Deadline: September 30, 2023
Applications are open for the Fast Forward Accelerator 2024. They accelerator bridges the tech and nonprofit worlds, providing training and resources applicable to the challenges only a tech nonprofit entrepreneur knows. Through the Accelerator, you’ll receive a $25,000 philanthropic grant, build community among your cohort, meet dozens of mentors from the tech & social sector, and make connections to people who can help you scale. If you’re a nonprofit tech startup, you’re in the right place.
Fast Forward’s program is designed to address the unique needs of tech nonprofits:
- Capital. Fundraising strategies (including tactics and sources of capital) are different for tech nonprofits at every stage of the fundraising process as compared to their for-profit peers. There are also unique challenges and opportunities available to tech nonprofits in particular, which we will help you navigate.
- Content. The curriculum is different. Yes, tech nonprofits must focus on product, scaling, and growth. However, tech nonprofits also need to learn about board development, governance, leveraging volunteers, and other issues specific to nonprofits. The knowledge base they have put together for tech nonprofits differs substantially from what for-profits would find valuable.
- Customer. Because of their focus on impact over profit, nonprofits often chase the least profitable customer, which impacts go-to-market strategy and customer life cycle in a way that’s different from for-profits.
- Cohort. Entrepreneurship is lonely. Tech nonprofit entrepreneurship even more so. Tech nonprofit leaders say that because of their nonprofit focus they don’t quite fit into for-profit accelerators, and because of their tech/product focus they don’t quite fit into nonprofit fellowships. They share a set of challenges unique to this intersection, and they’re excited to go through a program with others like them as well as provide each other ongoing support as their organizations grow.
- Community. Key to Fast Forward’s mission is building closer ties between the nonprofit and for-profit tech community. The tech world has the opportunity to have a huge impact on these organizations and therefore the world. Their focus on collaborative philanthropy is quite different from for-profit accelerators, which don’t need to invest heavily in community building due to the nature of venture investing.
- They accept tech nonprofits from around the world (previous cohorts have included teams from India, Spain, and Switzerland!). They require that at least one member of your team is present (virtually) at every session, and present (in person) at any real-life events.
- Your organization must be registered as a nonprofit in your country. They do not accept B-corps or for-profit social enterprises.
- Leadership. Tech nonprofits face everything that is hard in a tech startup and everything that’s hard in a nonprofit. To pull it off, the leaders must have steadfast vision and incredible gumption.
- Tech talent. The tech vision should be the driving force of the organization and not an auxiliary program. To successfully execute that vision, tech talent must be in a leadership role.
- Potential for Impact. Impact is a thorny subject. To get to the heart of an organization’s potential, they ask questions like: Who is the organization primarily serving? If successful, how many lives will be positively influenced? How deeply will the organization impact those lives?
- Scalability. Software scales incredibly well. They support organizations with a vision for change that is matched only by the potential for scale.
- Lived Experience with the Problem. People solve problems in front of them. They want to empower people to solve the problems they see and experience.
- Alignment. Fast Forward is a small organization. As such, they choose organizations who we are best poised to help scale.
The Accelerator is a very robust program. The program will (roughly) take place every Tuesday and Thursday from late mid-February to early June 2024 from 9am – 12pm PT, with 1-3 hours of additional meetings throughout the week. At least one co-founder must attend every session from February to June. The co-founder who will pitch at Demo Day must attend every single pitch session from March to June 2024.
The Accelerator application will open on August 29 and close on September 30. The program will run from mid-February to early June 2024. Demo Days will likely occur at the end of May and beginning of June 2024.
For more information, visit Fast Forward Accelerator.