Social Good Startup: Kopernik

October 26, 2011

#SocialGood, Innovations, Interviews

kopernik dlight solar lanternKopernik is one of the 8 finalists to Startups Good Challenge that was held about a month ago, sponsored by the good guys at Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation. I tried to reach out to all of the finalists, however, only 5 responded – with one left the event early, before I had the chance to interview the founder.

The criteria:

“Startups that are building or using technology to make a positive impact on the world will compete for a chance to present at the Social Good Summit and win a $10,000 cash prize for their company.”

So this is the first social good organizations out of four (that I was able to have conversations with) that will be featured here. The lineup: Kopernik, Empower Energy, Simple Energy and the winner of this competition – a 19-yo kid, Sun Saluter.

In this interview, I talked with Toshi Nakamura, the co-founder of Kopernik, a social enterprise who’s also a member of Clinton Global Initiative. Toshi and I shares one thing in common: Indonesia. Oh well, his organization is based in Indonesia, and I was lifted from there. That’s about it.

The problem that they’re trying to solve is in the distribution of life-changing technology to the last mile in the developing country (read: the poorest). Think of this business as the online store for innovative technologies, i.e. technology like what you see from the picture above showing d.light lantern, which is one of the products available from their store.

According to Toshi, at the present time they have a showcase of 50 different life-changing technologies for the poor available through their website.

Unlike online store that typically works to connect buyers and seller, they connect three-way : donors, those who have the need for technology (seekers) and technology providers (manufacturers). Even though, Kopernik is a young organization, in his email Toshi mentioned that in just 1.5 years they now have 41 funded projects in 11 countries – which is a pretty impressive record!

For more info on the scope of their work, go to to their website

So before you dig deeper, here are some of the things we talk about:

  • how the organization got founded
  • how it works
  • the challenges they face as a social good startup, and..
  • why now?

Check out also Toshi Nakamura’s presentation at the Social Good Summit. Watch here.

Picture: via Kopernik.

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About Dewita

I'm trying to find solutions for world's biggest problems, i.e. food waste and unemployment.

View all posts by Dewita


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  1. Social Good Startup: Em{Power} Energy Group | Ecotwist - November 16, 2011

    […] Second in the series of Startups for Good Challenge.  […]

  2. Help Kopernik Get More Innovative Technologies to People in Need | Ecotwist - November 17, 2011

    […] Giving is giving away $3 million in grants to 100 small, local charities and Kopernik – an NGO in the Social Good Startup, that distributes technologies like solar lamps and clean, efficient cookstoves to poor last mile […]

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