This is where the next billion-dollar idea will come from

This is where the next billion-dollar idea will come from

This is where the next billion-dollar idea will come fromEvery entrepreneur worth their salt is continually on the lookout for the next billion-dollar startup idea. Combinator, an American seed accelerator funding early phase startups, listed the most fundable industries – these are industries where they predict the next billion dollar idea will come from, and where they get the most requests for startups.
“Many of these areas fall into the “breakthrough technology” category, but the great majority of the startups we fund will continue to be the sort of Internet and mobile companies we’ve funded in the past, so if that’s what you wanted to do before this post, keep doing it, they say on their website.
Combinator has impressive credentials, since founding in 2005, it has helped launch a number of billion-dollar companies including AirBnB, a short-term peer to peer apartment rentals (now, estimated by Business Insider to be worth a billion dollars) and Reddit, a social news site.
Below are the areas the Y Combinator continues to look for groundbreaking startup ideas, and those we believe should be of some interest to African entrepreneurs, as a way to solve some of the continent’s challenges.
1. Energy
“Cheap energy would do a huge amount to reduce poverty. New energy sources could also help the environment, the economy, reduce war, ensure a stable future, make food and water more abundant, and much more”.
2. Biotech
“There are so many directions this can go – fighting disease, slowing aging, merging humans and computers, downloading memories, genetic programming, etc”.
3. Healthcare 
“We’re interested in ways to make healthcare better for less money, not in companies that are able to exploit the system by overcharging. We’re especially interested in preventative healthcare, as this is probably the highest-leverage way to improve health. Sensors and data are interesting in lots of different areas, but especially for healthcare”.
4. Pharmaceuticals 
We’d like to fund companies doing this in new ways. We take a broad view of this–we’re interested in things that may not become prescription drugs but still really help people.
5. Food and water
“At some point, we are going to have problems with food and water availability. Technology can almost certainly improve this”.
6. Education 
“The first attempts to use technology to fix education have focused on using the Internet to distribute traditional content to a wider audience. This is good, but the Internet is a fundamentally different medium and capable of much more”.
7. Transportation and housing
“About half of all energy is used on transportation, and people spend a huge amount of time unhappily commuting”.
“Housing continues to get more expensive, partially due to difficulties in transportation. We’re interested in better ways for people to live somewhere nice, work together, and have easier commutes”.
8. One million jobs
“We want to fund companies that have the potential to create a million jobs”.
9. Diversity
“We want to fund non-profits and startups that are working on making technology a place that is more inclusive and attractive to people of all ages, races, sexual orientations, and cultures”.
10. Developing countries
“Increasing numbers of tomorrow’s multi-billion dollar technology companies will focus on serving these new consumers, particularly in China, India and South East Asia. Entrepreneurs focused on these markets will almost certainly be riding a big wave, as GDP growth in these countries continues to outpace growth in the United States”.

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Lebohang Thulo
Lebohang Thulo
Lebohang Thulo is the editor of SME South Africa. She enjoys keeping up with the country’s exciting and fast developing entrepreneurship ecosystem. You can find her at @lelele3