GIVING TECH LABS
Our journey of 5 years delivering positive social impact with technology for the public interest – Tech4PI.
In 5 years, we created 5 Tech Startups addressing Social Problems, went through 4 exits, and graduated ten fellows in AI applied to the Public Interest. More importantly, the ventures we created are lasting assets that positively impact hundreds of thousands of individuals.
It all started in July 2017, inspired by Jeff and Tricia Raikes, who became our partners.
Can we prove a model to create financially sustainable companies that offer technology solutions to our urgent social problems?
Our ventures created long-lasting assets addressing issues such as Child Abuse and Neglect, Impact Driven Philanthropy, Inclusive Communications & Belonging, Immigration, Education, and Insights as a Service to serve the nonprofit sector.
The acquisition of X4Impact Inc in July of 2022 took Giving Tech Labs through a full circle with our first incubation acquiring our last. It was a great way to close a meaningful and vital chapter in our professional lives.
Patents, Published Research Papers, Government Proclamations and New Legislations Sparked
Revenue Generated by Companies Created Before Exiting Our Lab
Individuals Positively Impacted Every Month by our Ventures
60 Seconds that Inspired Us
Cloud technology powered by artificial intelligence has advanced our lives in ways we never imagined. Every 60 seconds, we exchange over 250 million emails and instant messages, stream over 5 million videos and swipe 1.4 million times on a dating app searching for love.
However, other things happen in one minute in the US. Every minute in the US, one child is sexually abused, and we throw away over $300,000 in edible food while 41 million people experience food insecurity. Every 60 seconds, 44 million people struggle with mental health issues.
It is this “other” minute we do not talk about enough and where hackathons and well-intended volunteering are not delivering lasting value building field capacity.
5 Years of Impact
We focused on bringing our urgent social challenges to the forefront of the debate on tech innovation, making a case for Tech for Public Interest.
We learned by execution in a relentless pace of weekly sprints with all aspects of the business included in every discussion, every stand-up meeting, and every major decision in our journey.
Our success stories were powerful, and we found ourselves as keynote speakers at the AWS Imagine 2019, their Global Nonprofit Conference, The first Impact Philantrophy Event in China, followed by a tour in several major cities, The Global Symposium on Belonging in Canada, and hundreds of events at Universities, Tech Incubators, Foundations and Startup venues in the US.
Below are the details of each venture and some key performance indicators.
A Portal & Tools for Impact Driven Philanthropy, including the Giving Planner.
- From Idea to Launch: 7 months.
- First $500K in Revenues: 5 months after launch.
- Exit from the Lab: Sponsored by the Raikes Foundation as an Independent 501(C)(3)
- Over 250,000 monthly visitors use tools and content from givingcompass.org to inform their giving with impact.
The leading cloud solution in the US for handling digital evidence.
- From Idea to Launch: 5 months.
- First $450K in Annual Recurring Revenue: 2 months after launch.
- Exit from the Lab: Raised a $3M Series A as a C-Corp. Valued at 12.5X the money deployed to create venture.
- As of November of 2022, over 35,000 users in 9,400 agencies use VidaNyx to serve the needs of Children survivors of sexual abuse or neglect. For up-to-date stats, visit vidanyx.com/impact.
- Their software protects ~140,000 cases of child sexual abuse.
- As per prosecutors’ requests, it expanded to serve all sorts of criminal cases.
Immigration Portal for Low-Income Individuals seeking legal permanent residency or naturalization in the US.
- From Idea to Launch: 3 months.
- Exit from the Lab: Sponsored 501(C)(3) Nonprofit organization under Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
- Created Monetization Strategy as per feedback gathered from 50 immigration-related nonprofits that needed help with a unified portal to serve their clients while reducing the IT burden of creating a managing 50 different websites, one per each organization..
AI-based technology provides real-time coaching to individuals in video calls, distance learning, business meetings, or talking to kids with intellectual disabilities.
- From Idea to Beta Launch: 5 months.
- Exit from the Lab: We paused operations due to COVID-19 when we decided to double down on X4Impact Inc, which solved an urgent need for the nonprofit sector at large. Expected Launch – Dec 2022 with a Free app for teachers and students: Coach Ana
- The innovation relies not on speech-to-text but on measuring sound waves’ characteristics. This preserves 100% of privacy!
- We created the tech, monetization model, and Public Beta app.
- Research Paper “Acoustic Measures for Real-Time Voice Coaching” published by KDD, and we filed for patents.
AI For Good Fellowship
Under the leadership of Dr. Ying Li, a world-renowned Data Scientist, we created a Fellowship Program to expose fellows to Technology for the Public Interest and devise innovations for the social sector.
- Graduated ten fellows in 18 months and published 3 research papers in Tier-1 AI-related publications.
- Research Paper “Domain-Specific Knowledge Graph as a Public Service” published by KDD.
- Research Paper “Acoustic Measures for Real-Time Voice Coaching” published by KDD.
- Research Paper “Economic Mobility, Voice, and Aging” .
X4Impact interactive tools and Insights as a Service Platform informs strategies for foundations, government agencies, academia, impact investors, and the private sector.
- From Idea to Launch: 7 months.
- Total Revenue before Exiting Lab: $2.5M
- Exit from the Lab: Acquired by a leading 501(c)(3) building tools for Impact Philanthropy. It operates as an independent for-profit division.
- X4Impact Tech-for-Good Solutions Directory is the most extensive in the US.
- X4Impact data powers 3rd party applications that seek to address social issues.
- Two awards as 2022 Fast Company World-Changing Idea
We provided Advisory Services related to Digital Transformation and Sustainability via Revenues to leading Social Impact Organizations such as:
- Alleyoop Inc – Business Transformation for Profitability, Market Leadership, and Sustainability.
- Ability Central – Digital Transformation to scale a proven model that helps students with learning disabilities.
- China Philanthropy. In 2019 led a national tour in China to showcase our model. A coalition of local entrepreneurs, global philanthropists, and local governments invited us as they aspire to create 100 social innovation labs to incubate sustainable tech for good companies.
- Equal Opportunity Schools – Digital Transformation evolving to a Data Business and going beyond AP classes into Belonging of Students at Risk.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – Data and Technology to serve the needs of Higher Education.
- Pacific Lutheran University – Social Impact Lab and Digital Transformation, launching cocreatepartners.org.
- TeamMates – Digital Transformation to scale the US’s most successful and impactful Youth Mentorship Program.
- UNEMED – Digital Transformation and Data Science applied to the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Innovation labs.
Shelly Kurtz is a Public Speaker focusing on Women in Tech and Technology for the Public Interest. She also provides Advisory Services to emerging social ventures and mentors entrepreneurs.
Shelly is co-authoring a book on “Focus on Impact: Building and Scaling Tech for Good.”
Luis J. Salazar
Luis J. Salazar launched Connect Sparks – Advising Startups, Nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies on Digital Transformation and Data Sciences applied to complex social problems.
He works with Technology Startups on refining their product/market and capital raising strategies. He also advises Fortune 500 companies and large Foundations on how to structure Positive Social Impact Programs that deliver results at scale. You can reach him at Connect Sparks.
We are grateful to every individual who was part of our amazing journey in the world of Technology for the Public Interest and the pursuit of doing well by doing good.
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