The entrepreneurial journey often begins as a mission to improve the world in some way. For many founders, that means creating a streamlined solution to cloud storage, using technology to help people find love, or even building an easier way to get your groceries. The tech entrepreneurs we’re unveiling today, though, are a different breed.
Sure, some of them may don a hoodie from time to time, stay up all night coding, and live on Slack, but the products they are building aim to change the world by solving a different type of issue: social problems. Over the past three years we’ve seen technology’s incredible ability to scale impact. Our 23 alumni positively are impacting over 18 million lives across the globe. But the route from serving a hundred people to thousands, thousands to millions, is never easy. However these bold, passionate, and diverse tech nonprofit entrepreneurs have worked tirelessly to prove that technology can advance the lives of those who need help most.
Tonight, we unveil the nine new tech nonprofits who will join Fast Forward’s fourth accelerator cohort at a special launch event in New York City, thanks to the support of our fantastic partners BlackRock and Comcast NBCUniversal. We couldn’t be more excited to introduce you to our cohort.
These teams span what may be our most diverse set of issue areas yet. Every team has a founder who personally experienced the problem they are solving. Eight out of nine of these teams have a founder who is a woman or person of color. These teams hail from cities like Kansas City, MO; Chapel Hill, NC; New York, NY; Washington, DC; and San Francisco, CA. And out of 182 applicants, we selected these nine because of the leadership and grit of their founders, their strong tech platforms, and their potential for impact.
Meet the tech nonprofits we believe will create outsized good, our 2017 accelerator cohort:
- Beyond 12 a digital mentorship platform transforming first-generation students into college graduates (San Francisco, CA)
- Concrn a mobile 911-alternative to dispatch help for people in crisis (San Francisco, CA)
- IssueVoter a nonpartisan platform for engaging all citizens in today’s politics (New York, NY)
- MindRight proactive daily mental health support for teens via SMS-based coaching (Washington, DC)
- MyHealthEd sex education for middle school students delivered through text-based storytelling (Chapel Hill, NC)
- Online SOS a platform that connects victims of online harassment to resources and support (San Francisco, CA)
- Onward an employer-benefit platform helping low-wage workers weather financial instability (Kansas City, MO)
- Raheem.ai a chatbot for anonymously reporting and rating experiences with police (Washington, DC)
Through Fast Forward’s accelerator, each team will receive a $25,000 philanthropic grant, curated training, introductions to 100+ mentors, access to the tech nonprofit community, and the opportunity to pitch to hundreds of funders at Demo Day in September. The program runs three months, and officially kicks off in San Francisco on July 6th. Over the course of the summer, we’ll feature in-depth interviews with each founder so you can get to know them leading up to Demo Day.
We are so thankful to our accelerator hosts BlackRock, Google.org, Zendesk, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Bloomberg, Intuit and Twitter, and of course the mentors and speakers without whom our program wouldn’t be possible. We can’t wait to see what this summer has in store for all of us!