Rob Katz

Pop!Tech Announces 2009 Social Innovation Fellows

As if on queue – and on the heels of SoCap09 – Pop!Tech, a leading ideas summit and social innovation network, today announces its 2009 class of Social Innovation Fellows. This will be the second class of Fellows – last year the cohort included innovators ranging from Mobile Metrix to Pharmasecure to Por Fin, Nuestra Casa to Ushahidi to Frontline:SMS and of course Husk Power Systems, perhaps the crown jewel of the class after it won a $250K business plan competition this summer.

The 2009 Fellows indeed have large shoes to fill. Here is a snapshot of some of the BoP-oriented Fellows:

Aviva Presser Aiden and Hugo Van Vuuren – Lebônê Solutions, Inc.

(Cambridge, MA and South Africa)

Aviva and Hugo co-founded Lebônê in 2007 to help meet the need for off-grid energy and lighting in the developing world. Using microbial fuel cells sold by local entrepreneurs, Lebônê’s technology generates electricity from soil microbes to power LED lights, cell phones, radios and other devices. By extracting energy and light from dirt, Lebônê is providing a tool that improves results for rural health workers, students, small businesses, farmers and families.

Jason Aramburu – re:char

(New York, NY)

Jason launched re:char in 2005 to develop low-cost technologies that fight climate change while improving the quality of degraded soils. re:char’s systems convert agricultural waste into renewable fuel and into biochar, preventing the emission of CO2 via decomposition. The biochar is used to improve soil on farms, locking away emissions for thousands of years. By producing energy, sequestering atmospheric carbon and improving soil quality, re:char brings the promise of distributed, carbon-negative energy to underserved communities worldwide.

Derek Lomas – Playpower Foundation

(San Diego, CA)

The Playpower Foundation was created in 2008 to foster development of affordable, effective and fun learning games for under-privileged children around the world. Motivated by the availability of ultra-low-cost computers, Playpower has cultivated a global network of developers, designers, academics, NGOs and businesses to participate in the research, development and distribution of learning games that will help bring education to children in Bottom-of-the-Pyramid settings.

Josh Nesbit – FrontlineSMS:Medic

(Stanford, CA)

Having pioneered the use of mobile phones for healthcare in a remote region of Malawi, Josh co-founded FrontlineSMS:Medic to bring these innovations to the rest of the world. The model features a central clinic laptop running FrontlineSMS software, enabling community health workers to use mobile phones to coordinate patient care. Pushing the technology to enable better patient management, electronic medical records via mobile phone, cheap mobile diagnostics and mapping of health services, the FrontlineSMS:Medic team is proving that text messages can help save lives.

Hayat Sindi – Diagnostics For All

(Cambridge, MA and Saudi Arabia)

Diagnostics For All is creating point-of-care diagnostic devices microfabricated in paper, a game-changing technology for delivering low-cost medical care in the developing world. Reliable, safe and easy to use, these devices allow healthcare workers to diagnose and monitor treatment for the 60% of people living beyond the reach of urban hospitals and medical infrastructures. In addition to extending the reach of high-quality healthcare through her work with nanotechnology and Diagnostics For All, Hayat is a powerful advocate for science education and careers for women in the Middle East.

We may have more from Pop!Tech coming in October. Stay tuned for details…