Benetech is pleased to announce that it has appointed technologist and social entrepreneur Kushal Chakrabarti as Senior Advisor to Benetech Labs, where the Benetech team and partners prototype, iterate, and test new software-for-good applications. Kushal is the founder and co-chairman of Vittana, an award-winning nonprofit that fights youth poverty in developing countries. Drawing on his experience as a serial entrepreneur, he will provide Benetech CEO, Jim Fruchterman, and the senior management team strategic guidance and insight on Benetech Labs.
“We are delighted that Kushal has chosen to join Benetech as a Senior Advisor to our recently launched Labs,” says Jim Fruchterman. “His expertise in rapid product development coupled with his experience pioneering disruptive social services that empower young people from disadvantaged communities around the world will provide a critical global perspective that will help us take Benetech Labs to the next level and realize its promise.”
Prior to Vittana, Kushal helped lead the billion-dollar personalized recommendations team at Amazon and worked on the Human Genome Project, authoring more than twenty patents and papers. He was named Social Innovator of the Year in 2013, one of Seattle’s Top 40 People Under 40 in 2010, and #1 Game-Changer in Philanthropy by 1.7 million Huffington Post readers in 2009. He is a frequent speaker on youth poverty, education, and social entrepreneurship, including at TED, SOCAP, and PopTech.
“I am thrilled to join Benetech Labs as Senior Advisor and to help support its next phase of growth,” says Kushal. “I’ve known Jim Fruchterman for a long time and admire Benetech’s work at the intersection of technology and social change. As Benetech identifies new ways to expand its impact through the Labs, I’m looking forward to helping it innovate even more by drawing on ideas from Silicon Valley and tech startups.”
Kushal holds two degrees—in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and in Molecular and Cell Biology—from the University of California, Berkeley.