12 Big Ideas that could lead to the next Billion Dollar Companies – Part 1


Inspired by the morning read “Indian-American teen creates 20 second mobile charger”, I set out to think about all the BIG IDEAS that could change the way the world works.

Sure, you could build a Tumblr-like site and be bought for $1.1 billion, but I’m talking about ideas that could actually make significant strides in making the world a better place.

New Battery Tech surely does look like one of those life-altering ideas. Imagine the power of these ultra-fast rechargeable cells not only in terms of better smartphones but say, in a rural setting, where power is not an oft-discussed phenomenon. The ramifications seem huge.

Here is the first part of this series of three articles which discusses ideas with major upsides:


Part 1: Education, Energy, Housing and Healthcare


A sector which almost 100% of the population agrees is ripe for disruption, but changes seem to be materializing tad too slowly. This is easily the biggest existent market and the beauty of it is that it has got enough space for 10s, if not 100s, of firms to thrive about and co-exist.

India is definitely the go-to market for education and Indians have the best vantage point going forward; for the bigger long-term opportunities lie in the even less developed Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asian, Middle-Eastern and South American countries.

It becomes even more important, when one realizes the other facet, that is, the effect of better education opportunities in these countries on their healthcare, socio-political and economic systems.

Economical Solar Energy

The Sun is unmatchable when it comes to being the king of all energy sources. Nothing that human technology could ever produce would even come to touch the dominance of the Sun. Even with a very small fraction of its energy reaching the earth, the capability, if harnessed, is 10000 times that of all the commercial usage on the planet.

Scientists are working hard to bring down the initial cost of solar, but it looks like it would require someone with the passion and zeal of Elon Musk to come and turn the whole industry upside down.

Affordable Housing for the masses

An ever-increasing population coupled with a steeply increasing lifespan, gives us our next big idea. Affordable and quick-to-setup housing will make someone billions starting in the next 5-10 years.

Affordable housing includes value housing, which is the need of every middle class family, as well as low income housing, where the most significant need of India lies.

Over one-sixth population of the world lives in appalling conditions. Over a 100 million people live in slum and slum-like surroundings in India alone. They could reach up to 200 million by 2020.

Building mass-scale housing by aggregating the waste land in the outskirts of the urban hubs is the simplest solution when it comes to tackling the problem of housing due to urbanization. To make it affordable, statistics suggest that the costs should be around 5-6 times the per-capita income of the region.

Advanced Health Information Systems & Better Medicine

Even as countries like India discourage patenting in the drugs business to offset the costs of medicine to the poor, companies like Ranbaxy take undue advantage of the system and dupe billions of innocent people into buying their generic but harmful drugs.

It is a long-known fact in medical circles that different people have different levels of susceptibility to diseases and so they respond differently to medicines. But, treatments developed have been adjusted to work for the masses rather than being individualized. Advances in Genetic Science changes that and can be used to develop better systems that will be able to do fast genetic profiling of a patient.

Now, collection and management of these massive amounts of data on individual patients presents us with another opportunity in the form of Health Informatics.

Medical records, today have a prevalent problem of, being mixed up in the form of old technologies (paper) with new ones (computers). Even within the same hospital, there would be usage of different programs and platforms for different data. Sharing information over regional, national, or global networks is rendered, almost impossible.

Future healthcare systems need to be engineered to facilitate seamless sharing of data. Apart from this there should be checks in place for ensuring that the updating of this data is absolutely correct and that the profile of any individual can be easily tracked using the system.

Tomorrow I’ll discuss the next 4 BIG IDEAS as Part 2 of this series of articles.

Comment with your suggestions, on what you think are the big ideas, that could make billion dollar companies and change the world at the same time.

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