Natural Innovation was started in 2003 by Mitra Ardron to support the development of clean technologies, and has had substantial successes in the fields of materials from waste; urban agriculture and solar photovoltaics.
At the end of 2009 we realised that many great ideas that could seriously impact emissions, and poverty were being lost because of financing challenges. We felt there were other ways to raise support for an idea that complement the traditional venture capital pathway, especially when the inventors are motivated more by giving something to the world than by making money.
Often people come to us when they've had the idea and spent a fair amount of time, and often money, on trying to develop their idea in various ways. At this point most innovations would raise venture capital, however this can be hard if the idea can't be patented (for example because its been published), or if the people who would purchase the invention are poor, or just because the inventors are located a long way from venture capitalists.
What[edit | edit source]
We bring together innovators, engineers & other volunteers, philanthropists & foundations, lenders such as micro-credit institutions, development and aid organizations. We help innovators connect with the resources they need to ensure that their innovation is completed and then reaches the people who need it. We'll help take the risk out of the innovation - to put a prototype together for example, or to test the market, so that cheaper sources of finance, or more risk-averse strategic partners (like aid organizations) can help with distribution.
Innovators[edit | edit source]
Natural Innovation Foundation works with innovators who have great ideas that have a potential to scale to have a significant impact on poverty or the environment. Most of the innovations we work with are focused on developing countries, and many of the innovators are based there.
We work with these innovators to help them bring the idea to realisation, by de-risking (for example creating a prototype, or testing a market) and then scaling.
We link innovators with resources - including grants; volunteers (especially technical); debt and strategic partners.