Opening the Design to Improve Life Investor Day were our Strategy and Programme Director, Liza Chong, along with Chair of Design to Improve Life Investment and Founder and Director of Active Philanthropy, Felicitas von Peter.
Following introductions, Co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn (INDEX: Award 2015 Winner, Play & Learning category) gave an inspirational talk about Duolingo’s journey, sharing his valuable experiences with seeking funding and developing new partnerships. So far Duolingo has earned over $88 million US through four rounds of funding and have a number partnerships with educational institutions in South America. However, according to Von Ahn, the programme still needs help to achieve their overall goals.
“We Want investors who share our vision and believe in the mission of giving everyone access to education,” said Von Ahn.
“I want Duolingo to be as good as a one-on-one human tutor, and we’re getting closer to that.”
Seeking funding, support or mentorship, each designer from the INDEX: Award 2015 Finalist pool then took the floor to share their ideas and ambitions. The designer pitches included; Coco (USA), CrowdVoice (BH / MX), IKO (CO), OKHI (KE), Peek Retina (UK), Scio (IL), The Silk Leaf (UK), Wristify (USA) and Yellowone Handsafe (DK). Each candidate shared some incredible facts about their designs, as well as specific statistics to what there design could achieve with further supports.
“The opportunity for this product is huge, we could expand to 53 coffee picking nations, helping 125 million people, as well as use the product for any form of bean-picking,” explained Gabriela Ravassa, designer of ergonomic coffee-picking bucket, Coco.
“This design addresses real world needs, brings economic benefits to all stakeholders, and will improve the liveS of millions.”
All the presentations were incredibly inspirational, each design candidate shared solid business plans and displayed great passion for their work in designing for positive impact.
“We want to scale to four million people and we want to have an impact,” said Timbo Drayson from OKHI.
“We know more about physical address systems than anyone else in the world, and we’re all missionaries who have left good jobs in order TO support a great cause.”
Following the presentations the event broke out into a discussion sessions to allow investors and mentors to approach the designers one-on-one. During this time, all participants of the event had the opportunity to take part in a small competition and vote for their favourite pitch of the day.
Overall the event was a great accomplishment for all involved. After a week-long summer school preparing our design candidates for the big day, we couldn’t be prouder. We’d like to thank all our investors and interested parties for attending and wish our investment candidates the best of good luck with receiving support!