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The Review

Best of both worlds: The non-profits that act like a startup


Nonprofits have created a new playbook focused on tech

Technology influences everything we do. It affects how our economy runs, the way we vote and even the medical care we access. In fact, tech (and the startups that create it) are behind some of today’s most successful social breakthroughs and nonprofits are taking notice.

The new nonprofit model

In an effort to emulate their success, more not-for-profit companies are choosing to run their organizations like a lean startup. For Rumie founder Tariq Fancy the startup model has proven incredibly successful. 

Since launching in 2003, Rumie has provided its low-cost tablets — that hold up to 10,000 textbooks — to youth around the world. Through its technology students can learn about a variety of topics, which include science, math and history.

By adopting a scrappy can-do attitude and implementing new technological resources, they’re making a difference in the lives of those who need it most. Just recently the company was awarded the Google Impact Challenge award for their ongoing efforts while Fancy, himself, was named one of BNN’s Top 40 under 40.

According to Fast Forward, a U.S.-based nonprofit accelerator, the number of nonprofit startups has more than tripled since 2000. A figure that proves just how popular the concept has become over the years. More investors and wealthy benefactors are opting to invest in hybrid companies (like Rumie) with a social mandate. 

To learn more about how nonprofit startups are changing the world listen to  Robert Gold, host of BusinessCast, interview Fancy . Make sure to also visit our official iTunes page.