Impact Report 2023 - Fast Forward
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Ten years. We can’t believe it either. Time sure does fly when you’re on a mission to change the world (see video above!). We owe this incredible journey to you — our community of dreamers, builders, and advocates. We’re thrilled to share the milestones we reached together in 2023, a year that marked the pinnacle of our impact.

Interest in tech for good hit an all-time high in 2023. Our Startup Accelerator attracted its largest applicant pool ever. What’s Good in Tech, our monthly newsletter, broke 10K subscribers. Visits to the Tech Nonprofit Job Board more than doubled compared to 2022. And we connected with 73 new funders of tech for good, passing through $15M (!!!) in grants to tech nonprofits this year alone.

The momentum we’ve ignited together is exceptional, and we are just getting started. Revisit our transformation over the past decade by taking a stroll down memory lane with our digital timeline. Looking ahead to the next ten years, we’re prepared for a transformation that shatters our most daring expectations thanks to AI. AI-powered nonprofits (APNs) building AI for humanity will repair broken systems and lead the way to a more equitable world. Here’s to a decade of progress, and to a future where innovation knows no bounds.

Growing

a Sector

10

YEARS SUPPORTING
TECH NONPROFITS​

186M

Lives Impacted

$753M

follow-on
fundING RAISED

90

TECH NONPROFITS IN PORTFOLIO

1,172

Tech Leaders Turned Mentors

84%

founder has personal experIence with the problem

73%

FOUNDED BY A PERSON OF COLOR​

62%

Founded by a Woman

26%

founded by A black founder

Program

Highlights

Our Startup Accelerator celebrated its tenth year with ten exceptional teams hailing from four continents. These teams are boldly tackling our most pressing global issues, with each founder personally impacted by the problem they’re working to solve. Their powerful presence on the Demo Day stages was evidence of their dedication. Nearly 1,500 folks gathered in-person and virtually to hear their pitches (great news: you can rewatch them here). Our newest class of leaders has already made waves, impacting over 6M lives and raising $7.8M in follow-on funding.

One year into the 18-month Growth Accelerator, the cohort of eight high-growth tech nonprofits are seriously elevating their impact. Fast Forward has successfully connected them to $23M in follow-on funding. The teams charted ambitious, clear five-year growth plans in partnership with The Bridgespan Group. And the world has taken notice. They’ve garnered prestigious grants, made headlines in top-tier publications, and spoken on global stages like COP28 and TED. Their impactful partnerships with leading organizations like Google and Tesla further underscore their significant contributions. Stay tuned: the next iteration of Fast Forward’s Growth Accelerator is on the horizon.

“Finding solutions for the world’s most complex problems requires innovative leaders. Fast Forward has coalesced a portfolio of talented leaders who focus on utilizing technology for real world impact. Most of the leaders in Fast Forward’s portfolio have firsthand experience with the problems they’re solving, resulting in unique solutions. ServiceNow is proud to work with Fast Forward to help innovative tech nonprofits amplify their impact and drive meaningful change.”

-- Lyndsay Harris Kyei, Senior Director of ESG Social Strategy at ServiceNow

“Finding solutions for the world’s most complex problems requires innovative leaders. Fast Forward has coalesced a portfolio of talented leaders who focus on utilizing technology for real world impact. Most of the leaders in Fast Forward’s portfolio have firsthand experience with the problems they’re solving, resulting in unique solutions. ServiceNow is proud to work with Fast Forward to help innovative tech nonprofits amplify their impact and drive meaningful change.”

-- Lyndsay Harris Kyei, Senior Director of ESG Social Strategy at ServiceNow

“Finding solutions for the world’s most complex problems requires innovative leaders. Fast Forward has coalesced a portfolio of talented leaders who focus on utilizing technology for real world impact. Most of the leaders in Fast Forward’s portfolio have firsthand experience with the problems they’re solving, resulting in unique solutions. ServiceNow is proud to work with Fast Forward to help innovative tech nonprofits amplify their impact and drive meaningful change.”

-- Lyndsay Harris Kyei, Senior Director of ESG Social Strategy at ServiceNow

Alums

In Action

Across every stage and every sector, Fast Forward alums continue to deploy tech in truly innovative ways. Each year, they demonstrate that they have what it takes to meaningfully impact our world’s biggest problems. Discover a few that made remarkable progress in 2023.

There’s a good reason Karya’s CEO Manu Chopra was named TIME 100 Most Influential People in AI. Three things are true: 230M+ people across India experience poverty, mobile phones are ubiquitous, and there is a need for better data on longtail languages. Karya works at this intersection. It empowers rural Indians to train AI datasets through offline data annotation tasks and pays workers 20X the Indian minimum wage. The result? Better datasets and pathways out of poverty. In its first full year in operation (yep, you heard that right), Karya provided work for 35K+ workers in 24 states across India. New partnerships with the Gates Foundation, Google, Echoing Green, Bloomberg, and more position Karya to hit the ground running in 2024. With Karya, in 2024 unethical data collection is OUT, and a more prosperous future for all is IN!

WattTime continues to lead the charge in the climate tech frontier. In December, founder Gavin McCormick took the COP28 stage with Al Gore to unveil the newest version of Climate TRACE. If you don’t know Climate TRACE, it’s a coalition that uses machine learning and satellite data to reveal the emissions of 350M+ pollution sources around the globe. Bloomberg and Fortune covered the news that Tesla, GM, and Boeing will use its data to identify lower-emissions sources of steel. Plus, new partnerships with BMW, Rivian, Amazon, and Toyota (to name a few) mean that WattTime’s tools are helping big companies weave clean energy into their operations. This includes improving EV charging technology and selecting sites for renewable energy projects that have more impact. WattTime also celebrated 1B watts of renewable energy procured through its “emissionality” approach. For the cherry on top, WattTime closed out its powerful year with the release of a new API, lending a bright beginning to 2024. 

There are 44M food insecure Americans. According to the USDA, it’s getting worse. Last year food insecurity surged by 31% — the highest jump since 2008. This makes Lemontree’s work connecting hungry households to food and resources more important than ever. Thankfully, Lemontree made major gains in 2023. With Kasumi Quinlan at the helm, Lemontree 4X’d its footprint. The tech nonprofit expanded to cover New Jersey, Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Columbus, Charlotte, Atlanta, Tampa, and Detroit. Plus, its resource database swelled from 3K to over 10K. The impact? Lemontree unlocked almost $800K worth of free food for 50K households (thanks in no small part to the help of thousands of corporate volunteers). A 2023 highlight was celebrating a record day of supporting 4K households. In the fight to end food insecurity, Lemontree’s nourishing recipe of technology and humanity is cultivating a future where no one is left unfed.

There is a lot to celebrate when it comes to Think of Us and 2023. It’s reshaping the U.S. foster care system through kinship care, an approach that places more children with extended family members or other known and trusted adults. In CEO Sixto Cancel’s TED Talk (viewed 1.2M+ times, nbd), he laid out the vision for transforming U.S child welfare. Then, Think of Us was selected as an Audacious Project recipient, which catalyzed $50M+ in funding for its mission. That’s not all — Think of Us is helping drive a coalition to support the adoption of new federal standards in U.S. child welfare, potentially unlocking $3B for caregivers. The key to its success? Consulting with 2K stakeholders with lived experience in foster care, including bringing impacted youth to the White House to co-design administrative solutions. Think of Us now impacts jurisdictions that account for 80% of youth in foster care, cementing the organization as a key leader in child welfare reform.

“Partnering with Fast Forward is one of the incredible ways that we at HPE are able to bring our mission of advancing the way people live and work to life. A highlight: through our partnership, we host our annual HPE Accelerating Impact Campaign. Over the course of 5 years, this campaign has directed over $6M to tech nonprofits developing crucial solutions to the pressing issues of our day. The work Fast Forward is doing is transformative and HPE is grateful to be a part of it.”

-- Monica Batchelder, Chief Sustainability Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

“Partnering with Fast Forward is one of the incredible ways that we at HPE are able to bring our mission of advancing the way people live and work to life. A highlight: through our partnership, we host our annual HPE Accelerating Impact Campaign. Over the course of 5 years, this campaign has directed over $6M to tech nonprofits developing crucial solutions to the pressing issues of our day. The work Fast Forward is doing is transformative and HPE is grateful to be a part of it.”

-- Monica Batchelder, Chief Sustainability Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise​

The

Next Chapter

A decade of growth, a world of change — all powered by your unwavering belief in tech as a catalyst for good. We are immensely grateful for your support. It is the fuel that continues to propel us forward. 

As we reflect on our history, we find ourselves at a turning point. 2023 marked AI’s leap into the mainstream. Tech nonprofits were no exception. AI-powered nonprofits are already making life easier for the most vulnerable. And they can do so much more. 

To harness its full power for good, supporting builders of AI for humanity is key. We’re rallying behind those who use AI to uplift and empower communities in need. Are you in? 

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