RippleWorks Launches to Support Global Entrepreneurs Building Paths out of Poverty

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We’re thrilled to announce RippleWorks – a social venture committed to accelerating the pace and scale of promising social entrepreneurs building paths out of poverty worldwide.

The process of creating RippleWorks, a foundation to support financial inclusion around the world, began by looking to where it would make the most impact. Throughout the investigation, cofounder and CEO Doug Galen kept coming across this same story over and over again — there was no infrastructure to connect Silicon Valley talent with international startups in need.

Moreover, it was more than just simply matchmaking. Formalizing and developing that connection was just as important for Doug Galen.

“All of us have dreams of what we want to do with our lives.  I want a world in which everyone can achieve their maximum potential, and poverty is one of the single biggest barriers holding people back from that potential,” said Doug Galen, a social entrepreneur who previously served as Chief Revenue Office of Shopkick, senior vice president of Shutterfly and vice president of eBay.

Lauched by Doug Galen and CEO of Ripple Labs Chris Larsen, RippleWorks is an immersive program pairing startup veterans with promising companies in developing countries that seek to build paths out of poverty through innovation. RippleWorks experts volunteer their time to help entrepreneurs solve business-specific problems – using their unique skill-set and expertise – to accelerate scaling and help these global entrepreneurs solve world issues. Our mission is to accelerate the path out of poverty globally by bridging the gap between concept and scale with talent and expertise. We are a non-profit foundation based in Silicon Valley.

“I’m thrilled to launch RippleWorks,” said Ripple Labs co-founder and CEO Chris Larsen. “Building paths out of poverty through innovation is at the core of the foundation. Each of the companies in the program are hand-selected because of the impact they’ve already made on and the future potential they show for the global community.”

Take Ruma — one of the inaugural companies joining RippleWorks. The company uses innovative technology to improve the incomes of small, rural Indonesian businesses at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid.  For many in Indonesia, there is a lack of access to traditional financial resources; only ⅓ of people have a bank account, but 90% have a mobile phone. Established in 2009, Ruma started with a simple question — how can mobile internet provide opportunities for communities with a lack of traditional financial access?

For CEO and Co-Founder Aldi Haryopratomo, he wants to work with his domain expert at RippleWorks on the architecture of the company to rebuild the pipeline of scaling both product use and the internal team.

“In Silicon Valley, it can be very typical to have a standing coffee meeting, but that’s hard to translate to clear business solutions,” said Aldi.  “We’re ready to grow our company in key areas so we can help small business owners in Indonesia build their path out of poverty.”

The inaugural class of RippleWorks includes ventures from Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, the U.K., and Seattle, Washington. Read more about each of the companies here.

Examples of typical projects are analyzing its technology operations to determine scalability, design a go-to-market product strategy, verify data algorithm structuring, build user retention strategies, or architect databases to ingest massive amounts of data.

Former Chief Technology Officer at Cyberian Outpost, and Chief Executive Officer at Image Metrics, Inc. Mike Starkenburg, one of our first experts on board, said he’s been at that critical moment of development at past ventures and understands what is needed to scale a company and solve specific pressure points holding companies back. For him, RippleWorks will succeed because it’s applying the right skills in the right place at the right time.

In a report published in December 2014 by GSM Mobile for Development Impact, with collaboration from Omidyar Network and Vital Wave, entrepreneurs were shown to have participated in some type of startup support activity, such as an incubator or accelerator. However, once startups expand beyond early-adopter customers, local resources are often insufficient to support further scale.

“A limited number of scaled success stories is a sign that critical challenges remain. Many emerging-market entrepreneurs lack experience in effective marketing, optimising service architecture for scale, or capturing and analysing user data to steer growth and development,” the report said.

RippleWorks operates in close collaboration with organizations including Omidyar Network, IDEO.org, Village Capital and Accion, all of whom want to provide support to enterprises improving financial inclusion worldwide.  Collaborators work with budding organizations through early-stage investments, resource development and provide connections to venture capital funding. RippleWorks adds to this ecosystem by providing high impact support to businesses who show high-growth potential.

RippleWorks drives impact by pushing the pace of innovation of companies building paths out of poverty worldwide. With our network of support, we’ll be able to create economic and social good — one company at a time.

Want to join? Become an expert at RippleWorks.org