This #NationalIndigenousPeoplesDay, we're recognizing Indigenous innovators in B.C.
Technology is an important tool and economic liberator towards Indigenous self-sufficiency, according to Animikii.
As an Indigenous-owned technology company, Animikii works with leading Indigenous-focused organizations from all industries to drive positive change for Indigenous Peoples through technology.
Jeff Ward founded Animikii in 2003 and has orchestrated and managed its growth ever since. We sat down with Jeff to learn more about the organization.
Tell us about Animikii Indigenous Technology. What do you do and why did you start the company?
Jeff:We have been building technology with Indigenous-focused projects, initiatives, and partners since 2003. With a focus on websites and custom software, we are building platforms to empower social innovators through our technology, lower barriers of entry to building tech, and amplify the social impact of the communities that our partners support.
How is your company helping Indigenous communities in British Columbia?
Jeff:We have worked directly with First Nations communities in B.C. to build websites and software and our broader focus also includes non-profits, charities, NGOs, and provincial organizations that also support many Indigenous communities. We see our work as amplifying others’ impact through technology that support the communities our partners are passionate about lifting up.
Animikii has participated in a number of programs delivered by Innovate BC, including the #BCTECHSummit. Can you tell us about the experience?
Jeff:We have participated at the #BCTECHSummit in the past in the Indigenous tech pavilion alongside other Indigenous technologists. We’ve also participated as a speaker in the past. This has given us the opportunity to showcase to the B.C. tech community and share our story alongside other Indigenous tech focused organizations, entrepreneurs, and Indigenous innovators. A big part of what we do through our work is advocacy for Indigenous talent development and having a platform to share our story has given us the opportunity to connect with others.
What are some of the challenges you faced while commercializing your technology and how did you overcome them?
Jeff:We have always offered services through our work in supporting our partners while at the same time building technology products. A big challenge that many tech companies face is that balance between products and services and we have to balance that at Animikii as well. It is a great feeling when the products that you build get used everyday and you know that what you’re building have the impact you intend to have. But to amplify the development of our products, we needed to find additional capital and resources to overcome the challenge of balancing services and product development. Now we’ve got two products that are ready for the world.
What’s next for Animikii? Are there any updates on the horizon?
Jeff:Now that we know that the products that we’ve built are of value in the market, have the social impact we envisioned, and that these products are being used every day, our goal is to bring Indigenous tech to the world so that others can benefit from what we’ve built. Some call this product-market fit but we also consider our social mission in product validation. So for us it is: product-market-IMPACT fit. We are raising our Series A in 2022 and actively looking for values-aligned investors who believe in our vision to bring social innovation to the world through Indigenous technology.