Jhonatan Rotberg is the founder and director of the Next Billion Network program at MIT, and the instructor of MIT's NextLab course series. He is the Telmex Researcher at the MIT Media Lab and a Lecturer in the Media Arts and Sciences Program. A serial entrepreneur, he is experienced in the original conception and deployment of innovation, applications and content in developing countries, and in building projects and organizations based on digital technologies. During his career, he has founded and sold various startups in the financial and high-tech sectors. His current focus is on designing innovative mobile technologies that help people reduce friction in their local markets from the bottom up, and on incubating ventures that allow them to scale and become sustainable in the emerging markets. Previous to joining Grupo Carso, Latin America's largest telecoms provider, he spent 7 years in the financial services practice of Accenture, and in the Investment Banking divisions of Baring Securities and Deutsche Bank. A native of Mexico, Rotberg is a graduate of Brown University.
Luis Sarmenta is a Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab. Originally from the Philippines, he has personally experienced the revolutionary impact that mobile phones have had in the developing world, and thus deeply believes in the enormous life-changing potential of mobile phone applications. While working as a professor at Ateneo de Manila University, he founded and directed an R&D center that worked with the largest mobile operator in the Philippines and produced 30 commercially deployed mobile phone applications and services in its first two years. Dr. Sarmenta holds a PhD in EECS from MIT, and has done research and consulting work in a variety of topics aside from mobile computing, including volunteer computing, grid computing, computer security, medical computing, educational computing, and others. He was a recipient of the ASEAN Young Scientists and Technologists Award in 2005.
Dr. Clifford is a Principal Research Scientist in the Laboratory for Computational Physiology at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences where he manages a R01 NIH-funded research program, and contributes to the PhysioNet Research Resource. His research is focused on providing open-source tools and public-access data for the evaluation of clinical problems. Clifford is also a member of SAMP, the Systems Analysis, Modelling and Prediction Group in the Dept. of Engineering Science, Oxford University. Dr. Clifford has published widely on biomedical signal processing, including a recent book, and is an editor for BioMedical Engineering OnLine, a BMC Open-Access Journal with discounted publishing for developing countries.
Dr. Fletcher is currently Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he received his PhD in low-cost RFID technology and wireless sensors. Rich also holds two undergraduate degrees from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Physics. He has over 15 years research experience in RFID and wireless systems, participating in a number of projects in industry and the military as well as academia. Fletcher is Colombian and since 1996 has been working with a number of MIT initiatives in the area of ICT for developing countries. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Fletcher has co-founded for-profit companies First-Mile Solutions and United Villages that are deploying technologies in developing regions around the world.
Andrés Monroy-Hernández is a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab, his research focuses on web-based tools for creative learning and collaboration. Andrés leads the development of the Scratch online community where thousands of children share their own interactive content. Most recently he has been doing work on the use of camera phones to assist health care workers in developing countries. He holds a Masters degree in media technology from MIT and a bachelors in electronics engineering from Tec de Monterrey in México.
Elisabeth holds an M.S. in Economics and an MBA from MIT. Prior to her MBA Elisabeth worked at the European Commission in the department of Trade, where she, among other things, analyzed the economic and legal eligibility of a non-EU country for the status of market economy.
Elisabeth is currently doing research on corporate governance in emerging economies. She is also volunteering with Harvard Business School non-profit organization The India School Fund focusing on breaking the cycle of poverty in rural Uttar Pradesh (India) by delivering high quality education. Elisabeth has been mentoring this year a team of MIT graduate students for the new D-Lab II ICT4Dev class, and is now leading the team to develop an innovative concept of a mobile platform for banking and microbusinesses for the rural poor in India and China. She defended the idea at the final round of the Stanford Social eChallenge competition.
Esmeralda recently obtained her MBA from MIT Sloan, where she mainly focused on Finance and Entrepreneurship. She also holds an M.S. in Economics and a huge interest for disruptive technologies for the next billion. During her studies she served as co-president of the Sloan Entrepreneurs for International Development (SEID), a position which allowed her to advise MIT social inventors on their business strategies. Esmeralda is also a founder at Aerovax, a startup that is developing a low-cost drug and vaccine delivery device for low-income settings. The invention, which was featured in Forbes.com, received the Award for International Technology at the MIT IDEAS competition in 2006 and was finalist at the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship competition in 2006.
Esmeralda currently holds an associate position at Commons Capital, a Boston-based venture capital firm to help launch a $100 million for-profit venture fund focused on Global Health. The firm received a seed grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help pioneer this new VC model.
Luis Blackaller is an artist from Mexico City with an interest in culture, technology and media. He graduated with honors as a Mathematician in the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He has worked as a Designer, Art Director and Motion Graphics Artist in the Mexican film industry for 10 years. He recently graduated as a Master of Science in the MIT Media Lab under the mentorship of John Maeda, where he explored online creative social systems and their relationship with artistic expression and communication.
Jen-Hao Yang is a Master student at System Design and Management program. He is interested in mobile technology, system architecture and entrepreneurship, and his research at MIT is related to location-based service. Before coming to MIT, he worked as a Principal Engineer at Alcatel Corporation for six years. Paul acted as System Architect to design innovative fixed, mobile, and data services over GSM, 3G, NGN, and IMS network. He also led a team for service development, integration, and technical support.