It sounds crazy, but we spend nearly 9-months building up to our summer accelerator each year. People often ask (myself included, when I first started working with Fast Forward) why we don’t run more than one accelerator program per year. The truth? Preparing to run the accelerator is a ton of work. With a small but nimble team of 5, we begin pipelining for the applicant pool in November, open applications in February, interview through May, and announce the teams in June. And there’s a lot that goes on in between!
With so much anticipation throughout the Spring, the first day of the accelerator is one of the most exciting of the year for us. It is magical when the teams finally meet. Many of them haven’t spent much time with other tech nonprofit founders until this moment, so it’s sort of like finding their tribe.
The first two days of the 2017 session were graciously hosted by Google.org at their new Community Space in SOMA. We spent day one getting to know each other, sharing stories of how each of us came to arrive at this moment with Fast Forward. Each team in our 2017 cohort has personal experience with the problem they are solving, which lends to powerful storytelling.
Our first session was filled with talks from some of our favorite speakers. Brad Presner, Director of Analytics at Living Goods, spoke to the cohort about the challenge of reporting impact, while alumni Jared Chung, Co-Founder & CEO of CareerVillage.org, and Michelle Brown, Founder & CEO of CommonLit, spoke off the record about challenges they’ve faced as tech nonprofit founders.
All in all, the summer is off to a great start! Take a look at the photos below for a glimpse at the action.