Entrepreneurs to watch
Thought a global pandemic could put the breaks on entrepreneurs with a mission to drive positive change? Think again. Whilst there’s no denying 2020 has been a tough year for many founders, it has not been without hope.
Amongst the chaos of the pandemic, an ever increasing space is opening up for startups to step up and play their part in the creation of a new normal. The founders below are doing exactly that, building resilient, inclusive and purpose-driven businesses prepared to meet the new challenges our world faces.
Ready to take a look at the founders and startups that will shape the coming year? Meet the Bridge entrepreneurs to watch 2021.
Miriam Reyes and Amélie Jézabel Mariage Aprendices Visuales
First up is Spain-based Aprendices Visuales, a unique EdTech startup with a focus on inclusive education. The team are on a mission to make sure children get access to this kind of education through the creation of visual materials, training for families and professionals, and implementation of a program based on visual teaching in schools.
Over 1 million children are already using their services across the world and and impressive 98% of their users recommend their courses. As well as being recognized by Huffpost and Vanity Fair they’re also collaborating with the United Nations to meet sustainability goals.
That’s not all, the team have recently also been nominated by Forbes Spain on their list of ‘100 Greatest Fortunes’, although it’s probably not the kind of Forbes list you’d expect. For the first time in its history, Forbes has decided to draw up a list for those who stand out not for their own fortune, but for what they have contributed to society. People who decide to think and act to improve the lives of others. That’s the kind of list we like to see!
The Blooders Team
Founded by Javier Esquivel, Mexican startup Blooders has a saying: “donating blood doesn’t hurt, what hurts is needing it and not having access to it”. Motivated by this, as a non-profit organization, Blooders is transforming the way that people who need blood are connected to those who are willing to donate it.
Although we know donating blood saves lives, it’s something very few of us follow through. The Blooders app and online platform makes the process of giving blood far easier by allowing the user to register, get an evaluation and sign up to a blood donation center all in one place.
Recently, Blooders partnered with Uber to offer rides to those donating blood during the pandemic. And, as the first online platform for blood donation in Mexico, they have also been recognized by Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine and Ashoka and featured at the Creator Awards hosted by WeWork. We first met the team in October when they took part in our The Leap: Tech with Purpose edition.
The FoldAI team
As we know, forests are vital to our existence. Founded by Friedrich Förstner and Giovanni Carmantini, German startup FoldAI aims to reconnect forests with humanity through IoT, AI and Data Science to solve challenges related to forest biodiversity and climate change remediation. The team believe in a world of dynamic, circular economy embedded in deep ecological balance.
Also graduated from The Leap, their forrest monitoring solution, Aja, has been independently certified by The Climate Impact Forecast for its significant impact on carbon dioxide reduction. But there’s more, the team have recently been selected to join Telefonica’s Activation Program, gaining access to cutting edge communication technology and support from Telefonica itself. We’re sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from FoldAI in 2021.
Sameera Chukkapalli, Founder at NeedLab
You may recognize our next founder from our Innovate with Purpose podcast. Advanced architect and Yunus&Youth and FAB City fellow Sameera Chukkapalli founded Needlab in 2017. It’s a non-profit organization aimed at solving problems related to habitat and urban resilience in cities and rural communities.
So far, the team have completed 46 projects on 4 continents – directly impacting more than 5000 people. Sameera herself is a recipient of Design for all ” GOOD Practice” Award and has spoken about the importance of meaningful architecture at various events including the UN-Habitat Assembly 2019, Nairobi, Kenya.
The Kuorum Team
Secure electronic voting tech is becoming increasingly necessary. Introducing Kuorum, the Tech startup that is providing cutting edge solutions for electronic voting, digital identity and citizen engagement, allowing corporations and governments to launch an e-voting platform in seconds.
Graduates from ‘The Leap’, Bridge’s online incubation program, their technology is the result of more than five years of research and development in the field of security and usability and is not going unnoticed.
In 2016, Kuorum was recognized in the USA as Best Govtech of the Year by the Washington Academy of Political Arts and Sciences and more recently in 2020, the Global Compact of The United Nations awarded the startup for its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Bizipoz is a fast-growing startup for the empowerment of older generations. Based in Spain, they aim to solve the problem that support for elderly individuals is focused mainly on assistance instead of empowerment and integration into society.
To help change this reality, Bizipoz designs active ageing programs to support the implementation of social participation projects for the elderly. The programs are based on the fact that as life expectancy increases, people want to live well for longer and play an active role in society.
Founders Eider Etxebarria and Beatriz Santamaría believe that an educated and empowered community has the potential to revolutionize the way we care for our elderly. They graduated in Bridge back in 2017 through the ‘Making More Health’ program in partnership with Ashoka and Boehringer Ingelheim and were recently featured in Vogue’s ‘That’s How They Did It’ article on 10 successful female entrepreneurs.
Onto the food industry and Bridge incubated startup Dafero is on a mission to use food for social good. The startup supports vulnerable women such as refugees and former trafficking victims through their food based E-commerce business which sells healthy spreads.
As well as this, Dafero funds education and employment programs worldwide through the Kura Foundation by Dafero. They have created 50 courses, available in dozens of languages, to support vulnerable women and their families in their journey to self-reliance.
We first met founder Lina Zdruli in 2018 when she participated in our program with Yunus&Youth and three years on, Dafero is still making the news. In addition to participating in World Humanitarian Day 2020, they were also featured as Foodboro’s list of top food and beverage startups in Washington DC and made it to number one seller in their respective category on Amazon.
Kiko Muuo, Founder at Angaza Elimu
Also from our program with Yunus&Youth, EdTech startup Angaza Elimu is aiming to transform education across Kenya and is already having an impressive impact. It’s fully interactive eLearning platform delivers personalized learning experiences to students, providing them with resources such as authentic assessment, peer learning and progress tracking.
The team believes that every student deserves learning that is tailored to meet their specific needs and aims to equip students with skills needed to succeed in the 21st-century workforce, including an entrepreneurial mindset.
Showing no signs of slowing down, this startup already has over 8000 users, is part of the UNICEF Innovation Fund’s portfolio and was recognized by the Kenyan president in his International Youth Day speech 2020.
Clara Fernandez and Juan Cartagena, Founders at Rosita Longevity
Based in Spain, Rosita Longevity is helping senior generations live longer, healthier lives. Having recently achieved an impressive €450k pre-seed investment round, they’re looking to continue development of their digital coaching app which strives to make building positive habits easier and more accessible to older generations.
Recently featured on TechCrunch, Co-founder Clara says: “Over the last ten years we have developed a very comprehensive strategy on how to educate, how to create habits in the senior community so that they can increase their healthy lifespan.”
The team graduated from Bridge in 2020 and happy to share her investment journey, Clara recently lead a class as part of our Global Investor Network which you can take a look at here.
Meet Costa Rican based startup Randi Randi, a platform for the transparent exchange of local products and services including food and creole seeds. Their aim is to stimulate the solidarity economy and fair trade, with their online store which allows people to buy products that come from local communities and entrepreneurs.
Their website also provides useful and practical knowledge to help visitors lead a more sustainable and healthy life. As part of this, they’ve already conducted an introductory course to permaculture, in which 25 people from across Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Ecuador participated.
The team believes that solidarity and co-responsibility are essential for the moment in which we live. These are times to get involved in collaborative networks so that both people and organizations that seek to have a positive impact can come together and work together.
Nuria Pastor and Unai Sanchez, Founders at HumanITCare
This may not be the first time you’ve read about HumanITCare. After considerable growth last year, the young startup has just been listed by Forbes as one of the company’s that will shape 2021.
Like Bizipoz, we first met founders Nuria Pastor and Unai Sanchez through The Making More Health program and their mission has always been clear: to increase access to healthcare, improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs by providing an accurate remote patient monitoring system.
Ashwathy Venugopal and Sandeep S, Founders at Avasarshala
We first met Avasarshala when they participated in The Leap: Solutions for Humanity back in April 2020. As husband and wife, founders Ashwathy Venugopal and Sandeep S joined hands to build a life together first and are now partnering to make Avasarshala, a unique online platform that helps children discover their interests and talents and utilize them to build self-confidence, get recognized and grow into well nurtured personalities of tomorrow.
During the COVID-19 Lockdown, Avasarshala launched WhizKids Club- a Community for Parents where daily challenges are given to children to keep them entertained and engaged- and learn something new through tasks presented in a story telling model. They have already impacted +1000 children across India and 7 other countries and saw +3000 task completion in the first 14 days of launch.
The Farmspeak Team
Farmspeak Technology is an agritech startup dedicated to eliminating extreme poverty amongst African farmers by increasing productivity, promoting efficient resources use and enhancing farm profitability.
They leverage advanced technologies such as intelligent electronic sensors, internet of things (IoT), data analytics, and artificial intelligence to drive data-driven agriculture that reduces wastage and improve overall farm productivity.
Founded in 2018, their vision is to provide farmers anywhere, anytime with cutting-edge products and services to increase productivity and profitability. After graduating from The Leap, the company were selected for Forbes Digital Accelerator Program last year.
Harriette Rothwell and the Pionero Philanthropy team
Last but not least is Guatemalan startup, Pionero Philanthropy. It’s a nonprofit assessment organization that provides verified information about Guatemalan non-profits for stakeholders to access online. They believe that reliable information leads to more effective giving and are committed to representing grassroots non-profits through connecting people to great causes.
The startup was founded on the basis that in Guatemala, there aren’t widely available websites that use publicly available information and organize it so people can research and make informed decisions.
Pionero Philanthropy makes it possible to find guidance regarding launching philanthropy programs in the region, or to find verified information about what kinds of programs already exist in the Guatemalan ecosystem.
If you didn’t know, we’re on a mission to democratize access to entrepreneurship education. We support early-stage entrepreneurs in developing the businesses our society needs through our 3 month, online program, The Leap.
If, like the founders of these startups, you want to develop your project with us and join the purpose-driven movement, click here.
We love sharing your stories. If you’re part of the Bridge community and would like to appear on our blog, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org