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Kickstartable: Missed Call Technology for Social Change

It’s been a full month of featuring Kickstarter projects that get the Persphe-seal of approval, and I’m finding more projects every week. This week is another project that will serve the world at large, one petition signature at a time.

Tell us a little about your Kickstarter project. What do you hope to accomplish with the funds raised?

We are launching /Crowdring – a new open source tool that will allow anyone, using any phone to join a movement. /Crowdring works by turning free “missed calls” into signatures on a petition. It doesn’t require any app or phone credit to use, and can work on any mobile phone, including the most basic GSM model.

We have built v.1.0 of our tool and now we’re ready to test it in the world and encourage activists everywhere to tweak, hack and share our tool as a way to radically democratize the digital organizing field. With support from the Kickstarter community, we will work with partners in India, Brazil and Kenya to launch /Crowdring and continue to innovate on its performance as a campaigning tool.

Currently, the most popular global platforms for social justice organizing (like Avaaz and are web-based. This means that only the 30% of the world with internet access can participate. Mobile phone users are soaring globally to 6 billion, particularly in emerging economies – reaching 100% in countries like Brazil and South Africa. We want to create a tool that the majority of the world can use to organise for progressive social change.

Is this your first Kickstarter project? If so, what made you make the leap to engaging the world community to promote your cause?

This is our first Kickstarter project and we’re really impressed by how the platform gives people the opportunity to rapidly build a global audience for projects that perhaps have been quietly incubating for months – and then boom, you’re live! We are excited to reach and receive feedback from the creative communities that Kickstarter has been so successful in cultivating.

What was the most challenging part of getting your Kickstarter presentation together?

It’s always tough when you have to find a clear and compelling way to share your idea, especially when you’ve been so focused on the internal infrastructure that you lose touch with how you would explain the project to your grandmother. We were careful not to get too techy with our pitch, and instead, focus on the stories of mass mobilisation in India, the global culture of “missed calling” and the potential for the tool to be picked up by anyone to build their own campaign.

What has been the most pleasantly surprising thing since your video has been live?

In just one week, over 2,500 people have watched our video! That was fast!

What’s your project’s biggest selling point?

We believe that /Crowdring has the potential to become the easiest and cheapest way to bring the world together around social justice issues. We’ve assembled an all-star team of developers, designers and activists in Brazil, Kenya and India including ThoughtWorks, Meu Rio, Jhaatka and Infonet to test /Crowdring over the next few months. Our longterm contribution is that /Crowdring is open source. We’re creating new infrastructure for the digital commons that can be used to include everyone’s voices in demanding a more just and democratic future.


Well, if that doesn’t make you love your mobile phone and technology even more than you did at the beginning of this post, I don’t know what will.

/Crowdring will be eligible for funding through March 17th.

Disclaimer: Please do not take this review or my personal endorsement of this project as investment advice. I am a lady blogger on the Internet, not an investment adviser, nor am I an angel investor myself.

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