These 12 media startup ideas from Penn students are actually cool Philly
December 15, 2014

First built as a simple group SMS message tool, some of Twitter’s fastest growing markets today are in Africa, perhaps most prominently in a place like Kenya, a relatively stable democracy in an often beleaguered portion of the continent. Levi Gikandi, a Penn senior and Kenyan native, wants to launch a throwback version of the social publishing tool to bolster crowdsourced community news in countries with less-established digital infrastructures.

He’s calling his project Sauti Yetu (not this one). Translated, the name means “Giving Voice To Our Potential.”

Gikandi won $7,500 in seed money in the third year of a student pitch competition that again closed out a University of Pennsylvania Entrepreneurial Journalism class taught by adjunct professor Sam Apple. (You can find last year’s presentations here. Last year’s winner appears to now be working for a Boston-based investor analytics company.)

One of a dozen projects in the class, Gikandi pitched his to a panel of judges, which, full disclosure, included this reporter, inside the Kelly Writers House on Penn’s Locust Walk. Gikandi described a stripped down, messaging tool similar to the early days of Twitter that could be trialed in his native Kenya for news dissemination and sourcing. The hope would be to find utility elsewhere in the developing world.

Read the full article here.