Our Ventures

Current Ventures


Startle sells the patent-pending ‘SaniTap’, which makes it practical to wash hands in the absence of running water. The SaniTap solves the problem of the high incidence of transmissible disease that can be prevented by the washing of hands with soap. SaniTap addresses the devastating high child mortality rates in regions where under 5s are particularly susceptible to disease.

tinder eco fuels

Tinder addresses mass deforestation by providing urban consumers in Kenya with a high quality cooking fuel produced from the invasive Prosopis juliflora. This tree damages fragile dryland ecosystems, reduces biodiversity, invades farms and harms livestock. Local communities earn equitable incomes by harvesting the wood, which is then efficiently carbonised into high quality charcoal. This is then sold to urban consumers who use it as a cooking fuel, thereby reducing the pressure on dwindling natural forests.


PoaPower provides abundantaffordable solar-powered electricity and lighting to off-grid consumers in Kenya through our all-in-one Home Power Station (HPS). The HPS powers an array of appliances and gives consumers the valuable "on-grid" experience. Unlike other off-grid power suppliers, PoaPower is unique as consumers only pay for the power they use and not the equipment. 

charcoal cooking fuel company (CFC)

The CFC provides consumers with modern and clean-burning gasifying stoves at no cost whilst selling sustainable, high quality cooking fuel sourced from CFC's bamboo plantation in Madagascar. CFC helps protect the valuable and unique Malagasy ecosystem from further deforestation as a result of local communities harvesting trees for the production of cooking fuel.


Pipeline Ventures

Wild web

Internet services and provision across sub-Saharan Africa can be expensive and pretty poor, especially in more remote communities who have very little access to communication services. Startle is piloting the provision of internet services to remote and urban customers using radiowaves. Services will be free to public schools and health clinics, with businesses and individuals paying less for a better quality service than the current market offerings. 

animal feeds

Growing consumption of meat in Kenya has increased demand for animal feeds, placing strain on the supply of human foods (maize) and ocean fish (both of which are used as livestock feed).  Startle is developing an innovative process to isolate high-protein ingredients and other useful constituents from the highly invasive Prosopis juliflora tree (used in our current venture Tinder Eco Fuels Co.) and process this into nutritious, affordable quality feeds for livestock. 

Past Successes from the Founders


BushProof is the award-winning social-enterprise that dramatically lowered the cost of constructing drinking water infrastructure in Madagascar, by introducing innovative drilling technologies and the local manufacture of hand pumps.

BushProof inspired the development of SaniTap so that communities without access to running water could still have access to home hand-washing facilities. 


An award winning venture that sold affordable solar-powered products to low income people, replacing expensive and environmentally damaging alternatives (kerosene lamps and batteries). 

Founded in 2008 in Madagascar, ToughStuff expanded to East, West and Central Africa, and has impacted approximately 3 million people. ToughStuff inspired the development of PoaPower, which expanded and innovated the ToughStuff technology making it more suitable for off-grid home use. 


CarboCo developed improved cookstove technologies for people throughout the developing world in order to fight indoor air pollution, creating wealth, improving health and protecting the environment.

CarboCo provided the foundation and valuable knowledge and insight required to form the Charcoal Cooking Fuel Company (CFC), currently providing sustainable cooking fuels to low income households in Madagascar.


  • BushProof: The 2005 World Bank Global Development Marketplace Award
  • BushProof; ToughStuff: The 2006 & 2009 Global Social Benefit Incubator, Santa Clara University
  • ToughStuff: The 2010 TechAwards
  • ToughStuff: International Winner of the 2011 Ashden Awards
  • ToughStuff: The 2011 GSMA Global Mobile Awards, Best Product for Underserved Segments
  • ToughStuff: The 2012 World Business and Development Awards
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