Simon de Haan

35 points
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Cape Town

Simon de Haan is the Chief Engineer at Praekelt Foundation and has the rare talent to demystify software systems and platforms for non­​engineers.

He was the team lead on Praekelt Foundation’s Vumi platform, an open source messaging platform that allows for interactive conversations over SMS, USSD, Gt​alk and other basic technologies at low cost and at population scale in the majority world. Vumi is the technology that powers various groundbreaking initiatives such as Wikipedia Text, PeaceTXT, MomConnect, MAMA and the Libyan election registrations.

Simon is a great public speaker and has hosted various talks, webinars and hackathons about his passion for development and for building systems that can scale and can help our partners reach their audiences with life-s​aving information.

Simon is excited about technology, especially when it is applied to improve the lives of less privileged people. Growing up in the Middle East ruined him for the ordinary as those years left an unmistakable impression and set him on a direct course to be involved in community development, entrepreneurship and technology.

Simon joined Praekelt in 2009 as part of the Praekelt Foundation and now leads the development team at Praekelt. He takes responsibility for ensuring that the team applies good software development principles, ensuring that the systems designed are for population scale and ensuring consistent quality of solutions developed.

Prior to joining Praekelt, Simon was based in the Netherlands where he held the positions of CTO at, Senior Developer at and was the Owner at

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