Today, the Omidyar Network announced a two year investment of $350,000 for future FrontlineSMS technical and organisational development, the result of several months discussion and planning. Omidyar come on board as our fifth donor, with funding already in place from the Hewlett Foundation, Open Society Institute/HIVOS, and the Rockefeller Foundation. After three years with a mainly software and community focus, the second half of 2010 sees us turn more of our attention to organisational development, and it's already been something of a growth year.
After bringing Josh Nesbit on board in late 2009 (using the OSI/HIVOS funding), in the past few months we have hired two full-time software developers - Alex and Morgan (thanks to Hewlett and Rockefeller) - and brought on board a new FrontlineSMS Project Manager - Laura (also funded by Rockefeller). The diversity of donors and the breadth of support is testament to the work everyone is doing, particularly our increasingly innovative and growing user base. No-one said this was going to be easy when we started out way back in 2005, but we're making good progress.
We're also hugely grateful to the management at Wieden+Kennedy who have made room for us in their central London office, and provided us somewhere to base our growing team, all at no cost. Often corporate in-kind support like this can be overlooked (and the office is very cool, too). o/
Today's Omidyar investment will support three specific activities.
- Firstly, it will bolster our efforts to increase user adoption, and will support the work Josh and Laura are doing to create sector-specific communities (based on the use of FrontlineSMS in agriculture, human rights, the media, and so on).
- Secondly, it will help further the work started using the Rockefeller funding to formalise and build on the growing FrontlineSMS developer community. Last week, for example, saw the release of a much-requested Reminders Plugin for FrontlineSMS, and other add-ons are in the works.
- Finally, the new funding will help with much-needed organisational development, and allow us to explore other non-grant sources of income.
Further details on today's announcement are available on the Omidyar website.
Many thanks to Omidyar for their faith and support, from everyone at FrontlineSMS! We look forward to working with you over the coming two years.