Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TechCrunch panel -- three Cuban software companies

The BBC reported (English, Spanish) on a panel featuring three Cuban software entrepreneurs at the recent TechCrunch conference in New York. The three companies were Cubazon, Knales and Kewalta.

The name "Cubazon" connotes that "It's like Amazon for Cuba, but with a difference." Looking at their Web site, it seems that the idea is for people in the Cuban diaspora in the US, Spain, etc to purchase gifts for friends and family in Cuba. The gifts are things like cakes and flowers sold by Cuban vendors.

Knales looks like an information-retrieval system in which the user can request information in over forty topic areas -- from sports scores to horoscopes -- by sending a 1 Cuba peso SMS message.

Kewalta ad categories
Kewelta (Cuban slang for "what's up?") began as an email list announcing cultural events, evolved into printing flyers and is now inviting potential advertisers to participate in a by-invitation beta of a Web site for ads. They say the ads will be free and promise to disrupt the current Web advertising model, but I was left wondering what their revenue model is.

Cuba has a history of necessity leading to invention. I hope I am misunderstanding and underestimating the Kewalta business model and they really have hit on a way to disrupt the current Web advertising model -- that would be a gift for us all -- with the exception of Facebook and Google stockholders.

(More on the Cuban startup scene).

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