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Ideas Made to Matter

Venture Capital

7 MIT-spun ventures driving prosperity in emerging markets


Fifteen years ago, the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT opened with the mission of using entrepreneurship and innovation to drive prosperity in emerging markets around the world.

The center has supported more than 300 student fellows and 23 foundry fellows — established entrepreneurs who participate in an eight-month program geared toward building innovation ecosystems to drive economic growth. The center’s 15-year impact report highlighted these seven successful fellow-founded ventures paving a way for the next generation.

Ventures Impact Highlights

  • Great Learning

    Great Learning is an educational technology company founded in 2013. It offers a range of professional and higher education courses on topics like AI and machine learning, digital marketing, and management.

  • MAX

    Founded in 2015, the Nigeria-focused MAX offers a variety of solutions for transportation problems. It offers a framework that helps commercial drivers obtain vehicle financing, licensing, insurance, and ownership. MAX also connects businesses like restaurants with delivery drivers, and the company has a fleet of electric bikes and cars to encourage the adoption of low-emissions transportation.

  • MDaaS

    MDaaS started out as a medical-device-as-a-service company helping communities across Africa. But since its 2016 founding, the company has expanded to include 16 clinics, three health care platforms, and a transport service for lab and clinical samples.

  • Play Business

    Play Business was founded in 2014. The financial platform helps Mexican residents — and Mexican people who don’t live in Mexico but have a debit account with a Mexican bank — invest their money in companies and projects.

  • Ricult

    The Ricult Farmer App gives developing-world farmers free access to weather information and to satellite images to help assess farm health. The venture’s RicultX software uses machine learning and analytics to manage things like crop yield and sourcing. Ricult was founded in 2016.

  • Safi Organics

    Founded in 2015, Kenya-focused Safi works with more than 3,500 woman-owned smallholder farms to produce organic fertilizer from agricultural waste.

  • Speetar

    Speetar is a digital platform founded in 2017. The Libya-focused venture offers health care-related solutions for patients, providers, clinics, and community and government partners.

For more info Meredith Somers News Writer (617) 715-4216