Supporting High Impact Clean-Tech Innovations

Byron Bay, Australia

+61-491-082-515 voice, sms - Australia

+1(510)423-1767 sms, whatsapp, signal)

About Natural Innovation

Supporting scalable innovations with potential for high impact on sustainability or poverty by

  • Mentoring a select group of innovators, and
  • Improving the ecosystem in which impact innovators and entrepreneurs strive to succeed.

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:

  • very early stage (idea or pre-revenue);
  • in cleantech fields such as energy, water, materials, circularity, climate;
  • based in Australia or SE Asia.

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.

Improving the impact innovation ecosystem

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:

Pre-seed (USD 200k-2m) innovation investment syndicate

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.

Data interchange formats

More to come ...

Other issues with the impact ecosystem that we care about include ...
  • The impact space is really good at demonstrations, pilots, and the like, but very poor at scaling successes. How can we make it the norm that any success will see follow-on funding to scale the solution to the size of the problem, and, how can we ensure that the potential to scale is properly considered when choosing investments.
  • Impact investors usually don't understand technology (especially hard technologies such as materials, energy, water etc). As a result many investors either pass on technology led deals, or make bad choices. How can we help bring the skills to investors that allow them to evaluate all kinds of technologies?
  • The "impact measurement tax" that typically sucks 15% or more of an enterprises revenue, decreasing their impact by a similar amout, just to produce reports, to donors and investors, that have a value that is far, far less than could achieved by spending that "tax" on creating impact.
  • The expectation that an impact entrepreneur will spend more than half their time chasing investment, in part because the impact investment ecosystem is far less efficient, and far slower, in its Due Diligence, than investors outside the impact space.

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.

Natural Innovation
Supporting high impact innovation that sustainably addresses poverty or environmental challenges.
Mitra Ardron

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 (, 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.

See, his resume, or LinkedIn


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 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

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.