Erik Hersman

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Erik Hersman
Erik Hersman PopTech 2013.jpg
Erik Hersman. Source: Wikipedia
Born1975 (age 46–47)
United States
Alma materRift Valley Academy
OccupationCEO of BRCK, founder of iHub
Known forCo-founder of Ushahidi
Spouse(s)Rinnie Hersman

Editor: Temoso Sebetha

Erik Hersman is an entrepreneur, technologist, commentator and blogger focused on advancing the use of technology, especially on the impact and application of technology throughout Africa.[1]

Hersman is the CEO of BRCK, a hardware and cloud services technology platform that delivers rugged and reliable connectivity solutions in the most demanding environments.[2] He is also the founder of iHub, a Nairobi community center that’s an epicenter for Kenya’s booming tech industry and the co-founder of Ushahidi, a mobile app which allows users to share breaking news through text messaging and continues to revolutionise and empower journalists, watchdog groups and everyday people around the world.[3]

Hersman is a partner of Savannah Fund, a venture capital firm that invests seed money in promising technology companies in sub-Saharan Africa, thereby fostering new entrepreneurial talent across the continent.[4] Furthermore, he is the founder of AfriGadget, a multi-author site that showcases stories of African inventions and ingenuity.[5]

He is also the African technology blogger of WhiteAfrican, dedicated to high-tech mobile and web changes happening throughout Africa.[6]


Hersman was born in 1975 in the United States and was raised in Sudan and Kenya. His parents were both British linguists who started off in South Sudan and migrated south over the border into Kenya.[7] Hersman is married to Rinnie and they have three daughters.[8]

Hersman attended school at the Rift Valley Academy (RVA) and studied Business Administration at Florida State University in 2002.[9] His first job was working as a security guard on the graveyard shift (12-8am) at the university.[10]

In 2007, he co-founded Ushahidi, which started as an ad-hoc group of Kenyan bloggers hammering out code in a couple of days from various locations, trying to figure out a way to gather more and better information about the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya.[11] Today the technology is used all over the world. Since inception on 9 January, 2008, Ushahidi has had two million users and 17 million unique visitors.[12]

In 2010, Hersman founded the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the technology community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and the investment community.[13] In April 2011 he answered Seth Hall on how he got into the software/tech space. He said, “My first business was a company that imported stuff from East Africa to the US. It failed after I learned an important lesson in cash flow and inventory management.

“I then gave up on businesses that had anything to do with inventory, and decided to dive headfirst into the web. I started in the strategy side, dealing with large clients and decided it would be good to know what I was talking about. I picked up some markup and design skills along the way, mostly self-taught.”[14]

In July 2013, Erik Hersman formed BRCK with some of the co-founders of Ushahidi and Nairobi's iHub, Jon Shuler, Phillip Walton, and Reg Orton as a means of countering Kenya's notorious power failures with a ruggedized portable hotspot called BRCK v1.[15]


In 2016, Hersman’s internet router and backup power for remote regions of Africa platform, BRCK closed a $3 Million funding round from International Investors.[16]

In 2016, Hersman met with CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he arrived in Kenya on his first trip to Africa.[17]

In 2013, Hersman was announced as one of the judging panel for the Kenyan Blog Awards 2013.[18]

In 2012, Hersman was one of the judges to choose 40 entrepreneurs selected to launch at the first ever DEMO Africa conference.[19]

In 2008, Hersman’s website AfriGadget was named one of the Times Top 50 sites of 2008 and was also named a people’s Technical Social Innovation Fellow.[20]

In 2006, Hersman was announced as the keynote speaker at Africa Tech Summit in London.[21]

Awards and Recognitions

In 2009, Hersman was awarded a Prestigious Fellowship Program at the TED Fellowship Program.[22]


  1. Erik Hersman – Crunchbase. Retrieved 18 June, 2020.
  2. Erik Hersman – Wikipedia. Retrieved 18 June, 2020.
  3. Erik Hersman – Linkedin. Retrieved 27 June, 2020.
  4. The man behind Africa's digital democratization movement – Green Biz. Retrieved 27 June, 2020.
  5. Erik Hersman: Co-founder, Ushahidi - #Wethedata. Retrieved 28 June, 2020.
  6. Eric Hersman, Web Strategist, Ushahidi - Global Philanthropy Forum. Retrieved 27 June, 2020.
  7. The Myths & Realities of Africa & Technology: Erik Hersman Explains – Wave Length. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  8. Erik Hersman – Fast Company. Retrieved 27 June, 2020.
  9. Erik Hersman – VB PProfiles. Retrieved 26 June, 2020.
  10. Meet the Boss: Erik Hersman, tech entrepreneur, Kenya – Africa Business Insight. Retrieved 28 June, 2020.
  11. Careers at Ushahidi – Workable. Retrieved 13 June, 2020.
  12. Ushahidi: The African Software Platform Helping Victims in Global Emergencies – Knowledge Wharton. Retrieved 14 June, 2020.
  13. About Erik – Ted. Retrieved 27 June, 2020.
  14. What They Use – Erik Hersman – Ushahidi. Retrieved 28 June, 2020.
  15. Kenyan Public WiFi Sensation BRCK Launches In South Africa – Forbes. Retrieved 29 June, 2020.
  16. BRCK closes a $3 Million funding round from International Investors – Enterprise54. Retrieved 29 June, 2020.
  17. Zuckerberg meets one of Africa’s leading innovators Erik Hersman at iHUB – Apps Africa. Retrieved 29 June, 2020.
  18. The Kenyan Blog Awards 2013 Judges – Bake Awards. Retrieved 29 June, 2020.
  19. Top 40 startups selected for DEMO Africa 2012 – VC4A. Retrieved 29 June, 2020.
  20. Erik Hersman - Prabook. Retrieved 06 July, 2020.
  21. Africa Tech Summit London to host Erik Hersman as keynote speaker – The South African. Retrieved 07 July, 2020.
  22. Erik Hersman Net Worth – Net Worth Post. Retrieved 12 July, 2020.