Not all start-ups exist to raise exorbitant sums of venture capital funding, scale to every country on earth, and eventually make it rain Benjamins at their NYSE debut. This list was created to celebrate lesser-known start-ups Tech in Asia wrote about over the past year that are focusing their time and energy on helping others and the environment.
An Australian engineer with an affinity for Pakistani mangoes built a small, portable air conditioner that uses a fraction of the electricity of a conventional unit. Close Comfort will retail for roughly $270 and provide affordable cooling to people where summer temperatures can reach a dangerous 40 degrees Celsius.
More importantly, by eating up just 300 watts an hour (a typical aircon unit can eat up as much as 2,400 watts per hour), Close Comfort will help prevent rolling blackouts that often hit Pakistan and other developing countries with less-than-optimal electrical infrastructure. It can even be hooked up to battery-powered generators, allowing it to be used by people in villages that are off the grid.
Similar to the above start-up, Empower Generation is a social venture that helps women in Nepal earn money by selling solar lanterns. The benefits are two-fold: in addition to helping them set up a small business, the lamps themselves promote a cleaner environment by doing away with the need to burn kerosene.
Instead of simply handing them the product and hoping they figure out how to sell it, the start-up provides funding and mentorship to ensure female entrepreneurs have the tools necessary to succeed. Empower Generation even provides low-interest microloans to poor villages so they can purchase the women’s wares.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.