Last month, along with dozens of supporters, we celebrated the graduation of four social ventures from our Catalyst program at Blue Ridge Labs.

Blue Ridge Labs Catalyst April 2018 Panel

Blue Ridge Labs is among the newest and most exciting avenues through which Robin Hood tackles challenges faced by low income New Yorkers. The Labs offers fellowships, grants, and workshops that help technologists and communities work together to explore and build new solutions to the challenges faced by low-income families. Labs alumni have raised over ten million dollars from venture capitalists, have apps installed on over a million smartphones, and have been featured in major publications including Forbes, Business Insider, and the New York Times.

Our Catalyst program provides resources and guidance to early stage social ventures selected for their potential to drive impact. By investing in emerging technology to fight poverty, Robin Hood is channeling innovation toward empowering those most in need.


At the event guests learned about and engaged with the four ventures participating in the 2018 Catalyst program:

  • Nesterly connects older households who have spare space with young people willing to exchange help around the house for lower rent.
  • Skillist is a job application platform built to help talented people without four-year degrees elevate their careers.
  • Smart Coos enables English language learners to learn in English and their home language simultaneously, through live online bilingual instruction and assessments.
  • Yenko aims to eliminate financial barriers to college completion by leveraging predictive analytics to help students retain their financial aid.

At the end of the night, guests had the chance to vote for their favorite venture. Thanks to a donation from Barclay’s, each vote helped to distribute a $10,000 prize pool across the four teams. For the first time ever, we had a tie as Nesterly and Yenko shared the top spot!

Learn more about Blue Ridge Labs@Robin Hood and the Catalyst program on their website.

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