Founding Consortium


Is a Kenyan company selling connectivity solutions for low-infrastructure environments in over 50 countries. Founded in Nairobi, BRCK is dedicated to building local solutions to local problems. The BRCK v1 is a ruggedized modem and router with built-in failovers and a nine-hour battery, designed to extend connectivity beyond the edge of the network, and to do so in a way that is accessible to anyone, even if they've never used a computer before. That same commitment to understanding the needs of their users has driven the development of the Kio Kit -- an affordable, portable, and rugged "school in a box" that can connect up to 40 students to both pre-loaded and online content at the push of a single button, giving children in rural Kenya access to the same knowledge as those in London or San Francisco.


Is bringing a new model of waste management to Nairobi's low-income communities. Over the last three years, Sanergy has deployed 683 toilets across the city, creating jobs, small businesses, and cleaning up neighborhoods. That waste is then treated and turned into valuable products such as fertilizer or clean energy, creating a virtuous circle for sustainable micro-enterprises. In everything they build, the Sanergy team is committed to delivering dignified, high-quality products that improve the lives of some of the world's most disadvantaged communities.


Was born during the election crisis in Kenya in 2008. When reliable sources of information were hard to come by, Nairobi's early tech community came together to create a platform for crowdsourcing information about violence via phone, text, or email, building a permanent, public record on the web for all to access. "Ushahidi" means "witness" in Swahili. Since then, the Ushahidi platform has been deployed over 90,000 times in over 159 countries, and has been used by the UN and other organizations as a primary tool of crisis management. More than a nonprofit software development company, Ushahidi continues to play a central role in building the Kenyan tech ecosystem, having founded the iHub, spun out BRCK, and sponsoring projects like Making All Voices Count and Gearbox.


For six years, the iHub has been a center of gravity for the "Silicon Savannah". Built to bring Kenya's tech community together with shared workspace, good coffee, and fast internet, it has since provided a launchpad for over 170 startups, serving as vector for $10 million in investment. It is home to the m:Lab, a World Bank sponsored accelerator for mobile technology startups, East Africa's first User Experience (UX) Lab, iHub Research, and iHub Consulting. In addition to helping launch the fastest growing sector of the Kenyan economy, it has helped to spawn numerous initiatives focused on technology justice, including Akirachix, teaching girls and young women to become technology leaders, and eLimu, bringing Kenyan-made educational content and technology literacy to schools across the country.


Funding Partners

The Lemelson Foundation

The Lemelson Foundation uses the power of invention to improve lives, by inspiring and enabling the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the US, and social and economic progress for the poor in developing countries. Established by prolific US inventor Jerome Lemelson and his wife Dorothy in the early 1990's, and lead by the Lemelson family, to date the Foundation has provided or committed more than $185 million in grants and Program-Related Investments in support of its mission.

Autodesk Foundation

The Autodesk Foundation is the first foundation to focus investment exclusively on the people and organizations using design for impact. Calling them "impact designers", they are the catalysts of the design-led revolution now underway. The Autodesk Foundation invests in impact designers who represent many fields of practice, but share one common goal: designing and creating a better world. The Foundation supports these impact designers as they deliver more innovative, scalable, and measurable design solutions that address the most epic challenges of our time.