October 31, 2022 | Announcements

Announcing The Fast Forward Growth Accelerator, a Big Bet on a New Model for World-Changing Impact

The tech nonprofit sector redefined how we deliver impact at scale. Ten years in, over 1,000 tech nonprofits across the globe are building tech for problems markets won’t solve. 

An emerging class is on the vanguard of this movement: high-growth tech nonprofits.

High-growth tech nonprofits have proven product-market fit, a path to self-sustainable revenue, and a plan to 10X their impact. Now, they are navigating the unique challenges of this next stage. What’s more, the gap in funding and support we saw ten years ago for startups exists today for high-growth tech nonprofits. The next chapter of the playbook doesn’t exist. So we’re writing it.

The Fast Forward Growth Accelerator is our big bet to take the world’s most promising high-growth tech nonprofits to exponential impact. Over the next 18 months, the Fast Forward Growth Accelerator will deploy well-timed capital and support to enable these tech nonprofits to achieve 10x impact.

SIRUM: Kiah Williams
Kiah Williams, Co-Founder, SIRUM

“There’s a dramatic disparity in resources for for-profit vs. nonprofit tech companies, but nonprofits today are still held to the same benchmarks of success,” said Fast Forward Co-Founder Kevin Barenblat. “Tech nonprofits are expected to hit revenue break-even, but they need sizable capital and support to become revenue self-sustaining. That’s where the Growth Accelerator comes in.”

“Tech nonprofits are expected to hit revenue break-even, but they need sizable capital and support to become revenue self-sustaining. That’s where the Growth Accelerator comes in.”

Kevin Barenblat, Co-Founder & President, Fast Forward

We took a venture capital-inspired approach to selecting the Growth Accelerator cohort. We teamed up with leaders like Google’s Office of the CTO, Altman Solon, James Slavet, Ashton Kutcher, Sal Khan, Laura Weidman Powers, and Charles Best to narrow a pool of 1,000 down to a cohort of eight based on the strength of their model, scalability, impact, and team. 

The eight high-growth tech nonprofits we selected are solving some of the world’s greatest challenges across education, healthcare, climate, and criminal justice. They represent the brightest entrepreneurs harnessing technology to make an impact, not a profit.

 
Introducing the Fast Forward Growth Accelerator cohort:

CommonLit‘s digital reading program will help 13M low-income students read at grade level. 

Nexleaf‘s smart thermometers will protect vaccines for 20% of babies born each year. 

Quill‘s AI-powered literacy feedback tool will coach 10M low-income students to become stronger writers and critical thinkers.

Recidiviz’s data analytics software will expedite 300,000 people out of the criminal justice system.

Rocket Learning delivers preschool content via WhatsApp to close the learning gap for 75M underserved Indian children.

SIRUM will get nearly $1B worth of medicine to 1M patients who need it most.

TalkingPoints’ 2-way multilingual messaging platform will connect tens of millions of families with their children’s teachers.

WattTime‘s API slashes pollution by empowering smart devices to run on cleaner energy.

Peter Gault, Founder, Quill
Peter Gault, Founder, Quill

“The tech nonprofit sector has grown dramatically, but the resources to support high-growth tech nonprofits haven’t expanded at the same rate,” said Fast Forward Co-Founder Shannon Farley. “At the same time, there are more tech leaders who have the opportunity to leverage philanthropy to solve the biggest problems of our lifetime. By connecting philanthropists with high-growth tech nonprofits, we will drive exponential impact.”

The Fast Forward Growth Accelerator founding supporters include James Slavet, Google.org, Walton Family Foundation, HPE Foundation, BlackRock, Fidelity Charitable Trustees’ Initiative, WoodNext Foundation, Arrow Impact, Tom and Theresa Preston-Werner, Aston Motes, and anonymous donors.

“Tech leaders have the opportunity to leverage philanthropy to solve the biggest problems of our lifetime. By connecting philanthropists with high-growth tech nonprofits, we will drive exponential impact.”

Shannon Farley, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Fast Forward

Fast Forward is uniquely equipped to support these organizations through the challenges that come with high-growth. Over the past decade, Fast Forward has accelerated 79 tech nonprofits that have gone on to impact over 100M lives and raise $350M+ in follow-on funding

High-growth tech nonprofits are moving the needle on our biggest social problems. The time to invest in them is now. Together, we will fundamentally shift how we build for a better future.