Creating Impact Through Mobile Technology
Denver-based Visible asks how can we use mobile connectivity to create human connections and extend communities?
Mobile technology has changed the way we communicate. We use our phones to stay in touch with friends, order food, hail rides, etc. But how can we use mobile connectivity to create human connections and extend communities? That question is at the core of our business at Visible – an app-based mobile phone service founded in Denver. One of the ways Visible sought to answer that questions was with the development of our nonprofit accelerator, Visible Connect.
THE POWER OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
The world has never been more connected. As a phone service, this connection is our core business, and we know that mobile technology has the power to do a lot more than just allow us to search the web and share moments instantaneously via Instagram. We launched Visible Connect with the goal of expediting growth for early- to mid-stage nonprofits that are impacting change through the power of mobile technology.
Mobile technology has massive reach, but there are still communities left disconnected and underserved. Patients go without access to critical care. Students go without access to sex education or career resources. American children go without access to nutritious food sources. Technology can help solve these missed connections. The Visible Connect program is centered around connecting communities through technology by supporting the organizations that provide these necessary resources, education and services.
Like all of the organizations our program supports, we’re proud of the community we come from, which is why we created Visible Connect in partnership with our friend and neighbor, Uncharted – a Denver-based incubator designed to tackle social issues. Together, we developed this nine-month accelerator committed to bringing clarity, connections, and capital to participating ventures.
After an extensive review process of more than 100 applicants, we selected nine inspiring nonprofit startups to join the inaugural cohort of Visible Connect. These ventures are confronting critical issues like childhood hunger, financial insecurity for domestic violence survivors, language barriers between parents and teachers and more. In addition to receiving $10,000 in seed funding, participating ventures receive a customized business plan, personalized mentorship and direct access to the Visible team to grow their companies and solve their business questions.
In addition to our 13 Visible experts, we were excited to welcome 21 world-class mentors across a variety of specialties, including Nim Patel, COO of the Colorado Enterprise Fund; Chris Maliwat, former product manager at Netflix and Facebook; and Nicole Glaros, Chief Innovation Officer at TechStars. These experts committed to providing tailored guidance, one-on-one mentorship and pro bono work to participating ventures for the duration of the nine-month program.
The program kicked off August 13 with a five-day bootcamp summit at Blanc in Denver. The event hosted 17 entrepreneurs from the nine ventures to collaborate with their mentors, participate in brainstorms and attend panel discussions customized to their unique challenges – including strategic planning and fundraising. The purpose of this gathering was to identify what each venture’s specific goals were and create a roadmap of how to achieve those benchmarks over the coming year.
Following the nine-month accelerator, each Visible Connect program will culminate with a two-day, in-person Funder Summit. At the summit, each participating nonprofit will have the opportunity to demonstrate the organizational improvements made throughout the program in a pitch to secure additional funding from relevant investors.
In the end though, it’s all about the connections, and we want to ensure all ventures leave Visible Connect with quantifiable impact metrics to show. We will be partnering with Emory University to measure impact for participating ventures for up to five years. The analysis will measure lives impacted, money raised, and internal team growth. If we’ve done our job right – and if participants have committed to investing in their own growth – our Visible Connect cohort will have the resources necessary to reach new audiences, create deeper connections, and set the trajectory for their next stage of development.
2018 VISIBLE CONNECT COHORT
CAREERVILLAGE: CareerVillage is a platform where underserved students receive free career advice from a volunteer corps of more than 15,000 professionals who share their time, experience, and expertise.
FEEDING CHILDREN EVERYWHERE: Feeding Children Everywhere is disrupting the way we fight hunger in America via their mobile app, Fed40, which delivers meals and additional resources to Americans in need.
FREEFROM: FreeFrom is on a mission to dismantle the nexus between gender-based violence and financial insecurity via their online platform that financially empowers survivors of domestic violence.
ISSUEVOTER: IssueVoter is an innovative, non-partisan online platform that helps voters understand new bills in plain language, communicate their opinions to their representative and track how s/he voted.
JUSTFIX.NYC: JustFix.nyc supports New York tenants facing harassment and poor housing conditions with a mobile app designed to build well-documented legal cases and connect with advocates.
ONWARD FINANCIAL: Onward Financial helps low-to-moderate income workers build financial cushions through a mobile app, saving effortlessly directly from their paychecks and building financial literacy.
REAL TALK: Real Talk uses real stories by real teens to bring sex ed into the 21st century, while positively shaping their knowledge and behaviors around common issues surrounding adolescence.
SIRUM: SIRUM connects organizations with surplus medications to patients in need. A patented delivery system makes medicines available to those who can’t afford them while reducing medical waste.
TALKINGPOINTS: TalkingPoints is a multilingual texting platform that allows teachers and schools to communicate with families via automatically translated text messages in their native languages and improves home-school connection.
Rebecca Haugland is the member engagement lead at Visible.