10 Reasons to Apply to the Fast Forward Startup Accelerator - Fast Forward

August 23, 2023 | Announcements, Accelerator

10 Reasons to Apply to the Fast Forward Startup Accelerator

A decade of building for impact at scale. Of stoking inspiration at Demo Day. Of redefining social-service delivery. Fast Forward is coming up on 11 years of our Startup Accelerator (we can’t believe it either)! Over the last decade, we’ve supported almost 90 tech nonprofits, who – in case you missed it – have impacted over 139 million lives and raised $519M in follow-on funding. Today, we’re looking for the next cohort of tech-obsessed, impact-driven startups to join our community. 

Applications are open for Fast Forward’s 11th annual Startup Accelerator! If you’re a tech entrepreneur building a solution for social impact, we’re looking for you. Apply now!

In a nutshell: the Startup Accelerator empowers tech nonprofit founders with the tools they need to scale their impact. From curated content on everything from fundraising to building a product, to mentorship from tech experts, to a tight-knit community, the program helps entrepreneurs navigate the unique tech nonprofit journey. Curious what the Startup Accelerator is like from an insider’s perspective? Check out what the 2022 cohort had to say about their experiences here!

Manu Chopra, Karya
Manu Chopra, CEO of Karya, pitches at Demo Day

The 2024 Startup Accelerator will run from February – June 2024. It’s a hybrid program, which means you get to connect with your cohort virtually from wherever you’re based, and in-person when we gather IRL at the start and end of the program. It’s the best of both worlds.

Here are 10 reasons why you should apply. (Keen to get started? Apply now!)

1. Join an accelerator that puts tech nonprofits front and center. 10 years of doing this thing means we’re pretty familiar with the specific challenges of being both a tech startup and a nonprofit. We’ll guide you through this unique experience.

2. Learn from a curriculum designed just for you. Need help with your product roadmap? Mapping out your go-to-market strategy? Raising money? The Startup Accelerator provides a curriculum taught by tech experts and seasoned social entrepreneurs (hey there, Fast Forward alums!). You’ll learn from people who have been in your shoes – and know what it takes to be successful.

3. Get mentorship, straight from the experts. We’ll match you with dozens of mentors from the tech and social sectors. Coming your way: personalized pointers and actionable strategies around your biggest pain points.

4. Tap into new capital. Unlocking capital as a tech nonprofit can be tricky. In addition to a $25,000 philanthropic grant, we’ll help you develop a rock-solid fundraising strategy. Plus, you’ll get connected to the people who can help you scale.

BFF = Best Fellow Founders?! Through the Startup Accelerator, you’ll find peers who get you. (Credit: Kevin Hou)

5. Assemble an all-star team. To make the impact you’ve set out to achieve, it’ll take the right people. We’ll guide you through how to find a co-founder, make your first hires, and build out your board. (Did you know? Fast Forward has a Tech Nonprofit Job Board. Check out the resource and how you can get your opportunities listed here.)

6. Pitch your solution at Demo Day. You’ll take the stage at Demo Day, the culminating event of the Startup Accelerator. Get ready to inspire an audience of potential supporters. Check out the glitz n’ glam of this year’s Demo Day by playing it back (and keep an eye out for the mini-documentaries we produce for each tech nonprofit!). 

7. Get your story out. Podcasts, interviews, features, oh my! We work behind the scenes to land you stories that raise visibility about your work. Check out some past stories about our alums: Center for New Data in Fast Company, AssistHub in Forbes, and Almost Fun on Cause & Purpose Podcast

The Myspeech team chats with attendees at Demo Day. (Credit: Kevin Hou)

8. Connect with peers on the same journey. Your fellow founders in the cohort will get you. In this hybrid program, you’ll meet your cohort IRL at our (really fun) in-person programming at the start and end of the Startup Accelerator, and connect weekly on Zoom throughout the program. Look forward to building supportive relationships that actually last.

9. Build the founder community of the future. When it comes to impact, we believe proximity is key. 88% of our founders have personal experience with the issue they’re tackling. What’s more, 81% have a founder who is a person of color, and 68% have a founder who is a woman. Join this diverse community of innovators uniquely positioned to solve our thorniest problems.

10. Join the Fast Forward community – for life. The Startup Accelerator pays dividends even after it ends. As an alum, lean on the Fast Forward community as you encounter new challenges. Be the first to know about mentorship opportunities and get connected to the right people (read: funders). We’re in your corner. Always.

What are you waiting for? Apply for the 2024 Startup Accelerator NOW, before applications close on September 30, 2023! Curious to learn more? Check out our Startup Accelerator page or FAQ. We can’t wait to learn about you and what you’re building!