Devex is a social enterprise that aims to reduce operational inefficiencies in the field of international development. A for-profit membership organization, Devex employs more than 100 staff members in four locations, including its Washington, D.C. headquarters and offices in Barcelona, Manila and Tokyo.
The organization’s web site serves as a clearinghouse of business and recruiting information that allows interested parties to come together in service of thousands of foreign assistance projects worldwide. Devex claims more than 100,000 active users within the international aid community – including development organizations, donor agencies, suppliers and aid workers.
Devex’s president and founder, Raj Kumar, began the organization in 2000 as a student project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Kumar’s goal was to lower the administrative costs of donor agencies so they could devote a greater share of resources to foreign-assistance projects themselves. “With $200 billion in foreign aid each year,” Kumar said in 2008, “a few percentage points of efficiency gains is like adding another Gates Foundation to the world.”
Devex makes use of web 2.0 content-sharing and social-networking tools to dramatically reduce the time and expense which international development professionals have typically had to devote to recruiting and information-gathering. The features offered on devex.com include a searchable database of over 500,000 professionals and a company directory listing more than 15,000 development companies.
Devex also provides its members with information about projects being funded by major donor agencies. Its constant flow of real-time intelligence on the development sector has prompted The Washington Post to compare Devex to Bloomberg L.P.’s financial information service. At any given time, the site provides details on as many as 50,000 active projects in the developing world. Devex members receive several types of reports on these activities.
- Tender Reports consolidate specific procurement notices from over 100 donor agencies, which are posted on devex.com within 24 hours of their initial publication.
- Project Reports provide information on opportunities presented as part of funding for specific aid projects or programs.
- Early Intelligence Reports use interviews with agency representatives, government officials and other inside sources to provide Devex’s Executive Members with project information that has not yet been publicly released.
In 2008, Devex also began to expand the journalistic content on its web site, providing frequent articles on specific regions or problems within the developing world, as well as commentary and analysis from leading voices in the field of foreign assistance.
Devex uses a fee-based model with three membership categories:
- Executive members include companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in working with donor agencies, foundations and governments to implement international development projects. Devex has over 250 such members, including major relief organizations such as the American Red Cross and the United Nations Office for Project Services, as well as large multinational corporations such as Microsoft, Cisco and Chevron.
- Small business members include smaller companies, subcontractors and NGOs seeking to identify smaller aid projects or opportunities to subcontract to larger organizations.
- Individual professional members include consultants, aid workers and other professionals seeking jobs and networking opportunities in the development community. Devex has more than 4,000 individual professional members.
- "CASE STUDY: Development Executive Group".
- "Launch of Devex.com - Online Community Uses Wiki and Facebook-like Tools to Make Foreign Aid More Efficient". Reuters. 2008-04-30.
- Mallaby, Sebastian (2007-09-03). "Aid Goes Online: The Development World Awaits Its Bloomberg". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-01.