iLima - a definition and why it is at the root of our company ethos

iLima Digital Foundary (iLima), founded in April 2020, was created out of a great realisation of the need for affordable homes and better living conditions for many people living in South Africa and Africa.

As an independent company based in Johannesburg and San Francisco, iLima is disrupting the current construction process by harnessing big data, robotics, and industrialized construction technologies to accelerate the construction of affordable housing and self-sustainable communities for Africa.

This will be achieved through our unique AI-driven Construction Innovation Platform (ACIP) matching producers and users across the complete building lifecycle enabling the building of Affordable housing “cheaper, faster with more quality and sustainability”.
Everything Africa Ready.”

“i-lima“ is an African word which describes a common community practice all over Africa, a definition can be

Wits University Zulu/English Dictionary, Doke, Malcolm, Sikakana, Vilakazi, 1993 Edition
Meet our Founders

Karsten Popp


Karsten has multiple years of experience leading a variety of global organizations from start-ups to multinational technology companies in Europe, USA and Asia. Before iLima, Karsten was Chief Revenue Officer at Bright Machines, Senior Vice President of Autodesk, Vice President of Mentor Graphics, and Chief Executive Officer of Adelante Technology. Karsten holds a B.SC in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from University of Johannesburg. He served as a board member for 15 years at the #1 ranked Business School in Europe, HEC Paris, and is currently a member of the California State University Big Data Advisory Council.

Friedl Swanepoel

iLima CTO Africa

Friedl J Swanepoel heads Industri4, a company specialising in navigation, guidance and control of robots.

He has gained vast experience within the aerospace industry and now applies this knowledge in the development of autonomous mobile platforms that focus on the development of robots for the construction industry.

Anthony Modena

iLima CEO Africa

Anthony Modena is the Africa CEO and co-founder of iLima Digital Foundary (iLima). He is also the current CEO of Modena Design Centres which he co-founded and led to become the most successful and only Autodesk Platinum Partner in South Africa.  Anthony is a registered psychometrist and qualified Electrical Engineering Technician in Heavy Current engineering. He also earned a BCom Honours in Business Economics from the University of Pretoria.

Abhijit Oak

CEO Quilios and iLima partner

Abhijit Oak is a senior executive who has lead software engineering for multibillion dollar software products in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. Most recent companies include Katerra and Autodesk. Abhijit holds a BS Civil Eng. Degree from the University of Pune. Mr Oak enjoys connecting customer needs with engineering talent to produce widely adopted results. He specialises in enterprise systems and software engineering.
Keneiloe Mohafa​

Keneiloe Mohafa

Executive for Stakeholder Relations Africa

Keneiloe Mohafa is a qualified social worker who started her career as a caseworker at the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society and within a few years, was appointed Head of Department for Adoption and Foster Care. In 1997 she was appointed head of the SA Gold Fields Foundation and later held the position of Head of Department for Community Engagement and Development for Anglo American Platinum. She is an actively serving board member for a number of organisations and is currently chairman of the Thembalethu Development NPC and the Hearts of Hope Trust.