Meet the startup technologies driving social change

Mario Fraticelli
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Founders across the globe are building technologies to make a social impact—from fighting injustice, empowering entrepreneurs to improving the lives of seniors and dementia patients.

Here’s a quick rundown of some startup technologies driving social change:

Fighting racial injustice with film

One startup aims to tackle racial and social justice head-on with a new kind of online learning platform. Frontlines of Justice reimagines education through the lens of film, technology, and high-fidelity storytelling (think Netflix meets MasterClass).

The idea was born from a group of justice-focused filmmakers and storytellers. With Hollywood-caliber content like their film called Black Boys (currently airing on NBC’s Peacock network) and an influential network of supporters, the founders realized they could fill a much-needed gap and inspire connection and learning around these hot-button issues. The Frontlines of Justice platform offers a variety of curated courses on-demand and is used by educators, students, and organizations, including Minneapolis Public Schools, Urban Teachers, and The Education Trust.

Watch The Course Trailer: BLACK BOYS Film

Giving teenpreneurs a voice and platform

According to a Nielsen study, about 54% of Gen Z say they want to start their own company. But the problem is that they don’t know how or where to start. One startup wants to help.

Israel-based UpNext is a new kind of social network that supports the untapped world of teenpreneurship, a fast-growing group of youth entrepreneurs armed with a surplus of ingenuity. The platform helps teenpreneurs pitch their ideas through TikTok-style videos to a global audience of investors and entrepreneurial peers. Users can upvote their favorite ideas and propel them along from ideation, to production, to funding, to launch.

The video app aims to democratize startup founding and funding for budding innovators, by enabling every teen on the globe to share their ideas, get immediate feedback, connect with like-minded individuals, and access funding. To date, UpNext has users in more than 20 countries and offers learning resources, mentoring, community, and product-building expertise.

UpNext is building a strong lineup of global supporters, including Jenk Oz, the 16-year-old wunderkind, social entrepreneur, and founder/CMO of Thred Media. A prominent voice among Gen Z, Jenk leads a massive movement of teenpreneurship. Jenk and UpNext announced the first-of-its-kind challenge for teens, in which the best ideas and teams on UpNext would gain his support and exposure to his substantial audience.

Making recruitment fairer (and stronger)

There are over 140 types of biases that exist in the human brain. Science and technology will be required to address the diversity and inclusion problem in the workplace. This is where MeVitae comes in. The cloud startup uses deep technology and people science to help organizations hire smarter, faster, and fairer by mitigating unconscious and algorithmic bias.

MeVitae’s AI-based blind recruiting solution plugs into existing Application Tracking Systems (ATS), including 15+ leading global vendors, and redacts all document types including CV, cover letter, and application forms—this means that candidates really are seen for their skills and accomplishments, rather than details that may lead to biases. In fact, the startup delivers 95% redaction accuracy and can redact 600 CVs in only 6 seconds.

The startup’s customers report 70% cost savings, 60% time savings, and up to 30% better gender and ethnic diversity, as well as doubling their talent pool. MeVitae's clients included businesses with over 20,000 employees and currently cover the U.S. and UK. The startup is scaling fast and has seen a 200% increase in demand for its solution over the past year alone.

Offering support for dementia patients

Technology can be a lifeline for marginalized people or those “left behind” by society. We’ve seen this writ large during the pandemic when Zoom calls became the go-to way to connect with family members in hospitals and care homes.

Norwegian startup Televindu makes ‘slow TV’ programming about ordinary events like riding a train or picking flowers. The platform uses Oracle Cloud for post-production and editing. Cofounder Øystein Hansen says these types of adapted shows are popular with elderly people, as they show places or activities they have experienced before, and are perfect for those with dementia because there are no complex plots or conversations to follow.

Televindu’s platform makes content available on-demand to retirement homes. The technology is currently being used in Norway and Denmark.

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