I’m delighted to announce that the Benetech team is celebrating a new milestone: we have successfully exited our environment software enterprise, Miradi, and turned continued management and maintenance of this open source software tool to the conservation community.
We launched Miradi in 2008 jointly with the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) and Foundations of Success (FOS). Our goal was to empower environmental practitioners to succeed in their efforts to protect and restore species and ecosystems. Miradi is designed to do just that: it is an open source desktop application that allows environmental conservationists to design, manage, and monitor their projects, and, ultimately, to meet their goals more effectively and achieve better conservation outcomes. From its inception, Miradi was strongly supported and jointly owned by its user community, which includes organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Foundation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, FOS, National Audubon Society, Puget Sound Partnership, Rare, and many others.
Today, Miradi is the leading platform of choice for adaptive project management and planning for the conservation community, and is utilized in more than 170 countries by users ranging from large conservation organizations to local and regional groups, researchers, nonprofit, for-profit, and governmental organizations. I’m happy to say that it has grown to a place where it can be self-sufficient and managed independently by the conservation community. Benetech’s commitment to open source made this transition easy.
“The Conservation Measures Partnership turned to Benetech to help realize our vision of a software program that would support strategic conservation project design, management, monitoring, and learning,” says Nick Salafsky, Co-Director and Co-Founder of FOS. “Benetech’s engineering team, led by Kevin Smith, provided an agile programming approach that transformed our initial concept into the mature Miradi application that now guides real-world conservation work around the globe.”
Miradi exemplifies another successful Benetech exit. Other exits include our spinning off the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) into an independent nonprofit; selling the Arkenstone product line to a for-profit company and using the money from the sale to create our Bookshare and Martus initiatives; and transitioning Strider, our talking navigation system for people who are blind, to a small for-profit company. Exiting successful projects is one way in which Benetech makes positive impact in the tech-for-good space. I invite you to read more about our product exit strategy and how it fits in with our approach to developing social enterprises.
You may wonder what this means for Benetech’s Environment program. Let me briefly explain.
Our Environment Program continues with new environmental sustainability-focused projects being developed as part of Benetech Labs. This includes our Clean Water Project, which is intended to strengthen Latin American clean water organizations to more effectively deliver clean drinking water to communities in need. We also believe that a tool modeled on Miradi could improve other areas of the nonprofit sector, and hope to explore this direction further in the Labs.
I’d like to thank all our team members and partners who worked on Miradi and contributed to its success over the years. We’re very excited to see Miradi helping the conservation community implement principles and best practices in adaptive, results-based management. Our hope is that this successful transition inspires other social enterprises and peers in the open source community to shape their own exit strategies.