Hope probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think about 2020. But it’s what we – and chances are, the 1000+ people across 40+ countries who tuned in – were left feeling after Demo Day 2020: hopeful. To celebrate a summer of virtual acceleration, the nine tech nonprofits in this year’s program rocked the Demo Day stage to pitch their transformative solutions to our world’s biggest social challenges.
Experience the Demo Day magic by watching it now.
And the impact was big: those 1000+ audience members donated over $400K to launch these social entrepreneurs. Psst…it’s not too late to join the community in catapulting these organizations on their path to impact. Donate here.
Plus – drum roll please – Google.org matched all donations! We are so grateful to Google.org for supporting these organizations, and for working with us to advance tech for good over the past 7 years. To share the exciting news, Google.org’s Head of Product Impact, Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, joined us at Demo Day. She said: “At Google.org, we believe that technology can play a critical role in realizing our collective vision for the future. That’s why Google.org has been a longtime partner of Fast Forward and the organizations they work with that are using technology to solve critical challenges.”
Read on for some Demo Day highlights and sound bites!
To kick off the event, we heard from Fast Forward’s co-founders, Shannon Farley and Kevin Barenblat. They emphasized that the organizations in this year’s program are joining a long lineage of impact-driven tech nonprofits: “In the last 6 years, 50 nonprofits have graduated from our tech accelerator,” Kevin said. “These organizations have gone on to raise over $157M in follow-on funding and impact more than 63 million lives.” The nine tech nonprofits in this year’s program proved that they’re ready to join this class of high-impact Fast Forward alumni. Presenting the Fast Forward Accelerator 2020 Cohort:
The AI Education Project
Co-Founded by Ora D Tanner, Alex Kotran, & Ehrik Aldana
We heard first from Ora D Tanner, the co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of The AI Education Project. She’s helping prepare America’s students for artificial intelligence and the future of work, focusing on communities that will be disproportionately impacted by automation. The AI Education Project’s curriculum is more like TikTok than Scholastic: through game-based and project-based learning, it teaches students the social, political, and ethical aspects of AI and how it’s used in jobs.
Co-Founded by Austin Whitman, Peter Dering, & Jonathan Cedar
Austin Whitman, co-founder of Climate Neutral, left us feeling more motivated than ever to support carbon neutral brands. His tech nonprofit makes it easy for companies to measure their carbon emissions. Its label, called Carbon Neutral Certified, shows that a brand has measured, offset, and is working to reduce the carbon from making and delivering their products to customers. Heard of Allbirds or Klean Kanteen? They’re both Carbon Neutral Certified – along with over 140 other brands.
Founded by Gabriella Wong
“You can’t tell from this photo, but both of my parents are deaf. We communicate using American Sign Language or we text each other,” said Gabriella Wong, co-founder of AccesSOS, to kick off her pitch. She also shared that a few years ago, her father had a gallbladder rupture and wasn’t able to text 911 for help. He’s not alone. An overwhelming number of 911 call centers can’t receive text. Enter: AccesSOS, a mobile web app that enables text to 911 – in real time and in multiple languages.
Founded by Christina Guilbeau
14 million children in the US attend schools with a police officer but no mental health staff. Christina Guilbeau is on a mission to change that by increasing accessibility to mental health support for underserved youth. Her tech nonprofit, Hopebound, connects kids in need with an untapped resource: clinical psychology grad students earning licensing hours. The result? Free, in-depth, and ongoing care for youth that need mental health support most.
Founded by Zev Shapiro
Youth are on the front lines of social movements gripping the US, from racial justice to climate action. A young person himself, Zev Shapiro is an 18-year old Harvard student who founded TurnUp, the niche social network for youth activism. TurnUp enables young people to sustain activism every day of the year by connecting them to events, organizations, and each other. It’s the tool young people need to propel social movements forward.
Co-Founded by Zo Orchingwa & Gabriel Saruhashi
Zo Orchingwa and his tech nonprofit Ameelio are disrupting the $1.2 billion prison communications industry – big time. He’s connecting people who are incarcerated with their families through a free letter-sending app. To date, Ameelio has sent over 45,000 letters.
Co-Founded by Jonathan Petts & Ben Jackson
It’s never been harder to immigrate to America. Legal help is needed to file, but a lawyer costs $5,000 – a price tag out of reach for low-income immigrants. Jonathan Petts is leading ImmigrationHelp.org in helping immigrants access the freedom and opportunity they deserve. It built a TurboTax-like web app that prepares immigration forms and has them reviewed – all for free.
Co-Founded by Laura Kleiman, Pradeep Mangalath, & Catherine Del Vecchio Fitz
10 years and $1 billion. That’s how long it takes to develop one new drug. Laura Kleiman, co-founder of Reboot Rx, took the Demo Day stage to share how her tech nonprofit is fast-tracking the development of affordable cancer treatments using repurposed generic drugs and AI technology. Its mission is to get additional treatments to cancer patients faster. (Mindblown? Same.)
Movers and Shakers
Co-Founded by Glenn Cantave, Idris Brewster, & Micah Milner
“Our collective history glorifies white men,” said Glenn Cantave, co-founder of Movers and Shakers, in his pitch. From textbooks to monuments, underrepresented voices are nearly invisible. Glenn is on a mission to change that through his tech nonprofit, Movers and Shakers. They’re using augmented reality to write Black, brown, women, LGBTQIA+ narratives into American curricula and public spaces.
A huge thank you to everyone who joined us at Demo Day, and a round of applause to all nine of these innovative tech nonprofits. This is just the beginning – we can’t wait to see the impact they make in the years to come!
Thank you to our outstanding partners for making the Accelerator and Demo Day possible:
Also published on Medium.