Demo Day 2022
We are technologists, social impact leaders, and tech for good believers. Our goal: to see the world’s most urgent problems solved faster. That’s what Demo Day is all about. Get inspired by nine entrepreneurs tackling problems they’ve personally experienced. With these forward-thinking leaders at the helm, our future is in good hands.
About The Cohort
The Opportunity: For the 2M asylum seekers in the U.S., navigating complicated new systems brings fear and isolation. But tech can – and should – help improve the lives of asylum seekers.
The Solution: Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project is a digital hub serving 300K asylum seekers across the U.S. Its web app helps users secure work permits, get legal support, and find community.
The Founders: The founders of ASAP are daughters of immigrants and refugees. Ngan Tran is a software engineer born in a Singaporean refugee camp. She teamed up with Swapna Reddy, an immigration lawyer with a tech background, and Conchita Cruz, who brings over a decade of communications and policy experience.
The Opportunity: Almost half of Black women drop out of STEM majors by sophomore year. It’s not due to lack of desire or capacity. It’s due to lack of support.
The Solution: Black Sisters in STEM (Black SiS) is a digital community for advancing Black women in tech. It supports Black women through each step of the STEM pipeline – from culturally-relevant education, to job searching and placement, to career growth.
The Founder: Diana Wilson is a first-generation Ghanaian-American who works in tech. The path to get there wasn’t easy. She founded Black SiS to open doors to STEM careers for more Black women like her.
The Opportunity: Democracy is in trouble. Big data can help. It’s possible that our democracy could be saved if we deployed the same innovative data approaches used by the private sector.
The Solution: Center for New Data leverages big data to build tools that combat voter suppression and protect democracy. Its interactive dashboards are shared with public players ranging from nonprofit advocacy groups to media platforms who can use the data to drive change.
The Founders: Steven Davenport is a data scientist and policy researcher, with a Ph.D. from the RAND Corporation, a nonpartisan thinktank. His co-founder is Daniel Wein, a communications leader who has staffed multiple political campaigns.
The Opportunity: Tech companies are missing out on untapped potential. We’re talking about the more than 50% of Black students who don’t have access to STEM classes that will get them college-ready. With STEM training, these students could be the technologists of the future.
The Solution: Empowr is a learning platform that teaches software development to Black high school students. It utilizes peer programming methodology so kids can code alongside one another. The result? A more diverse tech talent pipeline.
The Founders: Adrian Devezin taught himself to code while working in a call center. Alongside education advocate Rejoice Jones, he’s creating the learning opportunities he wishes he had as a student.
The Opportunity: While AI models can propel discovery of life-saving drugs, they are often inaccessible to scientists in low-income countries. Access to these tools could empower researchers in the global south to cure in-country infectious diseases.
The Solution: Ersilia builds open-source AI models to help scientists in low-income countries accelerate drug discovery. These no-code, ready-to-use models speed up experiments and reduce cost, putting the power into the hands of local researchers.
The Founders: Miquel Duran-Frigola and Gemma Turon hold PhDs in biomedicine. With over 10 years of experience in the field, they’re uniting their scientific expertise with a shared passion for global health.
The Opportunity: There are 70M small-scale farmers across India. Many struggle to make a living. Access to key data could increase their income and well-being. Most have a mobile device and internet connectivity, opening the door for a technical solution.
The Solution: Gramhal’s chatbot delivers localized data to rural farmers via WhatsApp. Farmers benefit from real-time, crowdsourced data on fair-market crop pricing, weather advisories, and more. Gramhal has scaled to 75,000 users in just seven months.
The Founders: Achint Sanghi is an agricultural engineer committed to farmer well-being. He is joined by Vikas Birhma, an engineer who grew up with small-holder farmer parents, and Simeen Kaleem, who has deep roots in the social sector.
The Opportunity: For the 70M+ people who stutter, mental health is often a challenge. Speech therapy and community support can improve their quality of life. But these interventions are costly and inaccessible.
The Solution: Myspeech is a first-of-its-kind digital community for people who stutter. It’s a resource platform that offers connections to affordable speech therapists, virtual events, educational videos, and a chat network of supportive peers who stutter.
The Founder: Nathan Mallipeddi is a person who stutters. He is on a mission to improve the quality and accessibility of care for people with speech disabilities. Nathan is an MD candidate at Harvard Medical School.
The Opportunity: There are 2M people incarcerated in the U.S. Almost none of them have access to higher education. Yet participation in correctional education programs decreases the chance of recidivating by 57%.
The Solution: Unlocked Labs is an offline education platform built for correctional environments. It enables incarcerated people to securely participate in education courses. Student data is used to help inform who should be released from prison faster.
The Founders: Jessica Hicklin and Chris Santillan were recently released from prison. Sentenced to life as juveniles, they taught themselves to code in prison. They teamed up with Haley Shoaf, who has worked with the justice-involved community for 10+ years.
The Opportunity: The “coming out” process can be isolating. Mentorship can help. But most resources to support the LGBTQ+ community are designed for youth and those in crisis. Adults navigating the “coming out” journey need support too.
The Solution: Worthy Mentoring makes the “coming out” journey less lonely. The app facilitates trusted mentorship for LGBTQ+ adults. Through the platform, each mentee can select a vetted mentor based on criteria specific to their identity and experience.
The Founder: Michael Edmonson came out as an adult. He experienced a stark lack of resources to help him navigate this process. Today, Michael is building the platform he needed himself.