Kathryn Cave (Kenya) Interview: Laura Walker Hudson CEO, Foundation At FrontlineSMS – The Power Of Text

Kathryn Cave | IDG Connect | April 5, 2013

The Text message is the most basic form of technological communication, possible on even the oldest mobile phone. This makes it open to virtually anyone, anywhere in the world. FrontlineSMS is the Open Source software which enables users to turn any laptop into a hub for sending, receiving and managing SMS over a mobile network. It is available for the price of a standard text message and there is no need for the internet. This easy form of communication opens up all kinds of avenues for social change, such as helping Tanzanian coffee farmers improve their harvest through better data management.

Like most simple ideas this one hit founder Ken Banks quite by accident, while he was having a beer in front of the football in 2005. In the interim, the organisation has grown exponentially, and last June FrontlineSMS 2 launched across three continents: US, Europe and Africa. Yesterday, I spoke to Laura Walker Hudson, CEO of the Social Impact Lab Foundation, The Makers of FrontlineSMS. She joined the company in 2010, and has been based in Nairobi for the last 15 months (although she still spends a lot of time in Washington and London).