11 Tech Startups Making a Positive Impact Around the World

© Pexels/Pixabay
© Pexels/Pixabay
Photo of Claire Lancaster
Tech & Entrepreneurship Editor28 September 2017

These inspirational tech startups are building digital solutions to global issues, working hard to make a positive impact around the world.


According to Dublin-based Aid:Tech, 30% of Official Development Assistance (ODA) money is lost each year. The Aid:Tech solution uses a ‘smart card’ to create a digital identity comprised of a recipient’s ID, electronic cash, social welfare entitlements, and health and dental records to help governments, NGOs and charities better distribute aid funding.


Sweden-based Trine is a crowdfunding platform that enables individuals to invest in solar energy projects in Africa, with the opportunity to earn a return on investment of up to 6%. Its solar energy projects have already helped to reduce over 50,000 tonnes of CO2 and have provided more than 170,000 people with electricity. Trine helps investors to build an ethical investment portfolio while benefiting the planet, as well as supporting local businesses and families in rural areas who don’t have access to clean energy.


California-based Zipline operates drone services that deliver blood, vaccines and medicines to difficult to reach areas, saving lives, reducing disease and improving healthcare. Currently operating in Rwanda and Tanzania, the company provides medical care for all who need it, no matter how remote they are or how difficult the terrain.


UK-based startup ImiTec has developed drones that provide remote and autonomous nuclear radiation monitoring, without endangering humans. The micro-computer-controlled Advanced Airborne Radiation Mapping (AARM) drones monitor nuclear radiation sites around the world, while reducing risk to human life.


California-based Tala is changing the way credit scoring and financial services work worldwide, opening up financial access for underserved people. Many countries don’t have a financial system that monitors an individual’s credit history, which makes it hard to secure a loan. Tala tracks spending habits, and looks at the data (including network diversity, social connectedness, geographic patterns, and financial transactions) to score and deliver instant credit and help customers build their financial identities.

Safari Seat

UK-based Safari Seat creates and supplies affordable, durable, all-terrain wheelchairs to developing countries. Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the company’s wheelchairs will be able to cross different terrains, giving independence back to disabled individuals, as well as the opportunity to earn an income.

© Safari Seat

Agora for Good

New York City-based Agora for Good is a platform that connects potential donors to vetted non-profits. The search for potential donations is streamlined, as users can filter causes by location or category. The app also allows users to keep track of their existing donations.


Sweden-based TransferGalaxy is an instant and cash-free mobile money transfer service that enables customers to send money from a laptop, tablet or smartphone, even if they don’t have a bank account. In September, the company won “Best FinTech Startup 2017” at the Nordic Startup Awards.


Berlin-based Kiron is an online university that provides free courses in mathematics, sciences, business, social sciences and architecture to refugees for two years. This gives students enough time to gather the necessary documents, improve their English or German and demonstrate academic ability. They then transfer to a partner university in the third year, from which the students graduate. Kiron has enrolled over 1,200 students, and currently has 18 university partners, including Harvard and Stanford.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meeting Keron founders


Australian-based Seabin is a device that can be placed in ports and marinas to collect debris. Cleaning sea ports by hand isn’t efficient, and sending boats to collect rubbish is expensive. Seabin collects rubbish and filters it accordingly, protecting marine life and ensuring the cleanliness of the water.

Orbital Systems

Sweden-based Orbital Systems is a clean-tech company that manufactures and installs showers containing NASA-certified technology. Their recently launched shower utilises water-recycling technology capable of re-circulating 2.8 litres of clean, filtered and heated water in a closed loop. The device reduces water usage by up to 90% (traditional showers use around 9.5 liters per minute), and energy usage by up to 80%. Two filters analyse water 100 times per second, filtering out particles such as sand, dust, bacteria and viruses.

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