Top Takeaways from the Fast Forward Accelerator, As Told by the 2022 Cohort - Fast Forward

June 28, 2022 | Accelerator

Top Takeaways from the Fast Forward Accelerator, As Told by the 2022 Cohort

If you joined any of our Demo Days, you saw the 2022 Accelerator cohort shine. (Missed it? Check out the Virtual Demo Day recording for 48 inspirational minutes you won’t regret). The pitches you hear at Demo Day encapsulate 12 weeks of growth during the Accelerator. After spending this time together, we can confidently say that these founders are nothing short of human sponges. They soaked it all in – from content sessions, to micro-mentoring meetings, to (a lot) of pitch practices. Amidst this influx of knowledge, we wanted to know: what stuck most? 

So, we asked! Presenting: the top takeaways from the Accelerator, as told by this year’s batch of founders. 

1. How to talk about what you do – and get people to care

Across the board, the founders said the Accelerator taught them how to effectively communicate their work. Nathan Mallipeddi, founder of Myspeech, helpfully defined pitching as he understands it now:

Our two cents: trust Nathan’s definition. His Demo Day pitch stood out for the thoughtful, honest way he tied his personal story to his impact with Myspeech. Watch it here.

Another effective way to talk about your tech nonprofit’s work? The one-liner, says Steven Davenport, co-founder of Center for New Data:

2. Focus on building your team from the get-go

We tell early-stage founders that hiring a strong team is critical, especially technical team members. Michael Edmonson, co-founder of Worthy Mentoring, heard us. His top learning:

3. It all comes down to relationships 

Black SiS founder Diana Wilson’s biggest takeaway? Invest in relationships. We give a resounding plus one to that. Strong relationships are key to securing partnerships, building a peer network, and meeting fundraising goals. (In fact, we wrote a whole chapter in our Tech Nonprofit Playbook on how to center relationships in your fundraising strategy). In the words of Diana:

4. Lean on the ecosystem of support for tech nonprofits

The 2022 entrepreneurs bonded over how lonely the tech nonprofit founder journey can be. Through the Accelerator, they learned that they’re not alone. A key reason why? The many micro-mentoring sessions the cohort had with employee volunteers from our partner companies (shoutout to our amazing partners for making this possible!). Here’s what Gramhal’s co-founder Achint Sanghi discovered about the power of partnering with companies and employees:

5. Community empowers and endures

Year in and year out, we hear that the community of peers is the highlight of the Accelerator. Empowr co-founder Adrian Devezin shared a heart-warming reflection about the power of community: 

Hear, hear! From Zoom sessions to in-person bonding at NYC and SF Demo Days, it was special to see the way the 2022 cohort leaned on one another. Unlocked Labs co-founder Chris Santillan chimed in:

We’re brimming with gratitude for the opportunity to be in community with these entrepreneurs. As they scale their impact, keep up with their journeys by watching them at Demo Day, subscribing to our newsletter, and following us on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Thank you to our partners for making the Accelerator and Demo Day possible: