Microsoft’s Airband Grant Fund invests in 8 start-ups delivering internet-connected solutions to rural communities around the globe

Internet access is as essential as electricity. It empowers entrepreneurs to start and grow small businesses, farmers to implement precision agriculture, doctors to improve community health and students to do better in school.

Microsoft  announced eight early-stage startups from the  U.S., Africa and Asia selected its third annual Airband Grant Fund.

According to Microsoft, these start-ups are overcoming barriers to provide affordable internet access to unconnected and underserved communities in the U.S., Africa and Asia using TV white spaces (TVWS) and other promising last-mile access technologies.

the startups are:

  • Agsol Kenya –  manufactures solar powered agro-processing machines for off-grid farmers.
  • Cold Hubs Nigeria – provides solar powered cold storage for developing countries
  • CV Wireless US – use microwave technology to bring the service from a place where it was accessible to a place where it wasn’t.
  • Mesh Power (Rwanda) – solar powered nanogrids and smart metering systems provide affordable electricity to communities without access to energy.
  • ME Solshare (Bangladesh) – bring affordable solar electricity to everyone in Bangladesh and beyond through its peer-to-peer solar energy trading platforms based on distributed ledger technology.
  • Numbers4Health US
  •  Skylark Wireless US
  • Tribal Digital Village US

The grant will provide financing, technology, mentorship, networking opportunities and other support to help scale these start-ups’ innovative new technologies, services and business models.

The Airband Grant Fund is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, launched last year to extend broadband access across the United States and, ultimately, connectivity around the globe.


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