High Tech Offshoots for Neglected Markets

How do you bring technology to countries underserved by the Internet and other tech the U.S. takes for granted? An SMS social network & a slate that converts handwriting to data.

What's the Latest Development?


How do you bring technology to developing countries underserved by the Internet, mobile devices, and other technologies that people in the U.S. take for granted? Two examples are an SMS social network and a “hybrid” slate that converts handwritten paper data entry into a digital format. 

What's the Big Idea?

Umar Saif founded Pakistan-based SMSall, an “SMS social network,” withs 2.7 million users in Pakistan that has conveyed 4 billion SMS messages. For people without good broadband Internet  access, SMS is a good, inexpensive communication tool. Meanwhile, Yale University’s Microsavings and Payments Initiative offers a “hybrid” slate that converts handwritten paper data entry into a digital format, letting people keep using manual accounting but reducing errors.

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