobs created and alot of innovation unleashed. We believe the Caribbean will deliver the tech equivalent to Bob Marley and Usain Bolt.

We’re bringing Silicon Valley to Jamaica in the form of one of our keynote speakers – Michelle Messina, GuideWireGroup SiliconValley, USA who will talk about The Entrepreneurial Mindset. Do You Have What It Takes?

Our other keynote speaker is Marc Canter, CEO of Digital City Mechanics. Founder of Billion dollar tech company Macromedia and co-creator of the world’s first multimedia player called FLASH previously called Shockwave. This Successful Tech Entrepreneur and Software Pioneering Innovator, will be talking about How to Build a Digital City – that sparks startups, jobs and innovation.

Two of the key panels will be  How I Did It Success Stories from Caribbean Tech Entrepreneurs as well as Show Me the Startup Money ! So you have the idea, have put together a wickedly talented team, maybe even have a prototype done, but need  some more juice to take things to the next level. What are your real funding options… local, regional, international. Angel and Venture Funds, Friends/Family or Bootstrapping?

Have an idea? Want to learn more? To meet people who are doing it and have done it? Connect to people who can help you? Register Now Online at CaribbeanBETA.com. Group and Company discounts available via Ingrid Riley ingrid @ connectiMass.com

About the author

Ingrid Riley