Nicholas Negroponte, Founder and Chairman of the OLPC Foundation

This is Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Foundation.

OLPC is a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts which provides low-cost, internet-capable laptop computers  to children across the world. Its XO laptops have been designed specifically to meet the needs of children and their usage under extreme weather conditions, with features such as manual power supply and mesh networks that allow access to other XOs close by and the Internet. The OLPC opens the door to learning for all children, especially for those who are in developing countries. It’s original value proposition is the laptop’s ability to bring learning resources all over the world to children who have no means of access.

According to the OLPC website, Nicholas Negroponte has been a faculty member at MIT since 1966 where he pioneered the research on computer-aided design. In 1985, Negroponte co-founded the MIT Media Laboratory with Jerome B. Weisner. Negroponte is also involved with Motorola, Inc. as one of its board members. He is a general partner with a venture capital firm which specializes in digital technologies for information and entertainment, and has provided start-up funds to over 40 companies which includes Wired magazine.

In my opinion, Negroponte’s specialization in computer-aided design, the experience he gained as a co-founder of the MIT Media Lab and his ability to fund various companies are all important elements in the success of the OLPC Foundation. Not only does he have the ability to design and build the organization’s product from scratch, his experience also allows him to know the ins and outs of the trade. His connections in the field would enable him to bring the product to the end users through the right people, and gather the funds necessary to support and even expand the venture when possible.

The success of OLPC may not be possible without the support of other members in the team. Matt Keller, the Vice President of Global Advocacy, connects the dots between a country’s education ministry, the XO, and the child. Edward McNierney, the Chief Technology Officer, brings experience in the software industry to the organization. These and other members of the team can be found on the OLPC webpage.

Even though the OLPC Foundation is categorized as a non-profit, the benefit received by the public will convert into profits for its partners. The more profits that its partners gain, the more funding the organization can receive. This analysis has allowed me to learn more about how non-profit organizations work, and to examine my own venture ideas from a different perspective.


One Laptop per Child. (n.d.). Nicholas Negroponte. Retrieved from

Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp