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Empowering Communities with Kolektivo: Leveraging Blockchain for Local Climate Action

Zed Labs Blockchain Trinidad and Tobago
Jun 05 , 2024
Photo depicting smiling person at Kolektivo Festival.
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Zed Labs

Trinidad and Tobago
Amount invested $104,000 USD Funding Status active early period Founded in 2018 by Luuk Weber, Mark Pereira & Frederick Reid

Mid-investment update: Kolektivo

UNICEF Venture Fund is featuring members of its Climate Action Cohort. The company is now six-months into a year-long investment period and shares an overview of their solution, progress, and next steps. 

Tell us more about Kolektivo. 

Kolektivo is building a solution to identify, fund, and coordinate meaningful environmental and economic activity in communities worldwide.  

How would you describe your solution to a non-technical person?

Imagine if anyone could participate in local impact activities such as reforestation and clean-ups while earning community points that allow them to shop locally and skill badges to progress towards more skilled and meaningful projects.   

Kolektivo wireframes
How does your solution address climate adaptation, mitigation and/or resilience?

Kolektivo believes that a significant shift occurs when local communities become part of the solution in a way that reinforces and accelerates their capacity over time. By empowering communities and individuals to be part of the solution and get rewarded for it, our solution creates local resiliency and drives meaningful action.  

"The Kolektivo Platform allows children and teens in local communities to get involved in positive action and be rewarded for it. These opportunities are great learning experiences and make them feel part of the solution by rewarding them for positive action."
Luuk Weber, Founder, Kolektivo Network
What type of frontier technology are you using?

Kolektivo is built on open-source Blockchain technologies, which enhance trust between stakeholders and allow for the secure and fast transfer of value. All activities and community points can be traced back, giving Impact Partners, Merchants, and Users confidence that the system is fair. The blockchain infrastructure also provides direct access from global funders and stakeholders to the individuals on the ground and promotes financial inclusion.  

What is unique about your solution and how is it different from what currently exists? 

Building local impact economies around regional (climate) action is a new approach to regional development. Climate action is often funded and coordinated top-down, resulting in a big disconnect with locals who are often uninvolved in the projects or receive a minuscule share of the value chain.  Local community currencies already exist, but none of them are built on Blockchain, meaning they don’t benefit from the Open Source technologies available and the trust and cost benefits of Blockchain technology. 

How did you come up with your solution and what inspired you to form your company? 

Coming from small Caribbean islands that are greatly dependent on foreign capital and resources, we started looking into ways to increase local capacity to take action. In 2019, we researched various digital tools and started running pilots with mobile wallets and community-stewarded resources. To build the solutions required to increase prosperity in the Caribbean and beyond, we needed to gain the capacity to develop—and as such, we started a software Development lab and formalized the Kolektivo project.  

Kolektivo and Zed Labs team.
Tell us more about your team? What makes your team diverse? 

The Zed Labs team, which is leading the development of the Kolektivo Mobile App, is based in Trinidad and consists of individuals from all walks of life. Combining different (sub) cultures, our team represents the island well. 

Why is diversity important for your startup? How does it add value? 

We’re increasingly aware of the benefits of diversity, as it grants us with unique perspectives that lead to better and more inclusive solutions. 

What do you plan on doing with UNICEF's Venture Fund investment and how will you use the investment to leverage additional opportunities for growth?

The UNICEF Venture Fund investment is mainly used to design and develop our latest climate action platform. It allows us to build important features that lead to local Impact Partners and NGOs trusting us. Because we build Open Source and are starting to gain traction and revenue, many follow-up funding opportunities are emerging for our team, thanks to the UNICEF Venture Fund investment. 

"UNICEF’s Venture Fund investment has allowed our team to expand its capacity and add new, young female talent. It has also opened new regional opportunities for our business to become more stable and respected. The support from UNICEF has many second-degree effects that positively impact our business."
Mark Pereira, Founder. Zed Labs
What challenges are you currently facing in building your solution and/or startup? 
  • Regulatory uncertainty around digital assets makes creating local on/off ramps harder. 
  • Current environmental credit markets are structured around large-scale projects. Due to the costs associated and the required size, most environmental credit frameworks would not work for Caribbean islands, thus limiting our potential to leverage this market. 
How can others support you in working towards overcoming these challenges?  
  • Commit to purchasing or supporting a local Kolektivo by defining the impact you want to see, requiring the data you need as proof, and making the resources available. 

Interested to learn more about Kolektivo? Visit their website or follow via Twitter or LinkedIn. Get in contact with the team directly via email at ihi@kolektivo.network. 


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