Jun 06, 2024

Meet the Startups Using Tech to Fight Poverty in NYC

Through Blue Ridge Labs, Robin Hood is supporting community-based, tech-powered solutions to help New Yorkers

a group shot of the 2024 cohort for Blue Ridge Labs Catalyst program.

In an increasingly digital world, tech-based solutions are key tools to address real-world problems, like poverty.

But what does it look like to harness technology for social good?

Robin Hood’s Blue Ridge Labs (BRL) tackles this question by supporting, incubating, and scaling community-driven tech solutions that address the problems of people experiencing poverty.

As part of this effort, BRL’s Catalyst Accelerator Program provides founders with the capital, connections, and proximity to communities in poverty to turn a proven concept into a scalable technology platform that can meaningfully impact New Yorkers.

This year, our 2024 Catalyst cohort features 7 startups that have built innovative tech doing everything from AI-powered medical billing and literacy tutoring, to streamlined benefits and resource access:

  • Enlightapp uses AI to adapt educational experiences to meet the diverse needs of low-income students. By personalizing education based on real-time student data, the platform can enable schools to adapt and engage students more effectively.
  • Gather builds white-labeled apps for community organizations, enabling them to efficiently connect members with essential resources, events, and community support. This technology is particularly valuable in underserved communities where access to resources can be fragmented and difficult to navigate.
  • Claimant hones AI to simplify the process of applying for federal disability benefits, with a specific emphasis on enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of medical evidence collection.
  • Learnyx, an AI-fueled reading platform, personalizes learning for K-12 students with a focus on enhancing reading skills at various levels.
  • Letterly is a learning intelligence platform that provides individualized English Language Arts (ELA) tutoring to students, leveraging advanced technology to enhance educational outcomes.
  • Lulo’s Quick WIC is an online grocery shopping tool designed specifically for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants to enhance the efficiency of WIC’s benefit utilization, which is crucial for supporting low-income women with young children.
  • Truffle Health’s AI-powered assistant for medical bill management addresses a critical and often overlooked aspect of poverty: medical debt. Those in low-income brackets struggle with medical bills that often contain errors or unnecessary charges, something Truffle’s app can help manage.

Are you a NYC-based tech founder with an idea that can help fight poverty? Contact the BRL team to register your interest for the next Catalyst cohort, and check out our AI Poverty Challenge, a national competition to advance effective, and equitable uses of AI that broaden opportunity and support upward mobility.