From tech leaders, innovators, and investors to activists, Rest of World identified 100 people outside Silicon Valley and the West whose efforts directly impact countries where the majority of the world’s population lives.
While the tech world’s attention is often drawn to Silicon Valley, where the last generation’s unicorns still dominate the discussion, the most exciting innovation and disruption in tech is happening outside the Western world. From Gurgaon to Guangzhou, and from Lagos to Lima, hungry, ambitious entrepreneurs have worked to build platforms, products, and services for the communities they know best and live in. They’re not just making add-on features to existing products, but solving real-world problems with genuine innovations — all while overcoming unique challenges that many entrepreneurs in the West never have to face. Over the past two years since we launched this publication, we’ve met these people and witnessed their ideas across the world — from a former investment banker whose startup became India’s largest online cosmetics retailer to a business analyst from Venezuela who launched the country’s only delivery app; from the investor who helps lead a collection of innovation centers across the African continent to an engineer who built a streaming platform that is set to transform the music industry.
Earlier this year, we set out to find 100 of the most influential, innovative, and trailblazing personalities in fintech, e-commerce, policy, digital infrastructure, and a range of other sectors that intersect with and influence technology for our inaugural RoW100: Global Tech’s Changemakers. To put together the list, our reporters and editors researched individuals in each regional ecosystem who have made an outsized contribution to their sectors while facing logistical, financial, and political challenges that come with building something groundbreaking in those communities. We also spoke to dozens of our sources, many of them peers of the people on this list, to gauge the true impact of our nominees beyond the hype and the press release cycle.
After spirited debate, copious amounts of coffee, mini tantrums, and cross-continental arbitration, the result is RoW100: Global Tech’s Changemakers, featuring everyone from prolific investors to visionary founders to government ministers and activists who are shaping national policies.
Together, the individuals featured on our Global Tech’s Changemakers list influence how products are made and distributed, how entrepreneurs are funded, and how tech is regulated and its users protected far beyond their local markets. As a result of the extraordinary headwinds they face, our editorial team believes these leaders are more innovative, more thoughtful, and better at sharing new ideas than most people in the Western world understand.
As you peruse our full list of these exceptional individuals, you can organize them by the tech sector and region you closely follow, but also by some of our favorite groupings. We are unashamedly biased to #founders, who dominate our list across all regions because they are the lifeblood of their local tech ecosystems. But we also celebrate the #unicorns whose billion-dollar plus valuations are vital to helping to lift all boats in these markets. And we note how players are leading on global tech trends like the rise of #superapps, the evolution of the increasingly global #gigeconomy, and having fun with our #gamers driving key changes on mobile platforms. We are also thankful for the work of the #digitalactivists who are speaking up for the unheard in markets where policymakers and governments have few resources to grapple with both the positive and unintended consequences of living in a digital world.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think. Please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
— Anup Kaphle (Executive Editor) & Yinka Adegoke (Strategic Initiatives Editor)