TechnoServe Labs was founded on this idea. Based in Silicon Valley, TechnoServe Labs partners with technology companies to identify, test, and implement solutions that can transform the lives of millions of hardworking people across the developing world.
How We Work
Can drones change Africa's agricultural future? TechnoServe is piloting sustainable, cost-effective, and measurable innovations for development.
Many technology projects in the developing world fail because of a focus on technology first and a lack of understanding of local markets and user needs. Technoserve Labs will leverage our on-the-ground experience and strategic market-based approach, coupled with lean, rapid solution testing and iteration. We understand that the best solutions may be simple, elegant adaptations of proven technology.
TechnoServe Labs is building a group of technology partners to support its mission of identifying, testing, and implementing promising technologies to deliver market-based solutions to poverty. Working with TechnoServe Labs, partners will participate in the TechnoServe Fellows program, join the Labs Advisory Council, and provide funding to support Labs.
We will focus initially on the 40 million businesses and 200 million people working across our core focus sectors of entrepreneurship and high-value agriculture.
A Shared Value Approach
Designed to reduce poverty, the TechnoServe Labs approach will also create business value for our partner companies. These services include:
- Developing business models to reach base-of-the-pyramid markets
- Providing strategic advisory on proposed technology projects
- Identifying practical applications for advanced technologies in emerging markets
- Performing field research, leveraging TechnoServe experience in developing economies
- Executing lean market testing of “user story” hypotheses, rapid evaluation of solution prototypes, and beta-testing with end-users
- Solution planning and implementation based on successful trials
The partnerships we are developing with technology firms are modeled after our success working with other global corporations, whose program support now accounts for 25% of TechnoServe funding. Strategic partners include: Nespresso, Anglo American, Walmart, AB InBev, Coca Cola, Cargill, John Deere, Kellogg’s, Visa, Mastercard, Mars, and Unilever.
Our Track Record
TechnoServe has already succeeded in testing and implementing technologies in multiple programs, including:
- Digital payments – TechnoServe worked with Vodafone and other partners to test and deploy a mobile solution for payments and data for 500,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, as part of the Connected Farmer Alliance. Following a successful pilot, Vodafone is rolling the solution out across East Africa.
- Blockchain – TechnoServe has experience testing digital payment solutions using blockchain with AB InBev in Uganda for sorghum production (using BanQu), and with Solvay in India for guar seed.
- Bank lending platform – TechnoServe worked with a local solution provider to develop an AWS-hosted platform that gives lenders visibility into coffee processing operations, enabling collateralized loans to support over 50,000 farmers in East Africa. Use of the platform doubled YOY from 2017 to 2018.