30 Most Innovative Companies 2019

Kumbaya, Inc.: Innovative IoT Solutions to End Poverty

Kumbaya, Inc.: Innovative IoT Solutions to End Poverty

Technology is bringing information, service and its capabilities to all parts of the world today. But it is yet to reach that last one billion people who are still in the dark. Extreme poverty and lack of basic requirements like education, healthcare, electricity, and water still remain a spot of bother. But how do we address this problem? The approach to fixing the issue of poverty has long gone under-addressed. Kumbaya, a company based out of Los Angeles County is working on IoT solutions which are tackling all these issues in a sustainable and scalable way.

Kumbaya was founded in 2016 by Mike Freni. The company is exceptionally focused on bringing the last mile connection to the left out last billion people on Earth. Seldom will you find a mission-oriented company which focuses as much on those who are less fortunate and are off-grid. The company goes about its work and innovation to deliver progress for the progress of humankind.

Based in Rancho Palos Verdes in the Los Angeles County, California, the Internet of Everything (IoE) Technology company is behind the popular zeroXess IoT solution which is aimed at connecting those who are unconnected.

The zeroXess solution

Kumbaya is a highly driven company which is focused on alleviating poverty and giving respite to those who lack the basic needs. To deliver this, the company came up with a unique all-in-one solution called zeroXess.

The zeroXess solution does this by focusing on three basic requirements of power, knowledge, and connectivity. The solution is a solar-powered, communications and IoT solution Hub which can do it all from supplying electricity, broadband connectivity, lighting to delivering engaging content through a screen which would enhance and enable people to learn.

The zeroXess product is quite simply powered by the sun as it is connected to 120W solar panels which deliver industry-leading efficiency. As if this is not enough the product can also power up to four light bulbs so that the users can bring the power of sun indoors. Additionally, the solution has built-in sensors which can detect and warn if the CO/CO2, VOCs, and PM 2.5 conditions in the area are high.

Connect and learn with zeroXess

The internet and the TV are the largest mediums through which mankind learns in this digital age. But despite the developments, there is an untapped market for a digital footprint in off-grid regions in many parts of this world. This is where zeroXess content platform is making its impact.

The users of zeroXess can enjoy seamless connectivity as it comes with 3G/4G, LTE, Bluetooth, TVWS, satellite and Wi-Fi hotspot for 5 additional devices. The product also comes with a built-in radio (over 25,000 stations worldwide) and TV that helps people to be in the know by providing access to real-time news, alerts and all the relevant information. The zeroXess provides the necessary quality educational content that is engaging, and relevant to help people learn various skills like numeracy, reading, writing, and much more. Moreover, through the constantly growing Kumabaya Content Library, Kumbaya is connecting children and adults to the information they need to progress socially and economically in a sustained manner.

A different approach to weed out poverty

Charities and aid have long been the approach to tackle poverty. But with time a realization has come about that this alone cannot help in alleviating the problem. The problem requires a much more practical approach. And Kumabaya’s approach is undoubtedly one of the best.

While the company is still a for-profit enterprise, its business model is built to sustain profits and create a lasting impact. Kumbaya is reaching out to a market that has hardly been addressed before with such effectiveness. We all know that “energy powers connectivity, connectivity powers knowledge and knowledge powers the social and economic progress.” Kumbaya’s solutions are addressing each of these issues to help communities grow socially and economically in the remotest parts of this world.

Meet the leader

Mike Freni, CEO and Chairman

Mr. Freni is a disruptive leader. He is that rare mix of deep subject and market knowledge, analytical thinking and social stewardship. A passionate leader, he believes in taking calculated risks and inspires others with his thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and technical expertise. He has served several companies in executive roles. He also speaks three languages and has worked on several continents and many countries.                                 


In 2018, Kumbaya was presented with two awards by 2018 Mobile Breakthrough Awards program. The company was recognized with the Social Impact Award and Rural Wireless Solution of the Year Award.

We see promise where others see only problems.

Kumbaya is a participant of the UN Global Compact and committed to support the UN goals.

Kumbaya’s mission is to create sustainable solutions that enable the under-served, unconnected people of our world to transform their lives.

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