Our History

The roots of UpDIG stretch back to 2007 when our founders were working on parallel tracks in global development—at iDE and MIT on market-based, affordable design efforts, and at the Global Social Benefit Institute in Santa Clara.
In 2016 we formalized as an agency with a vision to focus community and global development efforts toward sustainable business practices by using emerging Web3 technologies.
We believe that market-based solutions create the most lasting impact on individuals, communities, and the environment in both developed- and developing-world geographies, and we continue to focus our efforts on design and development for, and with, the 90 percent of people on the planet who have not traditionally been served by elite design efforts.

Andrew Vermouth

Managing Director

Andrew Vermouth has a 20-year background as a designer, creative director, and strategist for consumer brands and user experience in both private and nonprofit sectors. From 2007 to 2013, he led global brand and hybrid value chain marketing for international market-based development enterprise, iDE. Andrew has extensive knowledge of small-scale irrigation farming, local market creation, and green technologies, as well as expertise in media mobilization for food security and sustainable design/development issue areas. Previously, he spent 10 years in commercial architecture at firms in Boston, and as an art director for The MIT Press. Andrew is also an accomplished ethnographic filmmaker with broadcast credits, festivals screenings, and gallery installations at venues in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia.

Abdoul Aziz Gueye

Country Director, Senegal

Aziz leads Market Access on the Senegal hub farm, and brings experience as the technical lead on implementation of road, water, energy and human services projects under Senegal's National Rural Infrastructure Program. Under the aegis of his company, Sahel Agro Services, Aziz served as technical advisor for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation and coordinated Dakar’s Urban Mobility Improvement Plan, which included supervision of road, bridge, and railway construction projects. he also brings institutional relationships from set-up of Senegal’s first local area network, and as the computerization lead for government, non-government, and private sector clients. Aziz has a civil engineering degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Thies, is a certified Oracle Developer and CAD Engineer, and a member of African Association of Urban Areas Management.

Jon Rodrigues

Business Intelligence

Jon has worked with small businesses and nonprofit organizations for more than 10 years, and has extensive knowledge of early stage organizational development, agricultural value chains, decentralized energy systems, finance for social enterprises, and new market entry strategy. As a founding partner in XayanIT, he managed an information technology services company with customers in the Middle East, Australia, and the United States. From 2008 to 2010, he provided planning, analysis, and strategy to the leadership and participants in the Global Social Benefit Institute, a social enterprise incubator in California. And, with Nokero, a solar device manufacturer, he built a direct distribution channel to Kenya and managed relationships with distributors around the world. Jon has worked in Australia, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Senegal.

Nina Breznik

Platform Architecture / Development

Nina has spent nine years in Berlin active in the movement to help refugees kick-start self-employment, co-founding the site, refugeeswork.com and a programming school, wizardamigos.com. Currently she divides her time with UpDIG as a contractor for the Ethereum Foundation. Nina is also a co-founder of farydust.agency, a worker cooperative focused on tech consulting services to progressive nonprofits, social justice, and activist and community organizations. Nina has a BA in Public Administration and Policy Analysis and Linguistics, and attended a Masters program in Marketing Communication Studies.

Pathé Diagne

Technical Lead, Senegal

Pathé is an accomplished electrical engineer and leader in Senegal’s telecommunications, energy, and water industries. He specializes in underground and surface solar water pumping provision for commercial, agricultural, and residential applications, and as West Africa distributor, installer, and warranty servicer for Grundfos, the world’s third largest pump manufacturer, Pathé’s company, FlexNRJ has installed systems for the US Millennium Challenge Account for Senegal, UNESCO, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Senegal Rural Electrification Agency, Orange Telecom, and Columbia University, among other NGOs and private sector customers.

Rob Stupay

Technology Lead

Hailing from Cleveland and schooled at Brown and MIT, Rob brings 15 years of programming and design experience to UpDIG. During the dot.com boom, he worked at NBC in New York as a designer, programmer, and project manager. Since 2002 his experience has ranged from corporate identity to web development for both commercial and nonprofit enterprises. His clients have included The California Water District, NBC News, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, NYU Department of Biology, The Learning Games Network, Bourrelier Education, Astra Zeneca, Gilead Sciences, and Art After Auction.

Alexander Praetorius

Platform Architecture / Development

Alex has more than a decade of experience as a JavaScript frontend engineer for multiple startups and agencies, building numerous mobile and web apps. Since 2015, he has owned and directed Seraseed Ltd., under which he developed wizardamigos.com, refugeeswork.com, among others. Alex is a passionate Github Open Source Developer, author, and maintainer of several JavaScript modules on npmjs.org. He was an early adopter and promoter emerging Web3 technologies, including bleeding-edge P2P and blockchain developments. He is co-founder of fairydust.agency, a software agency, through which he contracts for the Ethereum Foundation, helping to develop their blockchain ecosystem. Alex is committed to the co-creation a more transparent, sustainable, and fair economic future for as many people on the planet as possible.