Today, Silicon Valley launched an anomaly: Tech Matters, a new tech organization that’s fully committed to not make a profit, but to unleash the power of technology to help social sector leaders address the world’s most pressing social needs. Tech Matters is founded by serial tech and social entrepreneur Jim Fruchterman, with support from Silicon Valley funders. Fruchterman, a MacArthur Fellow, is a former rocket engineer who previously founded two successful for-profit high-tech companies, as well as Benetech, a software for social good nonprofit.
“We launched Tech Matters because field-changing leaders deserve field-changing tools,” said Fruchterman. “Philanthropists and social entrepreneurs are working to solve critical social issues – from furthering equal access to education, clean water and sanitation, to eliminating modern slavery within industry supply chains, and more. Given the size and complexity of these issues, creating large-scale positive impact depends on matching the powerful innovations of social sector leaders with proven technology – yet the social sector is often decades behind these opportunities. Tech Matters is a direct extension of the work I’ve done for more than 30 years, focused on bringing technology innovation to all of humanity, including founding and leading Benetech. We are dedicated to working hand-in-hand with social change visionaries to build the tech solutions needed for real systems change, with technologists who share their commitment to social good.”
Tech Matters has already received initial project and overall funding support from corporate and foundation sources, including Child Helpline International in partnership with Twilio.org, EcoAgriculture Partners, Facebook, FJC, the Hitz Family Foundation, Okta, the Peery Foundation, the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Fund, Schmidt Futures, and Working Capital.
“This type of mission-focused tech organization is needed to help social innovators understand, assess and apply technology to expand their impact,” said Thomas Kalil, Chief Innovation Officer of Schmidt Futures. “Jim is playing a critical role in creating high-impact collaborations between tech leaders and social entrepreneurs.”
Over the past year, Tech Matters has begun work on several major projects, including 1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People, a project designed to give local communities access to unique tech tools to build vibrant and more sustainable local economies in light of the accelerating impact of climate change; and an initiative with Child Helpline International, the global network of child helplines, to enable helpline communications to better connect with and support children in crisis. The Child Helpline International project is made possible thanks to support from Facebook and Twilio.org.
“Our child helplines felt there were opportunities to grow our impact by coming together to better serve children,” said Jeroo Billimoria, the founder of Childline India Foundation and Child Helpline International. “Tech Matters really listened to the helplines to understand their needs, privacy issues, and realities of children in 145 countries and is now co-creating a shared open source technology platform that is currently being tested in 10 countries. We can already see that this platform will help us serve kids in crisis more effectively, by adding a social media communications channel so that we can serve far more children without a significant increase in our costs.”
“We are proud to fund the development of new technology to support child helplines and make them more accessible to children in crisis,” said Antigone Davis, Facebook’s Global Head of Safety. “Now, more than ever, children need to be able to communicate with trusted organizations more easily.”
Tech Matters is staffed by tech experts with a passion for social justice and a commitment to further positive social change. Fruchterman’s years of experience as a social entrepreneur means he is well-acquainted with the challenges that face social enterprises. He is a recipient of the Caltech Distinguished Alumni award, the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and is a fellow with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister program of the World Economic Forum.
Additional information on Tech Matters and its services is available at TechMatters.org. Philanthropists, social sector innovators and technology companies interested in discussing how to work with Tech Matters can contact the organization at info@TechMatters.org.
About Tech Matters
Tech Matters is a nonprofit organization that leverages the power of tech to support social sector innovators and advance large-scale positive social change. As tech nerds for the social sector, we create common ground for systems change solutions, empowering progress on humanity’s most pressing social issues. Learn more at TechMatters.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Tech Matters is fiscally sponsored by Beneficent Technology, Inc. (“Benetech”). Benetech is a nonprofit that empowers communities with software for social good in education, poverty alleviation, human rights and employment.
Editor’s Note: Journalists and members of the public can tune in today to the following virtual conference presentations about Tech Matters, by Founder and CEO Jim Fruchterman:
- Thurs., April 2 at 11 a.m. Pacific/2 p.m. Eastern – Oktane20 – Free registration: https://www.oktane20.com/register
- Thurs., April 2 at 1 p.m. Pacific/4 p.m. Eastern – Skoll World Forum – “Why Tech Matters” https://benetech.zoom.us/j/124188908