Excited would be an understatement. At Fast Forward HQ, our excitement is through the roof about this year’s Fast Forward Accelerator Cohort!
We’re thrilled to announce the 11 tech nonprofits participating in our eighth Accelerator. No surprise here: they’re building truly innovative tech solutions for our world’s biggest social challenges. From a digital education tool that’s closing the Black homeownership gap, to a platform that trains and certifies formerly incarcerated people for high-wage jobs in trucking, to an AI-powered chatbot teaching math in low-Internet communities, these organizations are poised to make meaningful impact at scale.
With over 200 tech nonprofit applicants to this year’s Accelerator, it’s no wonder we chose 11 organizations – our biggest cohort ever – to join the Fast Forward family. They’re also our most global group to date: from the U.S. to Turkey to Uganda to India, these entrepreneurs are making an impact across the world.
Like past years, this cohort is significantly more diverse than the traditional tech sector. 91% have a founder who is a person of color, 73% have a founder who is a woman, and 82% have a co-founder with lived experience with the problem they’re solving.
Over the next three months, these entrepreneurs will go all-in on learning and connection-building to scale their solutions. A typical week in the Accelerator? Think: engaging content sessions with seasoned tech nonprofit entrepreneurs (read: Fast Forward alums), one-on-one mentoring with experts from leading tech companies, and training on how to deliver an effective and memorable pitch. It all culminates in Demo Day (stay tuned for your invite!), where you’ll fall in love with the cohort yourself.
Without further ado, meet the 11 tech nonprofits in the 2021 Fast Forward Accelerator!
AssistHub: Personalized checklist and recommendation engine for accessing public benefits. Founded by Patrice Berry, who spent 15 years advising college students on how to access benefits, and Owen Sperling, a consultant committed to applying his skills for good.
Climate Cabinet Education: Open data tools to drive climate action at the district-level. Founded by Caroline Spears and Emma Fisher, seasoned advocates for climate change solutions with experience in grassroots organizing and political campaigns.
Darsel: AI-powered SMS tool teaching math in resource-constrained settings. Founded by Abdulhamid Haidar, a consultant-turned social entrepreneur from Syria who’s committed to helping learners around the world access the same opportunities he did.
Develop for Good: Platform pairing underrepresented computer science students with nonprofits to help them build tech products. Founded by recent Stanford graduates Mary Zhu and Amay Aggarwal, who are bent on making it easier for computer science students like them to help nonprofits.
finEQUITY: Credit-building loans helping formerly incarcerated people facing credit invisibility build financial power. Founded by Briane Cornish, a Stanford Law School graduate whose life’s work is to open up pathways to the prison to prosperity journey.
FreeWorld: Platform that trains and certifies formerly incarcerated people for jobs in trucking. Founded by Jason Wang, who was incarcerated at 15 years old on a 12 year sentence and is now paying it forward.
HERA: Mobile app connecting refugee mothers and children with preventative healthcare. Founded by Dr. Aral Sumeli, who combines his unique specialties in refugee healthcare, disaster relief, and entrepreneurship.
Lemontree: SMS helpline connecting food insecure New Yorkers with food pantries. Founded by Alex Godin, Kasumi Quinlan, and Austin King, who all share a deep commitment to food security and are steadfast in ensuring that the 1.5M+ New Yorkers that need help securing food are able to.
Rocket Learning: Videos and educational games delivered via WhatsApp empowering parents in India to teach their 3-8 year olds at home. Founded by Azeez Gupta, Utsav Kheria, Vishal Sunil, and Namya Mahajan, whose shared commitment to improving education outcomes for Indian youth brought them together to create Rocket Learning.
SayLambda: Education and financial aid tool increasing Black homeownership. Founded by Kwasi Frye, a leader in housing justice with over a decade of software engineering experience, who wants to make finding homeownership incentives as easy as shopping online.
Tatu Nurse: On and offline vital sign tracking app built by Ugandan nurses, for Ugandan nurses. Founded by Samuel Mugisha, Irene Magara, Philip Nomwesigwa, and Lydia Mbaziira Birungi, whose collective experiences across nursing, social entrepreneurship, and engineering make them the perfect team to address this issue.
We’re honored to support these tech nonprofits and the transformative solutions they’re building. Amidst widening inequality in the wake of COVID-19, the need for their work is urgent. We hope you’ll join us in rooting for them at Demo Day. Subscribe to our newsletter, What’s Good In Tech, to be the first to know when the event is announced. And throughout the summer, keep up with the Accelerator on our Twitter and LinkedIn!
A huge thank you to our partners for making our eighth annual Accelerator possible: Google.org, BlackRock, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation, Bloomberg, Okta, Atlassian, Snyk, Vodafone Americas Foundation, CTIA Wireless Foundation, Zendesk, Silicon Valley Bank, New Relic, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund, and The Nasiri Foundation.