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

Apply

Applications have been closed for the 2017 fellowship.

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Key Dates for 2018

  • Applications open: January 29 at 9:00am EST
  • Applications close: February 26 at 11:59pm EST
  • Applications close: February 27 at 11:59pm EST
  • Finalist workshops: April 7 and 15
  • Fellowship Start: June 4
  • Fellowship Ends: October 5

Learn More

Come to our Open House on February 15th, join a weekly webinar, or check out the FAQs.

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. Their flagship product, FrestEBT is used by more than 1 million people every month to manage their food stamps and stretch their grocery dollars further and is a Top 20 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 5,000 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 2018 Challenge: MAKING IT WORK FOR WORKING PARENTS

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 2018, we’re exploring the barriers working parents face around employment. Increasingly, working New Yorkers are unable to make ends meet.

  • 45% report being underemployed – wanting to work more hours if they could.
  • More than half of this group are already working full-time, suggesting their wages are not sufficient to match the city’s rising cost of living.

These workers face a range of challenge – family care responsibilities, health issues, and material hardships, and many lack English proficiency, a high school diploma, or both, which prevents them from moving into higher paying careers.

We know technology is reshaping the future of work – we want to see how it can drive positive outcomes.