Kopernik is an on-line marketplace of innovative, life-changing technologies designed for the developing world.
Technology is the fastest, most direct way of improving people's lives and ending extreme poverty. The challenge is that while exciting, new technologies with life-changing potential are available, they are not reaching the people who need them because:
1. Users can't afford the technologies;
2. Manufacturers can't reach users in remote areas;
3. There is no way to introduce products and foster their adoption.
Kopernik solves these problems by providing an ICT platform to connect the disparate pieces.
Kopernik connects, via an on-line marketplace three key actors:
1. The technology providers/manufacturers;
2. The technology seekers - people in developing countries - usually represented by local non-governmental organizations;
3. Funders - individuals and corporations providing capital to bring the technologies to those in need.
Vision: A society where the poor in remote areas are empowered to realize their full potential.
Objective: To increase socio-economic productivity and accelerate the progress of sustainable development.
Goal: To advance the adoption of affordable life changing technology.
Expected milestones towards the goal: - To date Kopernik has reached 2250 people with life-changing technologies. - By the end of 2010 Kopernik will reach 10,000 people with life-changing technologies. - By the end of 2011 Kopernik will reach 75,000 with life-changing technologies. - By the end of 2012 Kopernik will reach 150,000 with life-changing technologies.
ICT is the means by which Kopernik reaches communities in need (represented by local NGOs) - through an on-line marketplace. It is also a specific focus of Kopernik and represents one of Kopernik's six categories (the categories are: ICT/Mobile, Health, Water & Sanitation, Energy & Environment, Agriculture, Education).
We believe that our on-line marketplace has a disintermediating effect - i.e. it cuts out the middle man. The Amazon marketplace provides a classic example of this, shortening the supply chain by providing the customer with added convenience, lower prices, better informed decisions and more choice. In a development scenario, the middle-men are development agencies, governments and international NGOs. The Kopernik marketplace eliminates these middle-men and works directly with local NGOs - this means more money in the form of technologies reaches the 'last mile'. The marketplace also gives people in developing countries choice, something that is typically missing in international development efforts. And when people themselves choose what technologies they most need, those technologies get used.
People living in extreme poverty in least developed countries where traditional development assistance is not reaching. We connect life-changing technologies to the last mile, by working through our local partner organizations.
Grants: December 2009: Awarded an innovation grant from Japanese Entrepreneurship Support Organization June 2010: Awarded grant from Social Venture Partners Japan September 2010: Grants from Daiwa Securities and Russells Investment
Partnerships: - Invited to Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting 2010; - Invited as expert commentator and judge in Ashoka/Exxon Mobil Women, Tools and Technology competition; - Invited as expert for Nokia Change Connections new business inclubation initiative. - Invited to present Kopernik at MIT technology class, Columbia University SIPA and Earth Institute, Fletcher School, Tokyo University, Council on Foreign Relations, World Health Congress.
Media: - Featured in International Herald Tribune/New York Times, Huffington Post as well as over 30 other media outlets since launching. - Selected as one of top innovations by trendwatching magazine. - Participated in NHK (Japanese broadcast TV) panel discussion on development in Africa.
Initiatives: - Launched in February 2010 - Design competition in Japan is underway to engage Japanese engineers and designers in using their skills to design and develop new technologies for the developing world. This competition has generated great interest in Japan and is being supported by, among others, Nippon Foundation, MIT’s D‐Lab and JICA. - About to launch new service line 'Do it Yourself' Technology - or technology that can be produced locally. - Redesigned website and relaunching in October 2010