More than 4 billion people worldwide don’t have access to sanitation or use methods that release nontreated waste back into the environment, which leads to the spread of deadly diseases.

Alumnus Ani Vallabhaneni is co-founder of Sanergy which solves urban sanitation challenges and changes lives. The Fresh Life Toilet had its genesis as an academic assignment in 2009. In a development ventures course at MIT, Ani Vallabhaneni, BSBA ’02, BSAS ’02, and two of his grad school classmates were tasked with creating a social enterprise — combining technology and business — to enhance life for 1 billion of the world’s poorest.

After consulting with an adviser from Kenya, the trio traveled to Nairobi where they conducted a study in the settlements, asking residents what services they needed most. Sanitation topped the list, and Sanergy, maker of Fresh Life Toilets, was born.