LaborVoices would like to thank The Hubs' Samantha Kanofsky for taking the time to interview Kohl Gill and Jake Astin Smith this past Tuesday! It was a wonderful experience to share our story to the Hub community.
on April 28
LaborVoices has received The Rainmakers' award from RainWorks Omnimedia, which recognizes and honors social enterprises offering innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems.
Congratulations to the LaborVoices Team!
on April 22
We have been selected as one of the finalists for the Hub Ventures program in San Francisco. LaborVoices will be competing with 15 other social ventures during the 12-week program. Learn more by following the link below.
on March 20
One step closer to funding from the State Department’s human trafficking program for India and Bangladesh! We’re firming up implementing partnerships in the next few weeks and are happy to hear from interested NGOs, unions, and other orgs!
on March 16
LaborVoices hates spam, too. If you're getting any unwanted messages from us (or Vator.tv), just forward one of them to our contact email and we'll take care of it.
on February 11
We won! After pestering you to vote for us online, after all the online judges' comments, and, finally, after convincing a room of 400 VC, start-up, and related professionals, LaborVoices won the February 2011 VatorSplash Pitch Competition. Thanks, everyone!
on February 04
WE MADE IT! Thanks to your votes and our team's hard work, we'll be pitching LaborVoices on Thursday night to a great crowd of investors. We're working like mad to get our pitch down to 3 minutes! Stay tuned. (Also, stay tuned for info on how to unsubscribe from Vator emails.)
on January 31
LaborVoices is a for-profit company with a social mission: ending labor abuses by enforcing labor market transparency. LaborVoices (LV) uses pervasive mobile technology to draw information from workers on abusive or deceitful employers and encourages employer responsibility for providing safe work environments. To accomplish this, LV provides a mobile technology platform for migrant workers - think of a cross between Yelp and Ask.com - to ask questions over the phone about a destination and receive answers from hundreds of workers currently at the site. LV gathers these questions and answers to generate reliable reputations of employers and worksites. This data is transparent, encouraging employers to improve conditions for better ratings; it’s also anonymous, ensuring that workers who report abuses are safe from employer reprisal. No smartphones are necessary - simply a normal cellphone capable of sending and receiving calls. We are currently running a pilot in Bangalore, India, and plan on reaching one million workers by 2012.
Kohl S. Gill, Ph.D. Dr. Kohl S. Gill is the President and Founder of LaborVoices, Inc., a start-up company providing information services to migrant workers and supply-chain managers. Dr. Gill served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the U.S. Departments of Energy and State, most recently as the South Asia and Middle East Labor Affairs Officer for the Office of International Labor and Corporate Social Responsibility in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Prior to federal service, Dr. Gill was an Indicorps Fellow in the slum areas of Delhi, India, serving as a volunteer paralegal with local residents, using transparency legislation to fight both petty and grand corruption at the local level. Dr. Gill is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, for his work in quantum computing and semiconductor physics.
Priya Jindal — Donor and Investor Relations
Priya Jindal— Priya Jindal brings her experience from the contracting world—working for both non-profit and private companies—to the LaborVoices team, where she will work primarily on contract and grant proposals for initial funding of the social enterprise. She also currently works for a Consulting Agency in the Washington, D.C. area. Previously, Priya worked with the Urban Institute, managing a USAID-funded good governance project in Pakistan. Priya also worked on transportation governance and infrastructure delivery, through her participation in Indicorp in Hyderabad, India, a project that has served as inspiration that transparency can lead to greater accountability and more effective and efficient service delivery. Priya graduated from the Ohio State University in 2006, with B.A. degrees in Political Science and International Studies.
Debbie is the Director of Public/Private Partnerships for Project Lead The Way. PLTW is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools and high schools to implement a curriculum, developed by it and imparted by teachers whom it has trained, that emphasizes hands-on experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in an effort to prepare students for academic and professional success in these disciplines. As the Director of Public/Private Partnerships she coordinates the organization’s Washington, DC presence, working with the federal government, associations, and industry in traditional and non-traditional methods of partnership for both the organization and the subject of STEM education as a whole. Debbie volunteers at numerous international aid organizations, enjoys running marathons and international travel. She has a Bachelors of Business Administration from The George Washington University and is finalizing her Master’s degree at The George Washington University in International Science and Technology Policy
Aazamina Rangwala - Partnership Development Lead
Aazamina joins the LaborVoices team with a background in international health and program management. She currently works at the American International Health Alliance, a non-profit corporation based in Washington DC. There, Aazamina manages special programs, as well as the planning and implementation of partnerships between institutions working to improve HIV/AIDS services in Africa by establishing an effective framework for building sustainable institutional and human-resource capacity. As an Indicorps Fellow, Aazamina worked at the grassroots level in India on HIV/AIDS prevention among migrant daily wage laborers. Previous to this, she backstopped domestic and international programs at AED. The culmination of these experiences has lead Aazamina to LaborVoices, where she is establishing strategic partnerships that will help LaborVoices implement its core concept and carry out its vision. Aazamina holds a BS in Public & Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Nishant Shah’s work with business development/strategy at LaborVoices leverages a background in policy, social enterprise, and international development. Previously, he’s worked with the Acumen Fund in Pakistan, as an Indicorps fellow serving migrant diamond workers in India, and with the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria as a Corporate Strategy Officer. Nishant holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University (2010) and received his BA from Boston University (2005).
Jake Astin Smith — Global Communications Lead
Jake joins the LaborVoices team as a Communications Lead. His main duties, include facilitating partnerships in New York City, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, CA; and providing support with internal and external communications to social and financial partners of LaborVoices. Jake looks forward to applying LaborVoices-like innovations to the health care sector to develop a transparent and open information sharing platform for every hospital world-wide, providing optimal and efficient care. Graduating as a member of the American Medical Student Association and Biology Scholars Program, he received in both Molecular Biology(B.S) and Integrative Biology(B.A) from the University of California-Berkeley(2009).
The LV revenue model is based on targeted audio advertising to its broad base of mobile workers. Eventually, LV will sell real-time risk-analysis products to a wide variety of consumers, particularly supply-chain managers.
LaborVoices is a global information services company specializing in production and marketing of information services to three key markets:
Migrant workers (LaborVoices for Migrants, or LV-M);
Advertisers (LaborVoices for Advertisers, or LV-A); and
Major corporate brands (LaborVoices for Corporate Social Responsibility, or LV-CSR).
The company offers fact-checking facilities with valid reputations of employers (LV-M), marketing opportunities to reach the global migrant labor market (LV-A), and labor market intelligence analysis for supply-chain management, risk management, and crisis intervention (LV-CSR).
The company offers a unique alternative to each market: LV-M delivers more and better information for migrating workers, versus established family-and-friends information networks; LV-A provides highly-targeted opportunities to access high-value individuals at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) at the point of making large financial decisions, versus existing mass-media outlets; and LV-CSR delivers inexpensive, accurate, real-time, ubiquitous labor market intelligence to brands and socially-responsible entities, versus the current expensive, cumbersome, and ineffective inspection, verification, and certification processes.
There is strong evidence to support LaborVoices' value proposition. We have been running a pilot project in Bangalore, India since September 2010, and have established strong on-the-ground partners to grow the base of workers providing reviews. At the same time, we have been able to iteratively test our operating procedures and overcome technological and grassroots obstacles. An identical model in the agriculture sector (http://hci.stanford.edu/research/voicemedia/) has already worked effectively in rural areas of India. We therefore know that information can be collected using our specific approach to transparency and local partnerships, and that the technology for disseminating it via mobile phones works.
We also know that major brands worldwide are willing to pay for social auditing, as evidenced by the proliferation of auditing firms and multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the MFA Forum (http://www.mfa-forum.net/), the EICC (http://www.eicc.info/), and the EITI (http://eiti.org/). Finally, we know that firms are interested in reaching our audience via audio advertisement, which is signaled by local radio advertising rates. Given these realities, LaborVoices' business model is projected to achieve profitability in its third year. We believe LV will eventually achieve greater returns and larger buy-in due to a strong network effect, resulting in a positive feedback loop of increased users and revenues.