Innovation That Matters

Tech store brings innovation to developing nations

Nonprofit & Social Cause

One of the most challenging aspects of humanitarian aid is connecting those who generate innovative solutions with those who need them. That’s where Kopernik comes in: a grassroots platform designed to help bring breakthrough technologies to developing nations. The process is straightforward and transparent: Kopernik showcases exciting tech products by inventors and technology providers, like an online store. Next, vetted organizations in developing countries submit short proposals explaining how they’d use those products. Finally, ‘the crowds’ browse proposals and donate funds to those they’d most like to see realized. Once enough money has been raised, Kopernik transfers the funds to the technology provider, who then ships directly to the receiving organization. Completing the loop, the receivers report on how the products are being used and provide feedback on the technology’s effectiveness. Updates are posted on Kopernik’s website, so that contributors can track the effect of their donations. Kopernik charges for-profit technology providers a fee of 5% of sales made through the site, and also takes a 5% cut of donations. Launched in February, New York-based Kopernik has already formed partnerships with over a dozen tech organizations, and more than 200 non-profits have applied to be part of Kopernik’s network. So far, it has facilitated the distribution of several products including the Life Straw, a low-cost water filtration device, and Firefly, a solar-powered LED lantern. (Related: Matching donors & classroom needsPrizes for academics who solve real-world problems.)



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