Supporting High Impact Clean-Tech Innovations
Byron Bay, Australia
+61-491-082-515 voice, sms - Australia
+1(510)423-1767 sms, whatsapp, signal)
Supporting scalable innovations with potential for high impact on sustainability or poverty by
Most impact innovation founders are under-resourced, young, and taking on tasks and roles they have no experience in. Active mentoring, over an extended period of time, is an effective way of leveraging: skills; experience; and connections; to increase the scale, speed, and likelyhood of success.
Natural Innovation actively mentors a small group of innovators at any time, help depends on the need and could be anything from a one-off call, through to several hours a week and a role on the innovators board.
We can generally help across the wide range of problems the entrepreneur is facing, and where we cannot help ourselves, we have a wide range of contacts across engineers, designers, investors, donors, and the rest of the impact ecosystem.
Mentees are often, but not always:
Natural Innovation also actively mentors through a number of incubators, accelerators, and other Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESO's) etc. including Mentor Capital Network; Engineering For Change; Tech To Impact; etc.
Please feel free to reach out if you an impact innovator that might fit the criteria, or if you run an ESO that has enterprises it is supporting that might fit.
Most impact innovators will tell you that the ecosystem we work in has some great people, embedded in a system which, to be polite, has a lot of challenges. Part of Natural Innovation's work is to try and improve some parts of the system, and support other entities improving other parts of it.
Projects we are currently involved with include:
There is a "chasm of death" where entrepreneurs have raised some money from Friends, Family, and Filanthropists, but now need an amount too big for these kinds of investors, but too small for the impact funds or VC. Typically this is around USD 200k-2m. This is particularly difficult for impact innovators (outside the pure "tech" space), because investors typically understand either technology, or impact, but not both. In addition, unlike most Social Enterprises, innovators are often pre-revenue at the point they need this size ticket.
We are exploring enabling this specific niche, by putting together a syndicate of investors, to share leads, DD, administration, and legal support. We will post more later, but feel free to reach out if you are interested to get involved in any way.
More to come ...
We are interested in collaborating with projects that are addressing these, or other areas that will ensure an ecosystem that is supportive to impact innovation at scale.
Mitra is a serial social entrepreneur & innovator, working in the fields of technology for good, especially IT and renewable energy. Mitra co-founded the Association for Progressive Communications (apc.org), the peak body for internet human rights, with organizational members in 60 countries. He co-founded Lumeter, a leader in PAYGO technology for solar responsible for bringing light to 10’s of thousands of houses in Africa, and started Beyond Building Energy which was at one time the fastest growing solar company in Australia. He is passionate about mentoring others to do whatever it takes to achieve a scale that has meaningful impact.
Natural Innovation Pty Ltd was started in 2003 to support the development and scaling of clean technologies and had a number of successes including in community purchase of solar; green materials and urban agriculture.
Natural Innovation .org was started in 2009 after I realized how little support - neither financial, nor expertise - was available for innovations and innovators in the field of sustainable solutions for poverty. I spent several years traveling to work with innovators in their environment, which is very different from inviting that innovator to an incubator in the West.
Apart from supporting innovators ranging from water treatment to solar thermal, I developed a Pay-As-You-Go technology that evolved, in 2012, into Lumeter Networks so that it could raise impact investment. Lumeter's development and growth meant that Natural Innovation.org was put (mostly) on hold. We sold Lumeter to Mobisol in 2017 and it had resulted in more than 50,000 homes getting basic electricity by the time Lumeter's technology was fully integrated into Mobisol's.
Now that I am free of responsibilities to Lumeter, I can refocus on other people's innovation and am re-animating Natural Innovation.org.
In the meantime the world of innovation for sustainable solutions to poverty has also evolved, and there are several interesting organizations that have emerged. I am hoping that this site can also act as a bridge to help volunteers, projects and funders to find the best technologies and support organizations in the space.