Barron’s Profiles Jim Fruchterman and Benetech’s Social Enterprise Business Model

By Benetech, posted on

How do you bridge the breakthroughs of Silicon Valley with unmet social needs?

Financial magazine Barron’s highlights this question in a story about CEO Jim Fruchterman, his founding of Benetech, the organization’s social enterprise business model, and the impact of its work on the lives of marginalized communities.

Published on Barron’s Penta blog, the story notes that much like Fruchterman’s venture capital peers, Benetech culls through numerous proposed philanthropic projects each year and selects one or two problems to work on. The principle guiding this selection process is the same: what overlooked or discarded tech breakthrough could find a second life in the nonprofit world? “We have the technology to make a big impact on society,” the story quotes Fruchterman, “but the hurdle for many of these ideas is too high for them to be viable for-profit businesses in Silicon Valley.”

Demonstrating how Benetech applies this approach to its work in the field of human rights, the story features Benetech’s Mobile Martus app for secure information collection and broaches the case of human rights groups in Burma, who are using Mobile Martus to track the abuse of local minorities.

The story also shares how the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship helped Fruchterman realize Benetech’s impact potential at an inflection point for the organization. The Skoll Foundation features the story on its site. You can read it on Barron’s Penta Blog.