How it all started!
“We are meeting Anna who is working as a community health worker close to Isingiro, ask about Anna”
Somehow it always worked out, we always got there in the end, but sometimes a short distance could delay us several hours. Yet it worked. So I never questioned it much: when in Rome do as the Romans do!
It was not until 2008, when I hosted a delegation from the ICT Committee of the Uganda parliament as they were on a journey to study the Information Society, that I really got it. Not having an address is so much more than not being able to find your way. It is about proof of identity and residence, about access to services and protection of an individual. I thought something could be done with modern technology. But, it would take time until technology was developed and cheap enough that one could really do something about it on a large scale.
In 2015 I was working with an organisation that is improving child and maternal health services through application of smart technology. We had been able to develop the processes to support effective registration and child health follow up despite the fact that children many times lacked an identity and an address.
After seeing how small developments, improved organisation and increased standardisation could strengthen and make our work effective I thought that this must be done for all sectors and I realised that we need to develop a standard to allow all organisations, companies and authorities to jack into that work.
An idea (or a few) began to take shape, and I started looking for people and partners to help shape the technology and develop the business model. I believe having an address is a civil right and it was important that we could provide the solution for free to individuals. In fact, six of the UN SustainableDevelopment Goals will be very hard to achieve without adequate address infrastructure and many more opportunities will be missed.
I have been very fortunate. Early on people got interested, became my sounding board and connected me with people who could help me develop the idea. I soon had a small team and some advisors. From family friends to colleagues, and people in the wider European startup support systems, most of them said “interesting, how, tell me more, …have you thought about?-..” I almost never had a conversation with anyone who tried to dissuade me! At least not very often! I think this is important when starting a new project, almost everything is possible, it just take different amount of time. Some projects require grit!
Today, I have a Co-founder Maria Cheadle who is our CTO and leads the product development. We are a small and agile organisation and have won a few awards, among them Impact Maker 2018 in the Venture Cup East Final, and SAS Scholarship. There is increased interest in working and partnering with us, and two master students have done their thesis about Map Project (now Addressya). We actively looking for funding to take us to the market!
Karoline, CEO & Co-founder