Fast Forward raises new war chest to fight Silicon Valley’s inequality machine

TechCrunch | 7/2/2019 | Staff
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San Francisco is a city of extremes, with multi-billion dollar glass-cladded obelisks piercing the SoMa sky while thousands of the city’s long-term residents fail to find even the basic rudiments of housing and other social services.

The tech industry has created the world’s greatest inequality machine, solving every one of our problems except the ones like housing affordability, education access, and healthcare availability that might lead to greater agency and equality.

List - Valley - Companies - Issues - Neighborhoods

Now though, a growing list of the Valley’s leading companies are engaging with the issues in their own neighborhoods and globally — as are their employees.

Fast Forward, an accelerator of tech non-profits based in SF, announced today that it has raised $5 million in new philanthropic funding from leading companies like,, Blackrock, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Foundation, Okta, PagerDuty, AWS, Github and many more.

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Like traditional accelerators such as Y Combinator, Fast Forward selects a batch of very early-stage startups working on large social challenges and helps them scale their products, culminating in a series of three demo days in SF, Silicon Valley and New York City. Fast Forward invests an unrestricted $25,000 in each startup.

We’ve covered the accelerator before, but in addition to raising more cash than the last time we checked in, co-founders Shannon Farley and Kevin Barenblat explained to me that an emerging pattern is the depth of engagement from tech workers. “We have doubled the number of partners that support” us, said Farley. She said that when they started, they only had support from a couple of groups like Google and Blackrock, but that the list now includes more than 40 different tech companies.

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As those companies have invested more resources into Fast Forward, company employees are also engaging more fervently in the program. More than 100 mentors — many drawn from funders — now act...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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