Each year, we see startup launches in masses that promise to bring change to the society with the often misused term “disruptive technology”. Unfortunately, most of these startups do nothing but add to the luxuries of people. However, there are few noteworthy startups which are actually trying to make our world a better place, but are often least highlighted by the mainstream media. These impact-driven ventures are bringing a substantial change in the society by addressing different social issues through the aid of technology.
Here’s a list of 10 impact driven startups trying to make our world a better place:
Aqua-Yield is the “smallest innovation” in the agriculture industry that addresses the growing challenge of feeding of growing population. Using their patented processes, it is possible to deliver nutritional materials directly to the plant cells. The result: faster growth, shorter crop cycles, lower cost and least environmental impact. With the ability to reduce the size of nutritional materials, 60% of material can be saved with a 30-60% growth in crop yields. Started in 2014, the company is helping growers to save millions of dollars along with significant reduction in overall use of water.
Backed by a long list of investors, Beyond Meat makes plant-based alternatives to meat, claiming to invent the first vegetarian burger that actually tastes like meat. Their line of products provide equal amount of healthy proteins, but without the use of animals. The impact Beyond Meat is trying to create is significant as our planet often suffers from significant greenhouse emissions and water usage due to livestock farming. With a wide variety of products including Beyond Beef Crumbles, Beyond Chicken Strips and burger patties, the demand for plant-based meat alternative is growing pretty fast, which is indeed creating a sigh of relief for our planet to some extent.
This ambitious startup is aiming to replace the 100-year-old methods of generating electricity by using steam turbines that use paper-thin, nano-engineered generators that enable efficient and cheaper way of generating power. Combining a team of engineers and scientists, the company has developed modular generators with no moving parts that can fit even in your own house, allowing cleaner and affordable energy anytime, anywhere.
Named as one of the 50 Smartest Companies of the Year, Global Thermostat is on a mission to reduce the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The company had developed a patented technology that captures carbon dioxide directly from the air and converts it into carbon-neutral fuels that can be used for multiple other industrial processes. What makes the company’s idea more attracting is the technology’s ability to be retrofitted into an existing facility, which eliminates the need to design the plant’s processes from scratch.
Founded in 2009, this Amsterdam based company OAT Shoes made the “world’s first biodegradable sneakers that grow flowers when you plant them.” The ingredients that go into making these shoes are a mix of hemp, bio-cotton and cork along with biodegradable plastics that can easily convert into plant fodder. Also, the shoe tongue comes with a hidden seed-sheet that blooms when planted. Instead of donating your old sneakers, you can watch them slowly release back to earth and blossoming into flowers.
Genetesis has developed a non-invasive biomagnetic imaging tool to help doctors to quickly diagnose blocked arteries and pinpoint their location. Compared to a full triage process that can last between 12 to 36 hours, this new tool can map the heart’s electrical performance in just 90 seconds. Through their proprietary software “CardioFLux” that uses both classical and machine learning techinques, clinicians can extract range of reports to suit their needs.
AI and machine learning aren't just for warfare, it has a brighter side too and Athelas is a perfect example for this. The company has developed a low-cost device that uses deep learning and machine vision to identify leukaemia, infections and other conditions in minutes from just adrop of blood. The $500 device according to the Tanay Tandon, the founder of Athelas, will significantly reduce the cost of blood tests for patients and will eventually help in creating smarter and better treatments through the availability of multiple patient data points.
The Berlin-based ShareTheMeal began as an independent startup, but soon got support from the World Food Programme, an agency of the United Nations. With the mobile app, users can feed a malnourished child with just a tap. Making the donation process as frictionless as possible and keeping the donor threshold to just 50 cents, ShareTheMeal has attracted healthy amount of donations that goes to feed starving children.
The Israel-based startup UPnRide Robotics has developed a novel upright, self-stabilizing wheelchair for quadriplegics. The revolutionary device is a brainchild of Amit Goffer, who worked on this idea for several years that is poised to bring change in the lives of millions of paralyzed people across the globe. The Segway like wheelchair has the ability to move over different kind of terrains and can be controlled using a joystick that can be operated by hands or by mouth. According to Gofer, UPnRIDE not only enables the ability to stand and move, but it also reduces the possibility of secondary conditions that arise due to long-term sitting.
Developed by Circ MedTech, this patent pending device aims to reduce HIV infections by a more convenient and cost-effective way of conducting male circumcision in resource limited settings. Used in more than 250,000 procedures across 13 countries in Africa and Asia already, PrePex would approximately prevent 150,000 new HIV cases according to their mathematical models.