REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- The Vodafone Americas Foundation today opened the ninth annual Wireless Innovation ProjectTM (WIP), in search of the latest technology that will positively impact the global community. After supporting organizations such as Mobile ODT, which uses a phone camera for colposcopies, and Nexleaf, which makes a vaccine monitoring platform, grow into scalable businesses through the program, the Foundation is calling for new applicants with connected solutions and wireless-related technologies. Online applications will be accepted from November 1, 2016 through March 6, 2017, with winners announced in June 2017.
“Each year we encourage nonprofits, universities, non-governmental organizations, and social entrepreneurs to enter projects they are working on to change the world through wireless and mobile platforms,” said June Sugiyama, Vodafone Americas Foundation Director. “We’ve seen incredible work over the years and we look forward to recognizing the potential behind even more innovative ways connected solutions and wireless technologies can have a positive global impact.”
Since launching in 2009, WIP has awarded $4.9 million to wireless-related technologies that have the potential to solve critical issues facing the world today. Past winners have gone on to future success with more than $9.5 million in additional funding, as well as successfully reaching market to drive significant global impact following their involvement with WIP. For example:
· Mobile ODT (2014 Winner) - MobileODT’s low-cost digital camera attachment for smartphone is a potential game-changer in reducing cervical cancer. Since winning the WIP, their Cervical Cancer Screening System has been met with enthusiastic response in 21 countries around the world, and recently expanded into Afghanistan.
· Nexleaf (2013 Winner) – Nexleaf’s ColdTrace wireless sensor is designed to help protect children against diseases by remotely monitoring vaccine fridges in order to provide near real-time information on storage temperature and other critical infrastructure issues. The WIP grant has helped Nexleaf partner with large aid organizations like Gavi and expand into international markets and provide solutions to rural clinics and health facilities.
Three winners are selected each year with first place awarded $300,000, second place $200,000, and third place $100,000. In 2016, WIP awarded the $300,000 first place prize to Neopenda, for its affordable wearable newborn vital signs monitor that transmits data to nurses to help provide early detection when a newborn is in distress.
"The WIP funding enabled us to significantly accelerate our technology development, which allowed us to move to the next phase of piloting our solution in Uganda,” said Sona Shah, CEO and Co-Founder, Neopenda. “We’re thrilled to have this momentum as we push forward in our mission of building innovative technology solutions for newborns in need.”