Fellowship

Build high-impact products for low-income Americans

Do you believe tech has more to offer the world than another selfie app? We agree. Our Fellowship gives talented people the time, access, and support they need to discover and launch high-impact startups.

Fellows spend two months doing intensive, community-centric research to scope and define potential solutions. They then have another two months to build, test, and launch their ideas. Past Fellows have built venture-backed companies, tech-enabled nonprofits, open source projects, and more.

What we provide:

  • Funding. A full-time stipend, health insurance reimbursement, and research budget
  • Co-founders. A cohort of talented peers with complementary skills
  • Access. The chance to connect with hundreds of users and experts through our Design Insight Group and community partners
  • Community. Office space and an ecosystem of high-impact startups and mentors
Applications have closed for our 2019 cohort.

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Applications have ended for our 2019 Fellowship cohort.

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Key Dates for 2019

  • Applications open: January 28
  • Applications close: March 1 at 11:59pm EST
  • Applications Extended: March 3 at 11:59pm EST
  • Finalist workshops: April 6 and 14
  • Fellowship Starts: June 3
  • Fellowship Ends: October 4

Learn More

Come to our Open House on February 13th, join a weekly webinar, or check out the FAQs. Or watch our recorded webinar.

Download the application questions in advance.

SOME OF OUR ALUMNI

Propel, Inc is a venture-backed tech company that’s making the safety net more user-friendly. They have raised over $16.5 million from A16Z and others. Their flagship product, FreshEBT is used by more than 2 million people every month to manage their food stamps and stretch their grocery dollars further and is a Top 10 free finance app on Android.

JustFix.nyc is a tech nonprofit that helps tenants get repairs in their homes, preventing health and safety issues and fighting informal evictions. They’re on track to serve more than 10,000 families this year in New York City alone and were recently named to Forbes 30 under 30.

Alice is a venture-backed tech company giving thousands of hourly workers a $1/hr raise with no upfront cost to their employers. When employees spend on commuting, health, or childcare, their paycheck goes up. With more of their needs being met, employees using Alice are 3x less likely to quit or be fired.

Who we’re looking for

We think the group benefits from a wide range of backgrounds, and all Fellows apply to fill one of four Roles. Past Fellows have included everything from former employees of top tech companies, folks from design and software agencies, and exited founders to journalists, social workers, and lawyers.

Regardless of Role, we’re looking for people who:

What do we mean by a track record of action? We want to see that you’ve dug in on understanding problems and figuring out possible solutions. It could be an open source side project, a tool you hacked together for the place you volunteer, a change you helped enact in your community, or research you’ve led to explore a new issue.

We are committed to fostering a community that values diverse perspectives and experiences, particularly from those who we aim to serve. We actively seek applicants from, or who have worked closely with, historically marginalized groups, including but not limited to: people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people, first- or second-generation immigrants, and people from low-income families.

Learn about the Roles

The 2019 Challenge: Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Housing

Each year, we pick a challenge to help us frame the first two months of Fellowship research. The challenge provides an entry point to help us dig into pain points and opportunities, and every Fellow chooses to interpret it in their own way.

In 2019, we’re exploring the barriers low-income New Yorkers face in finding, acquiring, and retaining high-quality, affordable housing. As the gap between supply and demand for housing continues to grow, low-income families are hit the hardest by rising rents and falling vacancy rates

There is an opportunity to help New Yorkers and the organizations that support them to better understand and enforce their rights, find permanent housing more effectively, mobilize to fight displacement and retain ownership, and much more.

While technology is not going to build new affordable housing units, we believe it has a role to play in preserving existing affordable housing stock and ensuring that the most vulnerable households are protected and supported by the housing system.

Applications for our 2019 cohort have closed.