Our History

The roots of UpDIG stretch back to 2007 when our founders were working on parallel tracks in global development—Andy Vermouth in Cambridge working with iDE and MIT on market-based, affordable design efforts, and Jon Rodrigues at the Global Social Benefit Institute in Santa Clara. In 2011, on behalf of iDE and in partnership with RedLine Denver, we brought the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian “Design for the Other 90%” exhibit to Denver and began building the D90 Network which would later take up residence in Denver’s Posner Center for International Development.
In 2015 we formalized as a company, carrying that same vision with us—to focus community and global development efforts toward sustainable business practices by using technology to streamline markets.
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

Andrew Vermouth

Co-Founder / CEO

Andrew Vermouth has a 20-year background as a designer and creative director—agency and industry sides—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, winner of the inaugural Nestle Prize in Creating Shared Value. 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.

Rob Stupay

Rob Stupay

CTO

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.

Jon Rodrigues

Jon Rodrigues

Co-Founder / COO

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

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.

Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis

Co-Founder / CFO

Mark Lewis brings a decade of experience in corporate finance for renewable energy and environmental concerns, and continues to manage a certified organic farm operation near Hoyt, CO in the Kiowa-Bijou closed aquifer basin. Previously, Mark worked and invested with GSSG Solar Partners, a private equity firm dedicated to financing and owning utility-scale photovoltaic solar power projects, mostly located on abandoned golf courses in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. He has also previously served on the Board of Directors for Revision and e-town, two environmental/social nonprofits. Mark holds a BA in Economics from the University of San Diego and an MBA from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Alexander Praetorius

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.

Aziz Gueye

Aziz Gueye

Country Director, Senegal

A pioneer of Senegal’s telecommunications industry and key contributor to the country’s infrastructure. In the early 1990s, commissioned to set up Senegal's first local area network and led computerization missions for multiple government ministries. Led technical study and implementation of road, water, energy and human services projects in Dakar, Pikine, St. Louis, Tambacounda, and Kolda under the National Rural Infrastructure Program. Technical advisor for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation who led the development of a mapping database for Senegal's 14,000 km of road infrastructure. Also coordinated Dakar's Urban Mobility Improvement Plan and supervised construction of road, bridge, and railway infrastructure. Owner of Sahel Agro Solutions, specializing in water resources surveys, well drilling, and water distribution system design and installation for commercial, residential and agricultural end uses on government, multi-lateral, and NGO contracts. Civil Engineering degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Thies, certified Oracle Developer and CAD Engineer, and member of African Association of Urban Areas Management.

Pathe Diagne

Pathe Diagne

Technical Lead, Senegal

Accomplished electrical engineer and leader in Senegal’s telecommunications, energy, and water industries. Began career as a network engineer at Verizon on expanding trunk network capacity before returning to Senegal to assume leadership roles for TIGO, A Millicom Cellular company. Focused initially on switch design, network planning, and core architecture engineering before being elevated to CTO where he led design, planning, roll-out, network integration, network performance assessment and optimization. Launched FlexNRJ a water and renewable energy company that specializes in underground and surface solar water pumping with residential, commercial, and agriculture applications. FlexNRJ is a primary distributor, installer, and warranty servicer in West Africa for Grundfos the third largest pump manufacturer in the world. Notable clients have included, US Millennium Challenge Account for Senegal, UNESCO, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Senegal Rural Electrification Agency, Orange Telecom, and Columbia University. Bachelors in Electrical Engineering

Moda Gueye

Moda Gueye

Agronomy Lead, Senegal

Agronomist specializing in horticulture and agricultural project management for government, non-governmental, and multi-lateral organizations in West Africa. Teaching experience in physics, chemistry and biology at the Saint-Dominique Institute in Bruxelles before returning to Senegal to focus on developing Senegal's fruit and vegetable industry. Managed projects for UNDP, World Bank, European Union, UN Refugee Agency, and non-governmental organizations. Currently a technical expert for Origine Senegal, a governmental agency focused on fruit and vegetable export promotion. Particularly focused on farmer knowledge sharing, best practice implementation on pre and post harvesting techniques, and aggregating fruit and vegetable supply and domestic distribution to be compliant with the European Union food import standards. Bachelors degree in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Liege (Belgium), Management degrees from the Saint Louis Institute of Commerce in Brussels, and professional certificates from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and the European Union Pesticide Initiative Program.

A huge thank you to UpDIG for an incredible job on creating a world-class brand platform and website specifically designed to be interactive and accessible to Aywa members and collaborators. For the first time, this will allow valuable online contributions to come directly from the field in Senegal..."

Dany Bode, Aywa International