I saw that Meraki has won a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer prize, and it reminded me that a new kind of economy – well, an old one made more feasible through economies of scale – is arising. The Social Economy.

Meraki Inc. USA
Sanjit Biswas, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
www.meraki.com
Meraki Networks, Inc. builds products for wireless community networks. It offers an integrated package of software, hardware, and management services to build mesh networks. The company’s platform is used to connect communities, apartment complexes, or business districts to the Internet. Its Meraki Manage, is a Web-hosted service that enables clients to setup and monitor the Meraki network. The company’s access device, the Meraki Mini, is a small indoor access point designed for mesh networking. Its Meraki Mesh firmware allows extending one or more Internet connections through a network of Meraki repeaters. The company was founded in 2006 and is based in Mountain View, California.

They won a prize in the I.T. category.

Here’s some other examples:

biotech
23andMe Inc. USA

Linda Avey, Co-Founder and Co-President
www.23andme.com
23andMe is a privately held biotechnology company that is developing new ways to help people make sense of their own genetic information. Its mission is to be the world’s trusted source of personal genetic information. 23andMe was co-founded by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki

Energy/Environment
Gridpoint Inc. USA
Peter L. Corsell, President and Chief Executive Officer
www.gridpoint.com
GridPoint provides a Smart Grid platform that aligns the interests of electric utilities, consumers and the environment. The platform provides utilities with an intelligent network of distributed, clean technology resources that controls load, stores energy and produces power. Utilities efficiently balance demand and supply by discharging stored power during peak periods, reducing customers’ non-essential loads, optimizing baseload generation assets and relieving stress on T&D assets. Utilities avoid the regulatory, environmental and “time-to-build” hurdles associated with building new power plants while fueling the mass adoption of renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and conserving fuel, capital and land resources.

I.T.
Garlik Limited, UK
Tom Ilube, Chief Executive Officer
www.garlik.com
Garlik is a new company from the founding CEO of Egg plc Mike Harris, former Egg CIO Tom Ilube and British Computer Society president Professor Nigel Shadbolt. As the first company to develop a web-scale commercial application of semantic technology, Garlik will enable consumers to find and understand what personal information is in the public domain about them and manage how their identities appear online. Interview (PDF) Video interview

Wikimedia Foundation Inc. USA
Florence Devouard, Chair
www.wikimedia.org
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the 15 most visited websites in the world.

It’s no longer just about information any more. It’s also about impact on social groups, community and society at large. Obvious no? No, not really. I still get asked “do people really care about this stuff? Why do they waste their time?” that sort of thing.

These are the companies that are balancing customer needs with corporate needs. Truly, not just saying it. Well, I’m not so sure about AdMob, but the others definitely. Heh.