AI Progress Report: 2014 Quarter 2

Along the Canal Path (cc) Kenneth Spencer

Along the Canal Path (cc) Kenneth Spencer

April, May, and June were filled with intense activity. But then again, that is not news in a startup’s life, is it? Here is Appropriate IT’s progress report for the second quarter of 2014.

Summary

  • Appropriate IT becomes a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation. :-D
  • Citizen Action Platform launches. :-)
  • Holding pattern for event to celebrate AIDA’s new center. :-|

Innovation Lab

Janani, our crowdsourcing + citizen engagement platform, had a great quarter. The first project on its code base – Citizen Action Platform – went live in June. Technical issues with the SMS aggregator had caused so many delays in the project launch that we were beginning to wonder if it will ever go live. Thankfully, all the hurdles that were thrown at it were crossed. And the project partners – Appropriate IT, Partnership for Transparency Fund, and Anti Corruption Coalition of Uganda – celebrated when our hard work finally saw the light of the day.

With the completion of this project, alpha version of Janani is ready. The next step is to prepare to introduce Janani to the world. We are working on a demo instance and product announcement. More to come on this topic soon.

Development Academy

Development Academy is planning to open a training center in Coimbatore, India. There will be a special event on August 15 to mark this. However, the work on the opening and special event were on a holding pattern this quarter, thanks to the hectic activity in Janani & the Innovation Lab (see above) as well as Delaware PBC & legal work around it (see below).

Management & Admin

One of the two biggest challenges of a startup’s life is the execution team (money is the other). We took a few steps forward and one step backward, all in one quarter!

Appropriate IT found a great legal counsel in Adam August and a corporate law firm in Holland & Knight. We are fortunate that Adam, who usually works with firms many, many times our size, agreed to add Appropriate IT to his roster. I would like to think that our business model and commitment to social change did the convincing. :) Appropriate IT has already benefited enormously from Adam’s expertise in the recent legal work for our friends and family round of fundraising as well as corporate charter work around Delaware PBC designation.

One of the harder lessons learnt is that it may be too early for Appropriate IT to tap into institutional impact investors as a source of capital. So, we – Jennifer John & Appropriate IT – mutually agreed to part ways. All of us at Appropriate IT wish Jen all the best with her gender lens investing work.

Amitaksha Nag joined as Business Development Manager this quarter. This could not have happened at a better time, since AI needs someone to take over business development around our products and projects, especially with the impending announcement about Janani.

May 29 became a historical date in Appropriate IT’s corporate life story. On that day, AI became a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), converting our corporate structure into a for-profit social enterprise. Suffice it to say that this news is easily the shining star of this quarter. To excerpt from the blog post announcing the change:

Appropriate IT has always had a “returns + impact” approach to doing business…As a for-profit social enterprise, we are super delighted to have a corporate structure that better reflects what we are trying to achieve, both in material and non-material terms.

And it is on that high note that I would like to conclude this update. So long…until next quarter!

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Categories: announcements, appropriate it

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