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Most Innovative Companies

Awaaz

The World's Most Innovative Companies 2016Nowadays, changing the time of a meeting or making an important announcement can be as simple as sending out an email or posting on Facebook. But in rural India, where Internet access is limited and most people have only old mobile phones at their disposal for communications, getting out a message can be much more difficult. Neil Patel realized this while working on his PhD at Stanford University, and developed a prototype communications platform for his thesis that relied on voice messages from basic cell phones. That prototype is now a company, Awaaz.De, that helps some 350,000 rural residents communicate. Users can dial in to post or listen to a voice message board and can send out a pre-recorded voice message to multiple people at once. The service doesn't require anything more than a basic telephone for users to participate--and it doesn't require literacy, either, another potential hurdle in rural communications. Having raised a round of angel funding in May 2015, Awaaz.De now operates in six countries and offers its services in nine languages, and is partnering with organizations that work directly with teachers, field workers, and others in need of the service.
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2016: India
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