I was on a panel at a Tech for Good meetup in London a couple of weeks ago, where I heard about an interesting-sounding IOT device focussing on women's safety in emerging markets. Chakshu Saharan, the founder of Ignius, the company behind the (currently being developed) prototype, answered a few questions for the Other Valleys on their plans for the future. It was also inspiring to hear from Janet Chapman, who started Crowd Map in Tanzania, a crowdsourced mapping database. At the moment, they are focussed on mapping an area around the village of Magumu in Tanzania to help prevent female genital mutilation.
I know a couple of people who have opted to get Estonian residency via their simple online process, and this post breaks down why that is (Estonia has 15,000 virtual residents apparently). There's a useful bit about the history of the country's progress in this domain. I highlighted this: 'The roots of Estonian tech-savvyness lie in the widespread computerisation of schools during the 1990s and the absence of legacy systems after the country regained independence from the Soviet Union. Estonians built a digital framework for their public sector, dubbed the X-Road, which serves as a secure, decentralised connection mechanism for all the nation’s public organisations. It helped coin a defining principle: the state should not ask its citizens for any data that is already held somewhere in its databases.' I'm working on something to do with digital identities at the moment, so this piece resonated a lot with me.
Part of 500 Startups' Batch 20 is Via Global Health, which connects distributors in emerging markets with affordable and innovative devices and supplies. Health is one of the areas that is already seeing significant positive disruption, and I like the idea of using a global supply chain system to bring otherwise unusual yet useful devices to the billions of people who might not otherwise get access to them. Here's an interview with one of the founders from December that explains their business model.
The Financial Times reports on China's push to become a tech superpower, especially in quantum computing. They are successfully luring research scientists from the US to China (and I'm not talking about Lu Qi of Baidu, though he is referenced in the piece!).
If you are a journalist in or near Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo or Delhi, friend of the Other Valleys Abhay Adhikari is running a series of free one-day workshops on digital storytelling techniques. It is open to editorial teams, product owners, community managers and hyperlocal publishers. You can find out more and apply here. Abhay also interviewed Sumukhi Suresh in the run-up, an Indian YouTuber who will be at the European workshops.