Erik Hersman harnesses Africa’s boundless spirit of innovation by creating platforms to improve daily lives both inside and outside the continent. Hersman facilitates a host of web, mobile and community projects through organizations like the iHub, a Nairobi innovation hub for the technology community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and the investment community and built around the vision of an epicenter for Kenya’s booming tech industry. The mobile app Ushahidi, which he co-founded, allows users to share breaking news through text messaging, and continues to revolutionize and empower journalists, watchdog groups, and everyday people around the world. He is also the founder of the BRCK, a backup generator for the internet, and is a general partner in the Savannah Fund.
Hersman, a TED Senior Fellow and PopTech Faculty Fellow, grew up in Kenya and Sudan and is, as he puts it, “one of those guys who’s much more ‘at home’ in Africa.” He keeps two influential blogs: WhiteAfrican, where he writes about technology on the African continent, and AfriGadget, a group blog that celebrates African ingenuity. He is also one of the founding organizers of Maker Faire Africa, an annual event to showcase the inventors around Africa, which happens in a different country each year (so far, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria).