Spotlight: Introducing KP Naidu, VP, Benetech Labs
excited to introduce KP Naidu, who joins the Benetech executive team as VP,
Benetech Labs. KP will oversee all of Benetech’s early stage software
initiatives across poverty alleviation, human rights, and inclusive education
and employment, and taking the most viable ones to scale.
Can you tell me
about your background and what brought you to Benetech?
spent almost my whole life working in technology. Prior to Benetech, I
cofounded a company called Amava that helped people who were retired or about
to retire find what they wanted to do next. Going through that exercise, I
realized that in tech, and in Silicon Valley in particular, we are so focused
on building the next cool piece of tech, securing funding on Sand Hill Road,
and moving from Series A to C to IPO. Everyone’s running on this tech
treadmill, and we lose sight of what is actually happening around the world and
the problems that people face.
is so much inequity in Silicon Valley. People are buying homes worth millions,
and others are living in trailers on the side of the road. We all live and work
in the same region, yet a huge disparity exists. Using technology to advance
social good and combat inequity like this called out to me.
Why does using
software for social good resonate with you?
software should be used not just for making money, but for actually delivering
value. What’s the point of inventing something as world changing as the
internet if the majority of people aren’t going to see a benefit?
an industry, we need to think about involving people in this new, tech-driven
economy. Right now, most people are participating in the tech economy only to
the extent that their data is being monetized. When technology starts impacting
their life negatively, they will reject it – even if for the most part the
technology does great good. To truly advance as a society, we need to turn
around technology to make it work for all people.
do you see for using software to scale positive impact in the social sector?
many hours do you have? There is huge opportunity for using software to scale
social impact. There is a notion that not-for-profit automatically implies
luddites and people who eschew or are incapable of using technology, but this
who work at nonprofits are as immersed in tech as anyone else in day-to-day
life. Nonprofits often lack the resources to develop or implement technology
that could be useful for their mission. This challenge is where software for
social good nonprofits like Benetech are able to make an impact. By identifying
specific problems that can be addressed at scale through software and building
that tech, we are able to meet the software needs of the social sector.
What do we mean about software for social good? Read our Software for Social Good Guide
What are some of
the solutions that you are focusing on in Benetech Labs?
now, I’m focusing on two solutions. The first is Benetech Service
which makes it easier for social service referral organizations to connect
people to the help they need through community data collaboration. It can be
very hard for people to find accurate information about human services when
they are in need. The social safety net is fraying, and Service Net is weaving
a fabric of connected care by enabling local organizations to collaboratively
maintain and share information on local services. Following a successful Bay
Area pilot, I’m focused on converting Service Net into a product that can be
scaled up and developing a sustainability model so that it can pay for itself.
second priority is the development of the Connected Civil
Society Initiative platform, which uses AI to analyze and cluster video
evidence of war crimes based on their similarity, making it easier for human
rights investigators to use evidence to build cases. This initiative excites me
for two reasons. First, the geek in me gets excited because it’s cool
technology. Second, the ability to match videos of the same place across
different times is cutting edge. I also see broad applications for this
initiative beyond our current focus on war crimes in Syria to include
applications for child trafficking investigations, law enforcement, and
journalism. It has a huge potential to help society at large.
Thank you, KP, for sharing your perspective on
these promising initiatives. Welcome to the Benetech team!
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