The Mission

OUR VISION is to harness advanced technology, co-creation and open innovation to reduce suffering, fulfill basic needs, and accelerate inclusive development in fragile and conflict-affected areas.

 

OUR MISSION is to catalyze investment in humanitarian technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, with and for conflict-affected communities.

 

We seek to maximize the social return on this investment by integrating it into long-term economic development strategies. Specifically, we believe conflict-affected countries can leapfrog historical development pathways by grasping the opportunities of the next industrial revolution, which could generate the greatest economic transformation in human history.

 

ROW creates opportunities for conflict-affected communities to participate in this revolution, through R&D, training and startups that leverage the technology driving it – technology such as robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, the internet of things, brain-computer interface, and virtual/augmented reality.

 

At its most fundamental level, our approach is to promote peace and stability through dignity and purpose. We focus on fragile and conflict-affected areas, where instability has resulted in unfathomable deprivation and suffering, and where vicious cycles of violence, poverty and disaffection are most challenging to break.

 

What we do

ROW VENTURES is a for-profit impact investment fund, which invests in entrepreneurial solutions to conflict that feature humanitarian technology and innovation. ROW LABS is our non-profit technical assistance vehicle that supports not only our investment portfolio, but also the entire ecosystem for humanitarian innovation.

 

To catalyze investment in humanitarian innovation, ROW undertakes initiatives in the following four areas:

 

PHYSICAL & DIGITAL PLATFORMS FOR OPEN INNOVATION

TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL r&d

HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP & ADVOCACY

Train affected communities on advanced manufacturing and entrepreneurship, provide STEAM education for children, and facilitate mentorship by local & international experts

Formulate and promote solutions at the intersection of conflict and the next industrial revolution

Build community-embedded spaces for co-creation -- makerspaces, MIT Fab Labs, micro-factories, and hardware incubators -- particularly in special economic zones

Crowd-source, co-create, and test solutions to the world's toughest humanitarian challenges -- deploying advanced tech and financial engineering for social innovation

IMPACT

Key Initiatives

ROW VENTURES

ROW has catalyzed nearly $10 million of social investment into humanitarian technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in less than two years. We are now seeking to raise a $20 million fund. In the long term, we aim to have between $100 million and $200 million of assets under management. We have invested in Hala Systems, Inc., an early-stage social enterprise focused on technology-driven solutions to problems related to conflict, crisis, and natural disasters.

ROW LABS

JOB CREATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Leading the project management for Fab Lab Amman and Fab Lab Irbid, 3Dmena is a Jordanian social enterprise that builds labs, provides training and helps innovators commercialize their products, acting as a hardware incubator and social innovation hub.

FAB LAB AMMAN

Requested by HM King Abdullah II of Jordan and owned by the Foundation of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein. Hardware incubator and training center in major SEZ, focused on youth employment and entrepreneurship. Opening with 575m2 (~6,200ft2) of space in 2016.

FAB LAB IRBID

Located in an SEZ between Irbid and Mafraq, which host hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. Public-private partnership for advanced manufacturing training and business incubation funded by 5.5 million euro grant from EU. Opening with 800m2 (~8,600ft2) of space in 2016.

EMERGENCY RELIEF

UXO REPLICAS FOR TRAINING

3D-printed replicas of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines by 3D Life Prints. Mayday Rescue used the replicas to train the White Helmets on how to identify and safely dispose of explosive remnants of war in Syria, reducing costs substantially and decreasing deployment time by 75%.

A platform for R&D on search and rescue technology, civilian protection in war zones, and basic goods for austere environments

RESCUE TECH LAB

STEAM EDUCATION (science, tech, engineering, arts, math)

3Dmena Training at the Bader Center – The children’s art adorns the walls, illustrating the carnage they have experienced and the trauma they have suffered.

AL BADER HEALING CENTER

Syrian NGO serving women and children who have suffered severely traumatic injuries in the Syrian conflict, such as amputations and paralysis, providing prosthetics, physiotherapy, psychological care and informal educational services. 3Dmena and ROW have implemented a STEAM education / social innovation lab at the Bader Center. We aim to inspire interest in science and technology and to develop skills around innovation, problem solving, and creativity. We also hope to strengthen the children’s self-reliance by enabling them to develop solutions for problems they face in every day life (e.g. DIY improvements to assistive devices).

Young girls participating in Innovast's Robotics Education program

INNOVAST TECHNOLOGY

Syrian social enterprise using educational robots to provide psychosocial and educational support to Syrian refugee children; disciplines taught through the training include physics, computer science, engineering, math, biology, and even ethics and poetry; over 600 Syrian refugee children taught in school settings. ROW is now supporting their effort to launch a robotics café in Gaziantep, Turkey. The free café will serve the needs of children who do not attend school, often because they work to support their families.

KARAM FOUNDATION

Syrian NGO focused on innovative education for Syrian refugees, is now building Karam House, a center for innovative, creative and entrepreneurial education in Reyhanli, Turkey. ROW has a supportive role in helping Karam include a small Fab Lab for STEAM education in the facility.

Right: Karam Foundation’s Training on Visual Programming in Reyhanli, Turkey

HEALTHCARE

National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs (NSPPL)

Syrian NGO providing complete care for Syrian amputees, ranging from psychological support, physical therapy, fitting of prostheses, gait training, and social rehabilitation. The estimated number of Syrian amputees is between 100,000 and 200,000.

 

ROW’s Chief Technology Officer, one of the leading experts on prosthetics in the United States, has been developing low-cost, 3D-printed prosthetics with 3D Life Prints and is providing technical support to the NSPPL for the development of an advanced R&D and fabrication facility.

Left: Low-Cost, 3D-Printed Prosthetic Arm by 3D Life Prints and ROW’s CTO. Right; Double amputee served by NSPPL.

ENVIRONMENT

odyssea

Greek NGO founded by ROW’s Humanitarian Architect; mitigating the environmental impact of the refugee crisis on the Greek islands by up-cycling waste from life vests and boats into useful products (e.g., bags, mattresses, shelters).

 

Odyssea has also established AstroLab, a co-working space in Athens for digital fabrication and design. ROW is partnering with Odyssea to fundraise for the equipment in AstroLab, and to develop the strategy and operating model for the space.

INTEGRATION & SOCIAL COHESION

Accelerating integration through robotics education

Led by ROW 3D Printing Technician Asem Hasna, a Syrian refugee teaching Arduino programming and DIY robotics to both refugees and Germans in Berlin.

REFUGEE CAMPS AS FAB CITIES

FAB LAB ZA'ATARI

ROW and 3Dmena envision the first Fab Lab and micro-factory for advanced manufacturing in a refugee camp; lab would support refugees to become more self-sufficient through cutting-edge vocational training, free repair services for the community, R&D on basic goods, entrepreneurship, psychosocial support through interactive art, informal STEAM education and co-working space.

3D Printed Prosthetics

ULTRASONIC ECHOLOCATION DEVICE

ROW developed an open-source 3D-printed prosthetic hand, co-created with a 6-year-old Yemeni refugee who was severely burned and lost a hand in a household fire; materials cost less than $80, including an embedded computer that plays an animation programmed by a Jordanian mechanical designer.

Ultrasonic echolocation device with haptic feedback for Ahmad, a Syrian refugee who was shot by a sniper at age 22 and rendered completely blind. Ahmad uses it primarily for navigating indoors. The device is made with an Arduino, low-cost ultrasonic sensors, and a small vibrating motor. The total cost is $31, and the design is fully open-source.

3D PRINTED PROSTHETIC WEDGE

CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEM

Asem 3D-printed a piece of his prosthetic foot, without which he can’t walk; reduced cost by over 95%.

3Dmena and MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives developed a prototype of a DIY system that can be used in a refugee camp to provide food and employment for refugees in a way that reduces logistical costs and requires only the precise amount of water and electricity the plants need to thrive.

3DMENA ACADEMY

3Dmena runs a program called 3Dmena Academy, which holds regular, low-cost courses on 3D design, additive manufacturing and physical computing. The program has taught nearly 500 Jordanians and refugees across the country in less than one year.

TEDxBerlin

Asem Hasna is a Syrian 3D printing expert and prosthetic technician at ROW. Before the war, he was a mathematics student at the University of Damascus. When the war began, Asem dropped out to become a paramedic. After losing his leg in an attack on his ambulance, Asem traveled to Jordan as a refugee to get access to medical care. There he recovered, received training to be a prosthetics technician, and was connected with ROW. Since 2014, Asem has used his expertise in 3D printing to help people in crisis-affected areas. Now living as a refugee in Berlin, Asem recently delivered a TEDx Talk on the topic of "Rebuilding our Lives. Rebuilding our Countries." to a 1,600-person audience.

PHYSICAL & DIGITAL PLATFORMS FOR OPEN INNOVATION

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INVOLVED

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ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS

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Conduct joint research, test new technologies in the field, and co-create innovative solutions

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INQUIRIES

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