Application season is a flurry of excitement here at Fast Forward world headquarters. While we are familiar with almost all the world’s tech nonprofits, we still get plenty of surprises in our applicant pool each year. Whether it’s an entrepreneur who has made huge gains in 12 months, an incredible tech nonprofit we’ve never been in touch with before, or an idea that’s finally landed on product-market fit – reading through the applications and meeting the founders is one of our favorite parts of the year. Our 2017 accelerator applicant pool did not disappoint, and with over 180 submissions this year, we had our work cut out for us. Our team spent about 300 cumulative hours reviewing them. We even all crammed around one of our home dining room tables to take interviews the day San Francisco experienced a blackout!
Since Fast Forward launched, the number of applications received has skyrocketed – from 51 to 182! This is huge for us, as we continue building programs and products that support the entrepreneurs building tech for good. This years’ applicants were some of the most diverse we’ve seen yet. Entrepreneurs hailing from locations like Siberia, Myanmar, and Uganda applied to the program, all building tech solutions to a huge array of social issues ranging from rural agriculture to fake news.
It was particularly interesting to see the types of products arising from technologists who have left their jobs in pursuit of social justice given the current political climate. 26.4% of applicants were focused in civic engagement and many of these tech nonprofits launched within the past 8 months. It’s incredible to see adoption of the tech nonprofit model grow as more organizations scale and prove its sustainability.
As we ramp up to officially announce the organizations accepted into our 2017 class, we wanted to share insights into this years’ accelerator applicant pool. Stay tuned for the cohort unveil – next Tuesday, June 13th!