The overwhelming size of big players in agriculture and medical health are enough to send any start-up - no matter how brilliant their idea - running for hills. However, these two industries are ripe for the picking and finding the right opportunity will positively effect both the industries, the consumers, and small business.
all, if these five companies can make a success despite miles of red tape, seemingly unnavigable rules and regulations, and competition from others hoping to make their own disruption felt, why not you?
1. Vula Mobile: This South African start-up initially connected health workers in rural areas with eye specialists through a mobile application. Workers could send basic information, photographs, and medical histories to specialists through the app, and the specialists responded with advice through a messaging platform. It became clear, however, that Vula provided a service that was sorely needed in remote areas for more than simple eye tests. It now boasts access to specialists in opthalmology, cardiology, orthopaedics, burns, HIV, and dermatology, with plans to extend its specialist offers.
2. MoringaConnect: Founded in Ghana, MoringaConnect aids and empowers farmers to farm and harvest from moringa trees. The farmers use the company’s patented processing machine to grind seeds and leaves into a nutritious powder and oil. As of June 2016, around 1,600 farmers had signed up, with hundreds more waiting for approval, and around 250,000 trees had been planted. MoringaConnect was expected to reach a revenue of US$1 million last year.
3. The Climate Corporation: (I include this American company to show how major companies can benefit from digital disruption.) Two data masters from Google launched The Climate Corporation in 2006. Through remote sensing and mapping techniques, all agricultural fields in America were mapped, making use of data about the areas' climate, soil quality, and weather patterns to sell crop insurance. Monsanto bought the company for around US$1 billion. Monsanto could now determine the best fields for seed type and in what conditions the seeds would grow best and use the information for precision planting. According to The Economist, farmers who have made use of the system have seen yields increase by about 5% over two years.
4. Senwes: Senwes is one of South Africa's top agricultural companies with a history of 107 years, but that hasn't stopped it from taking digital by the horns. The company has several offerings in place to aid the emergent and experienced farmer. The Senswes Grainlink app, for example, keeps grain producers and clients aware of grain stocks, weather, and rainfall in real-time.
5. Healthbridge: This South African company offers a range of mobile solutions for medical practitioners simplifying the day-to-day running of practices. Offerings include Benefit Check and Funds Check, which allow medical practitioners to check their patients' medical scheme benefits or funds available before appointments, an app that aids in revenue management for faster payments, and Dr App, allowing GPs to send billing instructions, schedule visits, and create sick notes for patients through their tablet or smartphone.