PopTech Social Innovation Fellows
Class of 2009

PopTech Social Innovation Fellows are high potential young leaders with new approaches poised for transformational impact. Fellows work in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds, and are truly global – recent Fellows are working in India, Kenya, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, as well as in the US. They are the world-changers of tomorrow.

Aviva Presser Aiden & Hugo Van VuurenLebônê
Cambridge, MA and South Africa

Energy / Technology

Aviva and Hugo co-founded Lebônê Solutions, Inc. 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.

Watch their PopTech presentation.

 

Jason Aramburure:char
New York, NY

Energy / Technology

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.

Watch his PopTech presentation.

 

Eben BayerEcovative Design
Green Island, NY

Environmental Technologies

Ecovative Design is developing a family of green materials using a growing organism to transform low-value agricultural byproducts into strong biological composites. Ecovative’s MycoBond™ platform serves as an affordable rigid-board insulation for commercial construction and as a biodegradable replacement for packaging materials like Styrofoam™. Eben’s long-term vision is to apply the technology to multiple markets, providing an eco-friendly replacement to conventional plastics and foams in applications from wind-turbine-blade core materials to boat hulls, structural insulating panels and lightweight vehicle panels, and eliminating unsustainable plastic and synthetic products from product and waste streams.

Watch his PopTech presentation.

 

Paula KahumbuWildlifeDirect
Nairobi, Kenya

Wildlife Conservation

As executive director of WildlifeDirect, Paula is helping build a global online wildlife conservation community. Through online diaries and blogs, WildlifeDirect brings supporters and conservationists together and enables individual donors around the world to communicate directly with the people that they are funding. The goal: a movement powerful enough to respond to any conservation emergency anywhere swiftly and efficiently, reverse the catastrophic loss of habitats and species and secure the future of wildlife in Africa, Asia and around the world.

Watch her PopTech presentation.

 

Deb LevineYTH
Oakland, CA

Global Health Care / Education

Deb founded YTH – youth+tech+health (formerly ISIS) – in 2001 to advance youth health and wellness through technology. Using the web, mobile phones and mash-ups, YTH gives people private, convenient and accurate access to information on today’s major health issues, from HIV prevention to unplanned pregnancies to access to healthcare. YTH is creating the latest and best ways to help youth and adults lead safe, healthy and fulfilled lives.

Watch her PopTech presentation.

 

Derek LomasPlaypower Foundation
San Diego, CA

Education / Technology

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.

Watch his PopTech presentation.

 

Josh NesbitMedic Mobile
Stanford, CA

Global Health Care

Having pioneered the use of mobile phones for healthcare in a remote region of Malawi, Josh co-founded Medic Mobile 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 Medic Mobile team is proving that text messages can help save lives.

Watch his PopTech presentation.

 

James O’BrienBrooklyn Community Arts & Media High School
Brooklyn, NY

Education

As principal and founder of BCAM, James partnered with the Institute for Student Achievement and assembled a staff of like-minded educators to create the new school in 2006. With a challenging college-preparatory, inquiry-based curriculum that relates to real life issues, and multiple opportunities for exploration and expression through the arts, BCAM stimulates students’ intellects and excites their imaginations while providing them with marketable skills. BCAM brings together partnership with family and community, performance-based academics, and professional training in media and arts as an effective model to prepare teenagers for success in the 21st century.

Watch his PopTech presentation.

Ory OkollohUshahidi
Kenya and South Africa

Technology

A lawyer, activist and blogger, Ory is a co-founder of Ushahidi, a free, open source, Web / mobile-based platform capable of crowd-sourcing, sharing and mapping information in near real time. The project was born as a way to track the atrocities and human rights violations that erupted after the 2008 Kenyan presidential election. Ushahidi has since been used to help monitor elections, respond to humanitarian crises, track swine flu outbreaks, enable citizen journalism and monitor crucial pharmaceutical supply levels.

 

Emily PillotonProject H Design
San Francisco, CA

International Development

Emily founded Project H Design to mobilize product design ingenuity for social good. Having built nine chapters and a community of over 300 committed designers in just over a year, Project H Design has already launched over 20 projects in 6 countries – water transport solutions, a playground for active math education, designs for foster care therapy and more, all aimed at having a quick and real impact on people’s lives. Add to this her new book “Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People,” and Emily is clearly leading the way in designing with – not for – communities, transforming lives and strengthening economies.

Watch her PopTech presentation.

 

Hayat SindiDiagnostics For All
Cambridge, MA and Saudi Arabia

Global Health Care

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.

Watch her PopTech presentation.

 

Taylor Stuckert & Mark RembertEnergize Clinton County
Wilmington, OH

Economic Development

Taylor and Mark co-founded Energize Clinton County in 2008 as a grassroots movement and community center for sustainable economic development. The sudden departure of a major employer forced the area surrounding Wilmington, Ohio to confront either collapse, or reinvention. Leading the effort that established the city as the country’s first Green Enterprise Zone, Energize Clinton County has transformed the crisis into an opportunity to become a model and testing ground for technologies and development strategies that will lead America’s economy through the 21st century.


Watch their PopTech presentation.

 

Nigel WallerMovirtu
London, UK

Technology

Movirtu was launched in 2008 to provide access to basic mobile phone services for people earning less than two dollars a day. Under Nigel’s leadership, Movirtu designed a virtual mobile phone system which enables anyone to make and receive phone calls, text messages and mobile payments utilizing other people’s phones. By granting access to mobile communications even to those without their own phone, Movirtu enables people to find work, build micro-enterprises, access healthcare and better support themselves and their families.


Watch his PopTech presentation.