Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Vicky Dorvee

Mogli makes Niwot its new home


Photo by Vicky Dorvee Mogli employees and family celebrate at their ribbon-cutting ceremony. Left to right, back row - Kathryn Simich, Stevan Simich Sr. (CFO), Rob Blatchley (VP Product), Stevan Simich (CEO), Erika Andersen. Front row - Serena Schultz (Project Manager), Collin Blatchley, Nathaniel Simich, Kai Simich. Missing - Mike Andrews (Project Manager), Malorie Leogrande (Customer Success Assistant and Product Manager.)

In the Kuria West district of southwest Kenya where the per capita annual income is $860, there’s a barefoot farmer weeding his cornfield. He pauses, reaches into his pocket, pulls out a flip phone and reads a text message that he, along with 500 other farmers, are receiving. In this remote area where there are only dirt roads, and there’s no running water or electricity, he’s reading a message informing him of a devastating crop disease in the area, and advising him that if he takes some specific steps, he can save his harvest.

It may seem odd that in the midst of where there’s so few resources, there’s also great empowerment simply because of a text message. It’s done with the assistance of nonprofit organizations utilizing innovative technology provided by a company called Mogli. With these capabilities, people in some of the most isolated locales are able to live safer, more prosperous, and connected lives.

The name Mogli was derived by combining the first sounds of mobile, global, and impact. The business, run by CEO Stevan Simich and VP of Product Management Rob Blatchley, recently moved to Niwot (104 Second Avenue) from Boulder.

Mogli, originally named Tact L3C, started seven years ago. It was the brainchild of Simich who had worked for a Salesforce application developer. When new technical advances were made that allowed organizations to track and measure the impact of their work, Simich realized that applying his knowledge on both fronts to the nonprofit world would help their organizations run dramatically better.

Salesforce, primarily a cloud-based customer relationship management system, grants licenses to nonprofit organizations through its Power of Us program. Mogli is a designated Salesforce partner, a Low Profit Limited Liability Company and a member of Pledge 1%, a corporate philanthropic program.

Mogli’s team augments Salesforce’s resources to allow their clients to accomplish many tasks including configuring their fundraising efforts and managing donations and grants.The company also designs and implements ways for nonprofit organizations to track how their money is utilized and then generates reports on the impact of their efforts (carbon emission reduction for instance) so they’re able to make data-driven decisions going forward.

Mogli’s other area of expertise is in developing software apps that work in conjunction with Salesforce. Their star product is Mogli SMS text messaging. This application springboards off of Salesforce’s contact capabilities allowing messages to be sent to thousands of recipients at a time and for two-way communication to take place.

“These farmers are very remote,” Blatchley said, “For a nonprofit to deploy field staff and trucks and contact each farmer individually, would be very, very expensive and time consuming. But for them to push a button and send 5,000 message all at one time, just takes seconds, not weeks.”

They serve around 100 clients in every corner of the world and run nearly 250 projects. A few examples of their clients are: Nuru International, an organization in eastern African countries working to alleviate poverty, hunger and health challenges, Proyecto Mirador, which provides cook stoves in Honduras, replacing unhealthy traditional open fires, and Bridges to Prosperity, a world-wide foundation building pedestrian bridges to allow safe passage for residents to schools, work, and healthcare.

“A lot of these organizations operate in many countries and what Salesforce does is allow operations to run in multiple languages, multiple currencies, and multiple time zones and propagate a system anywhere in the world.”

Mogli has provided Proyecto Mirador with an artificial intelligence system, where a photo of a chimney taken in the field can be automatically evaluated to determine if it vents properly. That ability means that Proyecto Mirador employees won’t have to risk returning to dangerous areas to check on the chimneys.

When Denver-based Bridges to Prosperity representatives first met with Mogli, they were relying on an unwieldy amount of spreadsheets and shared documents. Tasked with building perhaps hundreds of bridges in a faraway country, the primarily engineer-run business needed a more efficient way to keep track of their processes. They use Mogli SMS to send out community surveys that determine which bridge locations are best for the population. The app also helps organize community meetings and gather workers, such as masons, to help construct the bridges.

“They might send a message saying, there’s a meeting at the mango tree today at 5 o’clock, or we need people to come and bring rocks,” Simich said.

Mogli had outgrown its previous space; the new office is larger and more flexible. It also has the benefit of keeping Simich and Blatchley close to home. Simich, his wife Erika, and their two sons live in Gunbarrel, and Blatchley, his wife Heather, and their two sons live in Niwot.

“The possibility of working on this little street was too hard to pass up,” Simich said. “When the kids get off the school bus, they can come to the office, do their homework, get snacks, and play at the park.”

Mogli employs five full-time employees and a few part-time and contract employees. Their business is growing so they want to hire more talent, in both the services and support areas of the business.

“Our core philosophy is to leave the world a little better than we found it, “ Simich said of Mogli. “Even though we’re not the direct organization that’s doing that work, we help them to accelerate that and to be more efficient. That feels really good.”


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